Friday 23 March 2012

Figure Sculpting: Slotted Base Jig

I recently had to sculpt a figure and add a strip to the base of the figure that would fit into a plastic “slotta base”. Normally, I would use a pre-cast metal strip (I received a good supply of them from my caster many years ago), however I ran out recently and I haven’t had a chance to get any more. So I ended up sculpting the strip myself from my sculpting putty.

Slotta Base Jig Press moulded "slotta" strip, front side

This led on to the idea of putting my initials and date on the strip as a kind of signature, as is often seen on figure bases. It is very difficult to sculpt text neatly and quickly. Also it is far easier to “write” the text into soft putty rather than to build it up on the surface, even though the built up text does look more attractive.

Slotta Base Jig 01

This got me thinking, first off I tried writing the text into some putty, letting that set and then pressing some more putty into it to get the reverse (press moulding). It worked reasonably well, but still had that “hand sculpted” look, not as slick as I had hoped. Still the process worked, but how to improve it?

Slotta Base Jig Base Plate

Slotta Base Jig Base and Middle Plate, ready for putty!

Slotta Base Jig Top Plate

At this point I turned to my laser cutter (as I am doing more and more these days). The “Deep Engrave” setting for acrylic seemed like a good place to start. So I designed a little set of plates, a base plate with Iron Mammoth Design written in reverse. A middle plate, with a cut out 3mm x 20mm (a good standard size for a slotted base) and a top plate with 2012, also written in reverse. I cut the plates, and some locating lugs out of 2mm acrylic sheet.

Slotta Base Jig 03

Then I glued the lugs to the sides of the base plate. Before putting the putty into the mould, I lubricated it with some Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly), to aid removal once set. Then I  fitted the middle plate and pressed some putty into the cut-out section. I smoothed it in well, and just left it a little proud of the surface. Finally I pressed the top plate (with 2012 on it) into the top surface, squeezed it nice and tight and left the putty to set.

Slotta Base Jig Ready for Putty

Slotta Base Jig Pressing the Putty

The cut-outs at either end are there so that you can put rubber bands around it. You don’t need the while the putty is setting, as it holds the whole thing together, but it is handy when storing the jig.

Slotta Base Jig The set strip ready for removal

For a first attempt I am very pleased with the results. The text is raised and easily readable. I might increase the font size a little for the IMD side as it could be slightly clearer, but in general it works perfectly.

Press moulded "slotta" strip, back side

Slotta Base Jig Press moulded "slotta" strip, front side

I can see this being quite useful for a lot of sculptors, especially the individual and freelance ones. It is cheap and easily made, I can change the text very easily, so for example I can make a new “year plate”…

Any one who is interested in trying this out, please email me and I will see what I can do!

Friday 16 March 2012

Model Making: Futuristic Building WIP

After the fighting pit I felt like a bit of a change of pace. I wanted to make a building that is simple and without too much fussy detail, but is still eye catching!

I had an idea for a building that would pass for a retro 60's style prefab and also work in a sci-fi setting.

I have knocked out this rough first model just to get a feel for it! I think it's coming together well!
I want to do some more work on the roof, and also do some different interiors.  I also neef to add steps at the back and a railing at the front.

I see it being used as a series of buildings for everthing from science outposts to holiday resorts.  It even struck me that it would make a good life guards station!

Thursday 8 March 2012

Model Making: 28mm Scale Fighting Pit (or possible a Raptor Pen)!

The Barbarian King’s Hall was very well received, although quite a few people ask for the doors to be scaled for 28mm figures. So, as it seems to be the preferred scale I have made the latest model at that size.

28mm Fighting Pit 5

Moving on with the barbarian village theme it occurred to me that no right minded barbarian chieftain could be with a fighting pit as a way of keeping his tribe entertained (and disposing of enemy captives).

28mm Fighting Pit 328mm Fighting Pit 4

While I was designing the model it also struck me that it would be just as suitable in a Post Apocalyptic environment and also possibly would double as a dinosaur cage for those intrepid big game hunter who like to visit the odd lost plateau, an ancient Martian civilisation or possibly even Mordheim.

The string I have used in the photos is a little over scale, so I think I will replace it with some thick thread, or if I can find it some fine chain…

28mm Fighting Pit 128mm Fighting Pit 228mm Fighting Pit 528mm Fighting Pit 7

The dowels I used as bars at the top of the pit are 2mm diameter and are acquired from long handled cotton buds used for cleaning the laser cutter.

28mm Fighting Pit 828mm Fighting Pit 9

This is one of the simpler kits I have produced but I think it is also one of the more effective!


As usual I didn’t have any figures handy when I took the first batch of photos. Anyway I have added these for a better idea of scale. The figures are 25/28mm!

28mm Fighting Pit 1028mm Fighting Pit 1128mm Fighting Pit 12

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