Sunday, July 30, 2017

Death Castle (Part 1)

Way back in 2008 I began work on restoring a favorite, and very important (to me and my history as a tabletop wargamer anyway) terrain piece; Death Castle. I worked on it off and on for about a year before other projects, career changes, breakups and moves forced me to once again abandon the project. The model is safe and sound at my folks place, although it has become a bit dusty since. While I worked on it back then I chronicled the steps of this project on warhammer-empire. It was my first stab at doing something like this and you could say it was a precursor to what I do with my blog today.

The original post has been linked on my site for years now and I hoped to one day finish the project, but at least I knew this piece of early 'neverness' history was safe on that site. However recently the jerks who run Photobucket changed their policy to be as greedy as possible, and as a result my only modeling thread on that site might be in danger of becoming a broken linked mess. So in an effort to preserve those 9-8 year old (at the time of this writing) posts, I hope to reconstruct them here as best I can and even add a few more comments on the pics as well as some well needed edits. I expect this to be a bit of tedious project that will take me some time to accomplish, but I think it will be worth it in the end. And who knows, this might even motivate me to finish the actual model!

General Grausocken arrives at Death Castle.

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Originally posted on May 11th 2008 on Warhammer-Empire.

Death Castle: A restoration project.

Welcome to Death Castle. Death castle is 20 years old this year and to celebrate that birthday I’ve decided to restore it. It was created by my best friend of 20 yrs Dr. TSG, 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.

The Ruins of Death Castle.

It’s construction was a simple, yet an ingenious, use of the materials available.

Toilet paper tubes and Styrofoam.

The basic design is a series of shortened toilet paper tubes overlay-ed with strips of Styrofoam. The front veneer was created 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!

A piece of the DYI shop "stone" sheeting.

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 crenelation-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 outside. It was clearly a death trap, and thus we named it Death Castle.

The one attack position.


Death Castle has seen some abuse over the last 15 years. Dr TSG’s early attempts to paint the castle were quite devastating to it. We didn’t 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 TSG 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. I’ve replaced some of the holes that have been punched into it over the years.

Trooper Rudolph has mastered the art of using cover, Trooper Jenkins has not.

Recently, I rediscovered the castle, 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 I’m 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. 
    Crenelations. 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. I’ll 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. I’m considering making the top magnet friendly.   

4 comments:

Da Masta Cheef said...

Ya know just last week the thought occurred to me that I need to finish up my Leichburg/Stirland Watchtower's walls & base.

Great minds and all that...

neverness said...

Bob and I were just chatting yesterday about playing an 8th ed WFB game soon... we shall see!

Rory Priest said...

Always good to see a restoration project.

neverness said...

Or in this case a restoration of a blog post about a restoration project.