Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Old Bob Codger

And some thoughts about Victorian roads.

Old Bob Codger has a history of taking almost any job as long as it pays.
Another character from Highlander's adventurers pack. He's been sitting half finished for over a month now but I finally got the few minutes needed to finish him off. I wanted Bob to look like a down on his luck street person but still armed and dangerous. So I aimed for an old faded suit with more than it's share of dirt stains on it.

Perhaps he shouldn't of stolen from the local "charitable" organization!
I also sculpted my typical cobblestone pattern for his base. But I've been looking at some period pictures like the ones below and I've begun to wonder how accurate it is. All pictures are from Writers in London in the 1890's Blog, which is a really nice reference and an enjoyable read as well. I've used a few to illustrate but she has plenty more. Some of these are Paul Martin street scenes, which you can also find with a search and I've found invaluable for reference.

Cheapside in 1892 the road surface looks almost like packed dirt.
Probably less traveled roadway with clear cobblestones but the gap between the stones seems to be filled flush.
Also being a porter back then required excellent posture it seems.
While the streets have well defined raised curbs and the pavers are clean,  the actual roadway is suspiciously flat and rather rutted. At first I wondered if they had been resurfaced with macadam. But further examination leads me to believe it's cobblestone covered with a layer of dirt, refuse, animal droppings, etc that's obscuring the stone and giving a flat appearance. I wish I could find a good resource on when roads made the transition to newer materials as it would hopefully be definitive one way or the other, but so far no luck.

A painting which shows the roads a dirt brown but it also looks like cobblestone at the edges.
Here we can see the same effect at the edge of the street. Dirt seemingly covering cobblestone.
Those kids are so full of character that they practically are begging to be sculpted up.
I think for the time being I'm going to keep going with the way I've been doing my roads, if only cause I like the way they look. However it would probably be more accurate to just cover them with sand and paint them brown. I'm not going to be afraid to be more generous with my wood putty filler over the cobblestones and add more brown to the streets. It'll have the added benefit of breaking up the gray and keeping it from being monotonous. I'll also have to try to replicate the gutter on the edge of the roadway and the pavers as well. Looks like some experimenting is in order.


  1. Very interesting. Are you making your own cobblestone roads or are you buying some of the premade ones out there?

    1. I make my own. On the figure bases I sculpt it out of putty, for my terrain I made up some stamps to more quickly press in the pattern. Then usually some wood putty on top to hide the mistakes.

  2. You have raised an interesting question there. I would have gone with cobbles covered in dirt, sand or whatever to keep the noise down from horses hooves. Then tried to recall my senior school history when macadam was first used in C19th. So after a bit of searching I found this PDF doc It is called 'Streets of London'. Interesting read. Nice figure by the way.

    1. Thanks for the link, that's the best timeline I've seen so far on London's roads. And the first time I've heard of wooden block paving being used as well. I never considered that the dirt/sand would be intentionally spread but it makes sense.

    2. I had never heard of wooden block paving either. It's damn strange how this hobby of ours can lead you off on tangents! :-)

    3. Strange indeed, but I find the tangents one of the more enjoyable parts! Don't get me started about the time I wasted learning about traditional barn building techniques for a model I haven't even finished yet.

  3. I like the idea of some cobbled details at the edge of the road and then packers dirt for the main thoroughfare - that could look great.


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