Castle Diorama IV: Timberwork and Stone Walls

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Continued from Castle Diorama III: Dungeon Interior

Now that the dungeon below the castle is finished, I have worked a while on the castle itself, a half-timbered building in the courtyard and on the rails below.

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One of the first things to attend to after gluing the top layer of the cliff on was the entrance to the dungeon. I had cut a hole matching the curved fieldstone pieces and the curve of the staircase, but I wasn’t sure on how to make a closeable passage to the underworld.

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The solution was to make a square frame of thick balsa wood, emulating heavy timber. Later I will build a couple of hatches to be able to close the passage. I’ll need to figure out a way to make small model hinges, so they can withstand being opened and closed for photos.

Suggestions on how to do this are more than welcome… 🙂

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After painting it brown and drybrushing it with a lighter brown, I glued it into place and added small pieces of styrofoam to fill the remaining holes.  Later the ground cover will hide the seams and blend the whole thing together.

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Since one of the points of building this diorama was to be able to display my growing collection of narrow gauge rail vehicles, especially from the Fleischmann Magic Train range, I thought it was about time to lay some track as well. 🙂

The track above comes from Peco and is 0e gauge meaning that it is in 1:45 scale with 16,5 mm between the rails. It has been spraypainted with a dark brown as a base colour, onto which I’ll add some rusty colour to the rails.

As a track bed I used some cork from a set of table mats bought a long time ago. Then the painted rails were glued on top. Then I began cutting wood from coffee stirrers, collected at various cafés, to create the crossing of road and rail.

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After ensuring I had enough strips to make the crossing, I painted the strips a medium brown and drybrushed them with a lighter brown.

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At that point, I couldn’t keep my attention off the castle any longer, so I began to work on the tower. In the otherwise excellent Hirst Art molds, there were no curved arch for the tower, so I had to create my own from a straight arch.

It’s still not really curved, but I think it’ll play its part once the tower is completed.

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As the height of the castle walls were rising, I got the idea to place a half-timbered building leaning on the long wall. Above you can see part of the open foundation for the building.  My inspiration came from David Macaulays excellent book Castle, which I read about a million times as a child. In his book is a great drawing of a half-timbered house, where the lower part is open for use as a stable.

With the lower part being open, more of the courtyard would be visible from the “dungeon-side” of the diorama.

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Still inspirered by Macaulays drawings, I made supports for the upright beams. Near the fieldstone wall I placed a large board to help carry the supports for the floor.

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It was quite easy to file the soft balsa wood away to make the whole thing level.

The large timbers are not glued to the fieldstone wall, since I would like to be able to remove the building when painting the castle walls.

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Then I began gluing on supports for the wood, made of square wood, possibly pine.

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When that was done, I glued on the lower part of the upper, half-timbered floor. Now the floor boards can be placed, but before I begin constructing the half-timbered structure, I’ll look at a number of images to get an idea of how the German woodwork could be constructed in a realistic way.

Do you have any suggestions on where to get inpiration?

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So far I have cut the first four floor boards before realising that I’d better write about my progress so far on this blog, before I would get too far. 🙂

Above one of my new half-way painted French figures from MK-35 is observing the progress.

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Here is a view of the whole thing so far. As you can see, I have also begun working on a door to the tower, which will be closed off from view.

Seen from below, the castle is already beginning to be an impressive sight. I am a bit worried though, that the castle might be too big in the end, but time will tell. 🙂

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In the lower part of the image above, you can just about make out the partially complete road crossing.

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And finally, a view from the “dungeon-side”.

There is a lot of work to do still, but it is a great feeling seeing it all slowly take shape on my workbench.

For now, the focus is on the half-timbered house. It really is a lot of fun working in real wood trying to construct a somewhat realistic building.

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