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.