Thursday, March 30, 2017

A couple of mold boxes

I had a bit of spare time this past weekend so I made up mold boxes for the ECW casualties and the lamppost.

The bottom box with the lamppost will be used vertically, so I made the lantern end slightly broader than the top so it'll stand up better during the pouring process. The photo shows half a dozen deep dents made in the Sculpey in which the lamppost master is embedded. These are so the two halves will match up perfectly and prevent slipping when in use. That bulge emerging from the brown base will eventually form the funnel-shaped pouring hole.

The next stage will be to pour the silicone. Once set I'll carefully remove it, flip it over, and build another box around it. With two-part molds, it's essential to coat the surface of the first part with Vaseline before pouring the next batch of silicone. Without it the silicone will stick to the previous layer and be impossible to separate.

While I was at it I sculpted a couple of gutter pieces both for gaming use and for diorama-style bookends. These will be molded too and match up with the cobblestone pieces I made earlier. The small square piece on the metal plate at the top is the corner for the gutter and is ready for baking. I need to trim and sand some areas of these pieces for a better fit.

I think I've now made all the pieces needed for a good mold-making session, so once the weather warms up a bit I'll have at it.

For those who may be interested, Bruce Hirst of Hirst Arts is currently designing small brick molds which will be extremely useful for buildings and sewer/dungeon systems. I suspect I'll be sending an order for them one of these days.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Leaning on a lamppost

This afternoon I took a breather from the process of clearing up my man cave to make a few more odds and sods for molding. The weather's warming up to the point where I can pour the silicone and have it cure in reasonable time.

A recent discussion on another forum about casualty figures reminded me I needed a few for my 10mm ECW collection, so I made a trio of generic Civil War types. These'll replace the poker chips now doing duty in my games, which do the job but lack visual appeal.

Alongside them is a lamppost of the traditional type, this one in 1/56 scale, which is intended for Pulp/Victorian games and also for bookends along with the cobblestones I made earlier. A more complicated piece, it'll be made into a two-part mold. I'll cover that part when I come to it.

The pole is made from the inner tube of a ballpoint pen, and the brown base is a wooden bead. The top part was constructed from four pieces of basswood cut to shape and glued along the edges, then capped by a square of basswood and a plaster component from the Hirst Arts small pipe mold. I used Puffy paint to fill any small gaps along the edges, building it up to form the frames for the 'glass.' The crossbar is a bit larger than it would be in this scale so resin can flow into it. As it is, after pouring the resin I'll need to gently squeeze the mold to persuade any air bubbles to escape.

More on the whole molding thing later when I get time.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A load of old cobble...stones.

(Stirring music begins playing softly beneath voice-over) After a blitzkrieg of tidying, the house is now unnervingly clean and clear of clutter, ready for viewing by potential buyers. (Music rises) Only a lone outpost of clutter remains, resisting the oncoming tide of cleanliness (Music rises toward a crescendo), its lone occupant fighting to keep the hordes of neatness at bay. And that isolated outpost, that solitary fortress of clutter is - my work table! (Music ends on a crashing, discordant note followed by a duck call).

Yes, with all the stresses and strains of selling a house I have to lapse into a bit of Pythonesque silliness sometimes or I'll go Doolally-tap.


Some modeling is still going on here in limbo. I decided to make as many master models for molding purposes as I could, since OOMOO30 has something of a limited shelf-life once opened. The next little project is a batch of cobblestone pieces for gaming and making bookends.

Someone on the Hirst Arts Facebook page suggested the use of a type of scrapbooking material for making cobblestone surfaces. The photos of the results impressed me so I sought it out for myself - and came up dry. My local branch of Hobby Lobby didn't have the thin pressed foam material (called Champagne Bubbles if anyone's interested). What they did have was a hinged plastic thingy by a company called The Paper Studio. It has a lot of dimples on one side with matching studs on the other. I gather this particular whatsit is used by scrapbookers to make embossed paper. A sheet of paper is placed between the two leaves and the whole thing fed into a device like a small old-fashioned mangle/clothes wringer.

I saw it would work equally well for making cobblestone-like impressions in Sculpey so I bought one. Once on the workbench, I rolled out a blob of Sculpey onto the dimpled plastic using two pencils to guide the roller and keep the thickness constant - in this case a smidge over a quarter-inch thick. Once rolled flat enough, the Sculpey picked up the impressions and I cut it to 2 inch and 1 1/2 inch squares. These were then baked as usual.

The results of the first pressing, baked and ready for painting.
These should take molding pretty well. The 2-inch squares will be used for roads and the display area of bookends (I have a Penny Dreadful/Ripper Street theme in mind for these. Just need to make a couple of old-fashioned gas lamps). The 1 1/2 inch square has a half-inch wide by quarter inch thick part which will take Hirst Arts blocks for walls and such. These will serve for dungeon set-ups as well as wargaming. There's a slight step which will make the join stronger once glued.

I'll dig the paints out again and experiment with a few colour schemes just to see how they turn out. Painted or not, it won't affect the silicone. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Movement trays take 2 - 3

Packing up stuff for a house move is a chore and a half, but my wife and I are making progress and we'll begin looking at properties in earnest this week. I had a bit of spare time over the weekend so I worked on the molds for the Dux B movement trays and other items.

First off, for the base I used an off-cut of half-inch foamcore since this is nice and flat and rigid enough for the job. For the sake of experimentation I decided to make three molds in one fell swoop, as it might work out easier when pouring the silicone. The new mold box is on the left; each of the bays will hold different master models to be molded. The one on the right is a mold I made earlier which will be for a new type of bookends base.

One thing mold makers learn quickly - make sure the mold box is watertight. Silicone molding material is a tricky bugger and it will find the smallest gap to flow through, resulting in a gods-awful mess and a lot of pointed words from the Better Half if you get it on the carpet. Be told.

I used a hot glue gun to fix the partitions in place and to seal the ends and edges. It looked like it had done a reasonable job in sealing the boxes, but did I think it had done the trick? No. (See above comment re. silicone). I smeared a good dollop of Liquid Nails over every join and edge. Once it's dry I'll apply a good coating of Pledge polish around these as well as the master models. Do I think it'll seal everything? Possibly...

Next I glued down the objects I want to take molds from in the bays.

L-R these are: - #1 Five Zanzibar slaver casualties (which have been hanging around for well over a year waiting for me to remember to buy the OOMOO30 silicone): #2 The Dux Britanniarum movement tray, now nice and flat and showing none of the warping silliness of the earlier version: #3 Some scratch-made Hirst Arts compatible doors, diamond-paned window, and a pair of recumbent statues. The two black strips are rubber pieces I found in a parking lot. I think they had come off a car or bike. I like the chevron pattern and thought it would make good decorative columns and trim. Because silicone rubber sticks extremely well to silicone rubber I'll coat these in a layer of melted Vaseline. Everything else is made of Sculpey - useful stuff.

So, that's the lot so far. We'll be busy this next week, but hopefully I'll find some time to pour the silicone and see what happens. Watch this space...


home page uniques