I work at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, VA. The base is named after Rear Admiral John Adophus Dahlgren, United States Navy officer during the Civil War who initiated major advances in gunnery, as founder of the U.S. Navy’s Ordnance Department.
There is a bronze bust of Dahlgren displayed as you enter the base at the Main Gate. This bust was sculped by Theodore Mills. A digital scan was made of the bust last year, and the head of the base model shop gave me a small-scale 3D print of the bust to paint.
The print was covered in horizontal lines, which I couldn’t really file away, but liberal use of primer solved that problem. There was some paint cracking on the top of the head as a result, but I fixed that with some carefully-applied matte varnish.
Here’s the bust so far. The drape I am going to paint with red and white stripes, so I painted faint red guidelines so I could judge whether they are evenly spaced and properly curving with the fabric. I think I have some work to do there, but it’s a start. I’ll even it out in my next post, and maybe start filling in the stripes.
Dahlgren was of Swedish descent, and was described as fair-haired with blue eyes. The photos show him with very dark hair, but someone gave me a probable insight into the discrepancy: many men during that time period used boot black in their hair. I’m betting that’s what he did. I had to make a decision on how to paint his hair, and you can see the results below.
There were plenty of resources available on Naval officer uniforms, so that was not a problem.
And yes, that mark on his forehead is supposed to be there. Dahlgren had a scar.