Sunday, April 7, 2013

cheap molding method

In this topic I'll present my last scenery project, work in progress.

I'm creating a 3d dungeon mostly for DéD Wrath of Ashardalon board game (reusing the same tile design), but wich will be probably compatible with any generic dungeon crawling rules.

In this project, I created everything, from the masters to the molds and castings.

First, I made a master in foam (foam between 2 coats of paper, name "carton plume" in france). I removed one side (made of paper). I use the classic 1" tile :

Then, with a xacto and a simple pen, I engraved some details on them  :

With my finger, I "push" the foam and give a nice used and old effect. It's something usefull for caverns, and very old buildings. If you're creating some marble floor, or rich castle floor, it would not be a great idea to do that.

Then, I cutted the tiles to make single masters. I polished each of them with sandpaper, xacto, etc...carefully to keep the exact size.

Then, I glued the tiles on a piece of acrylic glass. I thought it would be a good idea to make individual tiles, so I can place them like a puzzle and create every design I wanted to :

But finally, it was not a good idea. It was a way too long to cast the necessary pieces to make all the rooms of WOA gamebox. I just casted a few pieces and saw that it would take ages to make the complete tileset. So I just casted a few pieces, to re-use later for more convenient new molds. I also created a sample tile in acrylic resin, to see how it will look at the end :

The tools I use for molding :

Yes, I'll use the old school technic of latex molding. Essentially because it's cheap. It stinks, it takes ages to dry, but finally it works and the molds are pretty robust, and... it's really cheap. With a little imagination, you can even create complex (multipart) structures.

I use modelling plaster for the casting. Again, cheap, cheap, cheap. That's the key point.

So I decided to create new molds.  Using the sample pieces I casted, I just designed 4 squares, wich represent itself the theorical size of each tile of the game. Each game tile is designed from a simple 4x4 squares tiles. So it was a lot faster to simply cast complete tiles, and then cut off the excess squares :

First I assembled 4 tiles :

I filled the defects and gaps with plasticine :

And finally, I poured some latex on the masters. I do several coats (about 5-7) on them. First, a thin coat to take all the sculpting details :

After drying, I did several other coats, and then I applied some medical clothe on it, to make the molds more stronger :

Once it's dry, you can see the cloth :

I finally added a thick coat of latex :

A week later, the molds were ready :

It's a waaaay faster like this to cast the pieces !

And then I started to cut the pieces to shape the original D&D game tileset :

I finally glued the cast parts on cardboard :

As you can see, some parts of the tiles are blank. I'll make sort of lava lakes, stones, and caverns walls in them. I will use classic technic (modelling styrofoam, texturized paint, etc...) for that.

to be continued !  Next step is to "paint" the plaster parts with Future Floor to "seal" (a bit like plastic aspect) them and make them stronger.

1 comment:

  1. The mold creation is done in several stages and latex coats.

    addendum : latex STINKS. It's full of amoniac. So don't use it in a closed room.

    1) First coat, a thin coat of latex is carefully applied, to cover all the master details. Then, you can dry it with a hairdryer.

    2) Once it's dry, you do another thin coat. You dry it (about 10min of hairdryer).

    Repeat stage 2 about 3 times. Last time, don't dry the latex.

    3) apply a coat of chirurgical cloth on the fresh latex. Then, apply some latex on the cloth. Dry it. It will make the mold very robust, and will minimize the shrinkage.

    4) apply 1 or 2 coats of latex more. dry it.

    5) apply 1 coat of thick latex (you can use special additionnal to make it thicker) more.

    6) let everything dry on a dry and hot place somewhere during a couple of days (summer) a few days (spring), or a complete week.

    7) remove the molds from the masters carefully. Apply some talc (casting powder) inside and outside the mold. Let is dry a few hours more, and replace it on the master to dry a day more (to avoid shrinkage. Personnaly I don't care, so I let the mold drying alone).

    Cool you can use, re-use, and use again your mold, for plaster, resin, acrylic resin, etc... It's pretty solid and odour free.

    So, as you can see...Cheap, but not fast. You cannot have everytin