Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Monocacy 150

Monocacy Sentinel
 I'm reposting this in commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Monocacy

This blog has always spoken very highly of the buildings produced by BMC/Americana; Lee's and Meade's headquarters, Dunker Church etc. They are simple, fairly handsome, and accurate kits that assemble easily and enhance any 54mm. battle scenario. But what I like the most about them is the ease with which they can be converted.

An earlier post to this blog showed a Meade's headquarters which was converted into a small factory building and another that was transformed into a small blacksmiths forge (see them here).

With this entry, I submit for your edification a new BMC/Americana modification; the Monocacy Blockhouse.

As we all learned from years of watching the A-Team, everything starts with a plan.  This is the plan that I drew up for this blockhouse idea.  The concept was based upon a generic Civil war-era Federal timber blockhouse.  Mine was to be of the blockhouse that watched over the vital railroad junction at Monocacy outside of Frederick Maryland.

The BMC/Americana components that comprised this conversion were the roof panels from two Lee's headquarters and the stockade walls and gatehouses from the Andersonville kit.

The crenelations at the top of the walls were cut off using my table saw, and the dimensions were scaled off a 54mm soldier.

The  bonding was all done by "welding" the pieces together with a soldering iron.  This is an extremely effective technique for working with this type of plastic.  Do note that caution must be taken as the fumes created using this method are toxic and adequate ventilation must be used.

And by ventilation, I don't mean simply doing the project outdoors, I use an exhaust hood which completely eliminates exposure to the smoke, to the point that a mask is unnecessary.
I really can't overstate the need for positive ventilation here.  Also take care when using the soldering iron.

This is the completed roof including an observation cupola.

The same welding technique was used to construct the two storeys of the blockhouse.  Here the lower storey is shown complete with shooting steps and loopholes.  The rectangular pieces of plastic in the corners are simply reinforcements for the bonding of the walls.

Roof, upper, and lower levels all fit snugly together, but come apart easily for the positioning of troops.

Mounted to a flocked plywood base (which is removable) the blockhouse is primed and ready for painting.

The lower storey is whitewashed with artillery green trim, the upper storey is natural weathered wood and the roof is cedar shakes.  The whole kit and kaboodle was weathered and dry-brushed.

The sign board was hand lettered and weathered.

The loopholes accommodate men in both standing and kneeling firing positions.

A daunting sight for anyone approaching the junction with evil intent.  The larger ports are to accommodate a cannon.

The engineer castle and Federal shield escutcheons were made from Sculpey and applied to each side of the front gatehouse.  This motif was influenced by a similar design of the restored gates at Fort Ward in Alexandria Virginia.

Click on the image for a close-up of the motif at the top of the gate.

Altogether a very satisfying project, and one that I hope Americana may undertake itself one fine day.
See you again on June 1st.
Soldier on!