The Adventures of 54mm Launcelot! Amazing Insight into the Production Process
Hi again everyone,
In case you missed the update earlier this week:
Twisted Kickstarter Pledge Manager Now Re-Opened! We are in the final stages of packing Wave 2 Rewards, so the Twisted Pledge Manager has now re-opened, and we are preparing to ship!
Grab some new miniatures: Wave 2 ships for FREE, so you can Add-on as many extra new miniatures as you like!
See the full update here:
The Adventures Of 54mm Launcelot
As a special treat, Taeme - our resin caster extraordinaire from Magos Miniatures - has written a special article showing the full process of moulding and casting 54mm Launcelot! As you can see, there is a LOT of work involved in preparing a miniature for production. It's worth it though: Taeme's resin casts are the best I have ever seen, and I know you are all going to be very impressed by them!
Add a 54mm Launcelot to your pledge now and get FREE shipping.
Remember, only Kickstarter backers (you guys!) will receive the exclusive art print that comes with 54mm Launcelot.
We've only got a limited number of resin casts completed so grab one now to be the first to receive your copy! :)
Moulding and Casting 54mm Launcelot
Hello Backers, I'm Taeme the resin caster from Magos Miniatures in Australia. I would like to thank you all for your outstanding patience as I get loads of resin miniatures cast up and sent out for the team at Demented Games to add to your pledges. It has been quite an experience and is now so close to completion.
I wanted to offer an insight into the process and painstaking work for taking the original sculpt of Launcelot 54mm all the way to a finished resin miniature.
The original sculpt is carefully inspected for any features that may cause issues for the stresses of mass production. Any crevasses and porous areas are sealed and smoothed to reduce catching in the mould which could cause parts to tear out. The sculpts are then oriented so as to ensure optimum removal of air and entry of resin before having a sprue built around the parts.
Many of the Twisted miniatures are very complex and intricate, so a line is marked around the sculpt to help identify where the mould needs to be split later on. It is well worth taking the time to get all of these steps as perfect as possible to save time further down the track and improve the quality on the finished miniatures.
The finished parts are then attached to a reservoir block that is large enough to supply the volume of resin necessary to fill the mould completely.
The original sculpt is now ready to have a master mould made from it. The master mould will be used to create several resin copies called resin masters that will then be used to create the final production mould that can cast multiple miniatures at a time.
A mould box is built around the original sculpt using tough plastic sheet and building blocks to contain the liquid silicone rubber that will make up the master mould. The silicone rubber comes in two parts that need to be thoroughly mixed to ensure the rubber properly cures. This mixing introduces many small bubbles that could ruin the surface details on the miniatures. To get the bubbles out, the mixed silicone is placed in a chamber and a powerful vacuum is applied using a vacuum pump to get all of the air to expand, rise to the surface and burst.
Now that the silicone is completely bubble free it is carefully poured into the mould box. As a final step the mould is placed in a pressure pot and left to cure for several hours under high pressure. This ensures that any remaining air is removed and that the ultimate level of detail is copied from the original sculpt.
Once the silicone rubber mould has fully cured it is removed from the mould box. As the rubber was poured as one solid block it needs to be carefully cut open to get the original sculpt out. Clear or translucent rubber can aid greatly in this process.
Using a very sharp blade the mould is cut open in a combination of small zig zagging and wavy motions that create a diamond pattern that help the two halves of the mould line up to reduce mould lines and slippage. Once the original sculpt has been removed and the mould has been cleaned up, resin masters can be cast.
A quantity of polyurethane casting resin is measured out and mixed up before being poured into the reservoir at the top of the mould. The mould is then placed in a vacuum chamber to get any trapped air to rise to the surface and be replaced with resin. Once air bubbles are no longer coming to the surface and before the resin starts to harden the mould is subjected to high pressure in a pressure pot to capture all of the detail and strengthen the resin.
Once the resin has sufficiently cured it is removed from the pressure pot and carefully removed from the mould to ensure the parts do not warp or get damaged. The casting is inspected for any trapped air bubbles or other imperfections and the mould is altered as needed to solve these issues. This process may need to be repeated several times until a perfect cast is achieved.
Once a cast comes out perfectly, several more resin masters will be cast so that a production mould can be made.
Each of these perfect resin masters will then need to be carefully cleaned up and re-attached to reservoir blocks. They are then arranged in ranks and another mould box is built to make the production mould.
A different type of silicone rubber is used for the production mould which is much more resistant to the damage caused by the chemicals in casting resin, to allow repeated castings to be made. Just like the master mould, the production mould is cast in a solid block which needs to be cut open.
The moulds are then carefully aligned and clamped together with boards and elastic bands to ensure they do not open up or distort while being cast into. Resin is poured into the reservoirs and vacuum and then pressure is applied to get bubble free, detailed and strong castings.
This photo shows five resin production casts straight out of the mould. This process is then repeated multiple times until there are enough to fulfill the order. The casts are then clipped from the reservoir and given a brush to remove most of the thin flakes from resin seeping between the mould halves, called flash. Finally the casts are bagged and sent to the team at Demented Games ready to fill pledges.
Working on the resin casts for the Twisted Kickstarter has been such an amazing and challenging experience, with a huge learning curve due to the intricately detailed and complex miniatures. So much has been learned that will be implemented to make future casting better and faster.
A big thank you to Peter, Sebastian and all of you - the Backers - for the opportunity to work on this project.