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Dragonhead Castle

Welcome to Dragonhead Castle. This beautiful little castle features a keep, gate house, mural towers, barbican, and a secret dungeon with a maze. This is a modified Norman motte (mound) and bailey (enclosure) castle dating to 1068. The motte, hollowed out to contain the labyrinthine dungeon, originally supported a wooden building where the keep now stands. It was rimmed by a wooden palisade, now replaced by the stone curtain wall in 1153. The small keep is of the square Norman design. Mural towers were added to the two corners in 1174 and a gatehouse of late Norman style, was added in 1185. The most recent defensive feature, the barbican (an outer work defending the main gate), was constructed in 1207. Therefore, it can be stated that Dragonhead is of late 12th and early 13th century design.

Dragonhead CastlePage one shows a view of the completed castle and page four illustrates an aerial view. Each portion of the castle in this view is coded by a number indicating the page number where that piece is drawn in detail and a letter indicating the piece on the particular page being referred to. In addition, major structures are named and the page dealing with the construction of that structure is indicated.

Pages five through twelve contain full-size drawings of each piece required for the building of Dragonhead. Individual pieces are represented by a letter with a line under it. Below the line is a number in parentheses indicating the number of copies of that particular piece required for the castle.

The scale used for this castle is for 25 mm figures. If 1/72 scale figures (about 22 mm) are to be used, which actually work better with this castle, 3 mm (¼”) should be added to the height of each walk along the battlements. It is recommended that the castle be built from relatively clear ¾” pine or fir. All crenellated sections (those with battlements along the top) should have the wood grain running vertically with the merlons (the solid part of the battlement, as opposed to the crenels or the embrasures in the battlement). Materials needed for this castle (from which all pieces may be cut) include: one piece of plywood 3/8” x 18” x 24”; one piece of clear pine or fir ¾” x 8” x 6’; one piece of round brass rod 1/32” or 3/64” x 4” (the latter diameter is recommended); wood glue. Nails are not necessary, nor indeed, recommended in the construction of this castle. The type of cuts required to construct Dragonhead necessitates the use of a table saw, radial arm saw, or miter saw.

The barbican, its ramps, the walls of the motte, and the maze walls should be glued to the base as indicated on pages four through six. Note: the drawbridges must be placed in the side curtain of the barbican and the gatehouse as they are being glued together. One side of the motte may be left unglued for access to the dungeon (see below). The keep, gatehouse, and mural towers should be constructed next. These and the curtain walls should be glued to the top of the motte (3/8” plywood, see page 6), but neither of the towers, the curtain, nor the motte lid are to be glued to the motte walls. This way, the entire castle can be lifted off the motte for access to the maze. Access to the maze for figures may be obtained in one of three ways: 1) one wall may be left unglued along the side of the motte (this is noted on pages 5 and 6), (2) one corner may be cut off the motte top inside one of the mural towers, or (3) a hole can be cut through the motte top inside the gate house and a drawbridge placed over the hole (to drop unsuspecting foes directly into the maze!).

Page five illustrates the construction of the motte walls and the ramp to the barbican. The top and bottom edges of each wall are cut at complimentary 10o angles so that when placed on the base, they lean at an angle of 10o and present a level top for placement of the motte top. Each end of the wall pieces is cut at a compound angle of 84o and 60o so that the six pieces fit snuggly together to form a hexagon. If the fit is not perfect, gaps may be filled with wood filler or vegetation during landscaping. Page six illustrates the plan for cutting the top of the motte (large outline). Each edge is 4 ½” and is joined to the next edge by an angle of 120o to create a hexagon. Each edge is cut at a 10o bevel to match the slope of the walls below. Do not glue this piece on to the motte walls. The pattern for cutting and placing the maze walls within the dungeon created by the motte walls (page 5) are also shown on page six.

Construction of the barbican is illustrated on page seven. The base is created by combining two ¾” x 3 ½” x 4” pieces and the walls and ramp are glued to this base. The drawbridge must be placed between the two side wall sections and held in place with its rod before the walls are glued into place. Page eight illustrates the construction of the keep plus two walls of the gatehouse. The small square section shown on page twelve is to be glued into the center of the keep, flush with the walks to create one solid floor in the battlemented top. One wall of the keep is cut longer and at a 10o angle to overlap part of the motte below. The gatehouse is similar to the keep (page 9) but the front and back walls may be cut in half to facilitate the cutting of the passageway. This also aids in drilling the holes for the drawbridge rod in the front wall. (If a second drawbridge is added over a hole into the dungeon, it may be added to the back wall. Conversely, the front drawbridge can be lengthened, with the rod placed near the center, so that when the front of the drawbridge goes up, the back half of the drawbridge goes down into the hole, dropping anyone on the bridge into the dungeon.) A small piece is placed in the hole between the walls, but unlike the keep, this piece does not fill in the entire space. Instead, a 3/8” gap is left in front and back for “murder holes” where objects may be dropped or arrows shot at any enemy reaching the interior of the gatehouse. The mural towers (page 10) are cut so that they sit on the base on each side of the motte. The lower portion of each tower is cut at 10o to overlap the motte. Each section of the curtain is also cut at a 10o angle to overlap the motte walls (page 11). One short section fits on each side of the keep and gatehouse and one long section fits between that and the mural towers.

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