All wargamers have a "lead mountain", some call it the "pile of shame", comprising all the stuff we bought but haven't yet got around to making presentable. I've got boxfuls of unpainted figures as much as any of you, but I feel I've also got a "photo mountain" that I need to transform into blog posts. So I will crack on, in this case with the earliest of my models which I have images of: the samurai castle.
In 1983 feudal Japan was about my biggest wargame interest, largely inspired by the Kurosawa film "Kagemusha". I had to have a castle on a stone-clad-mound to fight over. How hard could it be to build one? Well it took me a year, on and off. And it's by no means up to my later standards. And I've been trying unsuccessfully to protect the fragile material from damage for almost 40 years now. But it was satisfying to end up with a recognisable model that was functional enough for the sieges and ninja attacks that were played over it. The only way to learn and get better is to have a go, consolidate what comes out well and re-think what's not so successful.
The upper walls and the large mound were made from mounting card, with balsa serving for the wooden parts. But the lower walls and roofs were made out of sheets of plaster, cast in moulds by a firm called Linka. It was fun doing the casting, but the result is terribly vulnerable to knocks and chipping, as you can see in some of these photos.
Update: Going through my old folders I found some more nice photographs of this model. As viewers liked it, I thought I'd add them to this post by way of an update. They are at the bottom if you scroll down. (JB 20th November)