Friday, 22 June 2012

Next Pictish Project

Right, it's finally come to it. Since I'm putting a Pictish army on the table, it absolutely requires that I have a Pictish something SPECIAL to go with it.

There are several possibilities. I narrowed it down to broch, a dun or a curragh.

Brochs, not surprisingly, given their sheer size and impressive impact, have attracted a lot of attention over the years. Therefore, there's a good variety of easily accessible sources on them. These vary between simple overviews and dense, studious tracts, and all points between. There's been  a lot of scholarship spent on brochs, and the generally accepted view of their role, status and wider context has changed markedly over the last few decades. Brochs are immediately and recognisably Pictish, and so would fill the role of something special very well.

The downside is that on average, brochs are big. Very big. On average the base diameter is 18 metres, or roughly 320mm in scale. This is before adding any surrounding walls, extra structures or anything else. Essentially, it will not merely dominate, but overpower all but the largest game table. Add to this the fact that the thing is a truncated cone shape, without a straight or flat bit and the whole project starts to become overwhelming. One could take a suitably sized flower pot as the basis, but I still think it's too much.

So, onto duns. A whole dun is out of the question. These are huge fortified areas, covering several acres in many cases. A section of a dun is a possibility, but to be honest, a dry stone wall to go around some huts isn't especially evocative of "Pictness", or not to me, anyway. It could belong to almost anyone. That said, it has potential for that reason alone, as a generic fortification.

Finally, to a curragh. The curragh was a large, broad-beamed ship, made by fitting a leather covering, sealed with resin, pitch or tar, over a wooden structure. It differs noticably from other ships of the time, and is frequently attested to as carrying Pictish and Irish raiders. This seems ideal, either to add colour, or to allow a Pictish army an edge, as it would allow you to sneak a couple of units across "impassable" water obstacles!

Now, you can buy a curragh model - Gripping Beast make a beautiful resin one, but being tight-fisted, I'm not going to buy one. I'll build my own...

1 comment:

  1. Interesting idea, i've tried building a longship recently so I'd like to see how you build your ships...