Mar. 15th, 2009

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A bajillion years ago (or, you know, 30 or thereabouts) I had the bright idea to build a model castle. I thought it would be *really* cool to cast individual blocks and build up the walls, piece by piece. I daydreamed about it for a while – wondering how one would build workable molds and so forth. Unfortunately, the project never got beyond the daydreaming stage… then. Fast forward to this January. A friend pointed me to the Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture website, subtitled 'Cast your own blocks. Build your own castles.' It was a revelation. The gallery of completed buildings, the molds (!!!!! omg squeee!!!!), the nifty and voluminous instructions…. I was in geek heaven.

After long and gleeful perusal of the site, I settled on five molds, to start. Once they arrived, the next step was a trip to Home Depot for Plaster of Paris and I was ready to begin casting. Decided to build one from the site (the Wizard's Tower) before branching out into my own variations.

Discoveries: Casting is lots of fun in a fiddly sort of way. However, tiny dots of plaster go everywhere. I ended up making an apron to wear while casting, to save my clothes. But the big news? It's WAY harder than it looks to lay up blocks perfectly square and tidy. Wow. I've got pretty good fine motor skills, I think, but dayum. This first attempt is pretty sad, actually. By this point in the construction the accumulated inaccuracies made going on an exercise in frustration, so I decided to cut my losses. I'll stop construction and use this piece for painting practice. So, what to do?

I decided to order a big tub of Megabloks (less expensive Lego clones) and use them to build forms against which to square up each row of blocks. (Besides, Megabloks are just fun to have around, or so my inner 5-year-old assures me. *g*)

More when there's progress to report.


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