After seeing my Lincoln bust it was suggested that I make a chess set using the same style as the bust. At the start this project seemed like a huge undertaking, but the more I thought about it the more I loved the idea of creating a project of this size and developing the style I created over such a large platform.
I started with sketching each figure giving a great deal of thought about what to use as bishops and queens. After a good deal of thinking I decided to use Grant and Lee for queens. I thought about using prominent woman of the war, but unfortunately there aren’t really too many women that were prominent in the Civil War that also have clear sides. Also I knew I wanted to use both presidents and generals. It was around this time when I decided that all the non-king and queen pieces should be the same only different colors. I have played chess before with a set that every piece was different and I found it confusing.
After the sketches were approved I started sculpting each piece. I use a mixture of super sculpty and suculpty firm that holds the details but isn’t hard to sculpt. I have a couple of clay tools I picked up over the years nothing fancy just simple stuff. I already had the bases that I bought so I knew around how big each piece would be before starting. I started with Grant and Lee and after finishing those sculpts decided that I didn’t want the pieces that big and re sculpted them smaller.
After having the first couple done, I moved though the others fairly quickly getting all the sculpting finished before casting. I wanted to make sure all the pieces fit together as far as look so that they all look like they are from the same set.
When I started the casting I didn’t realize how long it would take. I started with the pawn mold and ended up going through three different molds by the end of production. Every morning I wake up and fill molds, and it’s the first thing I do when I get home at night. I can’t wait to get paint on all these and am excited to see them turn in to a set.