A Castle of Two Cities, building and painting the castle from Iain Lovecrafts 'A Tale of Two Cities.

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A Tale of Two Cities: The Castle

Iain had recently asked if I could do a few test print and paints of some of the models that will be featuring in his new 'A Tale of Two Cities' Kickstarter. I am a huge fan of Iain’s work, having backed many of his previous Kickstarters and printed many of the models from them.

Update 27th September - 2nd corner tower and six wall sections added.

Update 30th September - Wall with Stairs and Tower Hoarding Added

Update 11th October - Bastion, wall with arches, stables and second tower hoarding added.

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I am focussing on demonstrating what can be done with the castle walls, towers and other features. This is going to be an ongoing blog with weekly updates over the three weeks that Iain’s campaign is running as it does take quiet a time to print and paint a whole castle!

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I am printing my model on and Ender 5 using eSun PLA+ with a layer height of 0.2mm. This is a bit of a compromise. The models would look even better if printed at high rather than medium resolution, 0.12mm layer height, for example, but I am taking the 80:20 approach in order to get enough castle printed over the 3 weeks that the campaign is running to give backers an idea of what it will all look like together. Once the campaign is over, I will drop down to printing at a higher resolution.

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The miniatures that appear in the photos are not from the campaign. I wanted to include miniatures in the photos to give an idea of scale and setting. I’ve not received any of the STL files for Iain’s new miniatures yet, and to be honest as I am spending all my available hobby time painting castles, would not have the time to paint them at the moment, but luckily Sally 4th recently produced a small range of miniatures in metal entitled‘Guards Guards’ which fit the theme nicely! All the Guards’ Guards miniatures are mounted on 25mm round bases, so give a good idea of where miniatures can be placed.

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The first thing that I did was to give the whole model a good base coat of Sandtex - Bitter Chocolate. This is my favourite paint, I'm on to my second 5 Litre Can. I use it to base coat all of my figure bases, terrain boards and all model buildings and other terrain models. It bonds really well and gives a great smooth surface to work on.

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After leaving the model for at least 12 hours so that the Sandtex in the deep recesses has completely dried, I made a start with the first of the three coats of drybrushing that I typically use on stone buildings.

I use Acrylic Paint from 'Folk Paint' ranges for painting buildings, it is far more economical than model figure painting acrylic ranges. I always paint buildings (and drybrush miniatures) using Make Up brushes. Theses give fantastic results; they come in a wide range of sizes and shapes and have the perfect bristle for drybrushing. They are also a lot cheaper than model painting brushes. I brought the set that I am using now from Amazon, £10 for 16 brushes. I have been using them every day for the last 3 months and they are holding up well!

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The first drybrush coat was a 50/50 mix of Nutmeg Brown and Khaki Tan. I squeezed a little of each colour onto an empty plastic lid, mixed with brush, then wiped most of the paint off onto a kitchen towel and lightly drybrushed all over with large make up brush.

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The acrylic drybrused paint dry's very quickly, so after 5 minutes I applied a second drybrush of 100% Khaki Tan.

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After the second drybrush had dried, I used three different stone colours to pick out some individual stones to add interest. For these I did use model paints from Vallejo and Army Painter. The stone colours I used were Khaki Grey, Green Grey and Stone Grey.

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I also painted any wood with 'Leather Brown' and the roof tiles with 'Dark Blue Grey'

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To finish the model off I drybrushed and wooden areas with 'medium flesh' and then applied Army Painter Blue Tone Ink to roof and 'Strong Tone Ink to wooden areas.

All of the stone work was then given an overall light drybrush with 'Buttermilk' this is good to tone down and blend in the stones that were picked out in different colours and brings the whole model together.

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The model was then given a couple of coats of Army Painter Matt Varnish to protect it.

The Gatehouse benefits from a lovely interior with nice stairs and ladders built in, and a portcullis that can be raised and lowered.

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The Towers have lift off tops and plenty of room to place a couple of miniatures inside.

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Over the next week, I will be printing and painting the doors to go in the tower and gatehouse plus lots of lengths of castle wall. The wall sections take 16 hours to print, so basically one a day. I’m hoping to get another six pieces printed and painted before next weeks update!

Update 24th September

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Over the last week I have been busy 3D printing additional castle pieces including a mirrored copy of the corner tower and some wall sections including the wall with Bartizan that can be seen to the left of the gatehouse.. I am hoping to have these new pieces painted over the weekend.

Update 27th September

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The Castle is beginning to take shape now. At the end of the second week of working on the project a second corner tower and six additional wall sections have been printed and painted.

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'Carrot' spots intruders while his mate has a crafty fag. The towers look splendid, the top's lift off to reveal a first floor room.

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This is the second corner tower. Within my slicer software I mirrored the model so that the windows would be facing forward on both towers.

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I have already started printing the parts for the next update, which will be on Friday, before the Tale of Two Cities Kickstarter completes. I am looking to add some extra walls with staircase access from the courtyard to the ramparts and look at some optional extras for the main corner towers.

Update 30th September

Iain Lovecraft has excelled himself with an astounding variety of new castle pieces, round towers, gatehouses, keep, runined walls, walls with bastions, double crenulations.. the list goes on. This week I have been able to print and paint a couple of the wall sections with stairs and a tower hoarding and roof.

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I love the new wall with stairs section. The stairs and wall print as a singe piece, taking around 14 hours at 0.2mm layer height. The steps are a good compromise between looking right and being able to stand a miniature on them. Figures shown are from our Guard's Guard range and are all mounted on 25mm diameter bases.

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Here we see the standardcorner battlement tower. The indentations in the four corners sections can be clearly seen. These are to enable extra tower pieces to be addded.

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This piece is titled 'tower struts'. It represents four corner masonry pillars supporting some heavy beams. As you can see it raises the height of the roof or hoarding well above any miniatures that are standing on top of the tower, even if they are armed with spears.

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Here the tower roof is sitting directly on the roof struts. There is a second design of tower roof available as well.

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This is the tower hoarding, sitting on top of the tower struts. It has a nicely detailed interior with a masonry reinforced arrow slit in the middle of each wall plus a couple of windows (which would presumably be boarded up when under attack). The room is accessed via a ladder and a trapdoor in the center of the room.

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Here we see a corner tower with supports, hoarding and roof.

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I have another set of hoarding printing at the moment, so next week I will include a step by step walk through of how they were painted. I will be continuing printing, painting and blogging until I have covered all off the castle pieces, so if you've found this interesting, pop back next week to see what is new, and if you are interested in printing one of these castles yourselves, Iains campaign has 48 hours left to run so click here to take a look!

Update 11th October

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Some lovely detailed castle pieces added this week, starting with wall section with arches.

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This is a standard width wall section with two arch ways with doors set into the wall. The arch sections are one of my favourites. We tend to think about castles based on what we can see remaining of them after a thousand years and forget that these were bustling communities and the insides of the castle were filled with outbuildings, store rooms, stabling, barracks, chapels and much more. A castle would often keep supplies so they could withstand a 6 month or a year of being under siege, so the more areas depicted for storage and living the better.

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This is an example of Iain's Bastion design. There are lots of different options available, but I have chosen to print the one with arches and a storeroom for reasons already explained.

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Although it looks like the Wizards are using it as a reviewing platform, the purpose of the Bastion is to mount some artillery. A small catapult or a ballista. I will try to find one to mount on the Bastion before the next photo shoot.

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The Stables.

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This is a beautiful model. Very versatile. If I'm going to have a 12 strong mounted unit based in the castle, I'm going to need at least three of these. I love the detailing and the combination of stone, wood and plaster. Recently we have been playing the old 'Cry Havoc' boardgame scenarios with miniatures using Feudal Patrol. We even have a Feudal Patrol Cry Havoc supplement which is why I had rider less horses to hand. They are, like 95% of my single based figures mounted on clear Perspex bases which really helps them to blend in with whatever surface they are standing on.

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The stables print in two pieces, a main floor and walls part and a roof. The main building took about 16 hours to print and the roof 7 hours.

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It's a shame that in my castle the stables will probably be against the walls, as the back of the stables are also very attractive.

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One of the features of the Tale of Two Cities walls that is not so apparent is how well designed the wall joints are. On one side there is a large 'curved' hook that fits into a socket on the opposite side of a wall section. This makes a very secure join. I am holding a run of three wall sections by the centre section and the whole wall is completely stable.

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Here we have a wide shot of the progress to date with the Tale of Two Cities Castle. As soon as the pieces become available from Iain, I will be adding three round towers, the new gatehouse with drawbridge and the Norman Keep. In the meantime, there is much to keep me busy. For next week’s update I plan to print a couple of pieces of ruined wall to swap out to show a breech ready for storming!

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The Miniatures shown in the photograph are from Sally 4th's Guards Guard range

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The Castle Walls, Tower & Gatehouse are part of Iain Lovecrafts 'A Tale of Two Cities'

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