Friday, September 9, 2011

Cloning is the way of the future.

  Flashy attention grabbing picture's that have nothing to do with a blog post are also the way of the future...

   Anyway, recently I've been made aware of some stuff called "Instant mold". Basically this stuff is some plastic goop, that you heat up in hot water, and it becomes goopier (spell check tells me that isn't a word..). From there you can basically stick a model or bit into it, it will set hard around the model as it cools, but it wont stick.. and you can then use it as a mold for re-creating the model or bit, with green stuff or any other non heat based molding stuff. 

This is how the stuff comes, a pack of 6 of these strips.

 At first I wasn't sold on the idea, but I hadn't really thought it through. This stuff is completely reusable, if you stuff up a mold of something then you can just re heat the stuff and try again. But the proof really is in the pudding. So here's some pics of my initial trials (and errors)

  The first thing i decided to try out was a necromunda autogun, I figured this would be fairly simple since its flat, and also now that GW dont make it anymore these guys are rare as hen's teeth, so i could use a few dozen more.
  The first step was heating a strip of instant-mold, then i just wrapped it around the metal gun, ran that under cold water till it had hardened, cut it apart as you can see below. Then i filled the mold with green stuff, pressed the halves together and let the green stuff set.
Here you can see what the mold looks like after the green stuff has set, you can see the 2 halves of the instant-mold mold.

This is what the greenstuff looks like after it comes out, alot of flash, but once i dial in the amount of green stuff needed, this should be a lot less

  Above you can see the finished first attempt, once the flash has been mostly cut off it looks pretty good, and once its painted i dont think you'll really know much of a difference.
 This first attempt really sold me on the instant-mold stuff. The ability to "clone" basically anything is really going to help my conversions. The fact that i can just reuse the mold when i dont need it anymore is really awesome, otherwise im usually super conservative with materials, because i always worry i'll run out.

  So feeling more adventurous i decided to do a few more trials and refine my technique, so i built a mold "press" of sorts, out of lego. Basically its a square of lego that i could use to line up my top and bottom mold halves. I decided to make 4 of these so i could have a few things going at once.

The next thing i decided to clone were some hard to get a hold of snotlings, that i'd always love more of. The first step i used was putting some instant mold (heated and malleable) into the base of the square, trying to keep it as flat as possible, then pressing your model into it, trying to get the model in exactly half its depth. This layer was then run under water to cool, and then i put a top layer of heated instant old in pressing decently hard to get all the detail. Below you can see what my mold tray looks like, as well as some pics after my mold had been set.
Use lego so you can break the mold tray apart to get the top half off easily
Here you can see the preps for mass production (4 models at once!)

This is what the mold halves look like when they're set, each half is 1 stick's worth of instant mold.

 Next up i filled the mold with green stuff, I still need to dial in the amount of green stuff, I seem to use more than needed. You can cut the excess off, but it does seem to result in some loss of detail which sucks.
The back half, which held the detail REALLY nicely, if you remember this is the half that I pushed in first.

Another view, just to show the amount of detail the instant mold holds.

The front, which was a real disappointment, the detail seemed to be washed away a lot, but i realised this was because i'd pushed the model too far into the bottom half, and the top half of the mold wasn't able to get around much detail.
 So yeh, I learnt from that trial snotling to try and get the model you're cloning as close to half way into each mold half as possible to hold detail on both sides.

  But overall instant mold is just so easy to use and does a fantastic job (if not 100% perfect so far, granted that's user error mostly), so I can see myself using alot more of it in the future, basically if i need any extra, well anything really, I'll think about cloning it now.

And just to  show the level of detail this stuff picks up, heres a picture of the underside of one of the molds, that was imbedded with the lego studs.  
Pretty good detail hey!

No comments:

Post a Comment