Saturday, 8 June 2013

Experiments in one part moulding...

So, having finished a handful of Lannisters, I thought it prudent to knock together some Starks for them to brutally hamstring. After putting together a couple of archers, I started thinking about some sword and spearmen. Now, I quite like the style of the shields used by Stark troops in the TV series: 

and thought they'd make a good jumping off point. I found an old GW shield with a wolf's head, and cleaned off a viking shield to attempt to transfer it to:

(the hole is because I thought the easiest way to clean the boss off was to just drill out the whole thing and reconstruct it later). I stuck the donor shield to a square of plasticard ready to make a one-part mould:

And then... had second thoughts about using the viking style shield, and ordered some hoplite shields to try out instead.

Somewhat disheartened, I turned back to the rightful heirs to the Iron Throne - the Lannisters! With a bit of fiddling, I managed to convert a pair of spear-holding arms to be wielding a pike:

But then, rather than actually going on to integrate this part into an actual miniature, due to my tiny attention span sound tactical thinking, I decided I should probably finish up some straightforward hand weapon and shield warriors. I got as far as sticking a head onto a body:

rather than doing some detail work tidying up the join, I focused on working on carving away what remained of the miniature's original shield. Much cutting and filing later, it was time to make a new shield - aha, this post has come full circle! Again, I turned to the TV series for inspiration:

I like the image of the oval shield for Lannister House Guard, although non-House Guard troops will probably get more traditionally medieval looking shields. So, in order to get this effect, I needed an oval shield (from some plastic Romans, cheers John!) and a lion - I dug out a Bretonnian shield from my bits box, and we're back on the path to making moulds!

Huzzah, Blu-Stuff!

Which made a mould:

Which was trimmed down for ease of handling (both in terms of width, so that I could line it up to the receiving shield, and depth, so that the detail part of the mould would actually touch the receiving shield!):

And then filled with liquid green stuff:

Now, despite how straightforwards and working things have appeared thus far (due to the magic of post-production), this is where the wheels started to fall off... This one wouldn't turn out, so (despite the claims that nothing sticks to Blu Stuff) I tried again with some vaseline as a mould release agent, but still no dice. As the detail was fairly shallow, I tried a thicker layer of green stuff, reasoning that if I could actually get it to transfer onto the shield I could then cut it down and tidy it up...

However that plan relied on it turning out...

I thought maybe thinning the mould would make it a little more flexible (as Blu Stuff makes firmly fair moulds, not the flexible rubbery type I had envisioned when I originally ordered it)

But that didn't work wither. Somewhat frustrated, I turned to Google to see if there was a readily available ready-made lion shield that I could use... and was reminded of a lion shield (with deeper detail!) in the Advanced Heroquest set. Much dragging out of boxes later, and I have one in hand:

Cue more making of moulds (note the filled mould in the background - I thought I'd try letting a filled mould set before trying to transfer it)

(spoilers - the detail was still still too thin to be of any use)

[Brief diversion] - while all this was going on, my wife to be got silver ink on my copy of the LOTR SBG rulebook that she was using to lean on, and trying to wipe it off only made things worse:

To cut a long story short, the new mould was then trimmed, thinned, greased, filled, clamped to the receiving shield and left overnight to set. 24 hours later, I expectantly open the clamp, to find:

Sadness abounds.

Aidez-moi wise internet personalities, where am I going wrong?


  1. While I don't use any of those materials and I haven't moulded anything yet myself, this is what I'd do.

    If blu stuff (what a silly name :D) doesn't work, try instamould. Cool mini or not sells it, but go on google and search for alternative name - it is something asian and it is cheaper. It is a plastic or whatever that you toss in warm water, put your shield in, wait for it to dry, put GS in and it should work for your needs.

    Again, I have never tried liquid GS, but I've always had an idea it is only used to fill the gaps and such, not to actually sculpt with it. So, you might want to swap it for "actual" GS, but you should know better. If mould is the only thing giving you problems, I'd recommend you try instamould.

    I googled it for you, search for Oyumaru. That is the same stuff but without extra price increace for being called insta mold.

  2. My only suggestion would be to try a resin for moulding. My suspicion would be that the liquid GS is just not designed for what you are using it for.