Building James' Castle

2000

The whole building

The whole building

Construction flat-packs for storage where possible. Each tower (the "keep" and the "gatehouse") is a wooden box. The walls (with crenellations and a walkway) are in four sections held to the towers with magnetic cupboard door catches. All construction in 4mm MDF.

The small building on the nearest corner is the garderobe.


The Keep

The keep, under construction

The keep, under construction

Even before it was completed, the inhabitants had started to move in.

Each window and door has a stone moulding around it, made from air-drying clay. They're the white streaks in the picture.


Inside the keep

Inside the keep

Inside the keep is a fireplace and stone arches in the dungeons, made from overlays of more MDF.


The Gatehouse

The Gatehouse

The Gatehouse

The gatehouse contains a working drawbridge and portcullis.
It also gives the guards somewhere to go for a cuppa.


The gatehouse, from the front

The gatehouse, from the front

The portcullis grating slides vertically up and down in the tower. It's made from a wire mesh barbecue grille, glued into a plywood frame. A sprung lever on the top of the tower holds it in the raised position, or allows it to drop sharply.


Portcullis mechanism

Portcullis mechanism

Portcullis uprights rise through the gatehouse floor when it's raised. It's worked by a pinion and wooden rack on the left upright.


Portcullis operating handle

Portcullis operating handle

The blue shaft with red handle works the portcullis.

The blue gearwheel on the right has a spring ratchet, to hold the drawbridge up.


The gatehouse and portcullis operating handle

The gatehouse and portcullis operating handle

The red handle sticking through the wall works the portcullis.

The curved walls of the gatehouse are made from MDF strips. After gluing in place, these are then sanded round and worked over with clay. Stonework throughout the castle is made with air-drying clay and paint effects to simulate stonework.


Defending the gatehouse

Defending the gatehouse

Defending the drawbridge, the gatehouse has a corbelled gallery overhanging it. Machicolations are holes in the floor, through which crossbows could be fired at invaders trying to break down the drawbridge.

The large crenel in the centre is to take Playmobil's firing cannon.


Mirror, mirror, on the wall

Mirror, mirror, on the wall