Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Long Walls, Pt.1

With the Fort nearing completion, it was time to contemplate building the high, long walls which connect the Mile Forts (think Hadrian's Wall). I needed to make their construction easier, so I opted for larger blocks than the ones in the fort. This allows me to have more standardized dimensions and reduces the number of lines I need to scribe. I went with the lower course of blocks measuring 1" x 3/4", with the remainder at 1" x 1/2". I scribed a small section to see how I liked it, and I looked at it every day or so to see if I'd changed my mind. After about a week I was still OK with it.

Just when I was ready to commit to those dimensions, I stumbled across a site that had an easy way to construct rectangles using the Golden Ratio. I wanted to stay with the blocks being 3/4" or 1/2" tall, so I  went from there to make my Golden Rectangles. The larger blocks became wider, going from 1" to 1-3/16", while the smaller became narrower, now only 3/4" wide. I scribed a sample of it as well. The Ratio has been in use since Antiquity, its main function being that it "looks nice".

Something about the second choice left me ......unsatisfied. But I thought I'd give the Golden ratio one more try. I increased the height of the large blocks to 1" and the small blocks to 3/4". This arrangement I really liked. I realize both sizes are a bit large, but hey, the NĂºmenoreans and the Dwarves were great builders. Besides, the fewer blocks I have to scribe, the faster things go. Keep in mind, I do call them 'The Long Walls'.

The most time-consuming operation about the Fort was constructing the buttresses at every opening and the corners. And though I used numerous jigs to mass produce their components, they still took an inordinate amount of time to assemble. Why not take the time to make a very nice master of the buttress, from which I could make a mold, then resin-cast multiple copies? So that's what I did. Here you can see I carried-over most of the motifs found on the Fort. The large capital is about 1" deep, and is designed to support an overhanging shooting position, similar to the ballista's on the Fort.

Not every buttress will be supporting an overhang, so I made this thinner capital. (Oh, did I forget to mention all the pieces were modular? Boy, is my face red.)

I even made an extension for taller walls.

Or use the larger capital as a base for the extension, and you have a buttress for a shorter wall.

Turn the extension upside-down, and you have a whole other look.

I glued each component flat on a sheet of styrene, then used some strip to build four walls around them, making sure there were no gaps along any joints. I mixed up some two-part silicone, and covered the masters. Four hours later, I had these finished molds.

Next I mixed some two-part resin (CR-600, available from Micro-Mark) and poured in the molds. I guess I didn't stir the first batch thoroughly enough, as the de-molded castings had some soft spots that never did cure and harden. The good news is the detail was captured fully. I was more careful stirring subsequent batches, and got these acceptable castings. There would be more, but I ran out of resin (more on order). I also cast some Hydrocal, and they came out fine as well.
Guess there's no excuse to not start scribing a ton of walls. 'Til then, Don

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