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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

100 Steps to Heaven

The first 12th scale structure I built from scratch was a castle, so it is fitting that the first 48th scale structure I do from scratch is also a castle.  It has nothing at all to do with an obsession . . . .  The glorious thing about a 48th scale castle is that the smaller size means there is more space to include features that just wouldn't fit into a 12th scale castle (at least not if you still want to be able to lift it and fit it through doorways).  This castle will be six floors high, but will still have ceilings high enough to add features like a vaulted ceiling, something I never could manage to squeeze into a 12th scale structure.

But before I tell you about the castle itself, I'll start at the beginning and tell you about the base.  The castle rests on a thin piece of MDF that was once the back of a picture frame (I must have used the frame as a clear front for a roombox at some point).  It's something in the area of 22cm wide by 45cm long.  I glued polystyrene foam over the MDF to raise the ground level of the castle up about an inch and carved some of the foam away to create some uneven ground and a river bed in front of the castle.

All the edges of the foam was covered with Paper Clay to create the look of rocky ground.  I should point out that what I buy labelled 'paper clay' seems to be a totally different product to what everyone else knows as paper clay.  It's a clay that has the consistency of chewing gum, is kind of spongy when dry and still slightly flexible.  It's the flexibility that made me choose it for the edges of the base as it won't chip easily if it gets bashed against something.

The flat area that forms the floor of the lowest level of the castle was covered with a thin coat of pollyfiller into which lines were carved to create the look of paving stones.  All of this (clay and filler) was then painted with a dark grey and then dry brushed with successively lighter shades of brown.

With the base finished, I started work on the castle stairs.  All six levels of the castle will be accessed from a single stair tower.  The walls of the tower are made of 5mm thick foamboard.  They are lined with a stone block paper printed from a texture found on the internet.  Each of the 100 individual steps in the tower is made of balsa wood.  Not all of the steps are entirely straight, but given all my mathematically calculated plans to ensure the stairs would fit in the tower inexplicably did not work the stairs actually turned out pretty well.

 The stairs are also backwards to the way they would be in an authentic castle.  A castle is traditionally a defensive structure so the stairs would have been designed that anyone going up would have their right side to the wall.  This meant that any attackers trying to storm up the stairs into the castle would not have room to properly swing their swords while the defenders coming down wouldn't be so hampered.  So let's just hope this castle is never invaded . . . .


  1. What a great start! I can't wait to see what comes next.

  2. all those steps,you must of been seeing them in your sleep, this project already looks fantastic, I am looking forward to your next post.