Monday, 21 March 2011

Phase 1: Convert the Masses!

Nah this isn't some scheming religious campaign, just a scheming Elven one!

So I’ve finally converted all of my plastic Galadhrim warriors to wield one-handed swords and shields. Firstly I cast those damn shields and swords and let me tell you it was no easy task, many shields were lost and had to give their lives in the pursuit for the perfect shield.

After trial and error I finally worked out the best method to cast the glaives and shields. The shields were concaved (or curved) and proved tricky I followed these steps:

Creating the mold for a shield
  1. Once I had softened my casting mold (I used a re-branded Japanese version of Instant Mold – yh bit random but it was the cheapest I found) I softly pressed the shields into place.
  2. I then used a wooden spoon handle to further press the shields into the mold, this made the rest of the mold a curved shape and made casting easier (see the pictures they make things a bit clearer).
  3. Slapped this in the fridge to cool.
  4. I then used a second strip of Instant mold to complete the two-part mold.
  5. Slapped this in the fridge again, and then reflected light off the detailed surface to ensure the shield detail has been picked up. If it hadn't, wash and repeat... well more like re-heat, reform and repeat... till I get a satisfactory mold

Casting the shield
  1.  I then stuck in some brown stuff into the mold that had the face shield detail (keeping my hands moist). Using a wet thumb to push the putty, making sure the putty would pick up all of that beautiful Elven craftsmanship... ahem craftelveship?.. dunno... anyway...I tried to use as little putty as possible.
  2. I then placed the second part to the mold in position and then squashed the 2 part mold on a hard surface.
  3. I put this in the freezer so that the putty would freeze (maybe 15 minutes).
  4. Popped these bad-boys out of the molds to make sure that the detail was there, if the detail was bad I warmed up the putty again (with my hands) and repeated the previous steps until the detail was good.
  5. I left these to open room temperature for a few hours and then baked in the oven for 5 minutes to speed up the curing process.
  6. I then used a hobby knife to carve away any flash and sanded/filed down the edges
  7.  Most of my shields were a bit thick so I filed the back till they were quite thin, be careful as the shields do deform a bit.

    The swords were easier to do and repeated the processes mentioned above, though it is not necessary to use wooden spoons to cause the mold to follow suit to the curved shields.

    Final preparations

    For some odd reason GW decided to include a head in the box-set without a helmet and so I cast myself a replica of an Elven head so that all my elves would be fully armoured ;)

    For the spear elves, spears where removed carefully and holes drilled (1.5mm) into the hands so that the glaives would fit in nicely, the glaives did need a bit of sanding on the handle to fit in, don't force them or they may snap/break.

    For the glaive wielding elves I removed half of the glaives handles and sanded/carved away other material so that they looked like they were wielding one-handed glaives.

    Finally, two Galadhrim companies ready to paint!


    1. Instant mold you say? must check that stuff out, great idea and nicely done.
      Seems to retain quite some detail, do you think it might work on wargs or horses ?

    2. So you wouldn't happen to still have this mold, or a few extra shields. I recent got some lorien spearmen missing their shields.