Archive for July, 2007


Gears are an under used basing theme in 40K.  Trying to find found objects with the large, stylized, cogs needed for hobby work is a tough challenge.  In this project, I’ll see about making my own gears for use in an objective marker.

resin gears

Time to fall back on my stand by:  clay molding.  Way back at the beginning of this blog Scott asked – “how much detail will the clay hold for the plaster?” clay shapes The answer is, a whole lot.  I set about making my gears using several diameters of PVC pipe to shape the main wheel and a 1/8 square of styrene to shape the cogs.  The clay faithfully held all of my poking and prodding, even the square edge of the 1/8 shape.  Scott asked if a skull shape could be used:  unfortunately, the undercut from the roundness of the skull will be lost.  The one thing clay can’t do is snap back into place to hold an under cut, only directly vertical strokes will be captured. 

Resin is used to fill the impressions in the clay.  If cast in plaster, the small sized clay resinpieces will not have the strength to survive the demold if cast in plaster.  When cured, remove the shapes.  The resin did not release cleanly from the clay (unlike the plaster) and I had to spend quite a bit of time cleaning the product.  Over all, the process was too time consuming, although I did get a good feel for the shapes I wanted to create.  In the future, I’ll cut rounds from the PVC using a pipe cutter & glue on cogs from styrene.  The one item that did work well was the 60mm base.  The impression was clean & I now have a raised tile pattern (which is not something you see every day.

End product:  sealed with super glue, gaps filled with Apoxie sculpt and ready for the mold box.





Objective Markers: Fallen Banner, Cannon Balls

WIP objective markers with a fantasy/ancients theme.

Fallen Banner:  nothing is more important than the regimental banner.  Troops will fight to the last to preserve their honor for the colors of the unit.  The ground is littered with broken and discarded weapons in a last effort to stand the banner up right one final time. 

The ground works are plastic card weapons & armor, most created from .015 inch styrene.  A shattered spear is made from a length of green stuff, large rocks are broken sheets of Apoxie Sculpt (left overs from the rune stone base project) and a few arrow shafts are made from thin rounds of plastic card with .015 inch styrene fins.

The banner is green stuff, rolled out on a flat surface & cut to shape.  The banner pole is two lengths of brass rod glued in a T.  Hidden under the green stuff is a re-enforcing length of plastic card.  This bit of support might be the pieces undoing, it might not be visible in the pics, but the banner shaft makes a large lump in the middle of the banner.  I’m not sure I’ll need to re-work the piece to correct the problem.  C&C welcome.

banner base  banner 2   banner 3

Cannon Balls:  A simple objective marker made from 4 wooden balls sourced from Wood Shoppe Turnings at Hobby Lobby.  Green stuff fills the gaps at both the base and between the lower/upper cannon balls.  Base is a wooden 1.5 inch round with sand.

cannon balls

1 Comment

Learing to Take Better Pics 2

Three steps to getting clear mini shots on a Canon A95 Power Shot. The set up is the same as the last go-around: plane white sheet, 2 75 watt bulbs, tripod. Once again, I fight the battle with the Camera User Guide.

  1. White Balance: Func, point at white sheet, Set, Func. I knew this was an important one to master when 2 of 3 commenters chimed about the white balance.
  2. Light Metering Mode: Func, Spot. When trying to focus on a small point like a miniature, I always had trouble getting to camera to zoom in with clarity. I was hoping that “spot” would help focus on a single point. After checking the camera, the Spot function reads the light level at the spot point.
  3. Macro: Should be a rather obvious choice for miniature photography, but I could never get the camera to focus correctly. Combined with the light metering, everything finally locked in sharply.

The following pics have been cropped and re-sized, but other wise untouched.  Over all, I’m rather satisfied with the results.  Still need a bit of tweeking with the light sources to cut down on shadows under the feet, a gradiated blue back drop would be handy and some sort of light box is still worth looking into. 

White_Scar  INQ_1

Rune Bases


Site Review: Prophet Miniatures

Prophet Miniatures is a sculpting tools and tips site.  The latest addition to the tutorials section is a Materials Primer covering just about every sculpting material used in the miniatures hobby.  The review gives the low down on Green stuff, Brown stuff, ProCreate and even Apoxie Sculpt & Sculpey.  While your there, be sure to check out the other tutorials on tools and texture stamps.

1 Comment

Tips for Designing Mold Masters

A new round of objective markers is on the workbench for Adepticon 08.  This year all of the event organizers are interested in markers for their tournaments.  In addition to 40K, I’ll be casting for WFB, LotR and WAB this year.  Several people have offered to help, and the first question always is:  how do I make something like this for casting purposes?

A one sided mold works just like an ice cube tray – everything needs to slope down (up) to a genital point.  The RTV generally use is flexible enough to allow for a few undercuts – but avoid any cuts that curve back on themselves.  And a big no-no is any sort of loop – if the RTV makes contact with it’s self the master will be locked into the mold.   The second item to avoid is any small, upright points such as a sword or gun barrel. 

crate with bubblesTo demonstrate this sort of problem, take a look at the Ammo Crate marker.  The circle to the left shows a shell laying flat on the base.  The circle to the right shows two upright shells.  The 3/16 wire used to create the shells was too small & the cavities created failed to release the trapped air.  No amount of poking and prodding would allow for a clean gravity cast. 

The second question asked is:  How much detail will the resin/RTV pick up?  The answer is:  damn near everything.  Very detail little is lost in the molding process.  I would not be surprised at all to find fingerprints trapped in green stuff transferring to the finished product.

The last question is:  What materials can I use?  Nearly any sort of material can be used to construct the master.  The RTV uses no pressure or excessive heat in the curing process and most times the master will survive the process.  Only the most delicate items like paper or sand/plaster attached with white glue will suffer from the demold.

Leave a comment