Client: Castletown D-Day Centre – Portland, Dorset, UK
Project: 6 x WW2 Servicemen Sculptures
Date: Aug-Sept 2017
We love a head-scratcher, and this was up there with one of the most complicated projects we have worked on in recent times!
We were asked by the Castletown Regeneration Project and Castletown D-Day Centre to build 6 life-sized sculptures, each to be placed upon the two Mullberry Harbours, (or Phoenix Caissons as they are otherwise known), which are sat just off shore in the harbour of our hometown on Portland, Dorset.
These sculptures were to represent 6 individual WW2 servicemen: 2 British Sailors, 2 American G.I’s and 2 Dockyard Workers and were to be built in such a way that they could be located up on the harbours, where officially no one had set foot in over 10 years and with no existing access (other than a rusty old ladder). They also had to be built using materials which would withstand the elements in this exposed part of the harbour.
We were given a set budget to keep to, sculpting these in Portland Stone would have cost a fortune, as would sculpting each sculpture in clay and creating individually molded casts.
The way we figured to achieve the brief on the chosen budget was to sculpt one set of body parts in clay which could be used for all the sculptures, along with any additional parts required for each pairs identity. We then created silicone molds of these pieces and created replica casts which could be adapted for each sculpture.
What we were left with was one giant jigsaw puzzle comprising of 70 individual parts, which would then be pieced together and posed for each sculpture. This took some brainwork!!!
We then had to figure out how to get these up onto the harbours. Luckily the guys at the Portland Port Authority offered to lend us a HUGE hand with their Tug Boat “Rufus Castle”, crew, and very handy crane.
Of course, we had one final complication in that the crane had a set weight limit and could only reach over the top railings of the 15m tall Harbours in a short 2hr window, on the fortnightly spring high tide.
No to be scuppered by this additional headache, we decided to build the sculptures in 2 parts, being sure to send up the larger and heavier bases first. On the day of install it was all plain sailing and we couldn’t have done it without the knowledge and patience of the Tug Boat crew. Thanks guys!!!
This was an incredibly interesting project, and a great opportunity to work on a location not many will get the chance to, and all in our hometown which was the icing on the cake!!
The video to the left was created by our friends at www.harbourmedia.co.uk check them out for video production and aerial drone photography.