A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:

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

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 in Review - Part One

With 2012 rapidly coming to an end, here's a look back at a year in miniature.

Technically, the Oriental Folly was finished on the last day of 2011, but I didn't blog about until 2012, so it sneaks in as the first property of the year.  The Folly was made from a DHE "Retreat" kit modified so that the roof gable runs side to side rather than back to front.  The entrance is flanked by a pair of "foo dogs" while the rails and posts are made from balsa wood.

Inside, the Folly is packed with oriental artifacts.  The stairs and much of the furniture are made from balsa wood.  The walls are all "papered" with cotton fabrics which hides the joins in the extended walls wonderfully.  A small desk and chair at the top of the stairs allow the owner to keep the catalogue of his collection up to date in style.

The ornaments were largely hunted down on line with only a few being found in local variety shops.  Do you see the outfit on the mannequin in the corner of the photo below?  I'd completely forgotten about it.  When I made the Dragon Wizard more recently I thought it was a totally original idea but it seems I'd already done something very similar!

The second property for the year was Dawncrest Castle.  This was a renovation of an earlier castle which was the very first miniature building I designed and built from scratch.  In it's first life it looked like this:

 I completely stripped the entire castle and moved and removed many of the internal walls.  The castle lost it's kitchen entirely as this was replaced by the "Magician's Cave" beneath the castle.

The walls and structures of the cave were made with foamboard and cardboard which was then covered in airdry clay and painted to create a rough stone effect for a cavelike atmosphere.

Lots of little dragons and gremlins made by Nicky Cooper add to the setting.  You can tell the difference between Nicky's critters and my own attempts.

A local shop that was going out of business provided some cut price geodes and polished rock slices.

Lighting in the cave is minimal to hold onto that underground feel.

The cave is a busy place with two sorceresses, a wizard and a ghost at work within.

Next door to the Cave is the castle's crypt.  The sarcophogus was reused from the original castle with the crypt rearranged so it can double up as the castle's treasury.

Above the Magician's Cave is the Great Hall.  The high, dark wall panelling that was originally in here was stripped away and replaced with lower panels in much lighter colours to make the low ceilings look higher.

Next door is the armoury, bristling with weaponry.

Above the armoury is the Solar.  A large archway opens the room to the Hall below and a doorway give access to the adjoining Gallery.  the panelled walls are decorated with a series of eagle images while a little fire keeps everything cozy.

The Gallery survives from the original castle virtually untouched.  It has a new ceiling, bench seat and railing.  The Tudor Frieze remains even though it no longer really blends in with the rest of the castle which has a much softer, airier colour scheme.

The top floor houses the master bedchamber with a dressing room or wardrobe at one end and the bedroom at the other.

The large bed was deigned to help hold up the patched ceiling (where previously there was an open courtyard). 

A new pediment accross the top of the house gives the open fronted structure a more castle like look.

 Come back next week for part two of 2012 including the Dig Site and Preston House.