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Offline neverness

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Return to Death Castle: A restoration project
« on: May 11, 2008, 06:42:37 PM »
Welcome to Death Castle. Death castle is 20 years old this year and to celebrate that birthday Iíve decided to restore it. It was created by my best friend of 20yrs Trevor, while we were both High School students at Woodbridge England. He made this castle before he met me when he and his friends discovered Warhammer 40,000.



Itís construction was simple yet an ingenious use of the materials available.



The basic design is a series of shortened toilet paper tubes over-layed with strips of Styrofoam with the front veneer using stone patterned sheets of Styrofoam that his Dad found at a D.I.Y shop somewhere locally (Ipswich?). Soon after some application of carpenters glue, the project was finished and we had a basic, yet very cool, castle to play with!



My very first table-top battle was fought using this castle so the nostalgia I have for this piece is intense. Intense because I soon learned to hate it! The crenellation less walls were too high, so in order to fire from it, or achieve LOS, you had to position your models at one of two preciously small openings or set your models on top of the wall. Both of those options removed the cover the wall provided thus making your defense redundant. Many units of marines were blown off the walls of this castle. Back in the Rogue Trader days, the weapon ranges were extreme and a target standing on the highest point on the table with no cover was sure to die. Yet we kept playing with this castle! Over the course of many games if became clear that the only way the defending force could win with this castle was to abandon it. In one game a force of eldar abandoned the castle just at the marines stormed it and the marines took the castle only to be slaughtered by the eldar from out side. It was clearly a death trap, and thus we named it Death Castle.



Death Castle has seen some abuse over the last 15 years. Trevorís early attempts to paint the castle were quite devastating to it. We didnít know the horrible reaction that black spray paint would have with Styrofoam. The castle became his test bed for other painting experiments as ultimately he was unsatisfied with it and when Trevor left England, he gave it to me. When I left England it was used as packing materials! During that point it was cut in half. We still used the castle though, but usually as wall pieces for Mordheim or as a ruin. Much damage has occurred, and you can see from the pictures that some ad-hoc repairs have been attempted. Iíve replaced some of the holes that have been punched into it over the years.

Recently, I rediscovered it, and was inspired to restore this castle to the greatness it has always been denied and finish it!

This is my restoration blog, and over the course of time I shall update it with my repairs and improvements. I intend to make it a full warhammer piece. I imagine that this castle is a small boarder fort that has seen quite a bit of action, so Iím going to attempt to maintain a weathered and wearied look about it while embellishing it with marking of the Empire. Listed below are the steps I need to take:
∑   Add a base. A lot of the damage the castle endured was a result of a lack of a stable base.
∑   Crenulations. The castle needs this to be usable as a defendable position. Also enlarge the opening above the gate to be able to support artillery and/or siege defenses.
∑   Make a real gate. The castle never had a proper one thus making the opening, which was big enough to let a Rhino pass through it, far too inviting to attackers.
∑   Repair wall sections. I have enough left over foam pieces to be able to fully restore it.
∑   Enlarge the upper deck. Reviewing the siege rules that have came out over the years, it seems that the upper walls are too narrow and although they easily support one model are just too small to support two. Iíll need to enlarge this to accommodate combat on it without risk to our models.
∑   Add an internal building of some kind probably a tower.
∑   Add stairs. However I may skip this if I go with a tower that abuts the wall.
∑   Level the top of the wall. The melting caused by spray paint has caused stability issues that can result in some models easily falling off the walls. Iím considering making the top magnet friendly.
∑   Finish this by December. Iím not exactly sure which month the castle was built, but my first game using it was in December of 1988.

-Joel


« Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 12:41:38 AM by neverness »

Offline Obi

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2008, 08:12:52 PM »
Great idea and a good hommage! I hope it'll work!
Hello Athiuen and welcome to the Back Table.

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Offline neverness

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2008, 08:58:19 PM »
PART 2



I can now cross one item off of my list: The crenulations are done. They are not the smoothest cuts, and this is intentional.  A quick subtle blast of spray paint on these new openings will help maintain the weathered look of the rest of the castle. I have also made the opening above the door larger. Iím still working out whether to do this to the opening at the back of the building also.



 I have decided that that corner will be where the building will go and I have decided that the building will be a tower. The tower will be tall, acting as a stairwell, and keep. Attempting to model stone steps for Warhammer has always bothered me; Castle steps tend not to be very wide, and if you ever toured an ancient castle youíll know what I mean. But in order to make them functional for this game they need to be big enough to support the required base sizes. The tower will prevent the need to model it. Also my inner wall expansion will drastically reduce the space inside the courtyard making steps even less practical. The tower Iím going to make large enough to hold a basic 20 man unit on top of it. Iím also thinking I should have enough room to place a balcony of some kind on it, perhaps as a battle platform for a long range wizard or a sharpshooter. Iíve spent some time creating a skeleton for the tower and what Iíll do is layer on pieces of the Styrofoam sheet and add doors, arrow slits, etc.

(Thanks Obi!)


Offline GRIMMJV

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2008, 03:41:09 AM »
Wow, I remember that castle.  Trevor had a playing field almost 8 feet long, and he used to get big chunks of wood and moss to use for foliage.  It actually came out pretty cool.  Have fun restoring it!

Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2008, 04:03:21 AM »
Welcome to Death Castle. Death castle is 20 years old this year and to celebrate that birthday Iíve decided to restore it. It was created by my best friend of 20yrs Trevor, while we were both High School students at Woodbridge England. He made this castle before he met me when he and his friends discovered Warhammer 40,000.
 ...
So you actually used this for Warhammer 40k :icon_question:

Quote
Itís construction was simple yet an ingenious use of the materials available.
 ...

The basic design is a series of shortened toilet paper tubes over-layed with strips of Styrofoam with the front veneer using stone patterned sheets of Styrofoam that his Dad found at a D.I.Y shop somewhere locally (Ipswich?). Soon after some application of carpenters glue, the project was finished and we had a basic, yet very cool, castle to play with!
...

My very first table-top battle was fought using this castle so the nostalgia I have for this piece is intense. Intense because I soon learned to hate it! The crenellation less walls were too high, so in order to fire from it, or achieve LOS, you had to position your models at one of two preciously small openings or set your models on top of the wall. Both of those options removed the cover the wall provided thus making your defense redundant. Many units of marines were blown off the walls of this castle. Back in the Rogue Trader days, the weapon ranges were extreme and a target standing on the highest point on the table with no cover was sure to die. Yet we kept playing with this castle! Over the course of many games if became clear that the only way the defending force could win with this castle was to abandon it. In one game a force of eldar abandoned the castle just at the marines stormed it and the marines took the castle only to be slaughtered by the eldar from out side. It was clearly a death trap, and thus we named it Death Castle.
 ...

Death Castle has seen some abuse over the last 15 years. Trevorís early attempts to paint the castle were quite devastating to it. We didnít know the horrible reaction that black spray paint would have with Styrofoam. The castle became his test bed for other painting experiments as ultimately he was unsatisfied with it and when Trevor left England, he gave it to me. When I left England it was used as packing materials! During that point it was cut in half. We still used the castle though, but usually as wall pieces for Mordheim or as a ruin. Much damage has occurred, and you can see from the pictures that some ad-hoc repairs have been attempted. Iíve replaced some of the holes that have been punched into it over the years.

Ah! The memories of childhood. :icon_biggrin:  Reminds me of the pre-made plastic mat we used for WWII soldiering, and I wonder if it is still hanging around at my parent's place.

Quote
Recently, I rediscovered it, and was inspired to restore this castle to the greatness it has always been denied and finish it!

This is my restoration blog, and over the course of time I shall update it with my repairs and improvements. I intend to make it a full warhammer piece. I imagine that this castle is a small boarder fort that has seen quite a bit of action, so Iím going to attempt to maintain a weathered and wearied look about it while embellishing it with marking of the Empire. Listed below are the steps I need to take:
∑   Add a base. A lot of the damage the castle endured was a result of a lack of a stable base.
∑   Crenulations. The castle needs this to be usable as a defendable position. Also enlarge the opening above the gate to be able to support artillery and/or siege defenses.
∑   Make a real gate. The castle never had a proper one thus making the opening, which was big enough to let a Rhino pass through it, far too inviting to attackers.
∑   Repair wall sections. I have enough left over foam pieces to be able to fully restore it.
∑   Enlarge the upper deck. Reviewing the siege rules that have came out over the years, it seems that the upper walls are too narrow and although they easily support one model are just too small to support two. Iíll need to enlarge this to accommodate combat on it without risk to our models.
∑   Add an internal building of some kind probably a tower.
∑   Add stairs. However I may skip this if I go with a tower that abuts the wall.
∑   Level the top of the wall. The melting caused by spray paint has caused stability issues that can result in some models easily falling off the walls. Iím considering making the top magnet friendly.
∑   Finish this by December. Iím not exactly sure which month the castle was built, but my first game using it was in December of 1988.
Seems like a super project, restore the best of the old and add some new things for an improved flavor.  The base could be very wise, with crenulations, a real gate, and enlarged upper deck with location for artillery makes sense.  A tower could be an excellent addition, and this could hide the stair case to avoid the difficulties of creating a useable stair case near the wall. :icon_cool:
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Offline neverness

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2008, 12:51:53 PM »
Quote
So you actually used this for Warhammer 40k :icon_question:

Yeah, although it doesn't look like it at all. Perhaps the inspiration behind it was the double-page spread in the 40k Rogue trader book showing the Space Wolf fortress on the planet Lupus? It looked like the Magic Kingdom set up for war. It set the precedent that static fortresses like this exist in the 41st millennium.

I sent the link to this blog to some old friends from back then that got to play with this terrain piece and here's what one of them replied back with:

Quote
(Scott)Ah, yes.   Castille de Muerte.  AKA the Castle of Doom.  Anybody unlucky enough to start the game defending it, or foolish enough to move units in there during the course of play, would quickly affirm the aptness of the moniker.  Whole units of Eldar, mobs of Orks (including, naturally, Warboss retinues), squads of Space Marines and platoons of Imperial Guard are all laid to rest within its confines...an enduring testament to the fact that static defenses have no place in 41st century warfare.  Especially when Vortex grenades and D-Cannons abound!

Now that we're moving this over wholly to WHFB, perhaps the spirits of the many dead defenders can finally rest?  :-D

« Last Edit: May 13, 2008, 12:54:56 PM by neverness »

Offline Obi

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2008, 03:48:16 PM »
no. They need to burn in hell.
Hello Athiuen and welcome to the Back Table.

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Offline neverness

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2008, 11:30:28 PM »
PART 3.0

I have begun work on the base. No pictures of the base at this stage as itís currently too dull to showcase. However I thought an idea of the width and height of the tower might be interesting.



As you can see it will be wide enough to fit most units (US20 empire/US16 Orcs etc.) although ideally Iíd think most players would stick an artillery piece on this and I tend to base my artillery on this size movement tray anyway. And itís going to be fairly tall and should give a commanding impression when done.



I thinking I will sort of ďjigsawĒ the Styrofoam with a foam cutter to avoid strange seam lines and awkward joins.



Question: does anyone have opinions on color? I always assumed this would look like a granite stone construction but Iíve seen enough real life examples of limestone and flintstone castles to make a stab at that.


Here's a quote from Trevor the creator of Death Castle:
"Death Castle was a place of massive death, whereby I slaughtered many opponents over the years. I think the castle should sit on a small bailey--it is only befitting Death Castle! We could even build a full motte & bailey system for the little castle!"




Offline King

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2008, 09:03:30 AM »
Nice article  :eusa_clap: Where did you get those 'cobble stone' textured sheets and do cylindrical ones exist too?  Any links for an online shop perhaps? Those are really cool  :::cheers:::. Thanks in advance  :smile2:
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Offline neverness

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2008, 02:19:13 PM »
Nice article :eusa_clap: Where did you get those 'cobble stone' textured sheets and do cylindrical ones exist too?  Any links for an online shop perhaps? Those are really cool  :::cheers:::. Thanks in advance  :smile2:

Thank you.

As for your question, I'm not really sure actually. They found these Styrofoam sheets in England at a D.I.Y. shop (an American equivalent to a Lowes or Ace Hardware) 20 years ago! The sheets where uses to insulate an entire hallway and individually must've stood approximately 8'X4'.  I highly doubt this product would be sold for this purpose in the U.S. due to the difficulty in finding paint that won't melt it and the general flammability of it. I've never seen anything like it since. The pieces we used to build this castle and other buildings were scraps left over after they used this stuff to wallpaper a bathroom.

I hope someone can find it, I would like to have some more!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2008, 08:59:04 PM by neverness »

Offline neverness

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2008, 12:22:01 AM »
PART 3.1


I have finished the basic construction of the base. After some serious contemplation I settled on making the entry way to the castle a steep ramp to give the defenders the advantage of height (imagine the difficulty in trying to push a battle ram up that and doing it with enough force to pierce the gate!) I may level out the field a bit more and add more rocks at the base of the foundation and alongside the ramp.



The backside I made almost shear. I will add to the small ledges either rocks, clumps of grass or brush or just remove them altogether. My next step is to apply lots of sand to the base and add the first base coat. Iíll then leave the base aside until Iím ready to attach the castle permanently to it.  Then Iíll proceed to the actual repair work on the castle and as you can see Iíve got A LOT of work to do there. What the previous pics failed to show were all the smaller holes and cracks which the sunlight unforgivably reveals. That could take some time to deal withÖ
« Last Edit: May 15, 2008, 12:28:18 AM by neverness »

Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2008, 01:30:31 AM »
Yeah, although it doesn't look like it at all. Perhaps the inspiration behind it was the double-page spread in the 40k Rogue trader book showing the Space Wolf fortress on the planet Lupus? It looked like the Magic Kingdom set up for war. It set the precedent that static fortresses like this exist in the 41st millennium.

I sent the link to this blog to some old friends from back then that got to play with this terrain piece and here's what one of them replied back with:

Quote
(Scott)Ah, yes.   Castille de Muerte.  AKA the Castle of Doom.  Anybody unlucky enough to start the game defending it, or foolish enough to move units in there during the course of play, would quickly affirm the aptness of the moniker.  Whole units of Eldar, mobs of Orks (including, naturally, Warboss retinues), squads of Space Marines and platoons of Imperial Guard are all laid to rest within its confines...an enduring testament to the fact that static defenses have no place in 41st century warfare.  Especially when Vortex grenades and D-Cannons abound!

Now that we're moving this over wholly to WHFB, perhaps the spirits of the many dead defenders can finally rest?  :-D
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Offline Obi

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2008, 02:27:03 PM »
You know that to make the stuff harder etc. you need to go over it with white glue thinned down and mixed with a little black paint. That way you can see what you have covered already. Do the second layer in a different colour, and the third in another one. That's stolen from steveb, not my own idea, though.
Hello Athiuen and welcome to the Back Table.

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Offline neverness

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2008, 11:17:20 PM »
You know that to make the stuff harder etc. you need to go over it with white glue thinned down and mixed with a little black paint. That way you can see what you have covered already. Do the second layer in a different colour, and the third in another one. That's stolen from steveb, not my own idea, though.


Tried and true advice.
I'm about to put A LOT of sand on that base. I've never attempted Spray Adhesive on Styrofoam before, so this is about to get interesting...  :evil:

if that fails, I'll be slowly slapping it on with PVA glue for about a week.  :cry:

Offline neverness

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2008, 02:05:16 AM »
A quick update:

Spray Adhesive and styrofoam don't play well together. It has the same melting effect as standard spray paint does. So, I've spent what little free time I've had this week, when daylight was available, gluing sand to the base. I went and got a broad paint brush, an old baby food jar, water, Elmers glue and sand from a near by site where an above ground pool once was, and went to town on it. This evening I just used Design Masters floral spray paint on it and gave the thing a base coat of brown and now the it's sitting in my utility shed drying and venting. I'll decide tomorrow if I need more sand on it or not and go from there. I'd like to have the base mostly finished by the weekend so hopefully I can start truly renovating this castle.

Design Masters is the best spray paint to use with styrofoam as it does not melt it! But the fumes are just as intense. I will give you guys a proper visual demo soon.

Meanwhile, I went looking for inspiration and found these Related threads (for those who arenít archive divers):

I like the way this turned out:
http://www.warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=12705.0

This is a great thread showing pre-made castles. Some really cool stuff here
http://www.warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=12866.0
Imperial Forge finished his and started a new thread for it. Check out the windows!
http://www.warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=12969.0

An impressive fort with a base similar to mine:
 http://www.warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=17330.0
 Also note the other cool pics in this thread, especially the ship.


Offline neverness

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2008, 05:58:36 PM »
PART 4

The base is mostly complete.



I have reached a point in the painting where Iím satisfied that I can move on to attaching the castle to it. The base is not totally done; thatíll be the last step of the whole project when I apply the grass.



Iíve also begun work on the tower.



Iíve started by evening out the frame and then applying the stone strips that I have left to it. This is proving to be time consuming for a number of factors, mostly being the slow drying time of the glue. Trevor built this castle originally using Elmerís Wood glue (or Carpenterís Glue), which I thought was over kill compared to the regular Elmerís glue. However when it comes to rejoining the two wall sections, attaching it to the base, expanding the ramparts and attaching the tower, I will most likely use that wood glue. I considered using a hot glue gun, but the super quick drying time unfortunately doesnít allow for mistakes or alternations. If Trevor had not used the Wood glue originally, this castle might not exist anymore at all! So as I piece the tower together, Iím reaching into the inside and putting strips of tape on backside of the cracks. I have some modeling paste stuff that Iíll use to fill in the gaps. The way that I have to join these pieces to the tower frame will help give the illusion that this was always apart of the castle. Since the amount of stone work embossed pieces that I have is preciously limited, I had to take into consideration the extension of the ramparts during this step of construction. I did this by measuring sections of the parts that will be hidden and marking them with a sharpie.



 Iím also looking at the years of battle damage this castle has suffered and trying to determine how much Styrofoam stone stripping Iíll have left over to be able to repair the walls. As I look at the front of the castle and itís becoming clear that I may have to replace 80% of it. The section nearest the gate received the worst of the original dose of spray paint in í89 and the result is that a lot the cobble stone detail is just gone (blame it on the lascannons). The entry way is very badly damaged and Iíd like to hide the toilet tissue tube, ur, I mean support column, a lot better.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 06:01:10 PM by neverness »

Offline skinkslayer

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2008, 07:49:53 AM »
That  looks very cool.
Bravo for restorign a crumblin' old building.....

Offline Duce

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2008, 08:24:28 AM »
Liking the tower, looks pretty, and your base looks awesome. How's the ramp work though, is it as steep as the pictures show or is it misleading?

And yeah sprays and polystyrene don't get along  :icon_cry: found that out a few times in the past too
« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 03:01:32 PM by Duce »
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Offline neverness

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2008, 12:43:19 AM »
Thanks!

The ramp is definitely steep!



However there is enough grit on it to hold most models just fine although some of the larger more top heavy ones could have problems with it. 



Loaded movement trays tend to slid off of it as they are usually quite smooth on the bottom. That's a shame because I made the ramp wide enough for a standard 5X4 mansized unit.


Offline neverness

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2008, 12:58:58 AM »
PART 5
Progress is slowly being made. The towerís wall sections are mostly in place and the renovation work has truly begun.
I spent some time working the old front wall section off, which proved to be tougher than I thought it would be.



I was trying to preserve as much of it as I could but it was so brittle and the glue was so tough that it broke up as I removed it. Laying side by side you can really see just how harsh the spray paint was to the original wall.



I used a hot glue gun to fix the new wall in place.



I then built from a Mordheim building sprue what is going to be the front entranceís doorframe. Getting the doorframe mounted to the wall will probably be a challenge but once done should make the front of the castle look less shabby..




Offline Duce

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2008, 08:16:19 AM »
Ouch, thats allot of the original castle lost from the look of the pic  :icon_sad:

I suppose you could put felt under the movement trays to help grip.

Are you going to attempt openable doors for your castle also? I'm still working on trying it figure out how to do it and make it sturdy enough not to break.

For the walls you could coat them in pva glue to add strength, seems to have worked on mine and then paint away freely on the hardened surface.
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Offline Obi

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2008, 04:28:17 PM »
Hey! About the movement trays:
Make magnetised trays, check this article in the Workshop.
Stick a few magnets into the ramp.
Done!

Hello Athiuen and welcome to the Back Table.

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Offline neverness

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2008, 12:15:26 AM »
Duce: Actually most of the original castle is still there. The most taken off is that front wall. i don't know if you could make it out too well, but that front was very heavily damaged from the attempt to spray paint it back in the late '80s. It just had to go. Also, the castle is still in 2 parts. I haven't rejoined it yet. As far as spray paint goes I'll be using the same stuff I used on the base; Design Masters. There will still be a lot of the original veneer that bare the scars of battles past...

For the door. I'm thinking about faking it. I'm thinking about making a solid piece that looks good with the model and can simply be removed when not needed. I think this will be more practical during play and will reduce the amount of model displacement during combat. Besides, if the door is opened during a siege, it's most likely due to it being smashed in any way. I know how I think this could work, I just haven't figured out exactly how to build it yet.

Obi: I thought about embedding some magnets into it, but opted against it in the long run. I guess my lazy enemies are just gonna have to do it the old way for the few rounds they hang out on the ramp!  :evil:
Of course, I might be cursing myself if I have to attack the bloody thing myself...

I am strongly considering putting magnet strips on the ramparts though. That is probably the area with the highest risk of falling models.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2008, 04:47:34 PM by neverness »

Offline neverness

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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2008, 02:09:18 PM »
PART 6
I canít believe itís been over a month since I did an update! Itís been a busy month for me with work, assisting my girlfriend with her gardening, and preparing (and taking) a short vacation this past weekend.

But Death Castle has slowly progressed.

The part that took me the longest was mounting the plastic Mordheim frame into the main entry way and filling in the resulting gaps.



For some reason I convinced myself that Woodglue would make a great filler (and it does the trick rather well on small gaps) but the slow drying time proved to be a challenge.  I still need to tidy up some areas on the frame.


I have this great latex modeling filler but I seemed to have misplaced it and Iíve not had the spare time to go seek out more at the local stores.

Next came the most important step so far, the joining of the two halves! Death Castle is now whole again!



(I'm holding it out above my head in this pic.)

I then proceeded to take old TP tubes and cut out patterns similar to the ďrockyĒ surface of the Styrofoam walls and glued them onto the columns. This should create a more unified look once painted.



Next step. Finish filling in all the gaps, and then prime the whole thing with Design Masters flat black before adding on the rampart extensions and finishing the tower.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2008, 02:11:28 PM by neverness »

Offline Obi

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  • Rest in peace Nate
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Re: Death Castle: A restoration project
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2008, 02:25:55 PM »
Wow. It's looking awesome man!
Hello Athiuen and welcome to the Back Table.

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I killed a duck with a spear, can't read train timetables though
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