Monday, February 17, 2014

How to: Easy Medieval Jousting Tents

We are glad to announce a nice illustrated medieval jousting tents tutorial created for Wargame News and Terrain by wargamer and scratchbuilder Alan Martin. The tents I have made are 15mm medieval, but the principles can be applied to other periods and scales. Basically I use a wire mesh, then cutting it and bending it to for the shape of the tent. I have made 3 variations – rectangular, 6-sided and 8-sided – for variety.  The picture below shows the uncut mesh. The green grid below is 1 cm square to give an indication of size. 

The picture above shows the section cut out to form a rectangular tent. Unfortunately I have cropped the right hand side and lost the final cut showing a short stub of the mesh which I use to link the 2 cut ends, but the picture below shows it on the right hand side. 

To retain the shape, I drilled a set of holes in a strip of wood to hold the posts in the right position. The Picture above shows the wire bent to the required shape. Use thin-nosed pliers positioned next to the upright to get a good angle, but bend it slowly to prevent the wire snapping. It doesn’t tend to, but you will get a few breakages. The picture below shows the top part of each upright bent in to form the roof. 

In picture above you can see I have used very thin electrical wire to bind that stub to the upright at the corner and so complete the tent structure. In this case I then used another piece of thin wire to loop round and provide 2 vertical pieces which will extend through the roof to put flags on. 

Since doing that, I found a tent-making article on the Wargames Illustrated website which suggested putting the tent cover on first, them putting a small ball of milliput underneath the point at which the flags should appear and poking a pin through from below to provide a flagpole. I thought that was a better idea and so used that on the remaining tents. Easier to do and the pin has a better shape than the cut wire.  

The pictures below show the 3 tent shapes. Each has some masking tape over the top to reduce the risk of wire poking through the paper I use to cover the tents. 

If you want guy ropes, cut some lengths of cotton and attach them to the wire now. Not absolutely necessary, there seems to be some debate as to whether they were used in all cases. 

The tent cover can be made with ordinary paper and painted, as I have on some of mine, or you can use excel to create striping and print that off using a colour printer. I set the rows at 6 points depth and used the infill tool to colour them the way I wanted. I first tried it with the gridlines showing, but I then took them out – your choice. If you don’t have excel, there is a pdf I have produced which you are welcome to download from the website, to download the file click here. The picture shows some sheets I have used. 

First cut a strip to form the sides and glue it in place. For the roof of the rectangular tent, cut a piece as wide as the roof, and deep enough to reach over the ridge line from the top of the front side to the top of the rear side. Trim it to fold round the end roof panels – don’t worry that the stripes are at the wrong angle – they will be covered by a couple of triangular pieces you cut next. Offer the striped paper up to the roof section you are going to cover, making sure the stripes are vertical, mark the 3 corners lightly with pencil, cut the shapes and stick them in place. 

One warning with the printer ink – make it too wet with water or glue and the ink will leach or run. I made that mistake and so had to do a bit of repainting. 

Next is the decorative fringe to be attached between the roof and the sides. I use some cheap pinking shears to cut some paper and paint that, then glue it in place as seen above. That also shows the flags in position. I have used a small bead and a painted paper flag for each. Picture below shows the beads used. 

Guy ropes are a bit fiddly. I used some tiny bits of match wood and glued them, but they were not strong enough to get the guy ropes tight. I solved that by cutting slits in the card bases and running the thread into them – they hold them tight while the glue dries. The picture below shows the slits. 

I still need to do the bases, but I have attempted to disguise my laziness by putting some of the tents behind a mass of cavalry for the final pic.  A nice touch, where the tent flaps are open, is to have some furniture inside. I haven’t done taht yet, but prior to fixing the tents with flaps open, I cut out a section of the base which I will model the interior on and then glue them in place. I used the same technique on some New Kingdom Egyptian tents to good effect. 

I hope this proves useful it would be good to have others share their ideas for variations and embellishments to improve the final result. Tutorial kindly supplied by Alan Martin for Wargame News and Terrain.

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