Walls! Just the thing for keeping unpleasant people out, and let’s face it: wargames are all about unpleasant people. Can you ever have too many walls and fences? I think not, so I made some more for my samurai games.

TT Combat Yagura Walls

TTCombat call these “yagura” walls, a yagura being a tower or keep within a fortified structure. To me these seem more like the actual walls themselves rather than a tower and I’ll be using them as the outer walls of fortified compounds. Perhaps “shiro walls” might have been a better name, but it’s not a big deal.

Each wall or corner section is 10cm, although the gates are actually slightly smaller which is a little odd. If you want to make a compound with perfectly parallel sides this means it’ll need to have two gates opposite each other, or else cut down one of the wall sections to the same length as the gate sections.

Each section is a sturdy MDF box, to which is attached some greyboard detailing. The way this attaches cleverly manages to hide pretty much all the MDF joins and tabs, except for the corners which do still show a visible join on the outside. I’ve used some of the left over greyboard to hide those joins too, which is easily done. One aspect of detail that is notably missing with these walls are loopholes. Hence my feeling these are better for compound walls than for castle walls. They’re around 6cm high so they’ll block line of sight and there’s no firing step on the inside, so are more suited for keeping out burglars than a defensible structure. In short, if you’re building a castle look elsewhere, or model some loopholes onto them.

I’ve also glued most of the 10cm wall sections into double sections 20cm long, leaving a few 10cm single pieces. I feel like 10cm is a bit short and just leads to wonkier walls and longer set up and pack away times.

The roofs are greyboard, so aren’t excessively fat but the detail on them is just etched with the laser so isn’t especially prominent. Normally I cover over simple roofs like this using some proper tiling strips, but for this project I didn’t bother as I don’t know how much table time these walls will get and I wanted to knock them out quickly. Also included in the kit are strips of greyboard intended to be the ridge tiles of the roofs. Presumably you’re meant to bend these to 90 degrees and stick them along the ridge line. I tried a few, but found bending them cleanly to be very difficult, and when glued onto the roof they don’t sit flat. I instead took to cutting each ridge section down the middle and gluing both sections on. This is quicker to do and results in a better looking finish in my opinion. So you may want to try that.

For painting I textured the upper section of the walls using PVA and chinchilla dust. I was put onto this stuff by Colin Farrant of Charlie Foxtrot Models, and it’s basically sand that sits somewhere in between fine and coarse. Once that was dry I painted some slightly off white thinned artists acrylic directly on, making sure it was slightly patchy to give the walls some character. For the lower greyboard section of the walls and wooden features like the gates I just stained the greyboard with Liquitex Burnt Sienna ink. So none of that needed any undercoat at all.

Up till this stage I’d left the roofs off, and spray painted them grey on the sprue before fitting them. To be honest the roofs took longer than anything else. Making sure you get everything straight, filling any gaps and adding some extra bits to the corners all took a while. Once fitted I heavily washed them with black and then drybrushed with grey.

The gates open and close and I found it easier to paint them if I didn’t glue everything together as some spots are tricky to get into. You do get some quite nifty large mon symbols you can attach to the gates but they’re for some of the bigger clans like Hojo, Toyotomi and Oda and I don’t see my little skirmishes fitting in with those big boys so I left them off.

So what’s the verdict? Honestly, buy them. If you’re after some walls to surround a house or temple and break up your samurai games, these look just as good as the ones from Sarissa, but the Sarissa ones cost about five times as much! It is the very definition of a no-brainer. Nice work TTCombat! They aren’t perfect and need a little bit of a tweak in places, but I’m overall very happy with them,

4Ground Shogunate Japan Fences

I bought these fences a while back. Being 4Ground they come painted, but if you thought they were ready to use once assembled you’d be mistaken. For some reason although the fences come with bases the base only sticks out one side of the fence. I built them up and textured/flocked the bases ages ago and used them in a couple of games, where I quickly discovered that only having the base on one side of the fence means they fall over at the slightest touch. Frankly, they’re pretty annoying, you’ll spend half the game picking them back up. It’s a bloody stupid design that obviously wasn’t tested before being released.

What they need before use is to have the base extended to both sides. I added some thin plastic to the bottom, cut it to the same sort of contour as the other side, before building it up a little with my favourite basing goop (Liquitex Black Lava Texture Gel) and some sharp sand. Once flocked the fences now stand up nicely and look good.

So maybe 3 stars out of 5 on that one 4Ground. They look good but do need to be “fixed” before you can use them in a game.