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Baking resin

7052 Views 21 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  rkapuaala
I wanted to wait at least a year to share this info to confirm that it was even possible much less safe.

A lot of you folks have asked, how I make my figures and get the type of detail I get. The secret is in the resin.

I buy my resin from Vagabondcorp.com. Their resin is rated for tempratures of 250 F, but I have successfully baked the resin at 275 F with no meltdowns or damage to the resin.

I always start a figure out with a Chris Wallas type wire or aluminum armiture (Depends on the pose and the size of the figure) and sculpty.

But in the first step, I don't add the clothing. I'm too clumsy and always seem to reck the pose when I do it that way. So what I always do is make a figure without clothing,

then I make a mold, cast a couple of resin pieces, and using a combination of sculpty, paper, cloth what have you, I add the clothing.

This step also allows me the oportunity to correct any flaws that I might have missed in the first step and to add any details that were too hard to added to the more fragile sculpty piece.

Once completed I make the final mold and cast my figure. It is important to note that when you are baking the sculpty on to the resin figure, yoiu should first make sure that the figure is well supported before the bake, and that you allow the figure to cool before you remove it from the oven. The baking temprature does not melt the resin, but it does make it extremely pliable, and I don't trust the fumes that are created by baking.

These are poly Urethane resins, so you should not SHOULD NOT bake in your house, but in your garage with plenty of ventaliation. Keeping that one safety precaution in mind should help prevent any future health issues.

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Did you know that you can just go to one of your old topics, right click on the image, select copy from the menu and then paste the image to your post without adding the forum code or html?

You can't do it in the quick reply, only in the regular reply.

Nice Job Shad,,, I also like being able to use html instead of BBC markup /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif
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You say you start out with Chris' method.  Are you using the resin and appling it in stages as you would the clay to get the basic body shape?  And then you do the sculpting before you pour a mold.  If you wanted one of a kind figures and were not doing it for a profit, you would not need to make a mold.  Is it possible to do it that way?

Not sure what you m ean, but here are my steps:
1. Make a naked figure in the pose you want using Chris's method.
2. Get the sculpty figures face in step 1 as close as you can get, as well as any details of the body that will show up though the clothin or are not covered by the clothing.
3. Make a mold of the finish sculpty piece
4. Cast a couple of resin figures from the mold made in step 3
5. Use liquid sculpty, sculpty, cloth, paper, paint or even plasticine, to add the clothing and additional details you need to the naked casted resin piece from step 4.
(NOTE: If you use sculpty you will have to bake that before you use any of the other materials You will be baking the sculpty right to the resin piece)
6. Make a new mold of the piece finished in step 5 if you want to make multiples, or if you want, just paint and varnish and use the other blanks to make new characters.
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Gotcha Richard,

I understand now.  You use the resin only to make the mold.

What I don't see is how you get such fine details in the face and hands from the clay.  What tools are you using for the details?

Once I create the resin blank in step 4. I add the fine facial detail using liquid sculpty, or paint, or plastincine, depending on the roughness or delicacy of the features being added. You can repeat this mold making process several times if need be to come out the texture and detail you want.
For smooth skin, I follow this method.
during steps 1 and 2 I smooth the unbaked sculpty with a curved dental probe dipped in rubbing alchol till it is shiny. I bake the piece and with a triple 0 pad I knock down any burs or roughness. I thin paint the baked sculpty with acrylic paints to seal the sculpty and to add fine detail before casting. This is only necessary for smooth skin. Rough skin with prominant features like Cy are best left un sealed and un painted, and the features are better handled with sculpty and liquid sculpty after step 4 is completed. I still use the curved dental probes, but no rubbing alchol.
Some other tools I use for adding details are already listed in Chris's article. At times, I will make up a special tool from different guages of wire to add a detail or feature that the standard tools aren't configured to do.
This type of on the spot tool making would take volumes to share. You have to sort of just go McGuiver on the project and come up with something that works. I've even made temp tools out of sculpty before, pieces of card stock, styrene, and even used nail sets from my carpenters tool bag aling with bent nails and shredded screws /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif

In the picture below, I actually made Dick's trench coat out of construction paper that I drapped over the cast resin figure.


The buckles on the sleaves and the belt are made of wire.

You go with the flow and use what works and you can't go wrong.
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Great information.  Thank you.  I am currently building a caboose and was thinking that this is the right time to try making my own sculpty.

Thank you for sharing your techniques with us. I have always started with a thin Sculpy layer over the armiture to fix the posture of the figure before I started dressing it, but I always left the head and hands until last. I guess they are the really hard parts that I put off. I am going to try the undressed version on my next figure even if I don't make a mold. It only stands to reason that this will keep the proportions in order as I sculpt the clothing. All to frequently I have to adjust the arm length because it seems to grow as I add layers.

hehe Mine always grow taller in the middle as I work and sometimes I have to saw a section out. I have many cross sections of plastic humans laying around:D
One thing I have a problem with, is the flexability of the figure in some poses, while it is hot. I don't want to turn the oven off and let it cool beween adding to the figure, so I have to be real careful to have some bracing set up beforehand.

I can understand the addition of several coats of sculpy for facial detail, but liquid sculpy? I have a hard enough time with the regular  stuff!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif

But it is FUN!!:)
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Ah! Fetching the figure from the oven...

I have a pair of LONG nose pliers. I try to grab the figure gently by a piece of armature sticking out, or in absence of that, by gently grabbing something like a leg or torso that's pretty thick and baked before.
I have mine on 3/4" thick piece of wood, which I remove from the oven with an oven met or a pot holder.
Hmm. Better idea than mine.
I bake my Sculpy figures in an old toaster oven. I traded my wife a new one for the old one. I place the figure in a throwaway aluminum-baking pan. The kind you might bake a small meat loaf in. I cover this with a sheet of aluminum foil with a couple of slits in to relieve any pressure that might develop from a tight seal. This helps to equalize the temperature variations that the toaster oven may develop from the heating elements being close to the figure. I use an oven thermometer to set the temperature, as the scale on the dial is not accurate. I usually make a saddle of crumpled up foil to keep the figure still and add a block of crumpled foil here or there to maintain a pose.

I have a set of scissor action tongs to remove the hot baking pan. It cools quickly so that I don’t burn my fingers on the pan.
The figure, however, is another matter. I am as impatient as the next guy. Also, I have used the slight pliability of the warm (hot) /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/cry.gif figure to adjust the angle of an arm or leg.

This has worked well for me and as Chris has noted the Sculpy is PVC. The buildup of a resedue from the Scuply in your kitchen oven is not recommended for health and spousal happiness.:D

My first figure, Red, head of the track gang. He's a little bug eyed, but if you had to work with layabouts on his track gang you would be too.

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I use a toaster oven too, but found that the aluminum foil sometimes burnt the sculpty a little,,,, not really burnt, but browned it. I use a piece of wood now, and that seems to prevent the burning. I can lay a piece of sculpt flat on the wooden surface without browning happening.
You can bug his eyes a little less if you take your tiny point brush and paint eyelids over them so they're not so wide open.

Sometimes I don't even paint eyes. Watch people outside. You'll notice you often don't even see eyes.

Thanks, I haven't done anything to improve his appearance since I finished him. Since "Red" was my first attempt at painting as well as modeling figures he shows the mistakes more dramaticaly than later figures. I realy should take him out and touch him up.

Posted By rkapuaala on 01/03/2008 3:02 PM

I wanted to wait at least a year to share this info to confirm that it was even possible much less safe.

A lot of you folks have asked, how I make my figures and get the type of detail I get. The secret is in the resin.

 I just wanted to take this opportunity to say that I am very impressed with your figures. I looked at your website and identified several that I intend to eventually add to my Phase III layout.  In fact you have one or two proposed ones I am very interested in. Great work. Absolutely first-class--and unique as well, especially since you're using Native prototype people for some of the figures. I really like that.

My regards,
Ron in Alaska
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Thanks Ron,
I try to do people that have a real history. It makes model railroading more interesting to me. I just finished one today that might interest some. He is a character from my past, on the road days. He called himself Hobo Joe and claimed to be the last of the rail riders. He was trying his hand at hitch hiking because (according to him) the rails weren't as reliable as they use to be. This was in 1973. He was a character all right. He wore this beat up old hat with the front of the brim folded up and pined to the crown with a McGovern campaign pin. His dress shirt looked like it double as a napkin and a face towel. His tweed suit was a mismatch sports coat and cuff less paints. He always kept a bottle of something in his right sports coat pocket; called it his medicine allways followed with a wink. He had a leathery wrinkled face with tuffs of stringy white hair bursting out from his face and hat and finally a toothless grin, showing only molars.
I've just finished the sculpty prototype and will start the mold next week. I'll get some images up in a separate topic sometime around Tuesday as I am finishing up the mold for the seated princess now.
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Posted By rkapuaala on 01/12/2008 4:42 PM
I'll get some images up in a separate topic sometime around Tuesday as I am finishing up the mold for the seated princess now.

Your seated princess is one of the figures on my list. Phase III--the narrow gauge line--begins to come alive in 2009, but I am already lining up the pieces for it. Several of your special figures will undoubtedly grace this model.

My regards, Ron in (where the h*** is) Copper Center, Alaska
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