Monday 1 August 2022

A Basque Town and Farm

A couple of weeks back I showed a not-very-good picture I had stumbled across of buildings from the Basque provinces of Spain. Those models were amongst the "ones that got way" as I lamented back in December, ie the models I'd made but hadn't photographed and no longer had access to. Since then I had kindly been sent some lovely photographs of the nice German village done for Jonathon Marcus. And now I have some decent pictures of the Basque models, so the only thing still missing from the record at this stage is the Trojan setup once made for Mark Sturmey.

The new photographs came initially from my friend Simon Chick, who had photographed them during a demo game at Salute 2014. But knowing now what show it was, I was able to search for other photos of the game. And I found them on two different blogs, called History in 1/72nd and The Lost and the Damned. (I tried to contact the owners of both blogs to check they didn't mind me reposting their pictures, but got no response in either case, from which I conclude there's no reason anyone would be bothered. Of course if I hear differently I will act as appropriate).  Right, here we go.

My late friend Mark had eclectic interests in terms of wargames periods, one of them being the Carlist War of the 1830's, largely fought in the Basque provinces of Spain. Mark used to pay people to paint his figures, but was keen on building scenery, a skill he was learning quickly before Motor Neurone Disease sadly halted him. This town was therefore perhaps half my work and the rest by Mark or made and painted between us. A couple of rendered buildings to fill out the town were taken from my earlier generic Spanish buildings.

The centrepiece church was one element that Mark paid me to make on a commission basis. It is modelled on a Jesuit church of around 1700 which stands in one fought-over Basque town. As you can see it has the unusual combination of a rendered structure with an elaborate but slightly grim stone fa├žade.
In the north of Spain the typical rendered buildings largely give way to bare stone or half-timbered ones, sometimes infilled with brick. The roofs are still low-pitched pantiles in the Mediterranean style however. You can see all these elements in the model.

I built this cross to go with appropriate figures that Mark had sought out. Such vignettes add to a battle painting or a demo game. 

And here's another one, based on a typical local pattern of well.

As a present I made Mark this Basque farmhouse or baserri. It has the typical recessed portal, creating a work area useable on rainy days. Sadly you can't see them in the photo, but there are little scratch-built tools hanging up within!

Another present was this granary building in the local style, standing on stone "mushroom" legs to protect the contents from damp and vermin. A pigsty and muck-heap complete the farm.


  1. Brilliant work on this village. We are so very lucky see such wonderful photos.

  2. Lovely work by both you and your friend, John. I was wondering about the architectural style, as I would expect more stucco in Spain, but you have explained that.

  3. The attention to detail is inspiring. The search for the photos was clever. I would think it ok in this case to use the photos especially when you attribute the sources as you have done.

  4. Brilliant work here - it looks fantastic. I agree with rross it was interesting to know about the stone rather than stucco buildings in Northern Spain. Great detective work on tracking down these photos! Now for the Trojan War ones :)

  5. Cracking work by you and your late friend.

  6. Splendid looking buildings and I agree , having worked in the area and further south how there is definate regional differences!
    Best Iain

    1. Cheers Iain. I have got a little book about the traditional building styles of each region of Spain. As with most European countries, vernacular structures varied significantly in every province at least. Germany has a particularly rich and well-documented heritage in this respect: one of my books shows over a hundred distinct styles within just modern Germany's borders.