Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Clifford the First
I based my model on the drawings of Terry Ball and Peter Dunn, both reconstructions of this extensive motte and bailey castle as found in English Heritage's handbook publication Clifford's Tower (1997). Incidentally, the keep and castle I am modelling would not have been referred to at the time as Clifford's Tower but was situated on the motte upon which the surviving stone tower rests today.
Thus far I have completed the motte itself which reflects the height it would have been at the time - the current motte was rasied since the days of the original castle. I have completed the keep, the curtain and the covered way. I have yet to construct the bailey and it's works but several of the buildings have been done such as stables, chapel and two living quarters.
For me I seem to adhere to scale models for all of my efforts to date so this is a proportional model where no compromises have been made to make what would have been a more practical wargaming/table-top feature. As you can see it is also a far cry from the pre-fabricated and more standard motte and bailey castles which can be bought and are generally built.
The motte is layered foam board sandwiched between ply sheet at the base and 3mm MDF on the top. It comes in two halves (semi-circular sections) which were butted together before the gradient was cut with a home rigged hot-wire cutter. By having already fixed the circular top and base before cutting, the hot-wire cutter was made with an adjustable throat wide enough to encompass the breadth required to cut the complete from the outer edge of the top to the bottom. The top and base also ensured an even cut as the wood guided the wire. It was then just a matter of sanding it before my usual practice of plastering it with soaked newspaper squares and diluted PVA wood glue which, when dry, provided a hard crust which takes my sand and house paint mixtures for the textured and coloured finish.
The keep was constructed from foam core with cladding in balsa and craft sticks, all cut to measure. This took a lot of time and effort but I am pleased enough with the result to have warranted the effort. The keep is built in three levels which separate. In hind sight I thinks this was probably unnecessary as how I am supposed to separate them with figures in all the levels without making a mess is beyond me - now. Still, it was an interesting model making exercise all the same. The inside is not detailed - something which I will do for my next castle project.
The roof house was my usual wattle a daub effort with a tiled roof. I use corrugated cardboard cut into long strips and glued along the line of the roof from the outer edge and working up toward the ridge-capping - each slightly overlapping the one beneath it. The texturing for the daub walls is achieved by dabbing roughly a diluted pre-mixed putty with a large craft brush. The gargoyles were a rude sculpting effort with a two-part epoxy putty but then, being gargoyles, crudeness is all that's required.