|Spiral Stairs - Step 1|
This project was very much an experiment. I had a general idea that I wanted to have something to resemble a very large spiral staircase in a dungeon, with an empty space in the center, with doorways branching off in different directions. However, the way I had this in mind ... it was going to be very big, and probably very heavy. I decided to start with the base, marking off some foam core board to help me line up the center of it to start placing floor tiles.
|Spiral Stairs - Step 2|
The center of the room consists of tiles cast from a custom mold to facilitate quick casting of curved floors. (Instructions on doing this can be found on the Hirst Arts site, using molds #72 and #73 - the two round fieldstone tower molds.) I laid out some stair pieces to figure out roughly how I wanted each level to go upward. I stuck four floor tiles at each branching point, but later I would replace them with four (each) of the larger "arena"-scale tiles. (Mold #265).
|Spiral Stairs - Step 3|
As I played around with how I was going to build this, I realized that, for the elevations of each level, that would entail a whole lot of blocks. So, I cut out some pieces of insulation board to use as "filler", which I would then build around, so that it wouldn't be quite so heavy.
|Spiral Stairs - Step 4|
Just a close-up of one of the edges of the structure, where I've used tiles from Mold #265 as a base. My foam sections were 3/4" thick, and I wanted each quarter of the raising staircase to go upward 1". So, I used the fieldstone tiles (1/4" thick) as a base, and then put the foam on top of them.
|Spiral Stairs - Step 5|
And here's a picture of the "sandwiching" effect achieved by putting the regular floor tiles on top.
|Spiral Stairs - Step 6|
Next, I concerned myself with building "facades" to fit around the foam. On the outward facing sides, I would just use large floor tiles on their ends. For the interior, though, I used an assortment of pieces from the fieldstone molds and from Mold #80: Dragon's Teeth Accessories.
|Spiral Stairs - Step 7|
Fast forward quite a bit. I started working my way along, building up the "staircase" around the central floor section, by using wall sections from the two tower molds, fieldstone wall sections, and just about anything else that might fit. The curves of these pieces just weren't meant to fit at these diameters, so I had to do a lot of filing and breaking of blocks to get them to (more or less) fit together. The end result looked very uneven - far from being as smooth and refined as the official Hirst Arts projects - but I figured it'd be just fine for a "dungeon".
|Spiral Stairs - Step 8|
My haphazard construction left a lot of gaps in the blocks, so I used some air-dry clay ("Marblex") to fill in some of those gaps, and started painting. (As a note, the two skulls on the interior wall sections are some pieces that I got on clearance a while back from a company (I forget the name!) that makes castings of various accessories from "concrete". All the rest is Hirst Arts.)