Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tools: Press Molds

This is something that has answered the biggest problem I've had with my Space Marine army. When I restarted my Space Marines thanks to Captain Ingemar ( http://darkworkshop.blogspot.com/2010/09/character-profile-captain-ingemar.html ), many things were answered. I had my hero character, and with his shield, a chapter device. Now for the 40 some marines to be led by him. Consistent and unified armies are something that really impress me; a common scheme and modeling to match, using chapter badges, squad markings and helmet colours, especially chapter specific sculpted pauldrons.
   This is where the problem arises. I have my chapter icon and a battle company of marines to put it on. I want to maintain consistency, quality, and I don't want to spend too much time working on every single one. I considered creating transfers, but I'm sure most of you out there know how well transfers don't work on pauldrons. Hand painting each one is out of the question, that would require too much time and the consistency wouldn't be there. I even tried a stencil, but it caused the paint to blob at the edges.

   So I happened upon a tutorial for greenstuff press molds on another blog, Corvus Miniatures. Strangely enough the name of the Void Ravens Second Company champion is Corvus Carmäsian, so I took that as a sign from the Emperor Himself that this would be the answer. Instead of pieces from another kit, I would make my own piece and create a mold out of that. Using Ingemar's shield as my reference and repeating the process onto a pauldron, I created this:
   With that, I followed the tutorial provided by the Corvus blog and threw a wad of greenstuff in an old round base and pressed the piece in. I used vegetable oil as my release agent and it worked well enough. The problem with the greenstuff mold is that even with the oil it still clung to the piece, the detail in the wings was lost, the body became bumpy and parts shifted as I struggled to get the piece out carefully. This caused my initial test runs of the mold to come out less than spectacular. I actually had to reshape the resulting icon by hand.
You can see where the greenstuff didn't hold its shape.
    Less than pleased with this result, I decided to try greystuff. I know it's softer and less tacky than green stuff, so I used that for the initial presses with the greenstuff molds. The helpful chart provided with the package of greystuff told me that if I used more resin (white part) and less hardener (black part) that it would harden faster and be more hard edged. Perfect to hold the shape of a piece I thought. So I tried it out and it resulted in a perfect mold. Using a 50/50 mix of greystuff, the resulting pieces of the mold came out perfectly. I still used vegetable oil as the release agent though.
This is much smoother, much better shape.

  The trick for this is not using too much greystuff. What makes a pauldron icon look really professional and really good are making sure the design is simple, there's sufficient solid edges to make a recognizable outline, and making sure the symbol itself is as thin and flat to the piece as possible. Look at the pauldrons produced by GW and Forge World, you'll notice that the best looking sculpts follow these parameters. So when using this kind of press mold, use only enough greystuff to fill the impression. After a couple tries it gets easier. I do have to trim a little excess of some of the presses, and sometimes I do make adjustments to the final piece, but overall they come out exactly as I want.

    Don't take my word for it, try it out for yourself. Hopefully this gave you an answer to a problem you're having with your own army. Also don't forget to check out the tutorial on the Corvus Miniatures blog, he has a two part video on youtube showing exactly how he does it, very helpful. As always, comments, questions, concerns, flames and feedback are welcome. Post links to what you've done with press molds or if you do something similar.

Signing off

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...