Wednesday 30 June 2010

Benan Watchtower - Design WIP

I thought you might like to see some further development on the 3D design of the Benan Watchtower based around a 500ml Ben & Jerry's ice cream tub with a bit of pringles tube thrown in too! I seem unable to get away from Pringles tubes! It turns out that i needed to extend the height of the watchtower and a Pringles tube is exactly the same diameter as the base of the watchtower so its a perfect fit!

I decided to keep with the open hexagonal canopy shape for the watchtower top and to keep the low tech stockade feel rather than a full stone fortress look. The beam work on the tower matches that on the other kits allowing a consistent look to be created.

It took some fiddling to get the dimensions to work properly, but here you can see that the upper surface of the watchtower can fit six 30mm display bases. (note sections of the canopy are removed for clarity). clearly 25mm bases will have more 'wiggle' room.

The Watchtower is configured to meet with the modular Stockade walls at three locations with 120 degree symmetry.  This gives a high degree of flexibility in how the kit is assembled.

1. Stand alone watchtower
You are able to build a stand alone watchtower with wooden palisade fencing all round and a trapdoor assembly in the roof of the tower. This gives three 'sentry points' around the tower that will accommodate figures.

2. Single Wall Tower
A watchtower attached to a single wall section - perhaps a forward lookout tower on a larger structure. This could be impressive with a Tew-Fah bridge replacing the Stockade Wall, with the bridge spanning a small river but connecting the watchtower to a building or fort on the other side.

3. In-Wall Tower
A tower that connects to a pair of stockade walls forming perhaps a fort wall. When built with this configuration the watchtower has a balustrade to the inside of the corner - it seems health and safety requirements reach into the fantasy realm too!

The final redesign of the Tew-Fah bridge will also be swappable for any of the stockade wall sections, allowing a bridge (or with the optional conversion) a gate to be incorporated into the design.

The tower and wall kits will be available separately and will be held together with magnets allowing a flexible range of stockades and buildings to be put on the tabletop.

Finally an exploded image of all the 107 components in the watchtower. The blue part is the ice cream tub, and the green are Pringles tube, the remaining parts are all styrene.

Of course the canopy and pillars can be omitted to give a simpler structure, and will assemble to other buildings with a little conversion work.

So, what material should I cover the canopy in? Slates/shingles or simple planked wood. (Or is it important to give you an option of both?)

While this kit will not be as complex as the shingled roofs of the tower and stables or the helical stair case, it is going to use a lot of styrene so I may struggle to get it into 2 sheets of A4 styrene and therefore it may become more expensive. If I had to sacrifice some element(s) of the design to keep the cost reasonable - what would you lose?

I really do want your comments on this design - the more the merrier before I start to lay this out for the Cutter. Some of the decisions made on this kit will effect sizes on the walls, bridge and any other associated future kits. So it pays to get them right now!

When I wasn't looking earlier today, another soul decided to follow the lucid and insightful missives on my blog. Welcome  to the genius that is "The Bearded Snot" :)


  1. If you had to lose something the canopy is probably the easiest part to lose because it could be built from balsa wood and your shingle sheets by those that want to make one.

    The choice of a B&J ice cream tub is a little odd though given how expensive they are (when compared to the cheaper pringles tube.)

    But over all these kits are shaping up nicely. Well done!


  2. Looks very interesting... I would love to get dimensions on the B&J Ice Cream tub to try and find a local equivalent (Pringles we get down here... imported ice cream I believe only Hageen daaz...)

  3. Thanks for the comments Weird Chris and Andres.

    Unfortunately not every household rubbish item that gets thrown away is as versatile and cheap as a Pringles tube. I can't build everything out of them! So i have to start somewhere. The next problem is then finding cartons which are the same size in as much of the world as possible. But as I am in the UK I have to expect that most of my sales will come from here and Europe. As to the cost - i think you are missing the point that you get half a litre of ice cream free with the tub, thats not a bad deal! If you have other suggestions of globally available suitably sized and robust enough products the please feel free to suggest them Chris.

    Andres - I'll post accurate measurements on the blog when i get a chance to remeasure. However you'll need something EXACTLY the same size to make all the components work. The good news is that i believe that Hagen Daaz use the same tub manufacturer and size, except that the lip on the tub is different and the recess in the base is shallower. I don't know if the tubs in Chile are the same sizes though.

  4. Sorry, I don't have a better suggestion and you're right about the free ice cream, but you could end up getting sued for making gamers fat! :P

    Keep up the good work


  5. @Brandlin I'm guessing Nestle might use similar sized tubs too... guys in the supermarket will give funny looks when shopping with a measuring tape...


  6. measuring tape?

    I've been shopping with a micrometer.

    Have you ever tried to get a coffee cup from starbucks? not a cup of coffee, JUST the cup!