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Schlösser, Burgen und Festungen!
Apr 30, '15

Acting on Memory

In 1996 I started to design and draw castles! My medieval memories had been manifesting themselves in the form of creating a large number of 54mm Knights of Agincourt and Archers. Very appropriate that I should write this now in the 700th anniversary year of the most famous of English Battles. My mind was flashing with images of dead French knights stuck thick with arrows like porcupine quills as they lay dead in the muddy fields of France. I therefore created what I saw, in what I now see as a healing process. For as a young boy of 12 born in 1403, I as Robert des Armoises page to the Duc d'Orleans had witnessed that terrible spectacle of Agincourt 1415 and survived to tell the tale.

Many detailed drawing evolved as I discovered Isometric drawing projection was perfect for visualizing in 2D such structures on paper. The rudimentary Elastolin inspired German Burgen morphed into French Chateaux and then into Rouen as I explored this new memory.

Finally I committed my two 2D to 3D in the form of an elaborate Barbican with working draw bridge. Pleased with the design I gave this model to Tom Davis a pupil that was leaving our prep school as he had been keen on medieval knights and history. I then resolved on making another more accurate version to satisfy my subconscious that was saying, "Close but no cigar! Try again..."

Thus a mighty two year titanic memory manifestation was launched, that grew and grew in the building! As I explored my creative tendency to manifest, the wave function of my many memories collapsed into particle reality in a quantum event that approached a singularity!

A Castle Memory Manifests

1: Like the Titanic hitting the Iceburg so my memory collided with the NOW. Inspired by the cover picture of a toy soldier book. As outlined in another article I had reconnected with my German Landsknecht memory without knowing through a similar process.

The Landsknecht Turm circa 1981.

The Book and Schlöss circa 1993

Worlds collide Scotland and Germany both deep memories.


Between 1988 and 1993 parallel with my other American Civil War memories that were in full flow I became infatuated with the picture above. Having served in Germany 1984 to 1987 my memory was still fresh and connected to Gütersloh and my many trips up and down the Rhine. I always felt at home there! Little did I know that it was my home just 480 odd years before.

The sense of home centred around Koblenz. I had first visited there in 1975 on a day trip with my Dutch family. The connection was immediate as we traveled down to Boppard, Bingen and Rudensheim.

The following year we stayed a weekend including a Rhine view hotel in Kamp Bornhofen. This was the universe in playful mood. The sense of deja vu was overwhelming yet unfathomable. Many trips followed but always it was the same area that drew me.


I was 42 years of age when I embarked on the construction project below. It grew in the telling as the say! In this case the building!

What started out as a simple barbican project accelerated out of all proportion into the Burg Fortress of my dreams.

Where do you put it?

If you had everything where would you put it?

Goes the saying!!!!!

In a box fit for Pandora!!!!! Would be my answer. For she had a very nice box, so I hear! ;)

The box became the burg. Built last of all to house the construction that was littering my garage. A neat solution indeed.

2: The assembly is graphically illustrated so I will economise on words. Unusual for me I know - lol :D

First Unpack

3: Assemble the Great Hall and Towers.

In homage to my father who had built a castle for me in 1963, on the occasion of my 9th birthday, I used the same construction technique that he invented. Tower roofs became lids so that access could be gained to the spaces below for the toy soldier and civilian inhabitance!

Interchangeable, the whole castle can be reconfigured to change the silhouette as one's desire dictates. A child's memory loves fluidity and creativity. It simulates the imagination. There is nothing worse than a "dead" toy that is a finished article complete and has only one form and no real play value for imagination. This is why Meccano and then Lego became ascendant in the world of the nursery and playroom through my lifetime.

4: Now the curtain walls then the all important Barbican and Draw Bridge. The Des Armoises memory come to life for this was the original subconscious intent. Another overlaid layer of memory.

5: All castles need a flag. Naturally I placed a Scottish Saltire on the top most tower. The General William Baillie in me was now beaming a smile.

Later in 2003 I realised that the great hall looked like Stirling castle's great hall.

6: Back to medieval memories. Robert and Jehanne des Amoises sallie forth to vanquish the aggressors! All castles need occupants. As Captain of the St Barbe gate in Metz and to salute the original intention I recently painted up the des Armoises. My beloved kick ★★★ wife Jehanne in full flow!

I so love the solid 4 symmetry geometry and angular accuracy. A tribute to my humble efforts to do a good job on this mega project.

7: Madam des Armoises making a point!

Archer reinforcements arrive! Very useful in a tight corner.

And driving it home splendidly!!! I wouldn't want to argue with them ;)

A New Discovery!

The German connection comes full circle. Whilst researching my Landsknecht memories I discovered that my castle was a resonant image for the place of my strongest deja vu in the 70s at Kamp Bornhofen opposite Boppard.

Further investigation confirmed the memory with my timelines and the Boppard War of 1496-97. The statue in the church there was the image that I remember clearly and is that of the fallen hero Knight of Boppard in his Gothic armour who died defending the freedom and the people of that fair city. I was 3 to 4 years of age during the siege but I can remember the fear and emotion of the inhabitants and the heroic stature of the defenders. Before the final fall my mother and myself fled across the Rhine to safety on the other side. From where we watched the final fall of our city.

I grew up to be a Landsknecht mercenary and seek my fortune with the Black Legion. My childhood memories however were indelibly burnt deep into my soul for that life and all time.

1: The Landsknechts cometh!

A German Memory after all

2: Two Burg castles overlook Kamp Bornhofen. Unusually they have square towers as they are of early construction

The Star Mountain Castle is the closest to mine. A very appropriate name!

Burg Sterrenberg

Burg Leibstein

A Tale of Two Castles

Two brothers fell in love with the same woman and fell out with each other, so the one built his castle next to the other so that she could chose the brother with the best castle! Pragmatic German consciousness at its best :D

Burg Sterrenberg and Liebstein plan.

To reiterate for me as a young child of 4 fleeing across the Rhine with my mother it was welcome sight and burned itself into my memory for keeps.

Apr 30, '15
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