March 21, 2010

BG McCallum Visit

Today we were honored to host a visit from BG Daniel McCallum and his lovely wife (they are also known as Mike and Ali Doyle). Mike has been helping me put together a Union officer's uniform to wear at various events when discussing the ACW railroads. We did not get a photo of our distinguished visitors at the layout, but BG McCallum's staff sent us this "official portrait."

While here General McCallum inspected progress on the new O Scale artillery pieces that Alkem Scale Models is working on. One of the problems that we O Scale ACW modelers have is that there are no true O Scale (1/48th scale) artillery pieces to go along with our trains and layouts. While some fudging is possible with figures since people come in different sizes, artillery, wagons and other mechanical conveyances need to be much closer to scale. The cannons from Sash and Saber, the only manufacturer that makes cannons in 40mm scale, are too big by about 20 percent. They scale out to about 1/40th scale. Most of cannons in 28mm scale are too small.

To address the problem I decided to try making some true 1/48th scale artillery pieces. I made a trip to Ft Ward to photograph and measure the artillery pieces they have there. There I found out that the prototype wheels are 56 inches in diameter. I also took several other measurements to help in putting together a model.
One key dimension that was a bit of a surprise was that the dishing of the wheel is only about two inches, or .040 inches in O scale. This is barely perceptible.
To capture the dishing, I tried different techniques, but the laser cut versions you see here worked the best and are easiest to assemble.

The gun tube started life as the end of a paint brush that was close to the actual necessary size. I turned it on my Dremel "lathe." The trick will be to get these cast in resin of perhaps pewter.

Next step is to add all the wrougth iron detail parts such as the elevating screw, reinforcing nuts, trail spike, etc. These will be bits of wire and laser cut elements.

Depending on production, we'll offer these as kits. We'll also try to develop limbers, caissons and supply wagons to fill out the line as time permits.

Painted but still awaiting details. The bronze gun is a 12 pound Napoleon of the Union design with flared muzzle. The black cannon is a 3 inch ordnance rifle.


  1. Simply amazing! I cannot fathom how you would get this cast in resin. The flat car having the wood planking is nice too.

  2. For mass production the barrel should be cast in resin or pewter. The other parts can be laser cut. Assembly would be a lot easier if all the parts were cast with the details installed, but that might not be possible in a very limited run.

  3. Your kit looks like the classic 12lb howitzer. In addition, I'd love to see a Parrott and an Ordinance Rifle ( And of course you'll want to design and cut the limber and ammo wagons to go with them.


  4. That is supposed to be a 12 pound Napolean of the Union style with the flared muzzle. I also did a 3 inch ordnance rifle. A 10 pound Parrot is next.