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Mulsiphix
02-04-2008, 01:34 AM
I have long considered creating my own miniatures. However, creating the same miniature over and over isn't practical. I like to use "generalized" miniatures for my BattleTech games. A standard tank mini will do. Needles and stickies are used to mark player, type, status, etc... Hand modeling 10 tanks is a bit tedious though, especially since most clay mini's don't have the longest life span when they are played with regularly.

I've considered working with metal but am too scared to work with molten metal without a lot of safety precautions, gear, and of course equipment designed for the task. So for mass producing the same clay miniatures, what exactly would the best process be? Any ideas, feedback, suggestions, links, etc.. would be most appreciated.

Skunkape
02-04-2008, 10:30 AM
Well, you could try making two part molds or even a single mold and then start pushing small bits of clay into the mold until you had filled it up. Personally, I wouldn't go the clay route, I'd use dental plaster or Merlin's Magic. With dental style plasters, they're a lot stronger than regular plaster and since they are liquid will fill a mold easier.

Another choice might be using resin to create your models. Course, if you go with resin, make sure you use some kind of mold release on your molds. It will increase the life of the mold and also allow you to get the piece out!

Mulsiphix
02-04-2008, 12:39 PM
The clay mini's definitely don't have a long life span which sucks. I'm just ignorant when it comes to plaster. I assumed that since it can be chalky that it was softer than oven hardened clay. Any suggestions or links on how I could create a mold using Dental Plaster? I figure I could take a clay hardened mini and pour it around it but I'm not sure how to split the mold into two without shattering the entire mold.

tesral
02-04-2008, 03:31 PM
Resin is the way to go. Take a look at the Smooth-on (http://www.smooth-on.com/) site. The site has instrutions and suggestions. Even if you decide not to use resin or think Smooth-on resin sucks, the information is useful.

Oh, and I totally agree about pewter. Safety gear is a must. However don't be intimidated, it can be done in your back yard. Micro-Mark (http://www.micromark.com/) has everything one needs for pewter casting. I have seriously consdiered getting into it. You cannot beat it for durablity and holding detail. And you can use the silicon RTV rubber molds for pewter as well as resin.

Mulsiphix
02-05-2008, 05:34 AM
My favorite BattleTech mini's are pewter. I hate the super light plastic ones that tend to fall over the second the table is nudged by a slight of hand. Many thanks for the links tesral :cool:

Skunkape
02-05-2008, 06:37 AM
Here's a few links for plaster casting, although for making minis, I'm more inclined to go with either resin or pewter personally! For terrain, plaster is the way to go for man-made stuff, using one of the various molds out there.

So, here's an instructional link for casting using plaster and also resin (http://www.hirstarts.com/casting/casting.html).

He also has one for mold making (http://www.hirstarts.com/moldmake/moldmaking.html). Though I think I'd check out the websites of the companies you're using to purchase the mold making material from. Oh and also try to find 10:1 ratio mold making compound after you're done experimenting. To start I'd say go with a 1:1 ratio compound, but after you're comfortable, the 10:1 ratio molds will last much longer! They're stronger than the 1:1 ratio ones.

Oh as far as my mini preference is concerned, if the mini is formed in one piece, I'm fine with metals, or if there are a couple of small parts to add, I'm also fine with metals. But if you're building minis like for Warhammer 40k armies, I prefer the plastic ones. The problem I've found with the metal ones is you have a hard time pinning small parts, and they tend to not stay together, even when using a good quality epoxy!

Mulsiphix
02-05-2008, 07:23 AM
For my metal casting needs I'd definitely go for one solid piece whenever possible. I'm definitely looking into using pewter. Many thanks for the linkage Skunkape ;)

Freejack
02-05-2008, 09:24 AM
My favorite BattleTech mini's are pewter. I hate the super light plastic ones that tend to fall over the second the table is nudged by a slight of hand. Many thanks for the links tesral :cool:

Glue a penny to the underside of the base :) (or a washer, etc...)

Carl