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Leroy's Scratch Built Daimyo's Castle

The two main influences for this construction were the articles produced by Adolfo Ramos, contained in the excellent Wargames Soldiers and Strategy publication and my visit to Japan in 2005. One of the many castles I was fortunate enough to visit was the amazing Matsuyama Castle (Iyo) in Ehime prefecture. Matsuyama Castle was one of the most recently built with construction being completed in 1627. It was part of the Hirayama Castle Coalition and is one of the best preserved original castles still within Japan. It was this castle that I based the colours and the style of wood work for my own.

As you can imagine a respectable Daimyo’s Castle could cover a massive area and as much as I wanted to take over another room in my house, size and storage constraints meant I was to plagiarise much of Adolfo’s design which, once built, is still an impressive focal point on any table.

Due to the size and the weight of this construction I used several wooden boxes purchased from the DIY section of my local hardware shop. These were originally intended for making a serving tray and a jewellery box, but I think my idea was much better. The stone work is individually cut cardboard. I used this “interesting” method as my original idea of DAS clay was a spectacular failure with the clay not setting correctly and the large amount of water required for shaping causing concern with the MDF wood used. Another trick used is No More Gaps which thinly spread over the walls provides both protection and texture. I have found that this avoids chipping which occurs when using Spaka Filla.

The upper stories of the building uses heavy cardboard from storage boxes covered with a combination of wood types. Wherever possible I tried to avoid balsa wood as it may be easier to work with and readily available but not very sturdy. In addition to its lack of strength, dry brushing balsa tends to have a less pleasing effect.

The Shachi or castle icons were “salvaged” from a piece of cheap jewellery. This building was something I would work on in between other painting projects and as a result took around five months to complete.

Looking at it I feel it still requires some little additions and maybe a little more weathering but overall I am exceptionally happy with the finished item . Now I just have to pull my finger out and finish my Samurai Armies, village, Korean hill fort etc etc etc
All the best
Leroy Simpson

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