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Monday, May 9, 2011

C. Starcaster Week 14 & W. Shop Week 3

Normally I'm adding separate posts for the Castle and the Witch shop. Those of you who haven't noticed this need to be on the look out for two posts (one for each project) each week. This week is an exception however as remarkably little progress has been made on either. It simply wasn't a good week for finding time for miniatures.

For the Castle I made and installed the spiral staircase connecting the Centre room to the Top room. As always, the stairs are made from balsa wood. I cut fifteen fan shaped pieces for the stair treads, 15 squashed U shapes for the rise and a 1cm diameter balsa dowel for the centre post. Once all the pieces were cut and stained they were glued in place. Sewing pins held everything in position while the glue dried. Once dry, the stairs were glued in place under the hole in the floor of the Top floor. As you can see in the photo the steps aren't perfect. Firstly you have to walk around under the back of the steps to get to the first step, then you have to duck to avoid hitting your head on the ceiling as you climb.

Next up I tried to add a rail to the steps. Big Mistake. The idea was pretty simple; Silver chain was threaded through flat round metallic beads. The beads were then pressed down over the top of the spindles with about an inch of chain left between spindles. The spindles were then glued to the steps. Except: despite being stained the same colour, the spindles came out a totally different colour. The beads popped off the top of the four spindles at the top of the stairs and in trying to get them back in place, the spindles fell off the stairs and being at the top it is incredibly awkward to try and get them back in place. At the moment they are still dangling off the stairs. I think I'm going to remove the rail entirely, the stairs may be more dangerous to climb, but they definately look better.

My only other piece of progress for the week was making a bed. I had originally envisioned a half tester bed for the castle, but when I put the tiled border around the upper walls of the bedroom I decided that any furniture taller than the bottom of the tiles would look wrong, ruling a tester bed out. Instead I have made a simple yet (I think) effective bed from some newel posts, two gothic window fretwork panels and some more balsa wood. I'm very pleased with the bed and think it will look fabulous once it's dressed. That is of course only if I don't do anything stupid.

If I did only a little to the castle, I did almost nothing with the Witch Shop this week. After painting the roof last week, this week I opened up the top and touched up the white ceilings where the brown tile colours had seeped through. Downstairs in the shop I made and installed a cover for the underneath of the stair return which you can just see at the top of the photo. I think I have the furniture arrangement figured out for this room. Next to the door on the right of the photo are some shelves which will eventually be mounted on the wall with a rack for the shops range of broomsticks beneath. The dresser on the right side of the back wall will be modified and repainted to become a hat display stand. The white cabinet beside this will contain either potion bottles or jewellery or something else sparkley. On the left wall I have positioned the chest of drawers I bought for this project at the miniature fair back in March, but I'm thinking I might replace this with another cabinet of some kind. I've found it is impossible to arrange the shop so that these drawers will be highly visible and as they are possibly the most expensive single piece of furniture I've ever bought, I want them to be obvious and prominent. The clear boxes in the centre of the floor will (hopefully) be adapted into freestanding display cases.


  1. I'm very impressed with you creating your own spiral staircase - it can't have been easy but it looks very good and the bed is a work of art too. You were right regarding not having a half tester bed there. What you've done with the fretwork and spindles certainly looks the part.

  2. Thanks Irene! The first time I tried to make a spiral staircase I cut my finger open right down to the bone. I may not have gotten better at it since, but I've certainly become more careful.

    I'm a little disapointed not to be able to do a half tester bed, but I do like the subsitute anyway. I have started to dress the bed, so hopefully next week you'll be able to see the finished product.