While trolling in the Hirst Arts forums for inspiration awhile back, I ran across an interesting post. Someone was wishing for new plans of things to build with Hirst Arts blocks and someone else suggested taking existing projects and building them with blocks from different moldsâ€”using “gothic” blocks for a “fieldstone” project, for example.
Well, financial reality being what it is, I’d been stopping myself from purchasing the molds necessary to build the Ruined Fieldstone Tower. But, I had a plethora of gothic molds. I studied the tower plans and decidedÂ to try a new take on this project.
Laying blocksÂ out on the plans, I began to see the challenges. Some of the fieldstone piecesâ€”the arches in particularâ€”did not have gothic analogues; at least not on any of the molds I owned. And I would have to make the “ruined” bits myself. Because of the random nature of the fieldstone pieces, Bruce used a lot of butt joints between walls that would look funny with regular gothic blocks.
I used Bruce’s plans as a starting point and madeÂ up the rest as I progressed. All of the corners had to be joinedÂ like a regular building so that the blocks would be properly staggered. Some of the arches could be replicated, but others had to be fabricated with extra “little” bricks glued on. One final bÃªte noireÂ was the bitÂ I chose as the top and bottom of the columns. It was a piece from the Gothic Church that, too bad for me, was only on the mold once. So, I had to cast that little piece about 2,000,000 times to finish the project.
The part I thought would be fun (but wasn’t so much) was ruining blocks for the top edge. They were carved up easily enough with an Exacto knife or box cutter, but I fussed endlessly to get it to look like “natural” destruction.
Bruce added a tree to the little well/pool in the courtyard, which looked suitably dramatic and spooky, but I thought it might make it hard to maneuver figures in an already cramped space. I opted for some stones and murky water.
When I set to work on the base, it hadn’t occurred to me that I could’t really do the “gothic” gray paint job, as that was how I had painted the tower. So, I used his “earth tones”â€” the colors he uses for fieldstone buildings. I don’t love it for stone, but I needed some contrast. I also wasn’t convinced byÂ his tutorial onÂ how to carve foam to look like rocks. I did a bit under the tower itself, but the rest in my usual, hurried manner. In the photographs, I don’t mind his method, though, so I may try it again in the future.
I did finally get the fieldstone mold for Christmas (but not the one with the ruined bits, so I still can’t do the original tower), so you might notice I added the skulls. I’m not sure if they are quiteÂ the thing, but… One might spyÂ a gargoyle perched upon the column to the right of them. Him, I like.
All it needs for completion is some drab greenery. I’ve got suitable flock; Bruce used “coarse turf,” which I have too, but mine is bright and cheery and would ruin the mood. I’ll get the right stuff and then decide.
In the final shots, it appears that the tower has been garrisoned by the self-same jaundiced goblins who debuted on this blogÂ a few weeks ago.