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The following is a randomly selected newspaper headline from many years ago:

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Highcroft Castle - Deconstruction

Well, for better or worse I've started to work on my behemoth which is called Highcroft Castle. The main section of the castle is to be built in an old kit house I never really liked, so the first job was to strip out the old house. After carefully removing the furniture and other items that can be reused, I pulled, peeled and pried all the wallpapers, lights and internal fittings out of the house. When it was stripped out, it was time to start re-arranging the walls and floors. Becuase I had used glue in addition to the screws that came with the kit to hold everything together, it took a few good blows with a hammer to removeeach piece. The dividing internal walls were removed and the third floor to create a double height room for the Great Hall. I also took out the top floor and lowered it by about 3.5cm to increase the ceiling height of the top floor. With all the re-arranging done, it was time to start cutting. As I'm not certain which side of the house my tower will be, or whether to do a tower on each side, I cut a doorway on both sides of the house on the level of the Great Hall (ie the middle floor). If I don't use both as access to a tower, one can be a window or a balcony. Because the original house came with a faux basement, the base of the house projected 15cm or so past the front of the house to accomodate the steps and basement effect attached to the opening front. This always made the house very deep and hard to find a place to put it, not to mention very back heavy. At one point I was going to leave this extended front in position so I could add a drawbrigde to the castle front, but once I started working with the house I very quickly discarded this notion. Instead I cut the extended base back so there is just enough protruding from the front of the building to support a pair of stairs that run flat against the front wall in a sort of inverted 'V' shape. A larger hole was cut for a new, more grand front door. The really messy job that came next was of course sanding the whole lot. All this has made the old house ready to start becoming a castle. The next step is to give the whole lot a coat of sealer and start to finish the exterior with a stone effect. While in the local hardware store I found a product called "Liquid Sandstone". It is designed for use outdoors to make paving and walls look like real sandstone. I've done some experimenting with it and discovered that it is really effective, dries quite quickly but probably won't work well with a stonework stencil. By mixing a little Texture Paste into the Liquid Sandstone, it becomes much more workable, dries less quickly and dries a lighter colour (which is a good thing as the straight sandstone is a little darker than I had in mind). Blogger seems to be having a problem loading my photos, but I do have all of them on Flickr here in a new set called Highcroft Castle in the Dollshouse Miniatures collection.

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