It's been a while since we shared any discernible progress of the game boards. In November we left you with the tantalising prospect of the four assembled boards with the castle looming above a mass of expanded foam filler. In the run up to Christmas, James had worked tirelessly to get as much of the drawing and cutting done as he was due to start his new job, at a different school, in January. This was going to present us with no end of logistical issues, not least to mention depriving me of the opportunity to talk hobby related ideas all day!
We met up briefly for a day in the Christmas holidays, a final opportunity for James to saw, spray and sand, before handing over his keys. As promised, he had left me with four serviceable boards, three seen standing on their ends above, a castle that was now free standing and the promise that he was at the end of the phone if there was anything else I needed.
I had, rather like the much maligned ostrich, buried my head in the sand when it came to the boards. All the time James was cutting the castle, there didn't seem any need to worry. I would tinker around with some miniatures, perhaps a bit of card design, but then as I stood alone in front of the incomplete boards the realisation of what needed to be undertaken finally sunk in! Fortunately, my boarding duties have been rescheduled to allow a good period of free time on Monday and Tuesday evenings, now dubbed, 'Castle Time'. This has proved to be a godsend and an ideal opportunity to really get to grips with the Herculean task that lies ahead of us.
Having established the contours of one board, the application of some simple colour lifted my spirits to the point where I felt confident enough to offer up the second board. Sketching out the design it was just a matter of hacking the geographical features into the foam before using a combination of sculptamold, tile grout and builders' caulk to complete the effect.
Although many of the techniques that have been employed are familiar to me, I am now operating at a scale that is completely outside my comfort zone; for instance I have now made fifty conifer trees to date! My hobby progress is usually painstakingly slow, not least because of my butterfly like approach to focussing on any given task for any discernible period of time, yet, stick at it, I have and we are now finally starting to see some measurable progress.
The level of finish is meeting our expectations, but there is still plenty more that needs to be done. James has been able to visit on a regular basis and although this has been great to boost morale, we do seem to find ourselves becoming distracted by more and more flights of fancy. That said, these are often the pieces we most enjoy and hope that they will add a sense of fun to the project.
We hope that you will be able to see some real progress, but of course we are mindful that there are another two boards to go before we can say it is finished. January has come and gone, but even with our enforced separation James and I have managed to keep the project going, not least because it keeps stretching us creatively and throwing up no end of wonderful surprises. After our collaboration with Dave Stone of 'Wargames Terrain Workshop', James had coined the phrase, 'the Castle the internet built' and this continues to be the case. As I write this I have just seen a picture of an amazing piece of artwork that is heading our way; thank you Nick of 'Moiterei's Bunte Welt', it looks amazing! We also look forward to sharing with you a tangible connection to the past that has galvanised our determination to see the project through to its completion, but more of that another day.