Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Glad I try

It worked.  Considering it was a first step, and a first try, I'm somewhat impressed. 

I ended up casting two takes. The first time, I mixed up too much plastic, and it ended up making a solid copy, just like the original.  In the end, it'd make a good practice piece if I want to try carving it up.

The next attempt, I mixed a much smaller portion of the casting plastic, and then rolled it around inside the mold as it set up.  I am using smooth-on Smooth-cast 305; and it gives me about 7 minutes pot-time and 30-minutes of cure.  it took about 10 minutes to get glutinous enough that I didn't need to keep slushing it around.   The result for this was better, and closer to what I wanted to get.  It was non-uniform, and some of the places are thinner than I'd like, but that can be fixed with greenstuff.

So, now, I'm trying a third option.  I took the mold, and put a layer of clay on the inside, and then poured a third layer of the mold material.  Now, when it finishes setting up, it SHOULD leave a void that is about 1/8"ish thick.   If I try something like this again, I may just do a single cast for the outside and then the internal plug.  We'll see how it comes out....


For the first time, I’m giving a shot at rubber mold casting.  This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and I’ve always been reticent to give it a try.   To be honest, this stuff ain’t cheap, so I have to be willing to sink a couple $$ into just taking a chance.    This is one of those things where there is a whole cascade of events waiting on “something” to give.   I would like to build from scratch, and the engineering of the models isn’t so hard, that stuff I can do in my sleep.  It’s the sculpting/molding/casting of them that has held me back so far.  Because I didn’t know how to do any of that, or at best, didn’t have faith that I could figure it out, *all* of those projects have been basically on hold. 

Now, if this works out, that pretty much opens the door to trying out the sculpting and designing. 

So..I got my hands on a part that I want to try, and am giving it a go.  First off, yes, it’s a re-cast of the original TimberWolf.   I’m justifying the recast in 2 ways: first, this is a one-off and the part will not be available to anyone else.  Second, the whole reason I’m doing this is so I can carve the thing up and custom build a cockpit into it.  The original piece is a solid chunk of resin and it doesn’t lend itself well to the design.   I’m hoping to cast this hollow, or mostly so, leaving me a much more reasonable task to carve in the space and build out the cockpit.  And, if it all fails, I haven’t destroyed the Mk-I Timberwolf. 

And thus it goes.  I made up a mold space from a bottle.  Coated the part with Mold-release 200 and then packed clay around it.  I used the clay and newspaper to fill space.    Future reference, I think I’d rather use cardboard rather than try to do this again.  It’ll be easier to work with.   I mixed up the smooth-on 30 and gave it a pour.   Then, just to help matters a little, I put a cone on top of the mold space and pulled a vacuum a bit to help get some of the bubbles out.  I may not have given it enough, but we’ll see.  

Round 2 is tonight. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

And we're off.

Who am I?  That’s not so easily answered.  Like most folks, I have all kinds of facets to who I am and things I like to do.  For the purposes of this blog, I am “Mal the modeler.”   I’ve been building models since I was young, as it was the best way to exercise my creativity at the time.  I’ve always been enamored of “accuratizing” “accurizing?” “making more accurate” model kits, and that expanded into kit-bashing models that existed in my mind’s eye.   I’ve done militaria, cars, and planes, but sci-fi has always been my first love/passion.   Star Trek, Space1999, Star Wars, Galactica, anything that had cool looking hardware; the more realistic the better.   Incorporated into this now is Battletech,  Warhammer and Warhammer 40k.  The grimdark future sure has some fun modeling potential.

These days there are all kinds of options available for making new and interesting things, but I still prefer the razor knife, glue and greenstuff. 

I started this blog so I had a place to both document my “on the bench” things and also nudge myself along to keep building; without filling up the faceyspacey world.  Let’s face it, faceyspacey is a big town square-like space, and I really don’t need to put these creative things out there.  This is my little space of thinking, planning, designing and..well.. playing.   Because for me, engineering, designing and building really is playing. 

I have a few new and different things I want to try.  One of which is custom sculpting and casting.   I keep looking at things that folks have done, and keep wanting to try.  I need to quit wanting and start doing.   I have a few ideas on what:

1)      28mm Atlas.   The MechWarrior’s super-ride.  100 tons of walking badassness.   I have a Timberwolf Mk II on the way, and this would go great as a companion piece. 
2)      28mm Jenner.  This is a personal favorite.  Yeah, it’s a light ‘mech, but it’s the one I prefer to drive in MWO.   4ML’s, 2 SSRM packs and 152+ kph of pure annoyance.
3)      28mm Warhammer.   The great unseen-one.   I think the reason for liking this one goes without saying.
4)      28mm 40K Inquisitorial Warhound.  I love Titans.  Can’t play with them often, but have always liked the look of the 40K “Battlemechs.”

Yeah, doing them all at 28mm, which is roughly 1/60. (1/58, I think).   It’s a nice scale and it goes well with the 40K hardware.   It’s not a common one, so the really cool “kits” of the standard-interest stuff are out of scale, but that’s fine.  It’s nice to do something different.  
I’ve also got a Timberwolf, Mk II on the way.   At the very least, there’ll be a cockpit.  I’ll have to see  how the kit goes together to decide how much more I may want to do to it.   It’s one of the few Clanner ‘Mechs that cut a silhouette that I like.  Impressive, imposing, menacing.  Like the Warhammer. 

So.. here begins the blog.  Off I go.  Let’s see where I end up.