Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Ruined Tower and the Impatient man.

I am not a patient man, odd I choose a hobby that demands much patience. I've always considered it a exercise in self discipline. I had been wanting to build the Ruined Tower or "Not Weathertop" as its often called for a long time now and just never got around to it. I had already cast all the blocks and built the base back in the Winter, the last time I had the urge, but ran out of gas before continuing thru to the build. Over this Memorial Day weekend, I found some time waiting impatiently for other things to dry, cure. And I thought. "Well- I'll just throw this together, how hard can it be?. This is not a hard piece to build, in fact I think its listed as one of the beginner pieces on the Hirst Arts site.The casting level is easy as it and the whole build only uses the one mold.(#65) The key to this project is to follow Bruce Hirst's directions on his website to the letter. I, however decided I didnt want to build it as specified but with the base as totally separate piece. In the original plans each section is attached to the floor. I attached the floors to the terrain piece/base and wanted each section as a single removable piece.

While it doesn't sound like a huge difference it is when you build it as gluing the pieces to the floor and working up allows you a symmetry you don't get working top down or from the middle, as I did. In short after I glued up the entire back section it was out of wack so I had to break it apart and do a half dozen casts to get the clean pieces I needed to get it straight. I also made the mistake of mixing block made from merlins magic and hydro both plasters cure differently even the perfect scrape every time will yield different finish depths between the two materials. To do a good build of this model all you blocks must be identical in depth. Any discrepancy will throw that big curved back wall out of shape.

My end result is less than perfect but is more than fine for my uses and can dual as the multi use terrain piece I wanted. The painting was very easy taking no more a hour or so to base coat, coat with my go to woodland scenic's umber,and go back and dry brush the thing. with one overnight dry period it still took me 4 evenings, instead of the two I was envisioning but another Hirst Lesson learned.

If you want to build this piece, and are not an experienced caster..I suggest you buy the blocks already cast from several vendors out there that sell licensed Hirst blocks, and then follow the directions and you will have a great build on your hands in no time. If you want to re-invent the wheel like find myself doing more often than not...then cheers to you man!.

(Here's the stripped down version of the build here, and why I didnt want to attach the floors to the walls)


Chicago Terrain Factory said...

Nice work John. The statues and base work are all good touches.

I too have all the bricks cast for this project but have never gotten around to actually putting it all together. I forget how many years the bricks have been sitting in a box...

Tim Kulinski said...


Nice man, when I did mine I used the Castle Kits already cast bricks, it was still a pain even following the directions. I built my buddies kit a few months later and that went together better, but it was still a pain.

Nice work though

Domus said...

Looks good!

I have a specific love-hate relationship with this mold.

Hirst arts is what ultimately led me to Warhammer. I found the Hirst-Arts site and that cool cathedral and Warhammer was found soon after.

Roughly 2004, I ordered this mold and started casting. Got it all cast. Then I spent a day assembling. Not bad - got it done easily. The next Saturday - I got out an 'el cheapo' plastic tablecloth from Walmart out and began painting. Once my masterpiece was completely I let it sit out on the tablecloth, on my dining room table to dry.

Imagine my horror as I watched, from the other room, our 2 cats chase each other - jump up on the table & go running off - pulling the tablecloth with them. It's like my life went in Slo-Mo as I watched my piece get dragged off of the table and shattered into numerous pieces (cast out of plaster of paris).

And no, I didn't hurt the animals (but did go drink a few beers!).

Scottswargaming said...

Looks good John. I've often wondered about giving the Hirst products a go, but I am always put off at the idea of having to cast up all the bits before you can make it... I more a Densefoam and foamcard man myself. Then theres the cost, you have to buy the mould then all the plaster... but hey, horses for courses, mucho kudos for sticking with it and getting a fine looking result!

Jamie said...

Great work John. I like that you made it modular. Definitely looks fantastic.

Jamie said...

Looks great. I like the modular nature of it although having assembled one of these as well I can only imagine the pain it must have been.


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