Feb 142007

On a recent gaming weekend, a friend brought his copy of CastleWorks, a cardstock castle produced by WorldWorksGames. They deliver their products as a zip file containing numerous PDFs, and as I have a good laser color printer he figured we could give it a try. Well, I’ve since purchased my own copy of the product (15$ cheap), along with their newer Shellendrak Manor product – so color me favorably impressed. Here’s a quick description of my first assembly attempts with CastleWorks.

Here I am at my worktable ready to begin. There is not enough light and I have sharp instruments and adhesives near at hand. Only tears can follow.

At work 1

Cut, Cut, Glue , Glue

The instructions included with CastleWorks are reasonably good. We started off assemblingBuilding on board courtyard buildings. Castleworks has two flavors of these, both with two stories. One is a plaster building, the other stone. Printing was no problem – we bought some white cardstock at the local Staples. To cut out your building you simply use a xacto knife and a metal ruler. Where you will have to fold to assemble, score lines are clearly marked. A score is just a light cut that doesn’t completely penetrate the card, which allows it to fold easily.

After cutting out the four walls and floor for a building, we then started folding and gluing. Walls are obviously two-sided (amazing!), so you have to fold the two haves and glue them together. On our first building, we used Elmer’s glue. Major mistake. The walls ended up warping massively, and we had to straighten them out by using a hot-glue gun to affix balsa-wood beams around the inside edges of the walls. Subsequent attempts were done with basic dry stick-glue, with much more satifsfactory results. There is a thread at WorldWorks’ forums – the Definitive Glue Thread – alas, had we only read that thread before creating our frightening chaos-warped building from the pits of hell.

A Floor to Stand OnWorldWorks recommended basing the floors on foamcore. I had some white foamcore laying around which we used for this purpose, but next time around I will look for the black foamcore they used in theirBuilding floor instructions. The white really stands out – so you end up having to paint the edges of the foamcore black. I will probably end up basing these buildings on hardboard, but the foamcore under the floors adds extra support and allows them to be moved around and played with before I get them onto hardboard.

Coming Together NowBuilding first storyThe next step was to glue the walls down onto the floor. On our first attempt, we failed to read the instructions first and neglected to glue all four walls together first before gluing them to the floor. This was a mistake, because it’s much harder to press two walls together where they connect and get a good bond if the walls in question are already glued onto the floor. But our first building of the Warped Walls was pretty much already doomed to look bizarre, so no loss. The next set of plaster building stories I put together I actually followed directions.

Second Story ManBuilding with two storiesAfter basing and assembling both stories of the plaster building, we simply set one on top of the other. The second story floor has an opening for stairs, but I have not assembled those or glued them in yet. There are some paper tabs provided in CastleWorks to slide an upper story onto a lower story – but if you have based the second story with foamcore it’s heavy enough that it just sets on top of the lower story and stays stable. And herein lies the the strength of the product – the ability to mix and match the various components on a whim to form very different structures.

A Roof OverheadNext we put together one of their “simple roofs” and one of the “complex roofs”. The complex roof has a balcony and acts as an extra floor as well. Also, the two roofs are made such that they can interconnect if you put a single story structure with a complex roof adjacent to a two-story structure with a simple roof. The complex roof went together very easily – I think by this time we were used to working with the product.building_assembled_roof


The roof of the “complex roof” assembly pops off handily to reveal an extra floor.


Looks Promising!Considering I’ve just scratched the surface of what’s included with the CastleWorks set (there are arches, towers, gates, castle walls, etc.), I’m very pleased. Once I have based these buildings on hardboard and added some non-cardstock ornamentation (rocks, rubble, etc.), I think they will look great with both my Miniature Building Authority buildings and my Mordheim cardstock buildings. I do wish I had window fixtures (either plastic or metal) that would glue into the various window openings of the CastleWorks buildings to give them less of a cardstock look. A major plus of the Games Workshop cardstock buildings is the inclusion of plastic sprues with “dressings” for the buildings that give them a more finished look. Some of these bits will work on the CastleWorks buildings, but the windows are the wrong size.My youngest son pointed out that I should damage a few of these buildings by cutting away parts of walls, so they will fit in with the Mordheim buildings better and allow for easy access during a game. The nice thing about the WorksWorks modular approach is that I could have both a ruined second floor and an intact second floor for a building and swap them out whenever I want.As I get more of the set put together, and it beginst to actually look “castle-y”, I shall post more!jim

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