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Building the Castle

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Kyle, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. Kyle Member

    I am glad to respond with an SBS on the castle facade I built, inspired by Carisbrooke castle on the Isle of Wight http://www.iwcam.gothere.uk.com/iwcam/HTML...Carisbrooke.htm

    My goal was to model a typical 12-13th century castle in 1/35 scale, similar to those existing in southern Britain at the time of John of Eltham, earl of Cornwall, second son of Edward II, who lived in the early part of the 14th century (dying at age 20). Eltham is the figure I've chosen for this scene: 54mm, white metal from Pegaso.

    (Sidenote: Pegaso's description of this kit places Eltham at the Battle of Crecy in 1346; however, Eltham died in Perth in 1336, ten years earlier. Perhaps it was his ghost at Crecy!).

    Many of the methods used in my process were gleaned from Pete Armstrong and his excellent book Ancient and Medieval Modeling http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/184176007...=books&v=glance

    Basic items used:
    -Foam board - walls, crenellations, curtain walls. etc.
    -Cardboard cylinders (common paper towel holders, cut and expanded for width
    -Milliput - detailing of wall surrounds, mouldings, panels, fine stonework detail
    -Squadron Putty – detailing of stonework patterns on walls, filling of gaps, etc.
    -Household glue, CA glue, epoxy glue
    -thin basswood (for building doors, curtain walls, archer platform)
    -brass rods, thin wood dowels
    -copier paper and business card paper, used to make the stones for the walls and towers
    -Interior white primer/sealer –Glidden gripper/sealer, diluted 4 parts water, 1 part primer.
    -very fine grain sand – I used Behr non-skid floor finish additive, that is used in the application of non-stick garage flooring (again, anything extremely fine-grained will do)
    - lentils and dried mustard seeds to simulate cobble stones


    Step 1 - I used my exacto knife and Dremel to cut the main pieces of the castle wall and groundwork substructure from foam board (in the states, readily available at craft stores such as Michaels). I used layers of contoured foam board to build up the approach in the front (I prefer working with foam board in that it cuts out the curing time you deal with when using celluclay or other slow-drying groundwork media). I then did detailed used milliput to simulate the rocky outcroppings, mixed with real pebbles.

    Step 2 – Developed the two towers out of cardboard paper towel cylinders. I cut and expanded the diameter using newspaper as support on the interior of the tubes, and covered the towers with thick paper for a seamless finish. I then cut out and applied small, various-shaped pieces of business card and copier paper and applied these to the side of the towers using Elmer’s household glue. I used a #11 exacto blade to “spike” and apply the paper stones to the tower exterior (a slow process!)


    Step 3 – For the central wall section, I built the curtain wall from basswood strips, which I formed and shaped with the exacto, and glued together (see above, unpainted, before puttying and painting). Once the towers and front wall had been completed with the application of the stones, I attached the three sections using brass rods at the bottom (drilled in and sunk into the base), and epoxy glue.


    Step 4 – For depth of effect, I built a courtyard and back wall, representing the entrance to the inner bailey. The pathway leading from the main gate through the courtyard to the bailey door is made from Milliput, which I sculpted to gain the effect of the large paving stones.


    The stones on the front approach, leading up to the main gate, are lentil beans laid into a ¼” layer of celluclay. In the photo above you can also see the unprimed paper stonework being applied to the gate.


    In the courtyard, next to the pathway, I laid in even smaller mustard seeds, as I felt the “smaller cobble” look felt more natural here. Once the small cobbles were set in place, I primed the pathway and cobbles with one gray primer coat, then applied dark brown wash, shadowing and highlighting, along with a light rub of the household spackle (drywall paste) for aging effect.


    The bailey door is made from individually cut and glued basswood “planks,” and the moulding and trim is done in Milliput, along with the columns, made from two sizes of wooden dowel, plus a thinner brass rod for the central column.

    I attached the courtyard to the main structure of the castle foundation using 6” long brass rods and 7” strips of foam board. Final step (not completed yet) is to add four “feet” to the back piece for further support.

    Step 5 – I built an archer’s platform toward the top of the central wall, below the crenellations, using basswood, then painted and primed.



    Step 6 – My final work will entail the Eltham standards, for placement on top of the towers, as well as the placement of various items for the courtyard, including a bucket and pulley for the well, scratch-built weapons and shields, and other various items.

    I am new to both dioramas and figures, and this piece was time-consuming. It took me the better part of two months to complete it. And though I really enjoyed building it, there are a few things I would do differently next time:

    - I would not have spent so much time cutting and placing so many stones on the walls. I would have used more sculpting putty.
    - I probably would not have applied more than one bass coat of the primer. Two coats was a bit too thick, even thinned with 80% water.
    - I would have paid more attention to the fact that my first portcullis was too large, extending down 1/3 the way toward the ground, thus obstructing the front-view of effect of the diorama. I had to rip out the first gateworks and remake it, leaving the portcullis in a more raised position for easier viewing of the bailey wall.

    John Eltham surveying his lands from the castle approach. 54mm white metal,

    Thanks and cheers, :)

  2. garyjd Well-Known Member

    Kyle, Thanks for the sbs. It's nice to see structures or partial structures of the period as part of the groundwork. I would say the most important thing when using partial structures as part of your groundwork is to not include so much that it overpowers your figure(s) giving them a secondary role in your project.~Gary
  3. Roc Active Member

    The castle looks fantastic, good work and thanks for the step by step.

    Keep up the good work.

    Roc :)
  4. Kyle Member

    Thanks Gary and Roc....

    Gary, you are definitely correct: That's way too much castle for our comrade the Earl of Cornwall!

    It sort of got away from me as I kept adding on and adding on....My plan now is to add figures to the scene over the next few months. I have my eye on a couple of 14th c. English archers at the moment to occupy the curtain wall platform, as well as a mounted knight, etc.

  5. robbyk9 Active Member

    Hello Kyle

    Thanks for for your SBS it realy looks great. It must be a that it takes a long time
    to make this.
    Great Work Kyle.

    Greetings Dick ;)
  6. Kyle Member

    Thank you, Dick. Yes, it took a loooong time. Probably 60 hours.... (ouch!)
  7. megroot A Fixture


    Thanks for the SBS. It seems that we must search for the figure. Well, the castle's where great buildings. So a castle in the scale of the figure will let us see how hughe the buildings where.

  8. PJ Deluhery Active Member


    Many thanks for your sbs and sharing your techniques for castle building. I have a need for these techniques for my M.E. toy solider displays, and have printed this thread for future reference. Thanks.

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