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By ABAROTH - Dec. 31, 1969Background:
In 1960 Mauritz Cornelis Escher produced this famous lithograph. I have loved his optical illusions ever since I first saw them as a child, and could think of no greater challenge for HADD than to construct an impossible building. (Some ideas seem a lot better after alcohol.) The two major problems were the creation of a working plan, and the constraint that it had to built using Hirst Arts pieces. Unfortunately for me, Bruce hasn’t yet gotten round to making impossible four dimensional moulds, and Escher could make his arches any size he liked – and he seems to have liked a lot of different ones.
Having worked out the perspective viewpoint, I made my plans in Corel Draw, and worked out that, with a few custom bits and pieces, it could actually be done. This was the start of a major commitment in time, effort and the consumption of far too much coffee – but I think the results were worth the pain. Finally looking through the camera from the correct viewpoint where the building looks ‘right’ was at once quite unnerving and very satisfying. To put it in Escher's words: "Whoever wants to portray something that does not exist must obey the same rules as for the teller of fairy tales: he must produce contrasts, he must cause a shock." To put it in my own words: “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
Height 17½ inches
Length 24 inches
Width 24 inches
No. of dimensions 3+? !!!
# 41 Gothic Dungeon Accessories
# 43 Gothic Panel Accessories
# 44 Gothic Additional Accessories
# 45 Gothic Dungeon Builder
# 54 Gothic Church
# 55 Bell Tower
# 61 Turret
# 201 Floor Tiles
# 230 Clay Roof Tiles
o Prestia Basic Alpha plaster
o ¼” Plywood for base
o PVA (white glue)
o 1” expanded polystyrene sheet
o All Purpose Silicone to attach model to plywood and polystyrene base (this prevents any warping)
o ¼” dowelling for triple-arched window columns on first floor
o Kebab skewers
o Fiskars ‘Fun Cut’ scissors to cut fish-scale roof tiles from:
o Cereal box
o Nylon line for fountain water spouts
o Gedeo Resin Crystal for water
o Araldite Rapid Clear for water effects
o Emulsion (Crown ‘Kenya Strong’ basecoat, drybrush coats hand mixed)
o Inscribe Acrylic paints
o G.W. inks
o ½” quadrant moulding for domed roofs
o Empty felt tip pen barrel cut to make chimney pot
o Matt board for structure beneath roof tiles and domed roof
Tools & Equipment:
o Pin vice
o Drill bits
o Mini Power Drill (Dremell) with ½” drum sanding attachment
o Emery Boards - these are great for sanding in hard to reach places and they’re not as abrasive as a needle file.
o Needle files
o Selection of paint brushes - bristle for stippling and drybrushing, sable for detail work.
o Wooden cocktail sticks - very useful for removing any excess glue from joints.
o Dental Tool for scraping out grooves etc. (any sharp tool should do)
o Razor saw for cutting blocks (craft knife or old serrated kitchen knife would do)
o Craft knife
o Lego - the easiest form of adjustable square (THANKS BRUCE)
Custom Moulded Pieces:
o Knight statue
o Triple window arches
o Small arches
I was in the process of making some of these pieces when the idea for the building occurred to me, and couldn’t resist using them.
Rather than describe the infinite tedium of gluing every block together, I’ll just talk you through some of the more awkward areas of the model, and the solutions I found to the problems.
Obstacle: The outside stairs had to be ⅛” high rather than ¼”.
Solution: The bottom step was carefully sanded to be the correct height. It was then glued to an unmodified ¼” thick step. The remainder of the steps are all unmodified ¼” thick tiles, glued in threes to begin with. The lowest tile rested on the worksurface, the second on a strip of ⅛” basswood, and the third on another ¼” thick tile. The blocks were left to dry overnight before gluing them together. Rather than building multi-level ‘scaffolding’ to hold them in place, I simply turned them upside down and allowed them to rest at an angle.
Obstacle: To finish the corners of the highest roof.
Solution: Instead of chamfering each piece, I cut them square to my roof template, and then glued sections of kebab skewer in the corners.
Obstacle: The triple-arched windows on the first level above the colonnade. These don’t exist on a Hirst Arts mould.
Solution: I needed the three window openings to occupy 2½” – 3” with the edges. I made a piece 1½” x ½” x ¼” , and then sanded out the archways using my mini-drill and drum sander. This was then carved on both sides with the arch blocks and moulded. Two of these make one triple-arched window. The columns between the sections were made from ¼” dowel, since again nothing Hirst fit.
Obstacle: Fish-scale roof tiles.
Solution: My original thought was to cut circles from cereal box using a hole punch, and stick these individually to the sub-structure.(Dumb idea huh?) Luckily I put off doing this, and found some special Fiskars ‘Fun Cut’ scissors in a craft shop. These are normally used for making interesting edge designs on homemade greetings cards. The pair I chose has the perfect engrailed design, producing fish-scales which are 5mm (about 1/5” wide). I cut the pattern down the edge of the side panel of a cereal packet, before cutting the strip to width. This made it easier to keep the cut in a straight line. The roof still took hours to make – MAN am I glad I didn’t opt for individual tiles. The ridge is another section of ¼” dowel.
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