Saturday, 4 January 2014

Castle - Planning ahead

Planning ahead in any project with more than 30 pieces is a good thing. Blindly following building instructions - particularly in a complex or very big build - can lead you into difficult situations. While I started removing parts from the sprue for my castle's keep, something seemed odd about some of the window's placement. I started going over the instruction, taking notes and counting how many parts were actually in the box.

The complete castle requires 695 parts. The box contains easily over 800, because there's some leeway here and there during construction and many sprues are duplicated, but not always all parts are needed.

There are 34 doorframes, 34 windowframes, 24 grates, 36 doors and 54 shutters provided. 1 shutter is gone (the carpet monster requires the occasional sacrifice), so make that 53. If I comb through the instructions, it requires 33 doorframes, 28 windowframes, 20 grates, 13 doors and 56 shutters. Leaving me with a few spare parts (many doors), but 3 shutters short.

The keep
Looking at the construction photo's of the keep, something struck me as odd. All the outside windows in the castle walls are barred shut with a grate, as well as all windows on the right-side of the keep, which functions as part of the outer wall. But the back of the keep - also part of the outer wall - has regular windows with shutters. It makes more sense to bar all windows (at least up to a certain distance from the ground) and not design a built-in flaw in the backside, to attract burglars or overzealous adventurers.

Some re-organizing - while keeping track of available parts - turned out all barred-up windows on the first-floor and shuttered windows on the second floor.

This leaves me with more than enough doors and just enough doorframes to add some extra doors to the ground level of a few select wall segments. These would be doors to things like stables, armories or barracks. It would be illogical to only have ONE door at ground level (leading to the main keep) where all personnel would have to go through and leave dirty footprints in those precious carpets.

The gatehouse
There's a big issue with the gatehouse. In the front is a big drawbridge - of course - that can be raised or lowered across the moat. Behind that is a portcullis. The back of the gatehouse has a double door, with a big wooden bar to keep it shut if the outer gate has failed against intruders.

So far, so good. But between the gatehouse and the main keep is a raised walkway. The two constructions that make up this walkway, have arches underneath, but only along one axis. The other two sides are completely shut (marked in green below), blocking movement from one segment to the other AND blocking the big gate (marked in red below) in the back of the gatehouse.

I see no solution but to completely eliminate all parts A2 from the raised walkways. It wouldn't be losing too much structural integrity, since they'll be attached to the gatehouse and the main keep anyway.

The tower
Blindly following the instructions for the tower, lead me into the situation below : a window partially facing a blind wall. The window needs to go and I'll try to repair it, but it will remain noticeable, no doubt.

Another lesson learned about going over the instructions before commiting parts to glue.

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