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Monday, January 23, 2012

From The (Under) Ground Up

Having started work on the castle in the underground Crypt, I decided to stay below ground and work on the Magician's Cave this week.  It is situated next to the Crypt in the room that was the kitchen.  After spending a lot of time trying to plan the layout and features of the cave and failing to find anything that really worked, I decided the best course was just to forge ahead and let the space evolve on it's own as I went along.

With no logical access to the rest of the castle, the room needed to have a false door in the back wall to give the impression it is connected.  I decided to put this in the back left corner of the cave and so cut a platform out of polystyrene so create a raised area and step down from the door.  With this in place it seemed logical to put the shelves next to it so a pre-bought shelf unit that had been hanging around forever was glued onto the back wall.

This left the right corner empty.  Looking at the way the cave was taking shape it seemed it wanted to have some sort of semi circular structure in this corner.  I had wanted the cave to have a well or pool of some kind, so the structure became the grotto, a partly walled in area containing a pool of water.  More polystyrene was used to make a gentle rise in the floor as you enter the grotto and a slope down at the back to hold the water in the pool.  A sheet of cardboard was cut to size to curve from the side of the shelves on the back wall to the side wall.  Cut outs in the sheet create the door/entryway and some extra windowlike openings to the grotto.  A post of balsa wood is the support for a stalagtite like structure within the grotto and another at the front of the cave itself.  Lumps of scrunched alfoil were glued onto walls and around the tops and bottoms of the stalatites  to create extra depth.  All this was then covered with a layer of air dry clay to create a rough, natural stone like texture.  It has been given one layer of paint, but will need several more before it really starts to come together.

Rather than sit idle while waiting for the various stages of the cave creation porcess to dry, I worked on some of the other rooms.  On the 'ground' floor above the Crypt is the Armoury.  I painted the walls of the Armoury a pale bluey green and glued the pre bought faux tile sheet around the bottom of the walls.  A floor made of tongue depressors was laid, stained and varnished.

Directly above the Armoury is the Solar (which used to be the bedroom).  The walls in here were painted pale blue.  The Eagle panels I bought from Tom Thumb Miniatures were then added, separated by strips of balsa wood to create a panelled look.  I laid the floor before adding the lower part of the panelling only to realise that I failed to allow for the depth of the flooring when measuring the strips for the panelling.  Oops.  Now I need to cut them down before I can add them.  I've also added two sconce lights on the back wall and threaded in the bulb for the fireplace (which will be on the side wall in the big gap between panels).

Up on the top floor there has been little work done.  Stiff cardboard has been glued onto the walls and ceiling to cover the imperfections left by walls being knocked out.  About three quaters of the floorboards have been laid.  If you have been paying attention, you may remember that last week I said that the eagle panels I used in the solar were supposed to be used up here.  Well, the fancy gothic coving I ordered to use in the solar arrived durring the week and when I tried it up againts the wall of the solar, I discovered that it would interfere with the spiral staircase.  I would need to leave a gap in the coving for the stairs to pass through.  Instead, I switched the plans for the bedroom and the solar, hence the solar has eagle panels and the bedroom will get the coving.

 In addition to all this, I've given the castle a new name: Dawncrest Castle.


  1. loving the underground bits!!! fabulous!! :D Linda xxx

  2. Wow the cave looks amazing. Fantastic work I love it.
    Hugs Maria

  3. The cave is original. Fantastic work!
    Bye Faby

  4. I love your cavern - it's brilliant!

  5. Great work in all the rooms, love the cave.

  6. Thanks Linda, Maria, Fabiola, Irene and Mona.

  7. wow fantastic work Alennka! from a fellow Aussie Miniaturist.