Category Archives: tabletop

Saga Terrain – Saxon Church

Assembling ‘Timeline Miniatures’ 28mm MDF Saxon Church with LED lighting, for Saga Dark Age Skirmishes tabletop game.

As I begin assembling my Saga Terrain for an upcoming campaign, I’ve started with an initial centre-piece; the church at Fortingall, Scotland, circa 900AD. This site is famed for the Fortingall Yew, the oldest tree in Britain, and amongst the oldest in all Europe (I will make that yew tree as terrain soon!). Yew trees have a sacred and spiritual place within Britain, long before Christianity, dating back to and beyond Druidic times. Thus many churches throughout Britain have ancient Yew Trees growing within their yards, as the churches were built upon what were already spiritual and sacred areas, helping the slow conversion from paganism to Christianity over the centuries.

The Timeline Miniatures Saxon Church was one of the most well suited terrain pieces I could find for this scenario and location. It is a reasonably large piece of terrain with three rooms and a larger hall, as well as a removable roof. This allows for ample space if using the interior for your skirmish gaming sessions.

I ordered the the Church a number of months ago from Timeline Miniatures in the UK, I’m in Australia, however it arrived in good time and has been sitting around waiting for me to build it. This will be the second Timeline MDF kit I’ve put together. It arrived in clear plastic with one sheet of minimal instructions. The build is very easy so the instructions were just fine.

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Unpackaging saw a number of MDF sheets. The cutting on these is great, easy to remove and a lot has already been pre-punched out for you, saving time and fiddly work, definitely appreciated! Also unlike the majority of MDF kits I’ve built, these sheets were square, not a standard A4 size, just something I noticed.

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I quickly began assembling the frame of the Church. All pieces locked in well, some of it quite tight, which I welcome in a build – the less joins I need to fill before painting the better, and as I light most of my buildings with LEDs I don’t want cracks for the light to leak out, ruining the illusion. You’ll see I am somewhat sloppy with my PVA application, applying straight from the bottle, then smoothing later with a cloth or my fingers.

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The next step was to apply the stone decorating. This is a great feature of this kit, hiding many joins and adding all the character you need to the church. Despite it’s simplicity, the church has been well thought out in it’s design. There was also some internal decoration not mentioned in the instructions, three door pieces which I assumed went into the main hall of the church as pictured below. With all the decoration added the church is starting to look good.

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Now time to build the roof. Not much to say here, a simple and standard design. However at the end of the tiled rooves are uneven cuts, indented lines to help represent tiling, which is fantastic and rarely seen on MDF roofing.

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With the rooves now drying, it was time to get the lighting sorted. For this building I am going to use flicker ‘candle’ LEDs. I break apart a number of cheap LED candles bought from eBay, remove the switch and battery from them and break the LED out. I then solder the LED to a dual 3v battery pack also purchased from eBay, these battery packs have on/off siwtches which is crucial in my terrain lighting. Covering the solder joins with heat-shrink, the job is complete. I then do this again for a second light.

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Now I have both lights soldered I break off a piece of MDF from a used sheet and use it as a lighting beam in the ceiling. I then super-glue the battery packs to the inside of the roof, making sure they are faced the right way so I can change batteries later, then super-glue the lights to the beam. Quick, simple, effective. I have Blu-Tak covering the join of the lighting beam to hold it in place until the PVA is dry.

The LEDs still have the flickering built into them so they still flicker like candle/flame light.

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Finally I test the roof out with it’s new flickering lights. You can see some of the wires hanging from the ceiling, I will tidy these up when painting and also paint the wires/battery cases to make them blend. The LEDs light the internals of the church very well and as they are running off two batteries instead of one, they are brighter than normal. This will shorten their lives, however, they will have minimal use and are easy enough to replace.

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Below is the church complete. A nice large centre-piece for a table top, with removable roof and lots of space to use the interior of the building.

Notice the light beaming out of the windows to the left of the picture. Next will be to prime and paint the building, and maybe tile the roof for added texture and not have those flat 2D style tiles. I’ll save all that for another blog post. Following painting will be adding 28mm furniture and art/tapestries etc to the interior walls and flocking/shrubbing the exterior base.

I really liked making this piece, it was completed in around an hour, lighting included. Again, despite its simplicity it made sure to have a better look, depth and construction to it than most other simple MDF kits I’ve built, as well as an ease of build, from pre-popped MDF to easy slotting, that makes the process fast and enjoyable.

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I’ll post more on this build in the future, so stay tuned!

Thanks,

The William.