Monday, August 17, 2009

OK, so I took a 3 month hiatus from 40K to do other things (non-game related). So I figured what the hell I will jump in feet first and start molding my own bitz. This idea first came to me when I figured out the price to order just the shoulder pads from GW needed to get my army the way I want it. I did my research (or so I thought) on what it would take to mold these items along with lets say some custom plasma guns, combi-weapons, heads, etc... well on the front end it all seemed so easy to do and pretty cost efficient. This article here is to help all those budding young craftsmen avoid or at least be aware of some of the back end costs of making your own bitz.

First my estimated price for bitz for Phase 1 was about $180.00. For a completely unique army I am thinking not to bad, but more than I really want to spend. So here goes:

Starter Molding Kit (Alumilite): $70.00
  • Great kit in my opinion. Has enough silicone to make the mold you see in the post about my first molding experience, but really not much else of any size. I knew going in it wasn't much but truly wasn't sure what it would make. (Molding tutorial will be posted later)
Electronic Scale (Office Depot): $45.00
  • Now this investment I was not planning on. After sitting home reading the instructions for mixing molds and such I realized that although you use volume to figure out how much Silicone you need it is actually mixed by weight. Now you can get less expensive scales but a few things to need one that will measure grams. Also it must be sensitive, mixing such low weights some scales have a hard time picking up the change. Don't scrimp on the scale if you get your mixes wrong you will pay for it later when your molds don't come out right and you are wasting material.
Lego's (Toys R Us): $30.00
  • So if you do your research about making mold boxes you will note that there are a bunch of ways to make these. If you are trying to save a little $$ on the front end you can forgo these. I opted for Lego's because they are reusable and they clean up really easy after you are done. I also bought one of the 6x6 mats for it. Doing that gives me some room to work with a little spillage area in case something goes wrong or gets knocked around.
Latex Rubber (Woodland Scenics): $13.00
  • Again another investment I was not prepared for until I started reading. So the Silicone does not leak through the Lego's you need a sealer for the inside of your mold box. You don't need much just a thin coat so the bottle you get from Woodland Scenics will last a long time.
9 Volt Battery (Office Depot): $8.00
  • Because I forgot to read the box for the scale, second trip to office supply store (gas not included in price batteries are just that freaking expensive).
Mixing Cups, Stir Sticks (Hobbytown USA): $7.00
  • The stuff that comes with the starter kit is no where near enough to make a go at it so be prepared and just buy more up front (this will help you alleviate the next issue). You may want to pick up some 8oz. plastic cups they seem to be ok for mixing these smaller molds. Stay away from Styrofoam cups as you stir they may shed tiny particles into your mold mix.
All the crap you don't need: $120.00
  • This is all the stuff you had no intentions of buying but couldn't do with out as you walked through the store. Don't tell me you can just get what you need, you are a LIAR !!
So as you can see minus the last one the total investment is $166.00. There really is no savings unless you plan on doing a large project or you are planing on hacking up a bunch of models for conversions. Now really on the first phase I am not making any money and probably after paper towel, cleaning supplies, and time invested where I could actually be working on something else I am in the red.

The silver lining to this little project is that when I get a little better at it I wont be wasting time modeling combi-weapons, shoulder pads, icons, skulls, spikes, etc...I can just make a mold of these and have them in my bitz box ready to use.

To wrap this up I am about 50/50 on how it goes it is fun to do something new, but if you are looking to save money by making molds give it up. I know you can probably cast a whole marine and save a bunch of money there, but really with the look of most armies now who wants to go back to second edition and have 3/4 of your models with the same pose.

Part 2: Mold Making 101

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