Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Case of the Missing Model Piece

One of my recent purchases was Khurasan's 15mm Federal Army DIMOG Armorsuit Mk 2. I wanted to beef up Yogurt Town's militia. The model consists of a number of pieces, one of which is the door shield that makes up the front of the driver's compartment:

 When I was ready to spray it with primer, I couldn't find that door shield.  I looked everywhere. After giving up the search, I tried making one out of thin styrene plastic. It wasn't great, but it was serviceable. I took the model, along with some other minis, outside to spray, sprayed them, and then put them in a small box I use to transport minis to and from where I spray. Last night, I sat down to paint and assemble the Armorsuit. Guess what? The home made door shield is now missing! Tiny, individual 6mm infantrymen that were sprayed along with it were all accounted for, but a 12mm x 7mm bent piece of plastic is not. I could have sworn I put it in the box along with the other figures I sprayed. I'm not really in the mood to make another one. I spent a lot of time putting the thing together, particularly pinning the arms and legs to to the body.  I'll take a look outside where I did the spraying, but I wouldn't surprised if I don't find it. Is this some sort of sign?  *GRUMBLE*

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dark Elf Lizard Riders

You who are reading this should know, wargamers cannot focus on a single project for any great length of time. If there is some sort of deadline, we can force ourselves to complete a project, but otherwise, we often hop from one thing to another. In my case, I've somehow managed to squeeze in a lot of hobby time. However, its been a whole bunch of different projects. A lot has to do with a big influx of several orders that have arrived. In order:
1. discovered that a bunch of tiny acorn caps that would have been perfect for completing the guard house at my border crossing outpost were all broken. I stared at the whole thing for awhile and then moved on to #2.
2. made a quickie building to showcase my science fiction door from the last post. ;)
3. primed and are at various stages of painting a whole bunch of figures from Splintered Light, Khurasan Miniatures, and Rebel Miniatures.
4. Started to put together a Khurasan Miniature Federal Army DIMOG armored suit. Its construction is a little more work than I expected and will be the subject of a later post.
5. finally finished painting some Splintered Light Dark Elf Cavalry.

I'm not sure if I did them justice. I leave that up to you, the viewer:

The riders and the lizards come in two different poses. For the lizards, there is a trotting pose and a running pose. For the riders, there is a male and a female. I've had these figures for probably over a year now. They are really well sculpted, but I could not figure out how I wanted them to look, especially the riders. I've never cared for the D&D version of Dark Elves with their blue skin and white hair. Dark Elves always reminded me more of Michael Moorcock's elf-like beings, particularly from his Corum trilogies. I have a big historical background to them, but that is for a later blog, maybe. I decided to do husband and wife teams. Each team has a different color armor. The lizards are painted pretty conservatively. When I get another batch, I might loosen up some and paint the head and body plates a different color than the skin. I will mount them two to a base.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Will it be: door #1, door #2, or door #3?

I can't seem to decide how I want my little 6mm guard house to look like, I turned to making doors for my 15mm sci-fi world. The only 15mm building that I made so far was a sort of outpost structure made from an upside down yogurt container. I need to make some small dwellings.  Doors take a lot of work to make.  Here is a fairly simple-looking one that I made from styrene plastic:

"For Sale" signs from Walmart.are a very cheap source of styrene plastic. They come in two thicknesses: thin and very thin. I cut out the various pieces and glued them together with liquid glue. The box sitting on the right frame of the door is supposed to be an entry keypad with screen.

There was no way I was going to make the same door over and over, so I decided to use this as the prototype and make some copies. Enter Instant Mold:

It came out about a year ago. Some folks complained about the price. I can't remember how much I paid for it, but I didn't think it was that awfully expensive. Besides, it is reusable. Some people claim that its the same thing as what is called Friendly Plastic.  Nope, not true. Many years ago, I used Friendly Plastic extensively on a craft project for a school organization, this is NOT Friendly Plastic! Yes, it does soften up in hot water, but that is where the similarity ends. Friendly Plastic hardens into a fairly tough, brittle material, Instant Mold is more flexible. Unless they've reformulated the stuff, I cannot see using Friendly Plastic to make molds with.

So, I made a nice mold using the Instant Mold. The next step was to decide what to cast the door in. I used three materials. The first I did in Super Sculpey Firm. This is a new product by the folks at Polyform. Its an improved version of their Super Sculpey. Its rather expensive, but I think that it will live up to what they advertise.

The second casting was using Liquitex thick artist's acrylic. In this case Raw Umber. I'm not sure what possessed me to use that; I thought I'd give that a try.

The third casing medium used was Durham's Water Putty. This is the same material that the Solipsist Gamer uses regularly for his projects. I am no stranger to Durham's. It is often used to mold and add to fossil specimens. Many years ago, I made a large hill using this stuff.  However, his use of Durham's for making relatively finely detailed casts made me consider it. 

Here is the results of the three. All three were made using the same mold:

And the winner is.....Durham's Water Putty!  The Super Sulpey gave better detail, and had the advantage of being able to go in and score out the buttons on the keypad before sticking it in the oven, but lost out because it warped when I pulled it out of the mold. There is no way to reshape it back to the way its supposed to look. The acrylic paint did not fill the mold very well and left a lot of voids, plus I had to add several layers, waiting over night for the previous one to dry. The water putty cast came out with no bubbles. It also reproduced detail well and there was no warping. The fast drying time was also a bonus.

I'll probably use the Sculpey one on a building, but I will start cranking out the Durham's Water Putty ones for most of my buildings.