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 Casting molds and Lord of the Rings

Casting molds and Lord of the Rings

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 Welcome to Prince August and Mithril. We stock molds / moulds for Napoleonic soldiers, Vikings, Knights, Romans, Nativity, Prussian and Fantasy pieces. Cast your own miniatures or Chess sets. We also have Lord of the Rings and Mutant Chronicles Warzone + Chronopia games, expansions and metal figures
Seven Years War 40mm Scale Moulds
Romans and Ancient Britons
Hobby Casting Tutorials
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STAGE#1 - PREPARE THE MOULD

We are using a 54mm scale mold from our Napoleonic ' 80-' series as a example. This mold has certain features that may not be common to all molds we sell, but the techniques shown here are applicable to any mold.

Before starting it is always advisable to heat the mould and use it while warmed.

This removes dampness, which can cause the hot metal to splatter and to allow a better flow of metal in the mould.

The temperature may vary depending on the mould and metal used but I find that between 30 degrees and 40 degrees Celsius best. You can easily set the temperature in most ovens.

Always apply dry talcum power (see illustration on right) to BOTH parts of the moulds from edge to edge. This protects the mould. More importantly this practice allows the air to escape during casting.

Apply Talcum Powder to BOTH  side of the mould

Slap mould halves together.

Talcum powser needs to be absolutely dry before application so warm it as well as the mould. (Water expands 2000 times when turned to steam.)

Always slap mould halves together to remove excess talcum powder. (See illustration on left)

To much can effect the surface texture of the miniature or block the flow of metal to some parts of the miniature.

Place O Rings in the neck location (does not apply to all moulds).

This will form a tubular joint for the location of the head and will allow you to do simple alterations as changing the head or turning the head.

Tips to remember:

  • Heat mould and talcum beforehand.
  • Apply talcum evenly and clap halves together to remove excess.
  • Add O Rings to body to allow later alterations.
Insert O Rings in neck location.

STAGE#2 - MELTING THE METAL

Melt the metal over the hob. Make sure metal is dry beforehand otherwise metal may spit and water escapes during melting.

An electric hob is preferable for better control of the heat.

Clamp moulds together and make sure rough sides of boards are facing into the mould.

Do not over-clamp the mould as two should be sufficient. Over-clamping can prevent the escaping of air through the mould. The quicker the air can escape the better the fill. This can often be overlooked and lead to gaps in the casting.

Melt the metal over a electric hob. Use dry metal

Do not over-clamp the moulds.

Stir the metal with the back of a used match (just use the wooden end) before pouring the metal.

You can tell when the metal is hot enough when the match end starts to brown and produces a small amount of smoke. If the match blackens and smokes heavily, the metal is too hot and will burn the mould.

Push any slag (floating scum) away from spout of ladle you want to pour from to avoid getting the slag into the miniature body.

 

Tips to remember:

  • Melt DRY Metal using a electric hob.
  • Do not over-clamp moulds. Rough sides of boards facing into mould.
  • Stir with USED match to test heat. Wait until match begins to brown and releases a small amount of smoke. Do not OVERHEAT.
  • Push slag away from the pouring spout.
Test heat of metal with used match,  Push slag away from spout.

STAGE#3 - POURING THE METAL

You should be ready to pour the properly heated metal into a correctly clamped dry mould.

Pour the metal steadily, avoid hitting side of the pour hole. Do not stop until the pour hole 'well' is full. The weight of the metal in this 'well' pushes the metal into the extremities of the miniature.

Pour Metal gently into mould.

Gently tap the mould to settle the metal.

While pouring and for a few seconds after it is advisable to tap the mould gently with a piece of wood. This helps settle the metal in the mould.

You could also tap the entire mould, using both hands, off the table it rests on. But use extreme caution not to spill any of the metal on yourself.

STOP tapping when metal shows signs of cooling and stiffening (after 5 seconds or so) or risk cracking and damaging the newly cast miniature inside.

Slowly and carefully part the mould about five minutes after pouring. If the casts have not properly filled - DON'T PANIC.

You may have to try a couple of times to make the mould work.

If it still fails to fill awkward areas like reins or bayonets then venting will be required.

Use both hand to tap the mould gently against the table top.
Try again if a gap appears, just remelt the faulty casting.

Tips to remember:

  • Pour gently to fill the 'Well' of the mould.
  • Tap the mould gently for a few seconds after pouring.
  • STOP tapping when the metal begins to cool and stiffen.
  • Wait at least five minutes before opening mould.
  • If a gap appears in the casting, remelt the metal and try again.
  • Consider Venting for stubborn areas.

STAGE#4 - Venting the Mould

After following the previous three tutorials you should be ready to vent the mould to get the metal into those hard to reach places like reins of horses or the bayonets on rifles.

In the case of sprues surrounded by a frame you just cut a small vent from the problem area to this sprue.

Use a sharp modeling knife and a HEATED mould to get an easier cut. Make as many such vents as required to allow the metal into the problem area.

Cut Vents from figure to surrounding sprue.

Cut Vents from figure to top  of mould.

If the figure is not surrounded by a frame then always cut FROM the figure to the TOP of the mould. NEVER cut a vent to the bottom of the mould as the molten metal will only pour out through this.

When you have Vented the mould to your satisfaction you repeat the previous tutorials to cast the figure with safety as top priority as always.

SUCCESS - The bayonet has filled this time.

However a slight shift has occurred because the two halves of the mould were at a different temperature. Try to keep both parts of mould the same temperature to avoid this shift.

Now to remove you beautiful new cast figure from the mould. Carefully BEND the mould when removing the figure and you reduce wear and tear on the mould (which makes casting in future more prone to errors) and damaging the figure (after all your effort it would be a shame to ruin it with a moments carelessness).

Successful cast but slight shift has occured because of the mould halfs being a different temperature to each other.
Bend the mould to remove the figure to prevent damage.

Tips to remember:

  • Use a sharp knife and heat the mould when cutting vents.
  • Cut from the problem area to top of mould or to surrounding sprue.
  • Recast figure with attention to detail.
  • Wait at least five minutes before opening mould.
  • Keep both parts of mould same temperature.
  • Bend the mould when removing figure or damage may occur.

STAGE#5 - Cutting the Parts.

Now you have cast you first figure you must cut away the sprue and make sure that all the parts are ready to file and glue. This stage can often be overlooked, but that would be a mistake.

Tools you will need when removing parts from the casted sprues:

  • Flush Snips (Cutters),
  • Blade Saw,
  • Modeller Knives with replaceable blades.
Cutting Tools

Bend Protective Sprue away from parts

Some sprues have a protective frame surrounding the parts. This can now be pulled away from the parts to allow easy access to begin removal of figure parts.

When cutting with flush snips always turn the flat part of the snips to the part you want. This results in a cleaner cut.

It is very annoying to find that when cutting away the sprue you have accidentally damaged a piece of the part you want. To avoid this, it is advisable to cut at least 2mm from the part especially when cutting thicker sprues. You will notice that the snips will push towards the part as it cuts so keeping back from the part avoids the danger of damage.
Use flat of snips against part when cutting.
Leave at least 2mm from part when cutting.

Some sprues connected to more delicate parts can be thinned by scoring with a modeller's knife and twisted off or cut off completely by the blade.

Very thick sprues can be a bit too much for normal snips. However if you score them with a blade were the parts meet sprue and then twist off with the aid if a pliers you can overcome this problem.

Make sure it is well scored before doing this or you could wrap or damage the part itself. Some might prefer to use a bladesaw for a cleaner cut from sprue.

Use blade to score sprue when removing it from delicate parts.
Use blade saw to heavily score large sprues or risk damage to parts.

Tips to remember:

  • Bend protective sprue away from parts.
  • Turn flat part of snips to the part you want.
  • Cut at least 2mm from part.
  • Score sprue with knife to protect delicate parts.
  • Thicker sprues may need additional scoring or even the use of a bladesaw to weaken the sprue and prevent damage to the part.

STAGE#6 - Filing the Parts.

Casting and cutting are finished but remember to file the parts before putting them together.

Tools you will need when filing and Cleaning parts before putting the pieces of the figure together.

  • Curved Modeling Knife,
  • Large Flat File (Medium, Fine),
  • (Half-round) Needle files, small, medium large.
  • Brass Wire Brush (Soft Bristle)
  • (000) Grade Steel Wool.
Filing Tools

Carefully file off remains of 'gate'.

To file off remains of 'gate' it is recommended to use a large flat file. Use it evenly and carefully, removing sharp corners and bevels with a slight filing.

Paint tends to pull away and chip from these areas so this helps to prevent this happening.

Use needle files to remove seamlines and remains of 'buts' from vents. Take care especially on face, hands and folds of clothes.

File following the contours of figure smoothly and evenly.

Following the contours of figure is more effective than filing flat.

File following the contours of the figure.
Use small files for high detail parts.

Use small files for smaller pieces and for areas around lots of details, where seam lines run through.

Tips to remember:

  • Use a flat file to file 'gate' evenly.
  • Remove sharp corners and bevel edges to prevent paint peeling.
  • Use needle files to remove seamlines.
  • Follow contours of figure not filing flat.
  • Use small files for details.

STAGE#7 - Preparing to Glue Parts.

Casting and cutting are finished but remember to check the parts before gluing them together.

Using a soft brass bristle brush, polish the figure:

Do not brush too hard (lightly brush) for the best results. You may reduce fine detail otherwise, especially around face or decorations.

Polishing will show up any parts missed during filing, and helps to remove file and tooling marks.

Polish gently.

Assemble parts before glueing to test fit.

Always test all the parts before final assembly.

Minor bumps or lumps can make gluing messy so it is wise to check for a snug fit before applying adhesive to the parts. Any additional minor filing needed can be done to aid this process.

Clean and roughen areas that are to be glued for a better fix. Dust left in holes will weaken end result but if the surface is too smooth the glue has less 'grip' to hold parts together.

 

Use what you think best: Epoxy, super glue or solder.

 

Roughen areas before glueing.
Leave difficult parts separate to paint figure easier.

The Final figure is ready for painting. Sometimes it is best to leave certain parts separate to make it easier to paint. In this case the musket and sword scabbard are left separate so I can paint the straps and breast of jacket.

Tips to remember:

  • Polish gently the parts.
  • Check fit of parts before gluing.
  • Roughen up the areas slightly to allow the glue a better grip.
  • Glue or solder.
  • Leave difficult parts for painting separate.