Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kelso Quaker Meeting House and Old Priory

As I've mentioned before,I plan to set my VCBW battles around the town of Kelso in the Scottish Borders region.  For most of the buildings, I'll be using  generic kits from scalescenes.com. However, there are a few real structures I'd like to represent in order to give it a more authentic feel. Two of those are the Quaker Meeting House and the Old Priory (now a bed and breakfast).
View from Abby Row (Source:Google Maps)
Now my table and closet space will not allow me to build an accurate copy of these buildings, so I decided compressed versions were in order.  Rather than build everything from scratch, I decided to start with the Scalescenes' farmhouse kit and add on to that as needed. 

First up is the meeting house, which was once the coach house for the priory.
Source: Scotland's Churches Trust
Source: Scotland's Churches Trust
For this, I needed to do some scratch building. The street end could easily be built to size using the side of the small terraced houses kit with added windows and a door.  For the garden side, the building was just going to be too long, and I decided to severely truncate it. As such, I used a terraced house front and modified the windows on the second floor so there would be more. For the textures, I used squared rubble sheets, extra roofing from the farmhouse kit, and ground tiling from the outbuildings and walls kit.
Street end of the meeting house.  The lower window I had is too small compared to the real building, but I still think it looks ok.
The very short garden side of the meeting house.
Next up is the main building  of the old prioryThis is an L-shaped building, two to three stories in height depending on the section.  There is a large garden on the Abby Row side and the main entrance is is on Wood Market.
Source: Tripadvisor.com

 Three stories would look odd for my compressed building, so I decided to give my model two. This is where the farmhouse model came into play.  Sadly, the building is not nearly as tall as the two story terraced house kit, so it came out looking shorter than I hoped.
Old Priory garden
 Another issue with this kit is one of door size.  I am working at 1/63 scale, which is already a bit small for 28mm figures. As this kit represents an older building, the doors are undersized compared to more modern standards, making it look like my figures would be beheaded going through the doors. To try and hide this,I built a foundation for the building that is about 3mm thick.
Figures next to the raised door; not too bad looking now.
 For the Wood Market side, the house doesn't have a main entrance, just a small pantry door.  As such, it doesn't look anything like the reality of the building.
Wood Market road side.
 The farmhouse kit comes with a large barn as well, so I thought that might be a good stand in for the the workshop seen in the first photo.  Other than the size, the barn isn't a close match to the real building and I considered heavily modifying it. Also, it is completely separate from the priory complex rather than being part of it.  I want to be able to use this building complex as a stand alone farm also, so ruled against drastic changes.  However, as a nod to reality, I added a rolling door on to the end of the barn.
The building is open to the garden, unlike reality. As you can see, there is interior detailing.
Added rolling door
 To complete the look of the garden, I used walls and an outbuilding taken from the same kit where I got the ground tile, along with some concrete and squared rubble texture sheets. The ground area will then filled in with turf and assorted HO and O scale plants from the train shop.

 Now I have to admit I didn't know anything about Quakers prior to working on this project, but I found out a few interesting things.  They tend to be pacifists, and operated the Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU)  during both of the world wars.
Member of the Friends Ambulance Unit.  Source: Wikipedia
I've decided to roll this knowledge into my Kelso scenario.  Troops within a certain distance of the meeting house will potentially be delayed or even put down their arms as they listen to the pleas of the Quakers to stop the violence.   Doc will also run a first aid center out of the complex, providing help to both sides.  Perhaps for Christmas, I'll get some more Quaker medical teams added who can roam the board. 

 So the final product doesn't look exactly like reality (my apologies to anyone from Kelso) , but overall I think it will give the feel that I'm looking for.


  1. Splendid piece of work here,well done!

  2. Absolutely super modelling. Kelso's a great little town, and I really like the idea of setting games in a real location for VBCW. The buildings look really excellent - they'd grace any wargames table!

  3. Fantastic work sir - some great research and modelling. the complex has come out really well

  4. You've done bloody amazing work there, truly beautiful work.

  5. Thanks Everyone! I still wished it looked closer to the real buildings, but overall I'm happy with it. It was good practice as well, s I'll be building the abbey ruins and town hall completely from scratch ( a bit nervous with those).