Sunday, 9 March 2014

Loading The Blunderbusses

George is in the kitchen, mixing up the medicine...

I've been at work again with my moulds, mixing up batches of resin and trying to pour Chaos Dwarfs and Hobgoblins for the core troops of my Warhammer Fantasy Battles army.  As you may recall I cast two figures before as a test run - they came out slightly air bubbly but the quality seemed good enough for play.
This time round I was going to cast several figures over a couple of days, using three different moulds.

My extant Chaos Dwarf Blunderbuss mould would see use again, but also a Chaos Dwarf Warrior mould and a Hobgoblin Sneaky Git mould.  (The latter is particularly difficult to improvise with any other kits in production - Forge World make nothing, and, since dual-hand-weapon Hobgoblins is a bit niche an idea for a model there's not really a third party option.)

"G-I-T-S we're evil through and through..."
After a bit of experimenting I seem to have got the weights and speed down to pat.  My two compounds are mixed 1:1 by weight and about 3 grams of each is enough for one mould.  The curing time is 60 minutes so I can easily cast from a mould a few times after work without breaking a sweat – do a few moulds in one go and I can be a dozen figures cast a day without really breaking a sweat.

My success has been somewhat mixed.  All the figures have some air bubbling, but in some cases it’s pretty minor and is easily filled in with Milliput – the large flat areas of the blunderbuss weapon and the Chaos Dwarf hats.  In others the bubbling has been more pronounced or occurred in tougher areas: the Hobgoblin’s nose often malformed which made the whole face and thus the whole model of limited use.  In one particularly odd case, a huge air bubble formed in the middle of an axe-man producing a figure with no legs…. But still with flash lower down, giving the impression of a chap who had lost his legs in ‘Nam.
The non-salvagable figures.

I poured six of each figure.  Of these I would say that the usable figures are four Blunderbuss Dwarf, two Hobgoblins and four or five Chaos Dwarf Axemen.  (one of the axe-men lost his axe-blade, but he can easily be adapted into a Standard Bearer or similar.)  That said the Axemen clearly don’t have a great mould as they formed with a certain amount of “double exposure” on the axe & hat spikes which may prove hard for me to tidy up.
The winners of the casting lottery.

10 or 11 out of 18 puts me on around a 58% success ratio.  That isn’t great, but I think a new Hobgoblin mould will improve the ratio there – I’ve got three different poses of Hobgoblin, one of the others may suit the process better.  Also I’ve learnt a bit more about pouring the moulds and resin by experimenting – the fact the Hobgoblin nose formed sometimes means that the mould isn’t useless but that air is getting trapped there so the exact nature of the pouring may be a factor.

I suspect the figures will fairly obviously look cast, but I also think they’ll look perfectly acceptable for play.  Definitely something to continue experimenting with!

The assembly line.: can you tell which of the flat-hatted figures is the metal original?
For now though, I've sprayed my first seven Blunderbuss figures: the metal original of the mould, the five useable figures I was able to make and an extra metal figure.  I've started painting the armour scales in Caliban Green: with the intention to still keep some red in their somewhere, the end look may be not dissimilar to a short bearded Dark Angel.

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