Sunday, 17 April 2016

A castle for my son's birthday

My other new and now ongoing project, a castle for my son's 4th birthday. Now obviously my main priority here is to create a cool castle for my son's birthday in June and to see his little face light up when he sees it for the first time, on his birthday morning, with all his soldiers arranged on and around it. But it also provides me with another opportunity to test my terrain building skills and those familiar and new challenges and problems hat need to be researched and solved as the the project progresses. I may even use it for some gaming myself...  

I was originally going to scratchbuild the whole castle, but I didn't think it would sturdy or robust enough, made out of the usual modellers materials of foamboard and extruded polystyrene, to withstand a 4 year olds attentions. So I saw this Simba Playcastle being used by modellers over on the Lead Adventure Forum and decided to buy one from Debenhams for £14, with the aim of modifying it.

So a combination of my hobby project and a present for my boy, what's not to like, even the wife likes the idea and the fact it's handmade by me and cheap! Win win win!

Here's some early progress:

It's a pretty big Castle, about 70x40cn, whic is going to take up a large space in my boys bedroom. I've already got a little table for it to go on. I can't go much wider than 70cm because of the dimensions of he space this will occupy in his room, but I could increase the depth, so I decided to create a front area where a road winds up through some hills towards a moat. For the initial making process I decided to use some thick Celotex insulation board from b&q as the base board as it's lightweight, thick and.easy to work with. Well it's actually pretty horrible stuff to work with and cut into as it's leaves a proper mess and has some fibrous elements holding it together which I didn't want to inhale so the carving and sawing were done outside and then it was PVA glued down to a piece of mdf and left to dry overnight.

I'm sure you can see the modelling/measuring mistake in the above photo. Yep, I somehow completely mid-measure the length of the drawbridge and made the most way too wide! Actually here is a silver lining, I think a narrower most would have looked a bit shit, so I'll now add an outcrop on this side of the most so that it reaches across ok. Some plaster has been laid down and sculpted to look like a road. Next up I'll paint a brown paint/sand/PVA glue over the entire thing to create the ground work as inspired by Rab

But I needed to do some scratchbuilding as well, so I found some inspiration on the Internet, gathered a Pringles tube, a herbs container, some wooden stirrers from a coffee franchise, some matches, my glue gun, PVA and some thick card and created this:

Now this ain't particularly sturdy, but it was good fun to make and helps improve the overall look of the castle, less toy and more scratchbuilt joy. If it gets broken, it's no big deal and can easily be glue gunned back again. I'm about to make a small stable next as the final building and then the painting of the whole thing can commence. I've got about 7 weeks until his birthday, so I'd better not get sidetracked with all these 40k ideas I have in my head. How can I scratchbuild an oil refinery...?

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