Sunday, 24 July 2011

Bleh, Bah and Bum

I would prefer my blogposts to provide a history of my triumphs without any memorials of the accompanying disasters; but this post is perhaps a more useful record of what can go wrong when mould making.

Today, I was supposed to carefully pry my Croat master figure out of its newly made mould. Following that, I'd spend an impatient day or two allowing the silicone rubber to dry out fully before introducing it to hot metal. Shiny new Croats would then have miraculously appeared and all would have been sweetness and light.

Not the Desired Result

It was not to be. Instead of a mould that would split into two halves, I found I had a single block of rubber with a milliput figure somewhere inside it. So I spent an unhappy half hour trying to dig the figure out with a craft knife. That required slow and delicate work to prevent any damage to the figure, requiring a patience that, in the circumstances, was notable only for its absence: my instincts were more along the lines of wanting to punish the offending objects by chucking them against a wall. So the figure was lucky to come away with only the damage visible in the photo.

The disaster was caused by my using insufficient separator (vaseline) to coat the half of the mould that had been made from the first pouring of rubber. In my initial attempts at mould making some time ago I had used pure vaseline, resulting in the figure losing much of its detail due to a thick layer of the stuff. In subsequent molds I had thinned the vaseline with white spirits and the detail had thereby been preserved. But there are clearly limits to how far you can go with this: it appears I would be best using raw vaseline to separate the two halves of the mould, while using thinned vaseline only on the figure itself. Oh well, these lessons have to be learnt. I will repair the figure, and my temper, and then try again.

The Croat Peril

It has been some three years since I was complaining about the difficulty of finding a decent Croat figure that would fit with my Staddens. I should console myself with the reflection that if I am finding it hard to get to grips with these gentlemen, poor old Frederick never really managed to.


johnpreece said...

I suspect that we learn far more from our mistakes than our sucesses.

If that philisophical detachment does not hit the mark, I may say that the master figure looks extremely nice and seems to be fairly repairable.

In my opinion you are producing figures that are worth the effort involved.

Fitz-Badger said...

I use a liberal dose of talcum powder between the 2 mold halves when I make my molds. I pretty much douse the first half of the mold and then dump off the excess. Graphite powder is also an option, but can be very messy. Of course the effectiveness may vary depending on the type of mold-making material one is using so I would recommend doing a test mold first, something that would be a good mold to have, but not a huge loss if it doesn't work..

Der Alte Fritz said...

Or simply use the Crusader Croats in your army and save yourself a little bit of trouble. Still, there is probably more satisfaction in making your own figures.

DC said...

I believe Tiranti sell a mold release spray which may be worth investing in (my mate uses it and must have made 20+ molds by now with no problems re. loss of detail nor mold separation). Good luck with the repairs.

Andy Mitchell said...

Im not a fan of sprays of any kind, but I think in this case I might make an exception: if it prevents accidents of this kind then using a made for purpose separator would seem to be the way to go. Thanks for the heads up.

MurdocK said...

I have used lighter fluid to 'thin out' the Vaseline in the past.

Now I am having to experiment with a new system of RTV, with that system comes a spray for establishing the separator layer, Ease Release 200 by MANN Release Technologies.

My first new molds are curing now and they separated quite easily, though I may have a 'bubbling effect' caused by my having sprayed in less than correct temperatures for the product (too cold here).

Looks like only a few repairs to your master and you will be back to having the mold made.