For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to create a model castle and to build it as authentically as I could. Heck, if I am honest, I really want a life size castle. Guédelon Castle in France has always been an inspiration to me. The BBC documentary, Secrets of the Castle with Ruth, Peter, and Tom (link goes to YouTube, S1 E1) goes into great detail of the work and skill needed to build a castle.
Of course, I don’t have the means to build a real castle, so that dream will have to wait a while longer. However, last year, I felt the drive to create a model of Antar castle as it existed when Stephenie lived there. I started work on building the base for the diorama in Sep of 2021.
I got out my clamps and put together a support structure based on the premise of a 1:360 scale model. Meaning, one inch on the model represents 360 inches in real life (or book life). The trouble is, that a 1:360 scale diorama involves some very fine detail and I found I don’t have the skill, nor the material to get that kind of resolution. I tried clay, I tried foam, but when a millimeter represents multiple feet, the precision has to be perfect.
So, I changed my scope and scale for the model. I decided on 1:60 scale, or one inch equals 60 inches (or five feet). This made the detail work much easier for my first massive diorama. (Did someone say that’s the same scale used in D&D?)
When I looked at how big of a base that would require for all of Antar Castle, I had to make a second shift. Even doing a model based on the old castle, or just the old tower and great hall, would require a large table.
So the scope became Stephenie’s Tower, or at least the tower before the construction of the rest of the castle. In the Heirs of Cothel Series, the castle has evolved and gone through many changes in its life. While I did not describe the earliest site in the novels, the first stone structure was the tower.
Goals for the model
My goal for the tower is to construct it with the equivalent of ten foot thick walls, a staircase along the outer wall that climbs five floors, then the narrow spiral staircases that go to the sixth and seventh floors, and finally the roof. I want a fireplace on each floor, interior wooden diving walls and doors. Most importantly, I want the ability to separate each level so a person can examine it (and even use it for D&D).
So far I have the front stairs (which were removed with the addition of the great hall) and the frame of the entry way. The 3D printed posts you can see in the photo at the top of the pose add support and structure to carry to load of the future floors. That internal support will occur on each floor to provide a base to allow removal of each floor.
My goal is to have at least the first floor, and perhaps the second one done for Planet Comicon. With each block being cut and glued, that goal represents a bit of ambition, especially when I am learning as I go. However, a hard deadline clarifies the work.