Castlemania Stage Thirteen – Towers & Spirals
The king sent a message that he would be here for another inspection soon, which had the master engineer a bit worried. The basics of the main gatehouse had to be completed by the king’s arrival, since it is so important for castle security.
Progress on the gatehouse was certainly well along, but not ready to show the king. In turn, all of the team’s efforts went into making sure the gatehouse had its major stonework all done, defensive features ready to use, interior floors/walls in place and ceilings overhead to shield against bad weather.
The hard, steady work paid off. The main gatehouse is now a worthy adversary for anyone who might attack. Thanks to all the hard work, there are now much larger, defensively secure rooms for big groups of the king’s companions and servants, and the storage areas can start to be stocked
The outer and postern gatehouses are not nearly as far along, but each will have many of the same features as the main gatehouse.
From the Inner Ward side of the gatehouse we can see an area with arched windows. This is where some of the living quarters for those who live in the castle and visitors are.
The main gatehouse model size quickly grew over the maximum 2 MB size limit for models to be inserted into other models. Due to this, I had to break up it up into smaller units and add them to the main model one by one. I used symmetry to easily create left and right versions of common sections.
I still use the main gatehouse model to see how details match up and plan additions. There is still much to be done, but finish work will have to wait until other areas of the castle and town are brought up to this level of construction.
Here you can see that section views (covered in Castlemania Twelve) make it much easier to see how the different parts of the gatehouse work together.
You can see that the main stone work is important for structure and defense. In the left image only the floors/ceilings are built from heavy wood beams and rough cut planks. Wood is also used for the large sloped ceilings, because it is faster to construct and can support a load across longer spans.
Eventually these wooden ceilings will be covered with sheets of lead or pieces of slate for better weather protection.
Now the whole main gatehouse is in place except the ceilings.
From this point of view it is easy to see how important the main gatehouse is to the whole castle. It will take the brunt of any major assault and must be able to stand up to it.
To make the ceilings, I first created the long straight sections to fit the openings in the main gatehouse structure. Then I made the conical end by using the vertical center line (green arrow, left image) and the “Advanced Push n Pull” tool (red ellipse, left image) to rotate the ceiling profile 180° (left image).
To make the structure that supports the conical portion of the ceiling, I first drew one quarter where I could work out my angles and sizes (left part of right image). Then I mirrored it, leaving the center line for alignment purposes (middle part, right image). Using the “Pull n Pull” tool, I then made it taller than the existing ceiling so I could copy and paste it into position and then remove the unneeded geometry (right part, right image).
Here we can see the completed wooden ceilings from the top and the bottom.
For now the main gatehouse towers are the highest points of the castle and town. They will provide early warning for attacks by land and water. They will also provide excellent positions for defense during an attack. Strong battlements are essential here too.
I used the same technique as shown in Castlemania Nine to lay out the battlements. The different diameter of this tower made some dimensions critical. The men must still have enough room to fight and protect themselves.
Each merlon needed three equal sections, one for the arrow loop and two side protective areas (numbers and lines, left side of image).
Unfortunately, the overall segment measurement is not easily divisible by three, so I used a handy bit of geometry that I learned in school a long time along. The line to be divided is indicated by the red arrow.
First I draw a line (first gold arrow) starting at one end of the line to be divided. It can be at any angle, but it should be longer than a third of the line being divided. Then I align the grid with this line and draw a small white vertical line (first red ellipse). Next I copied the two lines and pasted them to the end of the previous segment (second gold arrow and red ellipse). I did that one more time (third gold line) and then I had a line divisible by three.
Next I drew the line (green arrow) connecting the end of my new line to the other end of the line to be divided. I then drew a line from each of the other two points (red ellipses) and made them parallel with the green arrow line. Where those lines intersect the line to be divided provides the correct division points I need (yellow ellipses).
Using the new points, I realized that a smaller diameter would not leave enough room for an archer compared to the larger diameter. Rats! Using the center line of the merlon section, I created a space big enough for the archer and ended up with much smaller protective spaces (green ellipse) compared to the larger diameter (red ellipse). Learning and trying new methods is always part of the fun of 3D modeling!
After completing the construction for one quarter of the entire circle I selected the whole thing, copied it (CNTRL +C), pasted it (CNTRL +V), hit the space bar and used the correct “Click to flip” button (red ellipse, left image). Then I picked my anchor point (orange dots) and matched it on the existing geometry. Now I have a complete half and can simply follow the same steps to copy, flip, paste and…
…match a new half to the first half. Now I can move the full circle of battlements to the tower.
The left image shows how the tower parts go together. The battlements are aligned with the center of the top of the tower (red arrows, left image). The spiral staircase, which we’ll build shortly, is aligned with the center of the stairway shaft and the passageway door (red ellipse, right image) way down at the bottom of the tower (green arrows, left image).
To get to the tower stairway, the soldier must follow the tricky passageway (red arrows, left image) to the doorway (green ellipse, left image).
The right image shows that the bottom step of the stairway needs to be close to the doorway (crooked red arrows) and that as the stairway winds around it must leave enough room for the soldier and his weapons (straight red arrows).
To build the stairway I’ve started with an archer to ensure my sizes are reasonable. Using his feet, I can try a size for the first step (red ellipse, left part of image).
After a couple of tries, I settled on step and step height sizes that give me ten steps in every revolution of the stairway (red ellipse, middle part of the image).
The green arrow (right part of the image) points out the corbel – the stone that is built into the inner tower wall to provide support for each step. The corbel would actually be built into the inner tower wall as it was being constructed, but I’ve made it part of each step simply because it is easier, yet looks the same.
Since a full revolution is 360°, each of my ten steps must revolve 36°. In a real tower they would overlap each other, but I’ve simplified things a bit here. As I copy, paste and revolve each step, I use the same alignment point for assembly (red ellipse, left image). Once I added enough steps to ensure they cleared the archer’s head and bow, I used that group of stairs as a section that I could stack on top the previous section until I reached the full height.
The right image shows how far the archer must climb to get to the top – and then fight for his life once he got there!
To locate the entire stairway inside of the tower, I made sure I had a center point on the bottom of the stairway (red and green arrows in small red ellipse, left image).
To be sure the top step was in the right place, I moved the stairway temporarily into position in the tower. I’m glad I did; I had to remove one stair to make it just the right height, 64′.
I made a copy and then moved it into the tower using an anchor point on the stairway (green arrow in larger red ellipse, left image) and the center of the tower (red ellipse, right image).
The ground level entrance to the tower is down this hall, take a right and another right and then a left. If you’re a bad guy, you’ll have a really, really hard time trying to get there through the defenders. If you’re a good guy, you’re already inside so you can just entire the gatehouse and take a quick left.
Since the king is coming next time, we’ll have plenty to do here at the castle and in town! See you then.
Links to previous Castlemania Stages: