Making a Legion Fort Wall (An Experiment)

I was goofing around with some odds and ends and decided to try out something that I’ve been occasionally thinking about —How would one make the walls for the Beau Geste type of fort? My idea was to avoid making the slightly sloped wall and towers that was in the actual movie and, for now, stick with a straight standing wall.  I decided to use two sheets of cut 5mm styrene to create a wall about 1cm thick.  It’s only a prototype wall to see if it would work well for when and if I ever get around to making an entire Foreign Legion Fort.  The pictures and diagram explain the process somewhat.  I’m pretty happy with the results even though I did not get around to detailing the groundwork or the interior wall supports (as seen in the screen shot from the movie).  I painted it all in Burnt Sienna mixed with PVA glue and then (next day) with a coat of “Camel” and then dry brushed with “Sandstone”.  I did run into problems and believe I will make some changes to how I will do this in the future.

1.  Crenelation. The crenelation was a pain to cut out even with a sharp razor.  I had to use a small file to make the ports even and to sand down the bits of protruding foam.  I might try making them separately (cut from same sheet) and gluing them to the top.  This way the spacing is consistent and it would probably take less time.  I can spackle over any creases.

2.  Height. I will probably keep the wall at 3″ and then glue half inch crenelation on top of that.  This would make the wall actually 3.5″ high.  On this prototype the wooden “deck” and the miniature basing made their heads higher than the wall.  I want to make the miniatures heads be just below the top of the wall (see the 2nd screen shot) so I will keep the inner wall at 2″.  This will give me the right amount of room and I think it will actually be closer to the right height of the walls.

3. Wall Surface. The blue styrene was very smooth and when painted it did not present a desired rough appearance.  I might try adding some more stucco texture by adding fine sand to the paint along with some glue.  Cement patching might be too coarse but I might try that just to see how it looks.  Or I might use the wire brush to rough up the surface of the foam first.

4. Decking. I tried to make the wood used on the parapet look like it was four boards deep by incising a line down the middle of a squared hobby stick (Popsicle stick) and then using two of these (running the length of the wall) to give the soldiers enough room to stand on.  It didn’t work too well because the actual gaps between them ruin the effect.  I might try coffee stirrers or saw the Popsicle stick in half lengthwise to represent actual boards or I might try a wider piece of wood.

About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
This entry was posted in Legion Forts, Wargame Terrain. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Making a Legion Fort Wall (An Experiment)

  1. Richard says:

    Many thanks for sharing your experiment including the excellent photos and drawings. I’m in the process of doing a fort for the NWF and I’ll use your ideas for the walls.
    Also I must say what a superb site! I’ve found it very interesting with loads of interesting details and although the FFL isn’t really my chosen era I must say I’ve found it fascinating. Some superb work you’ve done on it. Well


    • Thanks for your encouraging comments Richard. I’m glad you found my blog useful.
      I’d like to see your finished product. Colonial NWF is a very interesting period. I’ve seen several old references available at Google Books, Hathi Trust Digital Library and the Internet Archive on this subject.


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