I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this generosity, but a fellow builder friend was not only kind enough to help me acquire this model (that is exclusively available as Disneyland Paris), but he ended up just giving it to me. And this is not the first time he’s done something like this! Thank you! Anyways, I’m excited to present the Parisian version of the Sleeping Beauty Castle, which is completely different than the Sleeping Beauty Castle available in the US.
Besides being a beautiful and ornate model, it’s also designed brilliantly. I’m not sure exactly how to explain what I mean. But it’s a sneaky brilliance. You put together all these sub assemblies that don’t seem like they are enough to make a whole castle, but then they fit together like a glove. It’s insane, confusing and awesome.
It’s hard to pick out details that I want to call out, because it’s just chock full of them. I think, though, that it’s worth mentioning the bridges between towers, and the sheer number of different towers. I think there are only two of the towers that are identical, across a whole heck of a lot of towers. It’s a shame that this model is so hard to acquire, as it is just so much more detailed and interesting than the one that is sold in the US (and much more frequently on eBay). Here’s the two side by side:
And now comes the inevitable (and predictable) caveat to all the details you see in this model: it’s a challenging one. So many cones, so many narrow, pointy cones! I’d almost say that forming the cones took up close to (if not more than) half of the time involved in building this model. There are a few other interesting moments during the build, but the biggest impression this model left with me were those cones. If they weren’t so rewarding – once you get them just right – they might have driven me mad.
Hey, guess what? I’ve been out of building / blogging for a long time again. And I feel like a broken record at this point, mentioning that I’m going to try to get back into the swing of things, so… yeah. Life happens, right? I may do “lighter depth” reviews for a bit, just to get back into things, but I don’t know… it’s hard for me to not get detailed. But we’ll see. Unfortunately, the big delay means that everything from this point forward is written a long time after actually building the model.
Now, before I start the process of walking through the build to call out specific challenges, I want to share a general reflection, and one I should have known going into this: glue is your friend when building stacked cylindrical shapes. I always find myself thinking this after building a castle like this, the Taj Mahal, or other models that have narrow segmented cylindrical stacks. But the next time I go to build one, I secure the first two segments together, and it feels tightly secured, so I think i can skip the glue this time. What I forget is: (a) joints will get looser as I handle the parts, adding more segments; and (b) any looseness, even the smallest, will compound as you keep adding segments.
When you are done, something that seemed like it should be pretty solid will flop back and forth like a wooden snake toy. So consider adding some drops of instant glue on the tabs that are on the inside after you secure them. It may seem excessive at the time, but if you don’t you’ll regret it more than you would regret a little excess usage of glue. And it won’t have been excessive. And you won’t have to try to figure out how to sneak in some glue from the outside without it being too obvious.
Anyways, moving on to specific details, the first note I have in my instructions has to do with an alignment detail that might be easy to miss. When building out the first tower of the build, it’s possible to get the window feature at the very top misaligned on accident. This is because the top of the tower (parts 1-4) is secured to the middle section (parts 5 & 6) with four tabs, while the middle section is secured to the bottom section (parts 7-9) with two tabs, as does the whole tower attach to the castle. This means that you can accidentally attach the top at a 90 degree rotation to the base. So pay attention and make sure that the window aligns above the one of the tabs/slots in the middle/bottom sections.
Next up is a quick little suggestion for parts 14 and 15. And other connections like them, really. When you are securing two pieces together and all the tabs are parallel (or there is just one), twisting the tab is your best option. But sometimes, like this, those tabs are on the outside. And I don’t like twisted tabs on the outside. So I do a light twist (about 45 degrees at first, then back to around 15 degrees), then fold the tab over. By starting with a twist, you can get a solid connection, but then still fold over for a flatter appearance.
As to the first real struggle / regret I remember is with how part 38 is attached to part 39. I wish that I had rotated part 38 around 180 degrees from the way it is shown to be attached in the instructions. You do not want to have that protruding tab slot right over the thinner section of part 39, because whatever edge of part 38 is in that location is pushed flush against the roof once the tower is attached. Following the instructions leads to the tower being near impossible to stand up straight because of that tab slot protrusion.
Okay, so now for one that I caught by pre-reading the instructions, but struggled to make a graphic for. Hopefully this will make sense. It involves completing the forming of part 40, where I did some of the folds out of order with what the instructions suggested. There’s a section at the end of this sequence where you fold over the “front wall” and roof segments of the section on the right. But the tab slot sticks out and will scrape the side of the middle building section if you do it at this point. Instead, I suggest moving the folds indicated in the last part to just after securing the tabs in part 43 through part 40. You’ll probably want to juggle the point at which you attach the window frames (part 42) to occur in the middle of these folds, but it is possible to wait until after. Hopefully this helps that all make sense:
But wait! I’m not done with this bit of instructions… or, well, kinda. Because there’s actually a fourth step in this row of instructions that I left off. Because I want to suggest that you consider attaching part 60 during the final step of this sequence, where you “close up” the roof sections. Part 60 is a flat section at the apex of the roof, and has tabs that pass through 3 sides of the roof – which are all folded together at this point. So if you wait until the bottom of the page, where the instructions includes part 60, you will have to unfold the roof a little to get it in there. Save yourself some grief and attach it now. And while I’m at it, I’ll note that you might want to do the same thing with part 59, and the section of roof that it fits into (rear roof panel of part 57, which is thankfully formed much closer in proximity).
And to finish up, I have just one last note I wrote in my instructions. When forming the top of one of the smaller towers, the instructions direct you to start by folding a 90 degree fold into the top (part 45) and securing it to the cylinder below it (part 46). The trouble comes when it suggests that you then form the top into a cone, which just seems very improbable to achieve. Instead, I started by forming the conical section of the top, then securing the cylinder to the base of the top, and finishing by folding the cylindrical portion over. It is a bit of a challenge to get the conical section to sit flat, but it’s a lot easier (in my humble opinion) than trying to form a cone from the pointy end.
According to the total length of my silent build videos (as seen below, for reference), this build took me just over 5.5 hours. For something this detailed, that certainly doesn’t seem like enough time to complete. Hopefully that doesn’t mean I’m missing some of the build.