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Castle Von Doom
Last Updated August 2007

This project began one day when I was in a toy shop and came across an amazing looking castle playset manufactured by Playmobil. I suddenly realized that, while I'd become adept at building very large playsets, most of my recent endeavors lacked character. Floor after symmetrical floor didn't hold the same charm as something like an old castle. So, I set out to build an old castle. Upon beginning this project, my second goal was to create truly interesting settings within the castle. So many of my previous playsets featured one or two really interesting rooms, and the rest was filler. I set out to change that this time, making each and every space fun and visually interesting.

To begin with, Castle Von Doom is defended by highly maneuverable laser cannons perched at the top of each tower, defending the castle from unwanted intruders. Each cannon can rotate 360 degrees horizontal and 180 degrees vertical.


One of Doctor Doom's henchmen arrives at the Castle entrance, ready to start a new day at work. Let's call him Smitty.


Smitty is granted access to the castle.


Smitty enters the central hallway.


A rotating gunner's station guards the castle entrance from the inside. Unfortunately, no one is on duty at the moment.


A rotating gunner's station guards the castle entrance from the inside. Unfortunately, no one is on duty at the moment. Three of these stations are positioned at various points in the castle. They rotate 360 degrees (unless a wall gets in their way), and the viewscreen can swing out to allow a gunner to get into or out of the seat.


Smitty hangs a right -- 1st floor, West Wing. Here, Smitty faces a complex set of electronic circuitry. This is actually a decoy. In the event that intruders were to enter the castle, they would see and probably aim to disable this circuitry first, which is exactly why it's there. It doesn't actually do anything.


More importantly, however, it guards a secret passageway.


This secret passage was taken directly from my Wayne Manor/Batcave playset. It's the only original design from that set that I felt was worth keeping around.


This is Doom's experimental transport chamber. It's the last thing he'd want his enemies finding, should the castle ever be invaded.


1st floor, East Wing -- Here's that gunner station again, as well as a stairwell leading up. To the left is an end table, included only because Doom's castle should be somewhat ornate to compliment his grandiose personality.


2nd floor, East Wing -- More winding staircase. Unlike my previous playsets, an old castle should not depend upon elevators and ladders to get from floor to floor.


2nd floor, center -- The magnetically sealed door from Lexcorp Laboratories has been borrowed to create a high security vault. We won't explore what's inside of it just yet.


2nd floor, West Wing -- Here's the main security center for the castle. Dr. Octopus commands the castle's exterior defenses against would-be intruders. He's using the same kind of rotating command chair as seen in the 1st floor gunner station, although it does not have a gun attached to it. Instead, it interfaces directly with a number of controls and computerized display panels in the room for optimum defense capabilities.


Now what about that vault...?


Welcome to Von Doom's command center, carefully encased within an unbreakable vault, allowing him maximum protection during an invasion. This command center can communicate directly with any other command station in the castle (gunner chairs, main security center, etc.). Doom can also assume remote control over any of these stations from his Command Center. Finally, the Command Center can also utilize satellite dishes and radio waves to communicate with virtually anyone on the planet or gain a camera view of virtually any location.

My favorite part of this design is how the exterior still looks like a vault, even when the door is opened. Unfortunately, this doesn't fully come across in the photograph.


Enough talk, though. Doom must get back to work.


Up the staircase, once again...


3rd floor, East Wing -- More stairwell.


3rd floor, center -- Doom's laboratory, where dreams and nightmares come true.


3rd floor, West Wing -- Today's nightmare is a mutation chamber. I liked the effect of positioning this chamber at a diagonal to break up the rigid symmetry of the playset. Yes, the chamber is fully secured to both walls.


The chamber swings open to reveal that Cable can't get any uglier anyway. You'd be surprised how long I worked to make this thing swing open smoothly while leaving no gaps between the door and the rest of the chamber when sealed. Behind Cable, but barely visible, are more circuit panels. The rear chamber wall is not hollow.


Up the staircase again to 4th floor, East wing. More stairs are here, as well as a gunner station aimed at a barred passageway leading to the roof.


Anyone planning an attack from the roof would have to disable these electrified bars before the gunner station zapped them. Not an easy task.


Of course, the bars rise in order to grant entrance (or exit) for our friend Smitty.


But there are more secrets to be found in this wing, as a platform swings out from the ceiling.


A staircase is formed, leading to another of Doom's secret chambers. A swing out ladder would have been much easier to design, but a man like Doom doesn't climb ladders when he can help it. He prefers the regal feel of a stairwell.


East Tower Suite -- Only a privileged few of Doom's henchmen know where he sleeps at night. A man like Doom can never play it too safe.


The panel swings up behind him and the stairway rearranges itself to stay out of the way.


4th floor, center -- Let's finally visit that roof, one floor below Doom's bedroom. Here, small vehicles or flying allies can land before entering the castle.


As we already know, one side of this roof leads to a barred doorway with a gunner station behind it. The other side, as we now see, is barred with a magnetically sealed door.


The door pivots open and is suspended above. It's hard to keep coming up with interesting high security doorways when you're running low on pieces, but I'm relatively satisfied with this solution.


4th floor, West Wing -- High security detention facility with built in power dampeners. A ladder to the rear left allows inmates to climb to their beds. I would have added more beds, but I ran out of pieces.