ABC or Another Bloody Castle

Today we start the first leg of the journey home with a journey to Nottingham. This will entail a stop off at the Partizan show tomorrow and hopefully a visit to Warlord Games and Wargames Foundry on Monday. (oops update – this was true when I started writing this post a few months ago!) I promise not to visit any more castles because I’ve already seen plenty on the trip so far.

I’ve always wanted a castle – not a real one – just one for the wargames table and I keep on looking at those on offer from various manufacturers. I quite fancy something to use with my Crusade figures in 28mm and also the odd tower or keep for smaller scales. I remember re fighting the battle of Castalla  – a Napoleonic battle in Spain and bemoaning the fact that I did not have a suitable castle to put on the battlefield. Some time ago I made a decision to build my own, but like many things it never seems to get near the top of the “to do” list.

With this in mind I thought I’d get some ideas on what to build by taking some pictures whilst we were on our Cruise of the Rhine and Moselle. The banks of both rivers are littered by castles along their course. These are in various states of repair, with many having the building stone looted for other buildings by the locals. In the middle ages these served as bases for the local warlords, barons and bishoprics allowing them to control tracts of land and were often the bases of the “Robber Barons”. Many changed hands in the local wars but what I think was most surprising is how close together they were built. I remember one portion where I could see 3 castles on the same bank and all in a distance of less than 10 km. Each would of course have had a different owner and not necessarily be on friendly terms with their neighbours.

We started our trip in Amsterdam and used some free time to visit Muiderslot Castle just a short train ride outside the city . Steeped in Dutch history, and built by Count Floris V in 1280, this was one of the most pleasing that we saw from an aesthetic perspective and a real source of inspiration for a future scratch build.

As we moved down the lower Rhine Valley we came across innumerable other castles but irrespective of their state of repair I quite happily snapped away.

There were some interesting variations with the one on the left in the picture below having been converted to an hotel whilst the one on the lower right is actually not a castle

Its the entrance to a railway tunnel, the guide advised that these were constructed at tunnel entries during WWII in order to confuse or mislead allied bomber pilots whose orders were not to unnecessarily damage historical buildings!

Along the river banks a range of towers can also be found that initially served as toll gates

Many like the one above now serve as radar stations ensuring safe navigation for the abundant shipping

Bored with castles yet?

OK lets have a change

The first picture is an unfinished cathedral and the green guy? Well that’s old Blucher himself – a monument erected in his honour for kicking out the French in 1814 we were told.

Apologies, but were back to castles again but at least these are the really cool ones

Had enough, this is a beauty that unfolds as you sail past it – this is Rudesheim Castle

Now here’s a test to see if you are still awake

Which of the following is not a castle?

Just checking……. neither!

You don’t want me to show you pictures of churches just for a change do you? I thought not.

I’d hate you to think that I spent all my time looking at castles – after all we did look at and stop at some local towns such as Rudesheim, Cochem and Bernkastel. In Rudesheim there is a cable car that takes you to up the side of the hill  to the Niederwald monument commemorating the unification of the German states under Bismark and built between 1870 and 1880 after  the Franco-Prussian war

I suppose I’d best be getting back to Castles………………

For what its worth I wrote the above in May, its now November so perhaps not surprisingly I’ve forgotten much of the detail that I was told about the various castles. This next overlooks the town of Cochem –

One of the things I do recall is being told that this one had been used as a camp for Hitler Youth training in WWII

The castles themselves are daunting, the view from the top shows how commanding they must have been. What remains of the town walls or gate towers are impressive enough and the old town buildings themselves that they protected really are wonderful


I was also interested to see this plaque on one of the walls and recognise the coat of arms depicted as being pretty much similar to that one one of my Swiss Landsknecht flags

I was interested to see the fountain depicting the bears, another common sight on banners

Getting fed up of ruined castles? Well here are a couple of older ruins from the old Roman city of Triere

Here’s the old Porta Nigra

I could go on forever posting pictures of some of the other beautiful buildings in Triere, particularly the churches but at  this rate I’ll never get around to finishing the post

With that in mind I’ll skip Luxembourg City, Paris and leave you with pictures of a castle back home in wales – Chepstow Castle, bit of a contrast to some of the finery in the Rhine castles but an equally tough nut to crack no doubt but hopefully another example to give thought and inspiration to a would be model castle builder!





About valleyboynz

A Welsh wargamer living in NZ
This entry was posted in Holidays, medieval and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to ABC or Another Bloody Castle

  1. Chris Gregg says:

    Thanks for this very enjoyable look over your shoulder during your European trip Kerry. Like you I gathered a lot of photos during my Rhine tour in 2012 and keep promising to build myself something one day! The town walls and gates are particularly inspiring. Take heart that what remains of humble Chepstow is probably much more authentically old than what we see of the Rhine ones

    • valleyboynz says:

      Thanks Chris, looking at the lead pile I wonder when or even if I’ll ever get round to building one. I think I might settle for a tower rather than a castle in the end.
      I love Chepstow castle, second only to Caernarvon castle, most of the pictures of chepstow castle I took where from mys brother in law and sister in law’s house that is on the opposite side of the river

  2. iowagrognard says:

    Those were some fantastic photos. I have a question about the castles you mentioned after you headed down the Rhine. It appears if some of the central towers have a noticeable lean to them. Since I see it in a number of the photos, is this the result of them settling over centuries or is it an optical illusion?

    • valleyboynz says:

      Hi Jeff, I didn’t particularly notice a lean in the towers, maybe I was the one leaning after being in the bar! I suspect you are correct though, it certainly was evident in some pictures we took of houses in the towns

  3. Russell Briant says:

    Looks like a fab trip.

    Thanks for all the commentary. Didn’t get sick of castles. Loved the castle camouflaging the railway tunnel. An idea for Flames of War terrain.


    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Carlo says:

    Great post Kerry and this trip of yours seems to have been truly spectacular. An epic journey worthy of Odysseus! Have very much enjoyed your photos and commentary.

    • valleyboynz says:

      Thanks Carlo
      There was so much to see
      I have some lovely photos from the Musee D’ Armee in Paris and took a load at Partizan, but what I really enjoyed was finding military art in a few museums

  5. Wow what a great trip. Would love to do the same one day. Rudesheim is a great name haha. I’m acquiring my first castle (28mm scale) very, very soon!!

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