David Donachie's winning entry in Mofreaky's 2003 Contest Event

Castle stairs

If you've ever built one of Playmobil's wonderful castles or the splendid framework houses then you will probably have loved their realism, and how good they are to play with. If you've spent more than five minutes with them then you've probably realised that the poor klickies have no way to get from one floor to another!

The problem

Playmobil does make a number of stairs that are compatible with the steck system. There are the large castle stairs that fit on the outside of the castle walls, the very steep stairs that get you to the battlements, and the lovely stairs from the Victorian Mansion that only only fit in mansion floors. Playmobil's designers even thoughtfully made a few floor pieces with holes in them (such as in the towers) so you could clamber to your upper floors on a ladder.

But if you are a poor klicky in a castle and you want to get to your upper floor without clambering up a ladder or going outside, then you are out of luck.

The solution

After building the nth house without any stairs I decided I was going to have to do something to solve the problem. After a bit of thought what I decided I needed was a castle floor section with a stair attached to it, something that could slot into any house or castle and give self-contained (and interior) access to the floor above.

This stair consists of two pieces joined together. At the top there is a floor piece, and underneath it the stair itself. The floor is constructed from heavy plasticard, reinforced with two long bars on the underside. Thus was a very difficult piece to cut into the right shape and took hours. The hardest part was not breaking off the tabs that hold it into the wall. In retrospect I might not have bothered, and left it to the bars to hold it in place.

Underneath the floor piece is a plastic stairway intended for a dollshouse. This stair came with only one side rail (it was intended to go against a wall) so I made matching piece of plasticard and stuck it to the side. I also had to cut down the top to fit the floor piece, which was hard work as the stair was very brittle.

Finally I put vinyl wood effect across the top and painted it all brown.

Along the front edge of the floor piece you can see a thinner area. This is intended to hold one of the dark brown floor strips that go between adjacent floor pieces. I tried to make a thin strip and glue it to the edge, but it didn't work that well. In retrospect I think it might have been easier to simply glue a thin sheet on the underside.

David Donachie, 2003