So anyway, I'm a complete cheapskate.
This is more on account of how I have a laughably low income from the combination of Precinct Omega and fostering than it is a personality defect. But it does mean that I'm always looking for new ways to monetize my hobby and to evolve Precinct Omega into a "proper" business. Having now outsourced 95% of the actual painting in Precinct Omega Studios to my team of freelancers, I've been turning my hand to improving my sculpting skills. Up to now, I've outsourced most of the sculpting except for one or two particularly good projects (like my well-known 54mm Pre-Heresy Dark Angel and 54mm Harlequin Solitaire), but it not only makes me more money to do my own sculpting, it also saves me money when it comes to sculpting minis for my own Precinct Omega range. You might have seen the 28mm schoolboy wizards I've been working on recently.
Anyway, I was prompted by a client's inquiry to look at casting as well. He wanted me to build some custom terrain - and no doubt that project will appear on this forum in due course - and I figured I could save him money and make more myself if I could learn how to do the casting elements myself. So I cast around for a reputable source of the relevant materials and came across the Alumilite Basic Casting Kit:
...which I bought from Nigel Lawton, as the best UK supplier I could find who also provided clear (if wordy and rather poorly laid-out) instructions on how to use all of his products on his website.
But I wasn't going to throw myself right in and cast my client's custom terrain with no experience or understanding of resin casting! So I decided to build and cast some custom bases using whatever I had to hand (such as lots of spare bases!). Here's my first effort:
Then I built myself a rubber mould, having borrowed some of my son's LEGO:
This is actually my third attempt and there are two more designs of base at the bottom of the well, with the rubber poured on top. I tried to stick the LEGO down with double-sided sticky tape. Bad mistake. I should have stuck with (pun not intended) the packing tape I used on the first two moulds. At time of writing, this mould and the second mould are still curing. But here's the first mould I made:
I mixed up the resin, again following the instructions from the box, and poured it into the mould. The moulds themselves take from 8 to 24 hours to cure depending on their size (snore!), but the resin cures in less than 10 minutes! Here are two examples (the second, on the right, and third actual passes):
The one on the left is a different colour to the one on the right because I didn't quite mix the parts as thoroughly as I should have. However, notwithstanding the colour, it's a perfectly decent cast, nice and hard and easy to paint. The one on the right is properly mixed.
The first example that I cast is the one I quickly painted up to see how it took paint and what it looked like with some slap on:
I'm pretty chuffed with the result. The casts aren't perfect, because the moulds got a little bubbly. I've since moved to using a vibrating platform (a.k.a. an orbital sander taped upside down to a sheet of acrylic on my spare desk), but it's very noisy, so I only run it for a couple of minutes. I don't know whether it's made a difference, yet. We'll have to see.
Anyway, the idea is to cast off as many copies of these as I can with the Basic Casting Kit and sell them to cover the costs of the kit before buying more rubber and resin from Nigel and to begin trying two-part moulds. I'll probably sell them on eBay, but if anyone fancies taking any off my hands on Warseer, drop me a PM and I'm sure we can come to a mutually-acceptable arrangement.
More to follow!