Oyumaru/Instant Mold Casting

While prepping some figures for my ongoing Adeptus Mechanicus project I decided to cast up a replacement head for one of the figures.

Way back in the last century I made more silicon rubber moulds than I could count.  I also cast very many items in various resins in them, as it was a large part of my old job working in industrial prototyping.

A lot of people seem to enjoy using those industrial substances at home in their workshops, sheds and hobby rooms and good luck to those people: I hope that they enjoy it.

I on the other hand have no desire to invest time and money in such horrible, toxic and messy substances for use in my house.  Therefore any casting that I do has to be clean, easy and effective.  No vacuum pumps, no multi-part moulds, nothing very complex.  Push moulds and simple two part moulds for tiny items are the limit of my casting desires at the moment.

So I got some “oyumaru” (also known as “Instant Mold”) and used it as outlined below.  I used nothing but basic techniques and I wouldnt really describe it as a “how-to” or anything, but it might be of interest to someone.

Firstly I selected the replacement part that I wanted to cast: its the hooded and masked head shown on the bottom right in the picture above.

Next I cleaned up mould lines and all of that, filed the underneath of the neck flat and stuck this flat area to a flat piece of plastic (a tiddlywink).

I attached the part to the tiddlywink as I wanted to make sure that I could get the mould rubber to cover the detail on the bottom of the part.  I found it easiest to stick the part to something flat to so that I could work the oyumaru into it while still maintaining a flat base to the mould.  I hoped that this would help to minimise distortion in the castings later while also making the part easier to handle.

Next I got a small bowl of boiling water and the oyumaru.  The oyumaru is the waxy looking long rectangle on the left.   In its room temperature state it has a similar consistency to a low melt glue stick

The oyumaru was submerged in the hot water for a minute or two at which point it became very pliant.  I quickly covered the part in oyumaru.  I ensured that I worked the material under the part and and against the flat plastic tiddlywink.  I also tried to minimise possible air bubbles in the detailed face area by working the oyumaru gently into those details as carefully as I could.

A few minutes later the oyumaru had cooled down and become rigid again.

I prised the part from the tiddlywink.  Then starting at the bottom where the part had been glued to the plastic I used a scalpel to cut through the side of the mould.

I went about two thirds of the way around the mould, gently cutting to the part as I went.  I didnt want to split the mould entirely in two as I didnt want the hassle of having to engineer some way of keying the two halves back together when casting.  Keeping the mould attached would help to minimise that.

Also of note is that I slit the mould from ear to ear across the top of the head, from the parts perspective.  As the head is hooded I figured that those areas would be the easiest to clean flashing and mould lines from later.  Obviously, splitting the mould through highly detailed or recessed areas would make cleaning up the subsequent castings far more difficult (as anyone reading who has ever had to clean a crappy mould line of the side of a miniatures head knows).

I then mixed up some two part epoxy putty (I used ProCreate, which is essentially grey coloured “Green Stuff”) and pushed that into the mould.

Like when making the mould itself, I was careful to make sure that as much of the detailed face area was filled as possible.  The part as it came out of the mould is on the left.  Note the flashing from the cut side of the mould.  Although it looks bad in the photo it really is only a fraction of a millimeter thick, so it took only a moment to remove.

Above is a quick snap of the newly cast head in its new home.  As you can see its a pretty huge figure (from Ramshackle Games) which is why I included the Servitor for comparison.  The size of the target figure isnt really releant anyway, the piece cast was a standard 28mm heroic scale head.

Like that head, the Adeptus Mechanicus cog on the big models chest is also made of ProCreate via an Oyumaru push mould.  That also came out pretty well.

My verdict on this stuff is that its brilliant.  It provides a very simple, low outlay and non-toxic way to replicate miniature parts.  I see this as being part of my hobby toolbox for good.

Malifaux: Lady Justice

Lady Justice

Lady Justice is in charge of the Death Marshal elements of the Guild in Malifaux.  She is a blind, Buffy the Vampire Slayer type cowgirl who, judging by that massive hairdo, moonlights as an eighties rock star…

I bought my Death Marshals box before I had any interest in playing Malifaux.  I bought it because of the cowboy aesthetic that the other figures in the box have.  The Lady Justice figure was not originally a draw for me.

The sculpting is very nice technically but the subject matter and design initially left me cold.  In particular the massive amount of hair on the figure, which spreads left and right to span the length of her sword gives the figure a lozenge shaped silhouette, which doesnt really appeal.  From behind the miniature looks a little like Cousin Itt.

Click for image credit.

Lady Justices voluminous barnet also obscures her scabbard, the strap suspending her scabbard, bits of her fingers and elements of her pistols and holsters in a confusing way.  And I dont just mean confusing to paint (which it was).  I mean confusing in the sense that depending on how the figure is painted and the colours used it can be very hard to see whats going on.

This view is pretty much all that I ever see when I play games with Lady J.

And yet, despite my apathy towards the figure initially,  as I painted Lady J it all started to make sense.  To start with I had difficulty imagining what colours to use as I wanted to make sure that the elements somewhat lost in the hair would be visible and identifiable.  I also wanted the figures palette to tie in with the other figures in the crew but without making the figure too gaudy.

But, as I decided to embrace the (as I see it) eighties rock vibe I found the figure easier to work on.  As I painted my original attitude turned around 180 degrees.  I went for the vaguely Dick Turpin, somewhat Adam Ant and definitely Meat-Loaf-one-minute-into-the-video-shown-below look shown and ended up quite happy with it.

By the time that I finished painting the figure I was really quite pleased with both how it turned out and with the design of the figure overall.  I dont remember my opinion of any miniature altering so drastically during painting before now, but in this case it did.  And it all turned out pretty well I think.

Here is a group shot of my first completed Malifaux faction, the Lady Justice crew.

Lady Justice Crew

Incidentally, the three gravestones were prepped for use in the game when the Death Marshals “bury” opponents in those magic coffins that they lug around.  I dont know if they will be of any use when playing, but they were fun to make anyway.

Comments and criticisms all gratefully received.

Malifaux: Death Marshal 3

My third Death Marshal.

I had a big painting slump last year and it impacted on my painting standard quite badly.  Although I am again starting to remember some of the things that were second nature last year, I seem to have forgotten some others.

This is visible in by comparing the coat on this figure and that of Judge.

I painted the Marshals before I painted the Judge and my treatment of the large smooth areas on their coats differed quite a bit.  I suppose it shows progress at least: the slow process of relearning what I have unlearned seems to be progressing.

The odd spirit flames in the coffin came out at an acceptable level, but after my more successful treatment of Judge Fire recently I had hoped for a better result.

Another issue with this area of the figure is that I was reluctant to try object source lighting techniques when painting it: I am afraid that the apprentice period required to get the technique to a decent level will result in significantly poorer miniatures in the interim.  Well executed OSL may have helped the painting on this figure, but I wasnt prepared to risk it this time.

The final figure from my first Malifaux crew is up tomorrow.  Its the Master of the group, Lady Justice in all her eighties rock glory.

Malifaux: Death Marshal 2

My second Death Marshal.

These guys are quasi-undead, corrupted by the power that they wield.  I went with a blueish skin tone (like I might use for a ghoul, vampire or zombie) to emphasise that these guys are not truly human.

This figure is supplied with his hat unattached.  I stupidly glued it on before painting the figure, which made the face very hard to paint.  Not that it really matters that much, as the figures face will never really be seen.  I wont make that error with future cowboy hat attachment though.

The Marshal figures were the main reason that bought the Lady Justice starter set.  At the time I had no definite intention of playing Malifaux, but the Death Marshals looked like just the thing for my post-apocalyptic, Cursed Earth cowboy terrain and figures.  The poses are fun too, dynamic and comic book-y.

Another Lady Justice figure goes up tomorrow.

Malifaux: Death Marshal 1

Death Marshals are Malifaux law enforcers that have particular issues with the undead and practicers of necromancy.  In order to deal with this threat they have learned enough about the dark arts to become capable of banishing zombies and the like.

This knowledge in turn has warped them into ghoulish characters themselves.  The most worrying evidence of these quasi-dead cowboys altered mental state is that they deem it practical to carry a coffin on or about their person at all times.

“Impractical!” you cry.  “Absurd!” you scream. “Why do they do that?” you utter.  “Meh, whatever.  Its kinda funny.” I mumble.

My Death Marshal paint jobs turned out ok, but not as nice as I would have liked.  Problems included:

Browns: as my miniatures tastes tend to be of the science fiction variety I have rarely painted that much brown over the years.  Brown isnt a sci-fi uniform colour as far as I am concerned, so I have tended not to paint that many things in brown tones.  These guys are covered in browns so getting the right highlight mixes and the like took a bit more trial and error than I would like.  This in turn impacted on my patience and the corresponding paint job quality.  Its alright, but could be better.

Coffin-dodging: I rushed through painting the coffins, and it shows.

Clumsiness: these are heavily detailed, fragile, skinny, multipart miniatures.  I didnt manage to break any of the smaller parts off the figure while painting, but they did make painting the various areas awkward.  The guy above was more of a pain in the ass to paint than one might expect.

Some more Guild figures go up over the next three days.  In the meantime I encourage you to comment or criticise please.

Malifaux: Judge


The very first Malifaux figure that I am posting up is this guy, Judge.

Judge is a member of the Guild, who are the less than benevolent authoritarian figures in the setting.  He hangs around with Lady Justice and the Death Marshals, who all specialise in taking out Resurrectionists (essentially Necromancers).

As far as I am aware Judge has suffered some severe damage to the lower portion of his face, which is why he wears that bandana… I think.  It doesnt matter anyway as it looks pretty cool I reckon.

Judges Long Arm blade has a pistol built into the hilt, which in game terms allows him to do all sorts of Matrix-y combination gunfire and dismemberment moves in game.

Check out the pistol hilt.

Another figure from the Lady Justice box set goes up tomorrow.


Comments and criticisms on this guy are very welcome 🙂



Malifaux Project

I have started yet another project.  Its Malifaux this time.

Malifaux is a skirmish miniatures game set in a steampunk Western dystopia with horror elements.   It appears to me that this odd mashup occurred because Wyrd Miniatures produced an eclectic range of figures before the game was even conceived and then decided to shoehorn the lot in to the game.

Despite how dodgy this sounds, Wyrd did manage to create a game world that feels unique and pretty coherent.  The fact that the majority of Wyrds miniature output is really very nice also helps.

There are a number of reasons why I have decided to add yet another project to my already ludicrously big list for 2012:

The first and most important reason is driven mainly by the fact that I have found a local miniature gaming opponent and he and I are trying to get a regular Mancave mandate going.   For this to work it will involve a little give and take regarding what games to play and paint miniatures for.  My opponent (hereby known as COM) has a number of Malifaux forces painted up, as well as all of the necessary rulebooks and the like.  Therefore painting up 5-10 figures for the game is an easy buy-in for me.

Secondly I already own a Malifaux starter box of five figures.  I bought them back in ’09 because I liked the look of them and without any plans to play Malifaux.  Because of their cowboy aesthetic I had planned to use them in post-apocalyptic games.  I had not got any further than priming the figures so this gave me an opportunity to return to an old project and get some closure.

Thirdly my post apocalyptic terrain, in particular the Standard Falls stuff  is well suited to the setting.  It is visible in some of the photos of games shown in this post.  It lacks some of the more steampunk elements from the Malifaux setting but a few features that resonate with Victorian sci-fi are easy to add at a later date.

Lastly, it is a very small project and quite easy to achieve.  At the time of writing I have five figures painted with work beginning on others.

Those five figures from my Lady Justice/Death Marshals set will be going up daily here, starting in a minute and continuing daily until Sunday.

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