Monday, April 30, 2012
#53 Travelers Bridge Mold
#60 Prison Tower Mold
#54 Gothic Church Mold
#200 Wall Builder
#61 Turret Mold
Hope they get here this weekend!
Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
So if you are into 28mm terrain production and don't mind me asking you a few questions for the blog just leave me a comment and we can set something up!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
As you can see I have nit made a ton of progress. The weekend was way too sunny for me to start home in my shop. I plan to get more done during the week though. I added a second layer to the base if the first tower. This is to give new the height I need for the base of the bridge. I also created the main rails for the bridge and the floor and base layer for tower 2.
The first tower has some gaps in it including one bad one on the back window. After talking to some folks on the hirst arts message board I am going to use wood filler to fix the gaps before painting. The first run on the second tower went together a lot cleaner. I think this us because my casting has gotten better and my process for gluing.
Monday, April 23, 2012
This keep is large and impressive!!! It appears to be cast entirely in hirst arts molds. It is a great demonstration of what can be accomplished with a little imagination and time. I don't even want to think about how long it took to cast all of these blocks...
Saturday, April 21, 2012
The process is fairly straight forward. Just get a pyrex or plastic container large enough to fit the pieces you want to strip. Add pine sol so that the pieces are completly submerged. Let sit overnight. At the sink run some slightly warm water. Use an old or cheap tooth brush and gently scrub the paint off while the water runs over the piece.
I don't suggest doing this in a porcelain sink as the paint may dye the porcelain. Also you should let the pieces sit in the pine sol in the garage or some place extremely well ventilated. If you don't the house will smell like pine sol.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Here is a pic of the first tower for the gate. The bottom floor is almost complete. This weekend I will start the second tower and building the bridge across. I also have enough basic blocks to start work on a wizard tower.
The casting process head gotten a lot better. Recent casts have almost no air pockets. Hopefully I can fix the vibration table this weekend and eliminate any more air pockets.
So I just downloaded the mobile blogger app. If this works the way I want it to then it should make it much easier for me to post about my progress. I don't like having to go get my camera to take pictures and then load them onto my computer so I can add them to my post. Fortunately my phone should be able to reduce that process down since everything can be accomplished from one device!
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
With all that said I realize that trying to do this project at my hobby desk in my home office is just not possible. So I will be cleaning up and re-organizing my shop to make this process better.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
He has a really long list of molds listed to accomplish the project. After looking over the pictures I think you can do what he has done with just 5 molds: Wizard Tower, Octagon Tower, Prison Tower, Ruined Tower, and Gothic Bridge. That should give you all the pieces I could identify with a few exceptions such as the round pillars used. These however could easily be replace with the pillars from the ruined tower and still look good. Also you do not get the wall molds, however with a bit of effort you can cut basic blocks in half and make thinner walls out of them.
Overall the project was very well done. Makes me want to try and tackle it before I do Minas Tirith... One project at a time I guess. All spare time is going to casting blocks and learning the tricks to get good casts.
So last night while working on my taxes I got some work done on the towers for the gate. I also created a base for the keep out of some polystyrene insulation that was a half inch thick. The base is 24" x 11" so it will have plenty of space for some trees and maybe a statue or something else on it. I will post pictures of my progress later when I have a bit more assembled.
Another note, I decided to put together the floors upside down. That way I can sand the bottoms to make it even and have a flat surface. Also to make some square floor tiles I took some standard blocks and cut them down the middle (giving me 2 usable pieces) with a small hack saw. It isn't really a hack saw but it is similar and I am not sure what the saw is actually called.
More casting to be done tonight!
Monday, April 16, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
In order to answer this question I started off with the manufacturers website. As I was browsing their site not only did I notice that Merlins Magic is no longer listed, but none of their other products have any info about what is in them. So about the only thing I know with relative certainty is that Merlins Magic is gypsum based. However what other additives it has in it to give it the strength is unlcear. I would imagine that there is some portland cement but again I don't know for certain.
However I did stumble upon a great site that did a comparision of all the plasters and gathered a ton of data to compare against.
Friday, April 13, 2012
#203 Cracked Floor Tiles
#205 Gothic Floor Tiles
#206 Worn Floor Tiles
#235 Gothic Roof Mold
#245 Slate Shingle Roof Mold
#250 Small Brick Mold
#55 Bell Tower
As you can see that is about 20 different molds... That is a pretty penny if I were to try and get them all at once. So I definately need to break it down a bit. I was hoping to be able to get 5 at a time but I am not sure if I will be able to do that. So my thought is to break it down based on what goes together and versatility. If a single mold lets me make a cool terrain piece it gets higher priority. I want to make sure I am getting at least 2 molds at a time so here is how I think I will break them down by pairs.
Obviously this doesn't cover all the floor tiles and accesory molds I want however this would give me a total of 8 different hirst arts designed projects to make (including the 2 I already have) and allow me to work on a bunch of pieces for Minas Tirith. I just hope that once I make some of these projects I can sell them for a decent price to be able to afford more molds and tools.
On a side note, when I was assembeling the table last night I used a spray adhesive to help bond the layers of the table top. I didn't realize how close my phone was to the spray and apparently it got quite a bit of overspray on it... Now the screen is all grimey :( Fortunately I have a screen protector film on it so I should be able to just take that off and be good to go!!!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
That article demonstrates how to do marbling for a terrain piece. It looks to be a fairly simply technique that produces some very dramatic effects. Once I get further along in some projects I will have to try it out.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
1) Finish Vibration Table Project (2hrs)
2) Mount organization bins to workspace (30min)
3) Move Cable Organization (45min)
4) Mount peg boards in workspace (2hrs)
5) Pickup Dental Plaster from post office (1hr)
5) Begin casting pieces (21hrs)
Note: I have calculated I will need to do at least 42 casts of the octagon tower to build the gate checkpoint. This is because of the number of floor sections I will need. Obviously this will provide me with plenty of extra bricks to do other projects. I will likely work on completing the organization tasks while the casts are drying to save time.
Looks like I have a lot to do this weekend...
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
The next step up from this are the large game boards people create from some sort of foam board. This is usually done with sheets of foam insulation 2 inches thick and stacking them. This allows you to create deep crevaices, trenches, rivers, and an entire variety of other terrain features not really possible on your standard flat game table. However once you have built one of these game boards you are pretty much stuck with that layout.
Modular Terrain to the rescue!!! In order to make the terrain modular you essential take that large game board and cut it up into squares or grids. So lets take a simple battle field with a large crevice running length wise in the middle. That looks pretty cool. Now lets divide it up... We will split the crevice down the middle length wise and then make 2 more cuts width wise dividing the table into 3rds or maybe quarters depending on the table size. Now we have 6 board pieces. I can take those boards and rotate them all 180 degrees. Now instead of having a crevice in the middle of the field I have a giant plataue. Now lets make 2 more generic flat boards at the same height as the top of the crevice.
I can no take and put those 2 boards in the middle and have a plateu that runs width wise as opposed to length. I can put those normal height boards along one side and create a crevice that runs width wise. I can create a plataue and a crevice that run width wise. If I now add a couple boards that are at the lower height of the crevice I can create a ridge line that runs the width of the board with half of the ground being tall and half of it being low. Now think about the posibilities if I added bends in the cliff faces. The possibilities and combinations grow with each additional board.
Some typical board sizes are 2' x 2', 2' x 1', and 1' x 1'. This allows you to get very creative with the terrain you are creating. If you do not want to create your own, TerranScapes has some good sets that will run you about $1k. Certainly not cheap but most of the sets contain at least 18 boards to play on with countless configurations of those boards.
This thing looks freaking cool. Since my army of choice for Warmachine is the Cryx, I definately want one or maybe 20. They look like they are going to be fun to paint and will cause massive destruction on the battlefield!!! Alas it will probably be sometime before I get my hands on one. Way too many projects in the pipeline that are going to take up my time...
What do you guys think? Anyone bought one yet?
Sunday, April 8, 2012
I happen to have a few sitting in a bin that came with a paint set. I decided to take about 30 minutes and see what came of it. Not my best work and I see some mistakes that I want to go back and fix but not too bad either. Need to do some weathering and highlights and maybe a little inking... But anyway here are a couple pics.
Not sure if this was a scratch build or not but it looks really cool. Reminds me of a terminator crossed BORT from the day the earth stood still. Pretty cool if you ask me!!!
This one is a scratch build and not a kit from forgeworld or one of the other manufacturers. Amazing what a little creativity and vision can build.
These last 2 are definately forgeworld or some other kit build. The reason I added them is because the paint jobs are pretty amazing and the detail is awesome. I really like the flames on the titan in the last video. They look pretty cool. Almost makes me want to get back into 40k just so I can paint up a titan!!! Maybe I'll mess around with making my own versions of the titans later who knows...
Saturday, April 7, 2012
And Finally the main reason I went there...
The tumbler in its current form is not of much use. However I plan to take off the bowl on top and create a table that I can put 6 or more molds on for casting. This will help ensure that each cast is of high quality. Since my cost for materials just went way up this definately desirable!!! I may have an article up soon about this conversion.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
After reading the reviews on it though it appears to be the best stuff to use for this type of casting. It is significantly harder and has less loss then other plasters while drying. Hopefully this stuff gets here this weekend, but if it doesn't I do have other projects to work on!!!
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
The first problem is finding the right mix. I don't think there is one really. If I go with a dryer mix (more powder) the bricks turn very brittle after drying. If I go with a wetter mix the bricks don't seem to dry properly or are simply taking a REALLY long time to dry. If the dry time is just extra long I have no confidence that the bricks won't turn brittle. I had hope that any brittleness would be easily compensated for by a good layer of paint for protection. However the bricks are so brittle that they will sometimes break when I am glueing them together or glue just won't hold.
The next problem is the set time. I mentioned yesterday that I let a set of bricks dry overnight in the mold and by doing so I was able to pop out the face brick with the thin ledge without a problem. Last night I tried letting the bricks dry for over an hour before popping them out. They were still too wet to prevent the face brick from breaking. I can't wait over an hour set time for each mold or I will never be able to complete a project.
Since I am running into so many problems with the joint compound I plan to change my method and go for a new casting material. Right now I am considering the dental plaster. This seems to be the recomended material for the best casts according to the hirst site. I am going to look around at some hobby stores to see if I can buy it locally. If not I will just have to buy it online.
A couple other thoughts I have had is that I think I am going to move this production out to my shop. It is rather cold out there right now but I need the extra space for the production of the blocks plus I can be a little more messy out there without too much of a problem. The second thing is I want to try and get some heat lamps setup to allow for a faster dry time of the blocks. Maybe set them up in my paint booth. Finally I am going to build a vibration table. I have found some designs online that have given me some thoughts on how I want to build it. I might try and get to that this weekend. So stay tuned for a how to...
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Another important aspect of the dry time is painting... The octagon tower I built on sunday I painted almost immediately. This seems to have trapped the residual moisture in the pieces and it now can't dry entirely. Granted this was just me being anxious to build something but it is good to know the after effects of rushing the dry time.
Monday, April 2, 2012
So here are the molds I am looking at:
1) #40 Basic Block Mold
2) #55 Bell Tower Mold
3) #54 Gothic Church Mold
4) #235 Gothic Roof Mold
5) #201 Floor Tiles
This will give me the capability to build the bell tower plan and the church plan with the roof. They will also allow me to start work on the main building of the Citadel as well as the white tower. The citadel will need a couple other molds in order to be complete. I also may start work on some of the outer wall sections.
In order to help raise money for this project and for the terrain projects in general, I have decided to setup an etsy shop and auction things on ebay. I will be taking my time on this terrain and will probably fully paint it. Some of it will likely be custom designs as well. I already have some plans in my head about making a nice center keep at about 2ftx2ft. We will see how this goes.
Now I get home and immediately realize it is going to be way too messy trying to work with this stuff out of the bag. So I find myself an old plastic trash can that is about 8 gallons maybe less, clean it out and dump the bag of joint compound in that. Next I run downstairs and get a stack of plastic china cups (about 8oz cups) and a couple plastic forks for stirring. I also found an old carboard box and cut out a large chunk of it to put over the desk to protect the surface. I should probably put plastic down on the floor too but didn't...
Reading online I found some tips and tricks on how to do the casting. The hirst site recomends that you soak the molds in a combination of jet dry and water before each cast. This acts as a mold release. I didn't have any jet dry available however and since a mold release is not required for casting with plaster I just went right along. I rinsed out the molds and set them on my table then I half filled up a china cup with water. Grabbed a scoop of the plaster with another china cup and slowly added it to the water. I went for about a 1 to 1 ratio of plaster to water. This seemed to produce good results. I mixed the plaster gently so as to reduce generating air pockets.
Note: Air pockets are evil!!! They happened a lot... Nothing was more annoying then finding a big old air pocket right in a piece of detail that you couldn't easily hide...
I gentley poored the mixture into the molds and allow it to overflow. I then pounded the table to attempt to get out some air bubbles. Now for the waiting... I need to wait 5-10 minutes before I do a scrape of the excess on top. Once that is done it will be another 10-15 minutes before the plaster sets enough to be popped out of the mold. Now it is on to the fun part, popping the pieces out and seeing what I got. The first few bricks pop out fine and I notice a few small air pockets but nothing major. Now to pop out the trim faces... crack... the little ledge on top breaks off. Son of a... ohh well it is my first cast problems are too be expected (It ended up being the norm I only had a couple that did not break). I set the pieces to the side, clean out the molds and start my second cast.
I tried using the same china cup but the left over plaster just made it hard to mix properly. Never the less the pieces popped out without much problems. You are supposed to let the bricks dry overnight before using them but I am much to excited to start building for that. So after I start my 3rd cast I go to the hirst website and pull up the Wizard tower plans and start building. I get a little ways into the project and decide that I don't need the plans I will just wing it. I also decided to make my own little octogan tower.
I did about 16 casts for the day and overall was very happy with the molds. I will note that it is important to let them sit overnight to fully dry. There are pieces that got a little big and they cause pieces to not go together as smoothly as they should. Trying to sand them down with a file to clean them up is simply not an option until they get nice and hard, they end up getting smooshy and crumble a bit.
I am going to wait until I make a good version of the towers before writing a post on them! In the end though I learned some lessons.
1) Let the darn things dry before using them
2) Mold release will help
3) A vibration table is necessiary
4) I need more molds to cast at once!!!