Sometimes, you need a copy of that particular bit without having to purchase an entirely new set. Or perhaps you want to insert an LED into one of your creations and watch it glow across the battlefield. It can be done, and let me show you my methods.
First off, I used the following tools:
- Instant Mold ($13-35 on Amazon; the price has skyrocketed as of late) -this is used to create the molds. Just drop the strips in boiling water, carefully fish them out, and press them somewhat flat with your fingers. Very easy to use, and they are reusable. For larger casts, you will need to use a product such as InstaMold, it is a bit harder to use than Instant Mold, and is not reusable more than a handful of times.
- Green Stuff Epoxy Sealant Adhesive ($15) – this is the material that I used to make the figures. There are two tubes: one green and one blue. You cut off roughly equal amounts of each color, then rub them together until they turn a dark green. You can them squeeze the material into your mold.
- Vaseline/Qtip – used when creating each side of the mold; coat the first side (after it has cooled and thus hardened) with a light coat of vaseline to keep the two sides of the mold from sticking together. It is only used when you are initially making the mold; once the molds harden, you don’t have to worry about the sides of the mold sticking to the Green Stuff.
- Base figures – i.e. the bit that you want to cast
- X-acto knife/Scissors – used for cutting Green Stuff and trimming up the finished figure.
- Small lego block – used to align the two sides of the mold.
Now, to being the process: I brought water to boil on my stove, then dropped in a couple of sticks of the Instant Mold. Once it softened, I scooped the sticks out with a stove-safe spoon and then molded them with my hands into one, roughly flat piece of plastic. I then placed the horizontal figure on the mold and pressed it down about half way; I also placed a small lego brick to use as a reference point when lining the molds sides together. After about 5 minutes, the mold should be nice and firm. At this point, I placed a small amount of vaseline over the mold, leaving the figure embedded. I then dropped the remaining instant mold sticks into the boiling water, repeated the above steps to extract the plastic out, then placed in on top of the figure and base mold and pressed down until I could see the figure details through the top of the mold.
After waiting about 10 minutes, I separated the two sides of the mold and removed the figure.
At this point, I used scissors to cut off about 1/3 of an inch of each of the tubes of Green Stuff, then kneaded them together until the material turned a consistent, dark green (a few drops of water on your fingers will keep the material from sticking to your digits). I then pressed the material evenly into one side of the mold, ensuring that all areas of the figure indentation were covered. I then lined up the top portion of the mold (using the lego piece; you can either leave in the lego piece, or remove it…But the goal is to use it as a reference point to ensure that you mold is not off slightly) and firmly squeezed it down until both molds were flush.
(Note that I used too much Green Stuff in this photo; you will generally develop a feel for how much to actually use. Unfortunately, I wasted quite a bit during my first 4 or 5 casts)
The figure takes about 8-11 hours to cure, depending on humidity and other factors. I tested the cure process by slowly peeling back one section of the top mold: if the Green Stuff is still rather soft, just leave it sit for another couple of hours…Under no circumstances do you want to remove the figure too early, as you can easily distort the figure, rendering it into plastic scrap.
Once the figure cured, I gently, slowly removed it from the mold. There was quite a bit of excess Green stuff to trim off, so I used an X-acto/hobby knife (taking extra care not to slice through my fingers!) to trim off the excess. In the end, I was left with:
(Note: I used the original figure as a comparison during the trimming process)
Creating clear resin casts
You can also create clear resin casts. You will need to replace Green Stuff with EasyCast transparent casting resin ($12), on sale at my local crafts store, along with transparent dye ($11), if you want to add a tint of color to your casts.
Repeat the above steps, but this time you will need to create a mixture of the clear casting resin instead of molding Green Stuff. This can involce a slight trial-and-error process to get the right mix of the resin (which comes in 2 bottles; a 50/50 mix was the best). After a couple of trial runs, I started adding a bit of color to the mix. I experimented with various shades of blue for the below water elementals, and some orange/red mix for the fire elementals.
Here is a group shot, with the original in the front of each group of molded figures:
For its part, the resin is fairly easy to work with, but very messy. Additionally, it has to cure for at least 14-15 hours before the figures can be pressed from the molds…Otherwise, you end up with a gummy mess. I ruined a few figures by opening up the molds a bit too soon. I used a toothpick to stir out the air bubbles after pouring the resin. I forgot to stir one of the water elementals, but it actually turned out pretty cool, as the bubbles added a cool effect to the ‘guts’ of the elemental.
Overall, it was a rather messy project, but the actual workload was minimal, at least once I got the mixing process down.
For lighting projects, you can add an LED into the mold; just press it in after pouring the resin, and position as you need. I used this method for my genestealer patriarch:
(if you look close, you can see the LED in the body of the patriarch figure).
And, the finished product: