Monday, June 9, 2014

Playing in the sandbox

In preparation for the Mediterranean campaigns, I have started to paint some American and German tanks in desert scheme as well.

I have gone with more weathering for my versions.  Part of this is to hide some of the mould lines, but also to lend a better sense of scale.  That tends to make super tiny things seem a little less small :-)

Most of the color transitions were done with glazes.  I wanted to have more of a warm, sepia color in some areas, but more greenish brown in others.

I also went back in with some light colors mixed with the glazes to reinforce the middle tones, as usual.

I look forward to doing more of the desert theme, but also trying out the weathering on Western Front Panzers and Shermans...

The Great Experiment begins! Press Test.

It seems like this is what you have all been waiting for... getting down to business with the sculpey and the moulds.

For the newcomers not quite familiar with how sculpey works, it is a clay that you can bake in just about any kind of oven.  When I am working with my basing techniques, I almost always use the regular sculpey.  Not Super Sculpey, not Sculpey III... just regular old white sculpey.

It is by far the easiest to carve and cut, and in this case, much easier to press the moulds into!

We have some tools... the rollers, some ceramic tiles, and the pasta machine.  Oh, I'm sorry... clay extruder.  I just didn't know those came with recipes. :-)

To make sure that I would get a sheet of sculpey that would be about the same size as the moulds, I pressed it out by hand into a rectangle.  If I left it as more of a tube, the machine would just make the tube much longer... not widen it!

Here goes!  Through the pasta extruder/clay machine.  Al Dente indeed!  It is best to use the thickest setting.

A sheet that is long enough and wide enough to fit two moulds, ready for pressing!  

I thought I would give some of the sci-fi moulds a try for this first pressing.  They had some complex textures that I felt would be good for the "press test", and offer many possible basing concepts right off the bat.

The first mould.  To make sure I pressed as evenly as possible, I used my rubber jeweler's block.  However, I could have used one of the ceramic tiles as well.  It's important to press evenly, or the texture will not come out right.

I didn't put the clay in the freezer this time.  I wanted to see what would happen if I just pulled it away.  That actually worked out better than I had anticipated.

On to the next texture.  This type of plating didn't have as much variety in texture as the first mould, but the rivets seemed to present a challenge.  I was glad that they appeared to render OK.

One more texture!  I felt that this one wold be a challenge, once more due to the rivets.

Pressing with just the right amount of oomph would be critical, so that I didn't distort the rivets.  I suppose I could have put this in the freezer as an insurance against messing up the rivets as I pulled the mould away, but that was not too much of an issue.

Out comes the toaster oven so that I can bake the sheets!

Stay tuned to find out what happens after the steel plates are pulled from the cauldron of the forge!