Malbork (Marienburg) Castle

Complete model

This is a paper model kit published by the Polish manufacturer GPM in 1997, presented as a stapled booklet size 322mm x 240mm. It contains:

a brief description of the building and its history, in Polish
two tightly-packed pages of assembly instructions in Polish,
eleven pages containing 88 rather small and low-quality photographs and six line drawings showing the assembly process,
12 thin card sheets of model parts, with approximately 560 parts in all,
1 paper sheet of templates to be laminated with 1mm card,
one folded sheet of this card for a base 500mm x 350mm. This also contains 11 colour photographs of the finished model - also small and not very good quality.

The model is in scale 1:500, and has a good number of quite tiny parts. For this reason I decided to make the model full size, instead of scanning the pages and printing out at reduced scale. Print quality is reasonable, though some pages had significant colour registration errors. One page had been cropped and stapled a bit off-centre, so there was a little bit of the printing missing at the edge. Fortunately only a very tiny amount of one or two parts was missing - the main things cut off were part numbers.

One slight disappointment was unavoidable. Because the castle is built in deep red brick, with deep red tiles on the roofs, the colours on the model are inevitably rather monotonous.

As is the way with many East European models, the parts are packed very tightly on the sheets. They are also distributed with little discernable logic between the sheets, so the first task was to list all the parts on each sheet, then to sort them by part number. The general pattern is to number a major part, then give associated parts the same number, but distinguish them by suffices A, B etc. The part listing process showed up a few anomalies:

These mostly became clear as assembly progressed. Parts 50A, B, C and D appear to constitute part 50 collectively. There are indeed two parts 66, evidenced both in the assembly instructions and photographs.

Part 86 is a puzzle though. It is mentioned in the assembly instructions along with 86A, B and C. On one photograph there is a label for part 86, but unfortunately the photograph is of such poor quality that it is impossible to see to what the label refers. The three lettered parts form three steps which fit in a corner of the courtyard of the middle castle, but the walls in that corner are completely blank, so I guess that 86 itself is meant to be a porch or doorway. In the end I scanned a doorway from another part of the castle and glued it on the wall in that corner.

On the whole assembly was reasonably straightforward, though fit was not always as good as might be hoped. In the end I had to scan half a dozen parts and modify them in GIMP to get something to fit, as well as having to trim back quite a few others. The instructions (in Polish) are extensive, but consist very largely of "assemble part X, glue on parts XA, XB and XC, and attach to part Y" (very loosely translated). At least they make it clear that the parts are expected to be assembled in numerical order. In fact I departed substantially from this, as numerical order would construct first the main Upper Castle building, then all the outlying walls and small works, and only finally the Middle Castle building. It was clear that there would have to be a lot of fitting of the walls linking the two major buildings, so I made the Upper Castle, then the Middle Castle, and only at the end went back to the outer works.

All in all an interesting experience, but quite frustrating at times. I may try another GPM model some time, but not for a while, I think.

High Castle

High Castle High Castle
High Castle High Castle

Middle Castle

Missing chimneys, which I left to the end.

Middle Castle Middle Castle
Middle Castle Middle Castle


Malbork Castle
Malbork Castle Malbork Castle
Malbork Castle
Malbork Castle