Saturday, 25 June 2022

2mm Strength and Honour: Urbs Romana


Having initially sworn off putting too much effort into the ancillary pieces for the 2mm Ancients project, I ended up going down the rabbit hole of producing a Roman fortification that could represent a ‘camp’ in Strength and Honour - to be fair to myself (!) I didn’t go the whole hog in making giant scratch-built marching forts or sections of Hadrians Wall, but rather went for a generic looking set of walls and towers, leaving an internal space that would accommodate a quartet of the 60mm by 60mm urban tiles that I made earlier.

I thought that by enabling swapping out the tiles, the walls could do double duty in posing as the fortifications of Carthage, Locus Castorum, or even the walls of Troy, depending on what I put inside.

I really liked the look of the parts from the Brigade Models’ Modular Castles range that were used by Mike Headden in his own 2mm project, detailed in the forum thread here (scroll down):

So, digging around in the Lead Pile, I dug out some likely contenders, and, good news, also re-discovered my long-lost Roman Triumphal Arch, also from Brigade.

I had a scrap piece of laminated wood to use as a base, which measured around 160mm by 140mm, so pencilled out the ground plan of the walls and towers etc, leaving the central area big enough for the urban tiles - just about managed to squeeze them on, allowing for a bit of a moat and some ground out front.

The Brigade Models castle pieces are in resin, and come out of the pack pretty clean, so a quick blast of stone coloured paint and some red earth tone detailing over a mid brown undercoat meant the job was straightforward, although not necessarily quick - lining in around all the windows to try and stay neat had me going cross-eyed !

I did struggle somewhat in lining up the various wall sections, in that although individually well cast and straight, they are relatively short, so have a tendency to wander when modelling in a long line, and there is a bit of a gap between parts that seems obvious in these close-up photos. I think more skilled modellers or others less cack-handed could easily rectify this, or even smooth and fill any spaces, but to be honest at this scale, and tabletop viewing distances, they do the job for me !

The moat around the castle was formed merely by gluing on a strip of darker basing sand to the outer part, and splashing on some dark wash - I wasn’t going to go to the trouble of actually ‘digging’ it out ! - again, viewed from a distance, doesn’t look too bad.

The Triumphal Arch is free-floating, given that it straddles across two tiles, and enables me to use it in other settings - the terracotta coloured ‘roof’ is a bit odd, perhaps, but somehow it just looked naked when done wholly in marble white - there are a couple of bronzed panels on one side, too - no doubt detailing the Emperor’s victories - although you’d need a microscope to read them off at this scale !

I also went ahead and stole some additional buildings from Brigade Models Spanish and Arab village sets, just to add some variety to the other architecture, and make the tiles look a bit more ‘populated’

Brigade, of course, do their own Roman castle/mile fort wall set, but I followed Mike Headden’s lead in using the modular parts as they are more visually impressive, and hopefully not too anachronistic - the rounded bastion like towers on the gate sections look pretty Roman to my eye….

I’m yet to do much more with this project, as my butterfly mind has been drawing me in a completely different direction lately, and hence the time lag since my last post - I’ll no doubt keep coming back to it when the mood strikes, so stay tuned…

Next time, though - something completely different !


  1. Great work, very inspiring!

  2. Hello old chap,

    I have got to say that looks pretty darned good! I particularly like the clean lines of the whole thing - well done that man!

    All the best,


  3. Some great ideas, thank you. I reckon this castle would also look the part as a board edge piece (if you just use the front and side
    sections, perhaps down to the first tower). This would suggest a town rather than having to build the whole thing ! Might be able to cram the buildings in a bit closer together then with less space to fill. I do like the finish you've achieved for the walls, particularly the 'thin red line'. Sets it off nicely. Really inspirational stuff.

  4. Cheers All, it came together pretty nicely in the end - the close-up photography does rather reveal the slapdash areas, but on the tabletop, it looks fine…. I had thought to do the ‘half-size’ town, but went for the full one so as to be able to use it as something to be fought over…..just need to make some 2mm Siege Towers now. ;-)