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Paper Model
Burg Esslingen

Author: Lutz Pietschker
Version: 2011-06-19

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General Information

This model actually does not show a castle but part of the 13th-century town fortifications of the Swabian town of Esslingen, near Stuttgart. However, it is common, if not entirely correct, to call it "Burg" (castle), so I'll stay with that expression. The model shows a famous landmark of Esslingen, "den dicken Turm" (the fat tower with its 5-m-thick walls, now the home an expensive restaurant), part of the walls and the vineyard that is on the "inside" side of the wall. I bought this model very much onsite, i.e. in the Esslingen town museum near the castle. It is always fun to build something I have seen myself, in this case actually walked about in- I have been on these walls and went down the path through the vineyard into the old town.

Here are some impressions of what the actual site looks like:

Burg Esslingen
Image with kind permission of

Burg Esslingen

Burg Esslingen

J.F. Schreiber, themselves one of the world's prime publisher of excellent cardboard models, are given as the printer of this model, which is apparently a reprint of an older original, but there is no information about the original designer or publisher. The numbering and colouring indicates that it would be from around 1900, but I am no expert on this.

While the graphics and colouring are quite good (and the detail is correct, as you can see by comparison with the original site), the problems with this model are manifold. The main problem is that the static system is bad; the complete structure is supposed to be self-supporting and to rest on the base only at the edges (actually, there is no base, you have to provide your own). This means that you cut, fold and glue everything together and then hope that somehow the base edges form a plane. But this hope vanishes haflfway through the work, because then you encounter parts that just do not fit- the printed contours on supposedly connecting parts leave a gap or length difference of up to 5mm. I was forced to cover some gaps with strips of cardboard. All in all I think I spent more than half of my time repairing things, and ended up with a vineyard slope that is very different from what it should have been. On top of the bad design the model is printed on floppy cardboard with only one sided coated and printed (the other is rough grey cardboard), which make the model prone to excessive warping if glued with PVA glue (or any other glue that contains water).

However, the completed model looks quite nice and rewards the work put into making it.

Picture Gallery

(Click image to show it in large size in a new window.)

Burg Esslingen Burg Esslingen Front and back views of the model (front =as seen from the town, back =as seen when approaching with evil intentions from outside).
I mounted the model on a KAPA board (foam-cardboard sandwich). The complete black wedge below the vineyard is my addition, it was necessary because of ill-fitting parts and excessive warping. I am sure I made mistakes in building, but I am not the only one who did.
Burg Esslingen Burg Esslingen Seen from the other edges. As you can see in the right-hand picture it was necessary to fit a strip of cardboard to the tower to connect it to the printed slope that was attached to the wall.
Burg Esslingen Burg Esslingen Close-ups of the gate, fro the vineyard and from the parapet side. The arches were also added by me as the printed arches did not fit with the gateway interior.
Burg Esslingen Burg Esslingen The other side of the parapet with the "Hochwacht" ("high lookout") building.

If you would like to build this model yourself, here is what I would do next time I build it:

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Written and published by Lutz Pietschker. Please send comments about technical problems to the site master.
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, last change 2011-03-12