Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How to: Constructing a Maori Pa


Today we will tackle the construction of a Maori Pa. I was inspired to build one of these Maori fortifications when I saw the movie called "River Queen" and after that I visited the Empress Miniatures website and saw their excellent New Zealand Wars range. I managed to prevent myself of buying miniatures but wasn't able to prevent myself of starting to build a massive Maori Pa. The Pa I actually constructed was not based upon a historical example but was build according to the easiest methods of construction. 


First of all I started to saw the circular wooden base which has a diameter of approximately 45 cm. After that I sanded the edges to create a smooth surface which would flow better into the playing table. As the base was done, I started to glue large polystrene chunks onto the base where most of the earthwork would be. These chunks were roughly cut with a cheap stanley knife and further adjusted with my hands to create rough surface for the later filling fase. 

For the actual core of the fortification I chose for a octigonal shape as it was the easiest and most efficient way to fill the restricted space. I started to make 6 poles on which the defensive frame would be attached. These poles were made out of twigs I gathered during the last trimming of the garden. To create some decoration I decided to carve some basic shapes upon the pole's head. I think this really added some great detail to the otherwise rather basic fortification.

When these poles were done I drilled holes in the poles to attach some bamboo skewers which would carry the seperate palissade poles. To add further detail to the palissade I treated them with my stanley knife to create a rough surface. After that I hot glued the poles and attached the bamboo skewers in place with some cheap woodglue. After the basic core I added some pieces of bark to the sides of the trenches so they would not collapse under the weight of the earth. This also made it easier to hide the rough surface of the polystrene chunks. Then I started to glue smaller palissade poles around the core to represent the first obstacle attackers would need to cross under immense fire from the trench and surrounding bushes.


Some people may also have seen that I also added two tunnels which lead from the inner core to the outer perimeter. This way warriors can swiftly move in and out of the fort to either attack or flee. After all these steps were done I started to mix huge amounts of tissue paper with a mixture of woodglue and water. I think roughly a mix of 1/3 of woodglue and 2/3 of water but if it is to liquid do add some more woodglue as it adds thickness and makes the mixture harder when dry. After I made the mixture I added it to the fortification to fill all gaps or to secure some poles into the ground


When the mixture was dry (this took a while and please make sure it's dry before you continue!) I mixed some cheap plaster to add further height to the piece, this stuff is easy to obtain but is quite brittle and heavy but when applied correctly it's a good way to fill large gaps and add cheap earthwork. After I added all the plaster I smoothen it with my fingers to create nice eartwork banks for the fort so the defender had some clear sight to shoot at the attackers. Well, this is the end of this first part, it may take a while to finish the second part.

8 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

That's looking bloody brilliant so far.......

Paul´s Bods said...

Quite some construction there. I wonder how effective these defences were.
Cheers
paul

kingsleypark said...

Looking very promising!!

Al said...

Amazing! I have never seen a Pa modelled before. Great work

Ian said...

I really like it, the wood work looks really good. How many hours work up to this point?

Ian

Wargame News and Terrain Blog, said...

Thanks for the nice comments, the construction work of this Pa up to this stage is around 5 hour or so

Anonymous said...

great work, me and my wife are looking for ideas as she has to construct for her teachers training in maori language, so were building one called tauranga ika,

Wargame News and Terrain Blog, said...

That's great good luck on the construction and if you have the finished piece please don't hesitate to send me some pictures at wargamenewsandterrain@hotmail.be so I can show them on my blog.

Best regards

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