Casting Fool & Son's 1:60 scale "Fort Gregg" Project
Welcome to the Fort Gregg Project portfolio.
Fellow casters and others asked if they could see the process that I used to produce the Fort Gregg 1:60 scale model kit. The complete kit is available through CF&Son, and the complete kit or individual sections of the kit are also available through Homegrown Miniatures in Florida. Homegrown Miniatures has excellent pictures of the kit profiled at their website.
The following pictures show some of the stages in the completion of the project. I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures and the scans that produced them for this presentation. A digital camera is high on the list of next-to-buy items for Casting Fool & Son!
On April 2, 1865, one week before the end of the War Between The States, Fort Gregg 's sacrifice gave General Lee time to get his army out of Petersburg, Virginia. Out of over 200 men in the fort only 37 survived the Union onslaught, but they gave Lee the three hours he needed to move out of Petersburg.
It took approximately 20 hours to research background on Confederate fortifications in the Southeast, specifically in the Petersburg area. The original model was very nearly complete when the Battleground Park Service in Petersburg supplied both an engineers' report, AND an actual set of plans for Fort Gregg!
I was pleased when I discovered that the model needed only three small corrections to be more in line with the historical conception of how the fort's construction may have actually appeared.
As a side note: Because of what I learned through my research, as well as a result of having lived in the deep South for nearly two decades, I've had to reconsider my perspective on the War. I now believe that in spite of ideological differences, there were true patriots on both sides of the Mason-Dixon. Now, if we could only stop using our nation's past to prejudice the minds of our children...
I also coined a term to describe how I shrank the model down: "Caricature Scaling".
In true 1:60 scale (25/28mm scale), a model of Fort Gregg would have been something like 52 inches (135cm) in width. But it needed to be sized so that it would be comfortable to use the model as a terrain piece in historical miniature gaming, as well as to keep costs down in order to ensure that the kit could be reasonably priced. Most likely, as I'm new to this field, someone else has already coined a phrase for this process!
(I also had a request to model Fort Fisher in Cape Fear, North Carolina. In 1:60 "Caricature Scale" Fort Fisher would measure 9.5' x 3.5' (2.9m x 1m), with some sections as tall as 10" (25cm), and with a number of multi-tiered sections to accommodate some of the unique features of the fortification. It would take about 1 year to design, sculpt and produce molds for the kit. Not an inexpensive undertaking, though it would be an exciting challenge.)
Each photo of the Fort Gregg Kit has a caption below it, and you may view a VERY large and a bit clearer version of each of the pictures by clicking on the photo that you want to view.
For those viewers into 1:60 scale Sci-Fi miniature gaming, I took a series of pictures with 1:60 scale Sci-Fi miniatures defending the fort.
"A jester unemployed is nobody's fool!" - Danny Kaye
#1: This is the fort after most of the preliminary construction of the model was complete. Notice the pink cutouts at the ends of the parapet. Similar cutouts were used at each of the corners, too. The corner ones were removed when the corrugated cardboard buildup was complete and the corners filled and glued. The cutouts represent where the Sculpey clay would fill out the fort's general shape.
#2: Same thing, but from the rear. The base of the model was made from large index cards taped together. The layout of the fort was then drawn on the cards. From this angle, one can see how the fort will break down into four sections when it is complete.
#3: Same thing, different angle.
#4: Same thing, broken up into the separate sections.
#5: Ditto, different angle.
#6: Ditto, again!
#7: At this stage, most of the Sculpey has been applied and the fort has begun to take on it's intended appearance. The cutouts that appear between each section (and are visible in all of the above photos) are where the barrels were to be placed. You can also see some of the Homegrown Miniatures Civil War 25mm figures that I used to judge dimensions.
I found photographic evidence from that period (1860-1865) that indicated that the Confederate forces used barrels filled with soil to act as the substructure inside of the parapet on some of their fortifications. I wanted the sides of the sections where they meet to have some detail other than just layers of dirt. I sculpted a few different period barrels, cast several sets of them, added them to each of the sections, then filled in the rest of each cutout with paper stuffing and more Sculpey.
The white tool setting next to the hobby knife is the pattern/scraper that I use to get the parapet uniform along it's length.
#8: Here is where I forgot to take pictures! As you can see in this photo, and in the following photos, the completed and baked sections are in their mold boxes. I did not take pictures of the detailing process, and I apologize for the oversight. In these photos, you can see the wood planking and actual twigs used for the upright posts.
I added a little landscaping dirt and gravel, and then used the cannon to create tracks from the entrance of the fort to the various gun positions. Then I textured the entire fort using an old toothbrush.
The Sculpey was a tad over-baked and turned a little brown. The Sculpey sandbags were baked and applied separately.
After the sections cooled, I mounted all of them on 1/8 inch (0.125 inch) Evergreen sheet styrene, cut to match the outline of each section's bottom surface. (Later, the 1/8 inch base edge will mate with the fort's ditch/glacis sections. Abatus pieces are also being developed as accessories.)
The containers in the right foreground are RTV containers that have been altered to make them useful as RTV measuring cups.
#9: Another section ready for the Dow-Corning HS III RTV silicone mold material.
#10: The completed molds out of their boxes. You can also see one of the palisade sections in the foreground set up for its mold, just prior to my making the mold box. (Note: The palisades were made by taking small branches off of trees and cutting them to length.)
#11: Getting the molds ready for casting. In some of these pictures, you can see the mold for an antique tractor taillight that I'm producing for Norm's Toys, a company that specializes in parts for antique tractors.
#12: More of the same. The casserole dish lid in the foreground is used for excess RTV. I cut up the square of RTV after it cures, and use it for making feet for my glass work surfaces.
#13: You can see the original tractor lens and the lens mold in the foreground. The long thin mold was cut up and used to create cavities in the fort section castings.
#14: One of the first complete castings using the Fort Gregg molds. The four fort sections, three palisade sections, a gate, and the "bombproof"; the bombproof consisting of three sandbag sections, the bombproof itself, and hidden behind the rear sandbag section, the door to the bombproof.
#15: The same thing as viewed from the rear.
#16: The first test casting painted. I experimented with some painting effects, hence the two sections that are a bit darker than the other two.
#17: The same thing as viewed from the rear
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