Sunday 11 November 2012

Hobby: How to (Re) Use Instant Mold

Instant Mold, a product my local store has stocked for only the past 12 months or so, has proved invaluable in creating the bases for my army. Being a hobbiest at heart, I am always impressed by those that go the extra mile with basing their army. I have used Instant Mold to create the bases on my army, copying a design I sketched out 12 months ago, and applying it to bases of various shapes and sizes, and cut down a 30 minute sculpt into a 30 second mold process.

Original Sculpt, left, and InstantMold copies, above.

From sketch to sculpt, this time no InstantMold. Very time consuming!!
See the finished product in my first blog post.

 For those not familiar, Instant Mold uses near-boiling water to soften, then cold water (or air) to set once the desired shape has been pressed into it. Further uses as a two-part/three-dimensional mold can be extracted from the product by freezing a half mold including the model itself, then pushing the top half of the mold into the bottom so it won't stick together and can be removed easily. I have had minimal success with this personally, too many air bubbles are created and you have to use the exact amount of new material to avoid losing details.
Original in "Brown Stuff", molded bases in "Green Stuff"

However, there comes a time when you really want to make another mold and, like me, are too cheap to buy any more Insta Mold (currently I am saving for some new brushes). Anyone who has tried to re-use this stuff knows how easily it pick up air bubbles which then affect the quality of any further molds. My solution was discovered by chance when I left a small, flat piece of the InstantMold in the hot water too long. It flattened even further and became almost like a rubber coating on the surface of the water, and most notably losing all the trapped air bubbles. 

Let the InstantMold soften completely until it's completely soft, then fold gently to remove air bubbles.

Always use gloves to avoid burning yourself! I like to roll mine into small balls when storing them.

So what's the secret? Really hot water, let it soften for a long time, then fold it in on itself whilst being very careful not to introduce any new air bubbles. I like to roll mine into a ball for storage, but the choice it yours!

Another great idea to speed things up: use a little lubricant on the mold to release the putty even before it sets.
In this way you can make infinite number of bases without waiting for the "Green Stuff" to set!

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