Fun with resin

Everyone needs a distraction from painting up the hordes of unpainted miniatures they own, don’t they? Well, this little black duck does!

Having started playing Malifaux, and Resurrectionists more specifically, there is a heavy reliance on counters. Ressers need Corpse Counters. In the first couple of games, I used dice or something similar as a corpse counter.

After trawling the Malifaux forums, I found a gem reference to making your own counters. Getting all inspired, I dug out my trusty scalpel and plasticard and got to work reproducing what I had seen.

I love working with plasticard; it’s easy to cut, shape and sand so it was only about ten minutes work to produce my original cast. I decided to keep the original pretty simple because I was just mucking around and wanted as few things to go wrong as humanly possible.

Last year, I booked a seat on a resin jewellery making course for my wife’s birthday and she came home from it with a two part resin (https://secure.solidsolutions.com.au/view_products.php?cat=39) that I decided to play around with. As a casting medium, it was simple to use. Equal measures by volume of the two parts, sixty seconds of stirring and two to three minutes of curing time. I’m a big fan of this as you can quickly see the results (or failures).

For many years I have been in possession of a roll of Green Stuff and apart from gap filling, have never had a use for it. Vintage green stuff, as I found out, has a problem. Over time the blue and yellow parts that touch will cure and form a core of hard, strangely enough, green stuff. When you knead the other two parts, this core bit can get caught up in whatever you’re making. The lesson here is look after your Green Stuff and if it’s been around for a while, cut out that cured bit before you start.

The process, in this case, was pretty simple. Get a wad of Green Stuff, knead it until it had a consistent colour, roll it into a ball and then flatten it out so that it was about ten millimetres thick. It has to be wide enough to take a good impression of the thing you want to cast. In this case, a thirty millimetre disk of plasticard. As far as depth, well, that depends on the height you want. I chose to keep my corpse counter about the thickness of a standard base (about three or four millimetres thick).

I’m sure there is an exact science to all this, but I was just experimenting and the resultant mould was pretty good for my purposes.

I am not the most patient person in the world, and waiting around for the green stuff to cure fully was torture. Regardless of this, there is no amount of repeating it; let the putty fully cure before you use it as a mould.

I did some experiments with plasticine, but without any way of hardening it, there was no way the mould would be resilient enough, so that got put aside. Other options could include Fimo or other types of modellers clay. That said, make sure the clay has a flat finish. If it’s textured in any way that will be transferred to the cast. On top of that, check to see if it’s porous or not. If it will absorb water, it may absorb resin too.

Now, let me save you some pain. Release agents are gold as they stop the cast sticking to the mould. There are some awesome ones out there if you want to splash some cash, but for a cheaper alternative grab a jar of Vaseline. Just be careful about the amount you use because it can end up obscuring detail in the mould. I found that using a Games Workshop Tank Brush or similar was an easy way to get a good coating of Vaseline that wouldn’t end up covering the detail. According to articles I read, spray on Canola oil is also a good release agent. Basically, the release agent is there to stop the cast sticking to the mould when it is taken out.

After all this prep work and mucking around, it was time to pour and make my first cast. It failed. Horribly. I think the resin mix was wrong. However, the second attempt was a lot more successful and came out looking like this:

It’s a little grotty due to handling, but the details are crisp and clear, even the stitches came out really well. Keen as mustard I was to try the second cast when disaster struck. Genius that I am thought it would be great to have precoloured counters. There are pigments that go into resin to colour them and they do the job brilliantly. Unfortunately, Games Workshop Green Ink is not one.

As best as we can guess, the ink has a high water content which didn’t harden or react the same as the two part resin. As you can see, this was far from a success. The pour was a green blobby mess that didn’t even vaguely resemble the cast. Also, when I washed out the mould from the mess made, there may have been some residual water left behind. The next pour of normal resin ended up trashing the mould as it wouldn’t release and had to be dug out with a screw driver and scalpel.

Many lessons have been learnt and I am looking forward to repeating the process and casting all sorts of counters and markers for Malifaux as well as the various Games Workshop games.