Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Learning to cast but loosing the muse....

Hello folks..

So not really sure that this post will live up to the previous three.. 

A few weeks back I offered to host an up coming summer 40k skirmish game at my house .. its a new house to me having only lived there 6 months compared to the past 17 years at my previous one.. I thought it might be a chance to make some new scenery.. all my previous builds were at the dining room table of my old home but this new place has a basement for such things.. oh what luxury ;-)

Bromholme was going to be the muse A Inq28   Dalthus sector shrine world PDH  devised with a little input from me partly inspired by the sombre works of beksinksi

Its a scenery challenge I have been looking forward to for a few years...( I originally intended to make all the worlds in the phrellian sub sector   but only every managed to complete the ice moon fellixus IV I think it could only be realised by hosting a game in my own home thus negating any large scenery travel plans. ;-)

I started feverishly gathering styles and a visual language.. I recorded some of this process and thought it might prove insightful or useful to others ..

A grave yard theme seemed appropriate..and having just converted and painted up a replica skull to inspire me i was off to a good start..

The muse is a fluid thing.. and although I started off thinking about Beksinski cathedrals and tombstones..I was soon consumed by the 40k Blanchean aesthetic ..

These images in particular sum up the pyramidal bone middens I was going to try and recreate..
I know 40k can often be accused of going skull heavy .. but to me that is the underlying reality of life in the 40th millennium.. life is cheap .. all of humanity not only space marines are its greatest resource.. millions or is it billions of worlds.. countless soldiers dying in huge swathes .. the rements of these souls a useful building resource.. as depicted in the wonderfully gothic third edition of warhammer 40k..

These images were the muse now I just needed to create a convincing gameboard reality to game on from them..

Part 2 The build

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the hobby for me is researching new things in an attempt to learn how to understand or make something. In this case I was going to enjoy learning all about gothic architecture  , human bone churches..animal bone crushing factories.. and how industrial  compounds like coal salt or iron ore  form the pyramidal or conical shapes they form when gathered together.. oh yes and medieval  pilgrims , reliquaries, desert anchorites . stylites  . Dutch weigh-men, weighouses monasticism and the paintings of Byzantium saintly halos..

I wont bore you with the details... but i would say to those based in the uk who are reading this .. the BBC I player has some wonderful documentaries on the  Gothic subject at present.

Warhammer 40k third edition is the most ecclesiastical version of 40k i have seen..  and i was hoping to bring some of that aspect into the board..

To achieve the often grand yet detailed scale of 40k i decided to learn how to cast...

if I could create my own masters i could replicate the details infinitely and at a much lower price to buying .. cost is always going to be an issue with the hobby and terrain making..due to the scale needed. in the past i have bought stuff at full retail price ..just loads of it.. like for the ygg board .. but times change and this board needed to be done as cheaply as possible..

If i wanted ruined cathedrals and  lots of skulls .. casting with a casting plaster was the only viable  option.


This is not intended as a tutorial on how to cast with plaster.. there are loads of far more usefeul tutorials on the net about that ..  rather an exploration into it...

Now i  am quite new to  casting ..  in the past i have press molded green stuff to make scarabs

and I have used woodland scenic's rock moulds and clear resin for ice effects

but I have never created a mould for plaster.. or resin for that matter.. its quite a precise operation not something that I excel in .. but I persisted..

I started off by picking up some re-mouldable  putty

 which is quite fun and quite cheap .. its very similar to using green stuff as a mould but its is non sticky which is  a huge bonus plus hot water returns it to its gelatinous state that allows infinite numbers of remoulding..  it even allows plaster to be cast into it.. it lacks the absolute details of a silicon rtv mould though..  i am not sure if it can take resin .. but i doubt it as the resin i used before got very hot when curing.

next up  i tried making a rtv mold using lego plastercine and rtv silicon bought from here :

expensive delivery but only took two days !

 I had already cast up some  plaster skulls from a smaller mould and wanted to increased the cast-able area with a bigger silicon rtv mould to reduce the amount of time i spent casting..

 60 skulls

around 600 skulls

Just to be clear : any GW bits or anything else for that matter , that I cast .. were only for my personal gaming requirements.. so I can create repetition of parts for effect.. I do not condone recasting for profit.

As you can see the casting at this stage went quite well .. I learnt its better to keep a boarder around the thing you want to cast ..for easier de-moulding.  I now had a viable mould for casting the plaster into and potentially creating a lot of skulls..

part 3 casting plaster

At this point my energy for the project was still high .. I  was still learning new things ..everything had potential..

casting plaster is messy .. I new that before I started ..its not something I generally would do for the hobby ... plaster absorbs paint and it chips.. not a great wargaming material.. I have seen little to convince me otherwise.. but... its very cheap - comparatively to resin and I needed a lot !

I could not see  another option.. hirst arts has long being the mainstay for wargaming and plaster..I made use of  a lot of information from hirst arts tutorials on the website and through youtube videos..
and learnt early on that the cheaper plaster of Paris would be less good for casting than  an Alpha dental plaster.

in the UK Crystacal R alpha casting plaster seems like a good option and that's the one I decided on.
a large 25kg bag can be picked up on ebay for around £27.00

 So like this post .. the whole process of building a shrine world bedecked with 100.000 skulls had started to take its toll.. like most hobbyists I have the attention span of a newt when new shiny things come out to play .. and the new ad mech stuff I can resist no more.. ;-) so as much as I enjoyed this project .. its consigned to the back burner for now.. the chore of  constantly casting and demoulding  has taken its toll on my desire to see this this gameboard come to life.. plus i really dont think i have time to create a master mould for a ruined cathedral and then cast that up along with all the details that bring a 6ft by 4ft board to life.. in its stead a 40k alcohol/synth drug distillery/ pumping station along with Jes Goodwin inspired rogue trader long rifle bootlegger trenchoat bandits.. using the new pipe system seems much simpler and more practical... but before i go.. it would be a shame not share some pics of the conversions i started for the project..  and for those of you that read warhammer visions..

I have it on good information that the confrontation tech gang and the beautiful game miner i created for some games a warhammer world are in this months edition of Blanchitsu ! many thanks to John and the guys that put it together.. I am really very proud.. ;-)