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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Highcroft Castle - Week Eight

I started the week by continuing on from last week and finishing the door surrounds made from part air dry clay, part paper clay. The doors left to be surrounded were the three in the tower. As there wasn't the room around the tower doors for the same arch surrounds that I used for the doorways either side of the Great Hall, I decided to make the tower arches more simple, just a strip of clay about 1cm wide arched to fit over the opening of the doorway. These were glued in position when 'wet' so they could be shaped to the exact shape of the doorway. The same clay was also used to fill the gap between the stairs. Once the clay was dry, the tower doorways and those in the Great Hall were all given several coats of stone look paint.

While working with the clay I also made a fake door to lead out of the back of the bottom of the tower to give the impression that the castle continues on behind. The door was simple to make. After rolling the clay flat, it was cut into an arch shape using the same template as for the other arches. A blunt toothpick was used to press the curved line of the inner arch into the flat clay to create a 'door' surrounded by a frame. The edge of a ruler was pressed into the door part to create the effect of planks. It was left to dry pressed against the wall of the tower so it would have the same curve as the round wall. When the clay was dry, the frame part was painted with stone look paint, while the door part was painted with brown acrylic to give a wood effect. The final step was to add the hinges and studs which were painted directly onto the door with faux leadlighting outliner. Using the faux leading is one of those ideas you have to hit yourself in the head and wonder why you didn't think of it years ago - it is three dimensional, so looks like something solid on the door rather than something painted on and it can be used to create any size and style of hinge you want. The particular outliner I used has a shine, but others are matt and it comes in all sorts of different colours and metallic effects.

In the Great Hall, I finally made the decision to open up the walls to create a pair of galleries in the back wall. Galleries were part of my original plan for the castle, but I had changed my mind, deciding there wan't quite enough height, nor enough width to position the galleries so they weren't directly over the fireplaces (where would the chimneys be?). I have opened up the galleries just off line with the fireplaces, so the chimneys can carry on beside them. The 'stone' railing was made with air dryed clay copies a some Sue Cook frieze made by making a mould of the originals with sculpy mould maker. I placed some stone paper behind the openings, but this was a mistake as I now think the back walls will be better in a colour that contrasts the Great Halls upper walls. Perhaps more wood panelling?

Having finally made a start to the top floor bedroom or 'Royal Suite' last week, I continued the work this week by adding the wall and floor coverings. This room spans the entire top floor of the main building (kit house) of the castle, but is separated into two parts, the 'bedroom' and the 'bathing area'. The bedroom walls are covered in a cotton fabric with mottled gold, red and purple which looks very regal. At the moment it looks a little overpowering, but by the time the room has a door, a tester or four poster bed, other furniture and tapestries (etc) the walls will be much less visible. The floor and the bathing area are covered with vinyl floor tile, the floor with a wood look tile and the bathing area with black marble. Again the black marble is a little overwhelming at the moment, but will eventually be broken up by other furnishings. It will also (hopefully) look less masculine as the room is supposed to be currently occupied by the Queen of Oronia rather than a King. The main feature of the bathing area is a triganular bath tub made by covering a cardboard frame in vinyl tile. The internal section of the tub is less than a centimetre deep - a fact which will eventually be concealed when the tub is filled with a luxurious buble bath ready for the Queen to relax in.

The other piece of progress for the week was to start work on the 'front cover' for the tower. Once this and the tower roof are finished, the 'construction' part of the castle will basically be finished (until I decide to go ahead and create a right wing). Finally, I feel like I am actually getting closer to actually making progress instead of just making a mess.


  1. I just love your Knights in shining armour, what a brilliant purchase.

  2. Aren't they just lovely? There is another knight on horseback in the shop . . . wish I could have him too, but he costs more than the other three together!