Scratch-built ACW river fort…

Well I thought I would give scratch-building ACW ships a little rest for a while and decided I would try and build a river fort that I could use in my games of Blood Sweat & Iron.

This was something that I had thought of for a while as I don’t have anything I could use in my games, I had been using paper print outs of forts while testing my rules and I wanted something that maybe would look good on the table with my ships.

So I found a few photo’s on the internet of ACW river forts and decided to try and make a big one, something on the lines of Fort Sumpter… this model was not meant to be a copy of the actual fort it was just meant to represent a fort.

So for the basic shape and walls of the fort I used some balsa wood as it was easy to cut and to shape, once this was stuck together I used a small off cut of wood and made a little sanding block to make the walkways and top wall.

Next I stuck this basic shape to some plastic-card and then made some small slots in the top edge wall to represent cannon ports ( yeah I know they are a little big and it would have probably look better without them.. oh well they are there to stay ☹

Then I mixed up some standard Milliput and sculpted the rocks and the ground in the centre of the fort, I find Milliput really good for this sort of thing and use it on most of my figure bases as well.

I also cut some buildings out of more balsa wood for inside the fort, these I stuck to the inside of the main walls, this allowed me to make some simple paths in the Milliput leading from these buildings doors towards both of the forts entrances, these were just pushed into the soft balsa wood with an old pen.

I then covered all the balsa wood with super glue which makes the balsa wood very hard and would be ok to handle in a game, I then painted the areas inside the fort and around the edges with PVA glue and then sprinkled very fine sand onto this to make the grass… this is probably at about 2mm scale so I thought this would be better than actual flock.

After this was all dry I coated it all with a coat of black primer and let it dry, this was then ready for painting.

The basic coats of paint were brown for the fort main walls and the dirt, light grey for the walkways and the walls of the internal buildings and dark grey for their roofs and all the rocks around the fort.

I then picked out the doors and windows / openings on the buildings and the internal fort walls with black ( I also used a black pen for some of the windows )

Once this was dry I added a coat of dark green for the base grass colour and left this to dry.

Next I went over the model with a Dark Tone wash, this was mainly for the rocks, main walls and grass areas.

Once this wash was dry I then dry-brushed a light tan on the paths picking out the rough edges and stones and then hit the paths with a Soft Tone wash once the dry-brush was dry.

I then dry-brushed all the rocks with a light grey to pick out all the details and I also dry-brushed a light green on some of the grass areas.

The last thing I did was to add a few small bushes / trees around the outside of the fort, these were made out of tiny pieces of green scouring pad, and again super glue was added onto these to make them hard.

Well that is it an ACW river fort to use in my games of Blood Sweat & Iron… I may now need to add another data card to the rules to cover a fort of this size and shape!!

I don’t have any tiny cannons to use on the walls and my modelling skill is not up to making them so I will just use tiny coloured dice placed on the walls to show the guns that are there, different colours for different sized guns should work.

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