I have been building castles with Dwarven Forge’s City Builder System (CBS) since I received them in early January. This time I thought I would see what I could do with a historical castle in the Norman style to help me finalize my DFKS4 pledge for Castle Builder parts (Gatehouses, 4″ tall walls, round towers, etc.).
Doune Castle in Scotland is a castle that has played a pivotal role in much of Scottish history and more recently starred in Monty Python’s Holy Grail as Castle Anthrax, Swamp Castle, and even Camelot. The Outlander series has featured it as Castle Leoch with lots of scenes shot from the exterior, the courtyard, the battlements, and the interior.
Doune Castle – Lords Tower to the Left and Great Hall to the Right
Doune Castle has 3 large buildings including:
Lord’s Tower – 59’x43’ (or 3x by 2x 4×4 CBS floors) that rises to 95’ tall comprising a Cellar, a Lord’s Hall, and 3 more stories above for a total of 5 stories each ~20’ tall. The Castle entrance is a ground level tunnel that bisects the Lord’s Tower cellars that cuts diagonally under the tower with a Yett (hinged Iron Gate) at the exterior entrance and arrowslit murder holes along the tunnel walls. To the left of the tunnel entrance is a Drum Tower that rises to the battlements house hemispherical walls around 20’ diameter (KSDF1 quarter rounds should work).
Entrance tunnel under Lord’s Tower
Great Hall – 66’ x 26’ rising to 39’ tall (or 3x by 1x 4×4 CBS floors) with a cellar and a single large high ceiling room above.
Kitchen Tower – 56’ x 26’ to 40’ tall (or 3x by 1x 4×4 CBS floors) with a cellar, Kitchen, and two stories of guest apartments above.
The bailey is enclosed by 6′ thick, 40’ tall double crenellated walls with small round turrets at the corners and midway along the walls that comprise a ~260’ perimeter. In CBS terms, this would require about 104 wall foundations, 24 Wall Battlements, and 2 corner battlements.
No longer extant are other buildings conjectured to have existed under the vacant walls which presumably incorporated the large openings in the southern wall.
I set out to see if I could build a facsimile with my CBS collection (which includes an Empire, two sets of Arrowslit walls, a Door set, 2x Wall Battlements, 2x Wall Foundations, Stone Walls & Posts, 2x Double Posts) plus the Quarter Round walls from DFKS1.
As I started building, I quickly discovered that I had enough CBS parts to basically build a version of the Lord’s Tower that ended up about 7 CBS stories high (14 inches) or about 75’ in scale and enough parts to make a smaller curtain wall. Sigh!
I reversed course and made a smaller variant that included a four story Lord’s Tower with a (cellar and 3 stories above) which connected to an L-shaped two story tower (cellar and two stories above). Both towers were topped with battlements and the small tower had a prison tower on the upper story. Much less impressive than Castle Doune, but adequate for now.
So what did I learn about using CBS to build a historically based castle?
Curtain Walls – Those double high DFKS4 walls will be perfect for building a Castle Doune. Instead of 104 Wall Foundations (which would be precarious, costly, and time intensive to stack), a set of 8 12’ wall sections would provide a nice, high, stable, curtain wall.
Rectangular Stone Towers – CBS is great at building smaller buildings and dwellings, but is a bit undersized for castle style rooms. Basically, to build impressive buildings one needs impressive CBS walls that support 4” heights. To make the real Doune Castle, 5 stories of 4” walls would match the scale heights very well. Even the impressive number of stone walls, floors, and posts I have could only make a 75’ tall tower. So I hope that Dwarven Forge rolls out a Tower Builder’s set that includes CBS style walls and posts for 4” tall buildings. This also opens up the possibilities for large windows, large doors, etc. that would find a home in cathedrals, palaces, and mighty fortifications. I also learned that you need lots of Double Posts for large stone buildings. I used up all I had with about 80% of the build complete. Also a triple, L-shaped post and a square quadruple post for central pillars would be awesome.
Drum Towers – the DFKS1 Quarter Round parts made for an adequate drum tower. I boosted the ground level with a 0.100” shim and another for the battlements to bring the levels into alignment. A little bit of blue tack held the Quarter Rounds together. As you can see, a free-standing 4 story drum tower is fairly stable.
Stability and alignment – I have found that using the Street Tiles is a great way to both align the CBS parts and add stability to the tall DFKS1 structures. The side supports did a great job of making those structures less wobbly.
Entrance – KS4 will bring us a Gate Tower, that integrates well with the KS4 Wall System, but to build towers, it would be great if there was not only a 4” CBS wall variant, but also a 4’ CBS Fortified door offering (wooden and iron grilled variants). That allows more freedom in builds since the gate is not embedded into a 2’ x 4’ structure.
Castle Defenders and Attackers – the minis are English Civil War highlanders from Old Glory:
- 6 MacLeod (yellow/black/red)
- 6 Wallace (green/black/yellow)
- 6 MacDonald of Glengarry (blue/green/black/red)
- 7 MacFarlane (black/white)
- 6 MacGregor (red/black)