The Hobbit? – A review.

TL:DR – If you’re a parent, don’t bring your kids until you’ve seen it. If you have any literary taste, don’t watch it. If you’re a fan, run.

Now the longer version.
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Mold experiments, day 4

I saw The Hobbit on Saturday. I was extremely disappointed. Further details in another post.

Mold 2, Side 1:
Material: DAP Silicone caulk, catalyzed with Delta Ceramcoat Mediterranean Blue (10 drops), approx. 1/4th cup
Matrix: Van Aken oil-based non-drying clay
Cure time: 12 hours
Size: 2″x3″
Mold frame: 3 legos high

This was the first mold attempt with Van Aken, and also the first using legos as key pieces.
Outcome: Botched application of silicone.Parts of the side, bottom edge, and areas around the master did not receive enough silicone – I didn’t press it down hard or well enough – and the silicone became lumpy and missed areas. Key blocks turned out very nicely, however, and the Van Aken made a good and pliable surface with which to work.
This mold was also slightly shallower than the master required.

Mold 2, side 1 redux:
Material: DAP, catalyzed with 8 drops of Med. Blue, approx 1/3 cup (previous mold too thin)
Matrix: Identical
Cure Time: 14 hours
Size 2″x3″
Frame: 4 legos high

On demold, discovered that the clay had picked up a pretty hefty amount of acetic acid, and had a surface consistency change. Airing it out on the back porch; this gives me concerns about future plastic molding, however, as having that much acetic acid right against the curing surface will likely slow the exchange reaction even with a catalyst – possibly ruining surface detail. Silicone partially rejected the catalyst; pockets and chunks of paint are visible, and the mold is more transparent than normal. Increasing paint amount for next cast.

Mold 2, side 2:
Material: DAP caulk catalyzed with 15 drops (better safe than sorry..) of Med. Blue. I’m also using almost a half-cup for this cast.
Matrix: Mold side 1(bis)
Mold release: Mann ease-release 200
M.R. Application: heavy spray, brief brush over master, second lighter spray
Cure time: intended 11-12 hours.
Frame: flipped previous frame and poured into bottom
Size remains the same. Final mold will be just over 1-3/4″ deep.

My master is vinyl, so I’m worried about possible damage to it from the M.R. We’ll see in a few hours.
Edit: no visible damage to master on demold.
Mold release failed; the mold halves were stuck together, and once again only the differing densities and shear line allowed me to get them apart. Will first try a heavier application and letting it sit longer, before switching release agents.
The silicone also had some foaming and detail loss, as with last time. The key blocks were filled incorrectly, and there were some potentially really nasty flash areas around parts of the master.
This is by far the thickest area/mold I’ve tried to cast: I suspect I may have to build the next mold half in separate sections instead of in one go, further complicating the mold release issue. It also looks like the thicker (viscosity) silicone may be complicating the casting process.

Further testing suspended until after Christmas. Will try a cast to see how buggered Mold 2, Side 2 really is..

Molding experiments, day not-a-day

Experiments suspended for today, after dealing with Christmas shopping and the government all of it.
Picked up a pound of Van Aken modeling clay, which was specifically recommended to me as silicone-resistant, for less than $4.
Also got some professional mold release (Mann Ease-Release 200, which is some toxic-ass shit) for $13.
They don’t have tin-cure 10:1 (only the “oomoo” 1:1, which has slightly worse work life, detail, and mold life – and costs $4 more) at the local Blick. It’s still cheaper than it is from Smooth-On. That’ll have to wait until after Christmas. Total cost to date is about $50 (not counting the legos from my collection I’ve sacrificed to the mold frame gods), so I’m still running pretty cheap.

Mold experimentation, day 2

Mold 1, side 3 cont:
Demold @ 10h. Mold firm and clean. Part corroded by acetic acid release from RTV.
Mold release failed. If it weren’t for a slight difference in texture and hardness between the molds and the amount of time I spent cleaning up mold side 2 last night, this would be a total loss. As it is, I had to carve apart the mold sides with an exacto.
Detail looks sharp, if dirty,and I think I’ll go for a test run tonight. SDC10017Edit: cast part. Two air bubbles have wrecked it, but the detail is top-notch.

Casting experiments, day 1, log.

This is actually my second attempt; the first time I didn’t know about using accelerants with RTV.

Mold attempt 1, side 1:
Matrix medium: Dow Poster-tack, no mold release.
Accelerant: Art Advantage acrylic paint, “Mars Black”, 1/2t water (paint was drying, but still had a good supply of glycerine)
Mold Material: 100% silicone “Liquid Nails” RTV adhesive. Ostensible 16h set time.
Set time: 24 hours
Mold size: 1″ x 2.5″

Results:
10h: Mold is sweating paint, firm with no noticeable tack.
24h: Demold. Mold half still wet with paint, sweats paint when squeezed. Removed test component, pressed mold to remove water/paint.
Poster-tack does not adhere to silicone, but does stick, badly, to component and lego mold frame.

Cleaned part, inverted mold.
Mold attempt 1, side 2
Matrix: Side 1 mold
Accelerant: Deco Art brand Bright Blue acrylic paint, no water.
Mold material: DAP 100% silicone RTV caulk.
Mold release: cornstarch.
Set time: 16 hours
Mold size: 1″ x 2.5″, 1/2″ thick
Brushed on initial layer, then packed with gloved hand. Using table lamp as further accelerant.

Results:
Mold material much smoother to mix; horrible stench. Adheres vigorously to gloves and brush.
Edit: 7h. Mold is hard, almost completely free of scent. Demolded, and this half is looking excellent. Slight adhesion to lego frame, not nearly as bad as the Liquid Nails half. Cornstarch acceptable as a mold release on legos. Liquid Nails half of mold destroyed in demold attempt (it re-softened somehow), but current half is intact.

Cleaned and rebuilt lego mold, cut primary flat and trimmed off undercuts.
Mold Attempt 1, side 3
Matrix: side 2 mold
Mold Release: Remington aerosol machine oil.
Set time: 8 hr tentative.
Size, method, Accelerant and material: identical to previous test.
Should be good. I hope.

Smackdown and run.

Had a fun game of Battletech  – first actual tabletop fight in about 4 years – last night.
My opponent’s busy working up a play-by-play right now, but here’s the basics:
Gaussapult (based on the infamous K2 rebuild from MW:O, but with the Gauss Rifles in the arms where a sane person would put’em..) versus a virtually even-matched by points Marauder MAD-5S. The Catapult is lighter, but runs cold as fuck and (with his build) had excellent armor. The Marauder, by contrast, runs a little hot, though not as badly as some of the other models,and is a very thin-skinned beast. Both have identical movement profiles, and a nearly-identical selection and power of armament. The K2A mounts 2 Gauss Rifles, with 16 shots for each, and a pair of middleweight lasers.

Don't blame me, I didn't make it..

Don’t blame me, I didn’t make it..

The Marauder has a pair of long-ranged Particle Projection Cannon, a single Gauss with only 8 shots (I used six of them in the fight) and a pair of slightly more accurate/damaging lasers with a very short range.
The first several turns were a war of maneuver, with me pushing my machine a little harder than he his, and a lot of duck and cover. By the time he managed to close, I’d put several sharp hits on him in exchange for only one on myself. The dice, however, were not exactly on my side. I won initiative only twice out of more than 10 rounds of combat, and flubbed two entire rounds of exceedingly easy shots.
I eventually retreated from the field after losing the right arm and all of my right torso and leg armor to Gauss shots (basically, I was carrying a time bomb around with no armor on top – the Gauss Rifle in the torso will explode if hit, and blow up the fusion engine inside the ‘Mech). After my initiative rolls up to that point, I didn’t feel like pushing my luck. Gave as good as I got, though, and tore up my more heavily-armed opponent; his damage was more spread around, but he was on the verge of having one of his own rifles blow, not to mention his engine.

Spent part of today working on my dropship models and cleaning house, as well as working out paint schemes and various con business.

Current projects:
2 “Pard” class dropships (sawed-off Leopards, with capacity for 2 Medium ‘Mechs or 4 light vehicles and a platoon of power-armored infantry). These are using an ERTL Space shuttle as an armature, but are primarily sculpted from cheap Japanese poly-foam air drying clay and a hard external layer of JB Weld KwikWood. I’ve fallen in love with the stuff recently. It’s $3 for several ounces; similar properties to Green Stuff, but it sets in only about half an hour, and is much easier – if more toxic – to sand and carve. Holds detail remarkably well, too.
1 “Confederate” class dropship, with a modified, lower-power engine replacing the temperamental original. Carrying capacity is only 4 ‘Mechs, leaving me in need of transport assets for the other, oh, hundred and forty I own :b It’s based on a 12″ plastic Christmas ornament from Target’s bargain bin, sanded and stripped of the horrible fuschia foil that once covered it.
Repairing and refitting a wrecked Unseen Marauder II. Currently casting my master for the replacement feet and autocannon, we’ll see how she do in a couple of days. Trying the “Scriptarius” method of mold-making, until I can afford some actual tin-cure silicone and a gram scale.
Painting a converted Atlas, refitted for pitfighting. It’s about 90% done, and I’m out of sealant. Waiting on replacement matte varnish at this point.
Remounting several Mekton/Jovian Chronicles hardsuits for Battletech use. The EAL-04A Pathfinder suit will be taking the field as a “Super Wasp” experimental ‘Mech from XTRO: Succession Wars. The heavily-damaged JC Hector I had was combined with a Cerberus exo-armor’s legs to make another EAL-04/Super Wasp, and the Cerberus torso was rebuilt with a Marauder II Reseen’s Gauss rifle, Assassin legs, and a handmade missile pack to become a Super Griffin.  (Why yes, I DO plan to run some Tales of the Black Widow scenarios later, thank you for asking).
Hopefully I can get Gabe back out here for a campaign game or two, I really need to feed the Battletech itch.

Pictures forthcoming as I can be arsed.