I have the glory of a few weeks of spare time (not quite a holiday) and its almost like the good old days when we only had one child and I had all the time I wanted to use on building models. I haven't had this much time for making building models since August last year! The obvious thing to do would be to complete some of the projects I have lying around in various stages of completion (some have been waiting for over five years) but never mind that! Inspired by Kalø Vig, and Oleg's recent model of a watch tower (more on that at a later date I hope) I have embarked on a very ambitious project; the central keep of a Norman style castle!
Its been my ambition to make a Norman castle ever since I started building model buildings, and one of the first models I began in 2004 was such a Norman keep. That model was made by gluing four thick lumps of wood together for each level and then cladding them in sculpted polyfilla. The results were less than impressive and I lost interest in the model pretty quickly. I later tried to resurrect the model when I made my first Takshendal campaign, but I failed, and the model stood around for a year or so before I eventually got rid of it. I was going to just bin it, but Oleg took it back to his place (though I'm not sure why). I also gave him the castle wall elements I'd built as I decided that any new castle project would require its own walls.
The original plan was to build an entire castle, based on Rochester and the first keep I'd built was actually just meant to be a wall tower. In my naive ambition I even had a vision of a keep with a 40x 40cm base and multiple corner turrets. I gave this up when I realised just how much storage space such a monster model would require, and how little actual use I would have for it. The dream to build a modular castle never left me though and as you can see in the sketch above, it still lingers in my mind. The model keep I am building now is the central building of this project.
This time around, the building is made from book-binder's card (1½ or 2mm thick) with internal wooden support and clad in cork. Later I'll add a polyfilla wash, then paint and varnish it. Working in card is much easier than working in solid wood and I can add a lot more details as a result. I was worried that card might warp too much, but Oleg's watch-tower, and the tramp steamer I made for Rocketman a few years back, both demonstrated how strong a card structure could be and so far the model has not shown any serious warpage.
The first storey, complete with a store room/dungeon. The walls at this level are three meters thick, and the turret is solid all the way through. The figure marks the spot where a draw bridge will be (still not sure how I'll go about that).