Mar 182007

I’ve spent some more time the past couple of weeks with the CastleWorks kit from cardstock terrain maker WorldWorksGames, specifically building some towers and walls. Here A GW Engineer surveys my game room from a finished tower. If only I could hire him to build them while I’m away at work.

Engineer in Tower

Two Towers

Tower First Floor

CastleWorks includes two types of towers – the complex tower and the simple tower. The primary difference is that the simple tower does not allow interior access. I definitely prefer interior access, so I stuck with the complex tower, which comes with a base, three stories, floors for the stories and a couple of roof (or I guess “tower top”) options. You could choose to add or remove stories, and also pick your tops, so you can build multiple complex towers with different looks. I mounted the base on foamcore, and then cut out and glued the first floor onto the base, shown here. The tower levels are octagonal in shape, so you bend the walls at score points and glue them down onto the base with four tabs.

My first effort was pretty awful; shown here is my second attempt. Two mistakes were made the first time around. First, when I printed the base walls Adobe Reader’s print dialog had print scaling set to scale to margins (or something like that). Be careful to have this set to “None”. If it isn’t set to None, your walls may come out different heights, which makes for an interesting puzzle when glueing them together and to the base. Second, I tried to use purple school stick glue to fix the wall tabs to the base the first time around, and it just doesn’t have the strenght for the job.

And this brings me to glue ;-). There is a Definitive Glue Thread on WorldWorks forums where you will find much discussion on what works best for assembling cardstock terrain. I have now formed my own opinion – I use two different glues for different purposes. For small tabs (like the ground floor tower wall tabs) I use a quick drying liquid glue, the UHU office pen, which WorldWorks recommends. For large areas, like gluing the interior and exterior sides of a wall together, I use the dry school stick glue. It doesn’t have the bonding power of the UHU glue, but it also won’t warp the walls no matter how much you slather on, and bonds well enough for the job. I found the UHU glue to be a real problem with large areas to glue – or at least it requires some expertise to use that I don’t have. For tabs, though, it’s a champ.


Adding Tower StoriesTwo tower levelsTime to add the upper stories onto the tower. Notice the four tabs at the top of the wall of the ground story. These are cleverly designed both to support the foam-core mounted floor for the next story, and to help push the walls of the next story into alignment. Per instructions, you base a story floor with foam-core, drop it down onto the supports at the top of the lower floor, and then set the next story wall down on top of the structure.Tower without doubled floors from topDoubled Tower Floor in progressThis works, but I wasn’t entirely satisfied. The upper story did not hold it’s shape very well, and the whole thing was a bit rickety. Granted, when the floor of third story is dropped down into the second story walls, it forces the walls into better shape, but there is still a stability issue. Since I play with some clumsy gamers (you know who you are), I’d rather have a bit more stability.I decided to try to solve this problem by mounting the second story floor on a double-layer of foam core, so that it sticks up over the top of the ground floor walls. This means that the second story has to be wedged down a bit onto the floor, and that both reinforces it’s shape and the strength of the structure.Doubled Tower FloorI’m satisfied with this approach, although it does make it a bit more difficult to prise the stories apart when you want access to the interior. For me, the added stability is worth it. Also, I plan on creating several ruined towers, which will have the rear walls partially removed. I will need some way of holding the walls in their octagonal shape with a gap in the walls, and I am thinking that the edge of the foamcore sticking up above the lower wall will provide a surface to glue the walls onto. That means for my ruined towers I won’t be able to remove stories, but since on those the open rear walls will allow interior access that is not a concern.


Tower with doubled floors from top

Shaking the Tower

WallsWall being assembled Walls proved to be a bit less complicated to put together. There are a couple of varieties of walls, but they go together exactly the same way – the only difference is the graphics. They come in two pieces and assemble pretty easily with tabs. One thing I noticed is that I will need to base them on foamcore as well – since they are designed to line up with towers so the top of the wall is even with second story tower doors.The intersting bit with walls is interchangeable tops. There are a couple of choices – hoarding and crenelations. Both of these assemblies have tabs that fit into slots on the top of the walls. In theory you can swap them out, but in practice I will probably glue them down and just have a few walls with hoarding and a few with crenelations.Wall with HoardingThe hoarding leaves a bit to be desired. It looks nice, but it has no base of any kind, so part of the assembly just kind of ends up hovering over the top of the wall. Also, some score lines were missing on the PDF for the hoarding – but it was fairly obvious where they should be. Despite this, I like them and will probably have a couple of walls with hoarding. I’ll just figure out a way to base them so that they are more solid and fixed well onto the wall.Crenelated WallThe crenalations, on the other hand, are verra nice. You have a couple of choices here as well – flat crenelations or “thick” crenalations. I chose the thick ones. I wish the tower crenelations had a thick option like the walls. They were not terribly difficult to put together, and there was a minimum of cursing involved even on my first attempt. These things look great once slotted onto the top of a wall.

Throwing Things TogetherFirst assembly Here’s a few buildings tossed in behind a couple of towers and walls. Once you start putting these pieces together, it starts to look impressive. I’m very optimistic about the potential here, once I’ve got things properly based and added some plastic or metal doohickeys (door and window fixtures, etc.). I’m also really looking forward to creating some ominous looking ruined bits. Next, though, I’ll probably work on the main gate and some curved walls.

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