Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Building a Windmill in Classic Style

Now that the Lead Gardens building program is in full swing, I thought I would tackle a long anticipated project to build a windmill to give the table a bit more "old world" period flavor. I want the windmill to serve both my 18th century battles as well as my English Civil War games in 40mm so I first dug up some references I had stashed away a year ago...thank goodness for the search feature on my computer!
 The Windmill will be one that is mounted on a heavy frame and presumably was intended to rotate to face the wind.



 I decided to go with basswood for this one, and began with a precut base I had on hand that became the base for a simple frame made of basswood. The base is 60mm square and the height of the frame is about 1" high. The references show a pretty tall structure and I want something that will give a decent sized diameter to the blades of the windmill so the dimensions felt right.

 The base frame goes together quickly with just a bit of trimming of the members...

 Then the sides are cut from a sheet of basswood, and, as in the last tutorial, cutting the gable ends using a simple "x" cut and saving the leftover triangles for later.

 the sides are glued up and set on a square of balsa that has a square hole in it cut at the size of the center post
 ...then all of that assembly is glued to the center post...
 ...So the basic windmill is formed.

 I add the leftover triangle pieces from the earlier side cutting step to "beef up" the gable ends

 a block of basswood is added to the structure to make a spot to attach the blades of the windmill..


 next step is to tackle the windmill blades...a tough problem...especially if we are trying to keep it in a simple old school style...

 ...first I made a cross of two small sections of basswood...each notched to make a cross shaped piece to work as a connector for the blades...which I have yet to figure out how to make...

ideally the blades of the windmill should be very simple to make in keeping with the "Old School" flavor of the project.

So now the big problem...how to construct the blades???

...I'll have to sleep on that problem...any ideas are most welcome!

10 comments:

Fitz-Badger said...

Nice, so far. I've always wanted to build a windmill for my games, too. Every gamer should have a windmill. ha ha

For the blades, here's one thought, how about simple flat blades cut from thin basswood? You could always draw on some pattern for the detail and it would be in keeping with the simple "old school" style you have going in your other buildings.

Bluebear Jeff said...

To me the blades made me think of the sort of wire "netting" that some small pet cages are made of.

You might look for "wire netting" at your local hardware store. Cutting it with tin snips and then covering it with paper or tissue and there you have it.


-- Jeff

littlejohn said...

Thanks guys! I'm going to try both of those ideas and see what works.

tidders said...

I used the DAPOL Windmill Kit (ref C016) - its 1/72 scale and seems OK with 28/30mm figs.

Active windmill had 'sails' over the frame - you could try a flat frame with spars on the back ?

Some wall tile spacers come in sheets ?? maybe use this for frame

-- Allan

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Starbucks stirrers with some netting a la Bluebear jeff?

Phil Olley has a windmill (whose sails go round!) - worth checking for inspiration if you can find some pictures (I couldn't)..

A J said...

A very promising model. There's a windmill very much like this pattern near where I used to live.

Ross Mac said...

Hmm, I like it so far. The painting appears to have canvas sails, which make sense, as opposed to the open ones in the photo, was the later inbetween refits? or possibly a modern design?

Short of welding together a frame like an old cannister template, I was going to suggest drawing the frame on clear plastic but I think the suggestion already offered for doing canvas sails would do the trick or possibly thin card on a wooden arm for something less substantial looking.

I don't suppose there is any great chance that you will get a sudden urge to build 1840's Mexican or American buildings any time soon? :)

Ross

Brigadier Dundas said...

I'd try a wire frame with glue dipped tissue placed over it to simulate the canvas "sails". You could then hot glue these to spars coming from the center hub.

daveb said...

Perhaps some styrene will fit the bill? It looks like a ladder type thing mounted on a long stick of balsa might work. Or maybe a ladder mounted on each side...

Something like this:
http://www.plastruct.com/Pages/OnlineProductDetail.lasso?-op=%27eq%27&CCode=LS-12

Likely this isn't the right size, but illustrates the type of ladder thing I'm thinking.

littlejohn said...

Thanks again guys for all the great ideas...

and Ross, drop me an email and perhaps we can work out something in the way of 1840 Americana ;)...

my most efficient email is: ddugas@vt.edu

--Dave