One of the considerations of creating the castle in MDF was how do we ‘sell’ the illusion of an Austrian Schloss? By its very nature our adopted building process produces flat panels to assemble, perfect for square or regular shaped units, but a little problematic for a building that has continuously evolved since the ninth century.
This becomes doubly difficult when you consider that James has no actual plans to work from, but instead is working from a series of photographs. That said the infoweb is a wonderful thing and If you are prepared to put the time in then it will, eventually, throw up all manner of useful source material. So it was that James was able to construct the basic design. We have decided to progress one section at a time, starting with the smaller, more accessible sections, which allows us to resolve any issues that may arise along the way before we tackle the main structure. This particular section is located to the North of the main hall and looks as if it should act as an entrance hall from the courtyard.
Although a relatively straight forward shape, the photographs appear to show that this area is rendered stone and to recreate this we simply used some ‘play sand’, kindly donated from the recently abandoned nursery building next to the studio. This was duly mixed with PVA glue and liberally spread over the surface of the structure. Although some my baulk at stone painted grey, the images suggest that the ravages of time have, in fact, left the castle that exact colour, although with a yellow ochre tinge to it. Some of the masonry has a cleaner, almost whitewashed, feel to it and I am assuming that this has indeed been painted.
Another other design idea has been to create interior panels that have the effect of creating a rebate on the windows and the doors. This has helped to create a sense of depth, again breaking the flatness of the traditional MDF unit.
When the sand and PVA mix was finally dry, a series of heavy dry brushes were applied until we were started to achieve the desired effect. When it came to detailing the interior, James had found an amazing shot that we were keen to replicate along with the heavy wooden doors at both ends. The benches are just strips of card and balsa would, whilst the heraldic devices are 3D printed shields from ‘Winterdyne Commission Modelling’.
For me the success of the piece is in the subtle devices James has used in the build. The rebutted windows are inspired and although the texture and painting is nothing new, we are both genuinely thrilled to see this first section complete. There is a real belief that we can pull this off, but we still have an awfully long way to go!
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