The prop designers for block-buster films including Harry Potter, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Star Wars Episode 1, Alexander and The Da Vinci Code are behind one of the most popular elements of the new Athlone Castle visitor centre.
The castle's much-admired set of sculptures representing the 17th century figures involved in the Siege of Athlone were created by Windsor Workshop, the company also responsible for props in some of the most beloved movies of recent years. Since the multi-sensory Athlone Castle Visitor Centre opened its doors to the public on November 6 last year, visitors have been very taken with the beauty, intricate detail and scale of the six life-size figures.
The six-foot tall models combine both abstract design and authentic detail to represent characters including Sergeant Custume, Colonel Richard Grace and Lieutenant General Godard Van Reede Van Ginkel.
The hands and faces were modelled in clay and then moulded and cast in fibreglass.
These were painted and finished with a graphite powder to create a dark silver colour. The hair was made with thermoformed plastic and steel ribbon. Accurate patterns of the muskets and swords were made in wood, wax and plastic. Following this process, all the weapons were cast in solid Polyurethane rubber over steel armatures. These were then painted and bolted onto the sculptures.
Catherine Yorke, Art and Heritage Guide at Athlone Castle said, "The sculptural figures are certainly proving to be one of the star attractions of the new Athlone Castle experience. The majority of visitors are very taken with them. It is exciting to think that the creative talent involved in global, block-buster films such as Harry Potter and Star Wars have had a hand in the making of our new Athlone Castle Visitor Centre. It also points to the calibre of expertise that was involved in creating the new visitor experience."