When I think of all the activities and amenities I want in the perfect vacation locale, the first things that come to mind are: disease-filled swamps; crocodile-infested waters; dark, damp, and uncomfortable rooms; seminars on torture; unnecessary violence; and a complimentary continental breakfast. Fortunately for me, Patrick Massey has built exactly such a place! The dark green waters around Stormholme Castle tempt me with their malaria, West Nile, or dengue-carrying mosquitoes, and the lushness of the vegetation makes me certain that the humidity level is probably about as close to the carrying capacity of air as it can get; I love sweating profusely while being bitten by bugs, don’t you? The dark gray castle itself looks appropriately foreboding, given its swampy setting, and is, shockingly enough, Patrick’s first actual castle (he has specialized in the medieval fantasy genre for at least six years, yet never built a castle; a few towers, and small fortresses, but no castles). The wait has been worth it.
Patrick has built a reputation over the years for being among the masters of the craft when it comes to intricately detailed larger dioramas. Everywhere the eye can rest on the build, there is something to see and admire, with no areas left plain or ignored (as so often happens in huge builds). The round towers utilize outward-facing 1×2 tiles to excellent effect, though someone definitely needs to trim back those vines that are creeping up them. I love all of the Harry Potter lanterns lighting the path, too.
The village around the castle is run down and decrepit, with spider webs spanning holes in the roofs. On my way down to the rowboat to view the gators with my kids, I would feel perfectly safe walking on that dock, too. So, if you haven’t decided where to take the family before school starts up again, let me recommend Stormholme Castle. Patrick is so eager to have folks visiting, that he is even throwing in a free head-on-pike with each reservation! So what are you waiting for? Make your vacation plans now!