Sunday, 26 January 2014


I have been thinking about making my own moulds to cast metal figures for ages and have finally got around to doing a bit of research, the result being everyone has something different to say about the method. I have heard that Tiranti is the best place to buy silicone rubber, but have also heard of a handy tool called a mould vulcaniser in which you put blanks and your master, bake it and then carve out a metal entry gate, but am not sure where I can get one in the UK.

Would any learned readers care to advise me so I can cast up more serried ranks of figures?


  1. Great blog by the way.

    I had used silicone rubber in the past - making one half mould from plastiscene, using a 'lego' box to surround it, embedding figure, silicone on top with locator pins, then do the same for the other face after first part dries.

    The biggest issue was having to cut air holes around the figure so that the molten lead does not clog. It works, but the figure is never as good in my experience.

    I also had issues with keeping the two halves separate and in the end simply let them join together then sliced apart afterward with an exacto knife.

    I do like the sound of the vulcaniser you mention.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

  2. Thanks, that is the line I was thinking of following after scouting about on the net. I am not expecting to produce top notch figures, but ones that look ok en masse.

    1. I think the 'air hole' which leads from the extremities and pooling points of the lead are the most important aspect. There is a specific tool that cuts into the silicone to do this, though I always used a knife. These are used on real rotational moulds too (which is why we see lead excess on the ends of muskets etc).

      I think if there are enough of these to allow the lead to flow into the mould, then the casting is much better, though I can see why the figure manufacturers use centrifugal/rotational moulding - thus forcing the molten lead into the extremities.

      I think it's a trial and error process. Do let us all know how you get on though.

      You're convincing me to try it myself again...lol

  3. Oh yes - and on another point I just noticed on your blog...the Conan soundtrack is the finest ever produced. Love the R.E.Howard vibe you have throughout the blog too. Must look for battles to follow.

    1. Thanks Duc. I am painting a lot of old style Conan figures and hoping to start a special blog for them (I 've started the blog but am having trouble with the blogger gadgets and can't upload photos for gadgets as the scrollbars are not working). Either way they are good fun to paint and I am enjoying doing them. Crom!

    2. I do look forward to the Conan/Hyborian blog. I have been tinkering with the idea myself and using the Battlelore rules with larger hexagons in conjunction with 20mm plastic. I actually realised that I also have a copy of 'Royal Armies of the Hyborian Age'. I notice you are reading it.

      Ha...you've inspired me to look at yet another period LOL

      The Battlelore system is good and makes a lot of sense in tune with the 'period. Later add-ons also allow leaders to sway the battle (Conan etc.)

      Keen to see more stuff

    3. Must try Battlelore, but to be honest I hardly ever play games, spending my time painting and planning the next project....daft really! I did buy the figures to do Conan armies in 1/72, but ended up using oldstyle 25mm figures instead.....I am tempted to use the plastics with my sons though.

    4. Well Battlelore is a simple variant of 'command and colours'. If you can mark hexes (or even dots offset every other row - the same thing) on a cloth, it regulates movement - with four units per hex. In battlelore it's four figures per hex with cards that do all the activation by centre or flank. I've played with my kids between ages of 8 and 15 so it is very easily picked and wastes very little time.

      You might find the rules / cards data online somewhere in order to get a feel for it. In fact, once you get the idea of the cards' workings, the kids can even make them up themselves so it's a mega project for them.

      It just always struck as ideal for a Hyborian age campaign.

  4. Springinsfeld,

    By Crom, count me amongst the legion of Conan followers as well ! Not the movies, but the RE Howard books and better done pastiches, love that stuff - not to mention reading about Tony Bath's ancients gaming based on the Hyborean age.

    To the topic. Being new to the mold making game myself, I can only urge you to take the plunge. Very glad that I did and for a little labor, the results have been very gratifying. More to follow on my blog about it shortly.

    Suffice it to say for now, monsieur le Duc has covered the essentials nicely. I am using silicon rubber compound called Quick-Sil. Not sure what the UK equivalent is but there's a number of similar products which will do the job for you. I use modeling clay as the initial mold foundation for positioning the master and laying out the flow channels. Also, mold release cream does nicely for making the two halves easy to separate.

    If you've already done some casting such as with Prince August figures, that experience will help you in designing your own molds to get the most efficient flow of metal. Sometimes, a simple straight drop is all you need. But often casting fully to the extremities for bayonets, swords and the like can be a challenging trial and error process. As mentioned, it can entail cutting ad hoc air and/or metal flow channels.

    Good luck and I look forward to reading more.


    1. Thanks Steve, I really must find the time to give it a go. I have loads of ideas of what I want to cast, and as I favour unipose units it should work well.

      By Mitra and Nergal I love the Conan stories too. Just so uplifting in a dull modern world. I did like the Arnie film, although it wasn't really Conan it did capture the idea of a savage primal world like Frazetta's paintings. I never had the comics as a kid, but am collecting The Savage sword series now and am really enjoying seeing the original (and de Camp/Carter follow ups) in pictorial form.

    2. Just saw today actually that you can download all of the conan stories free for an android phone from google apps etc.

      I am considering re-reading them now LOL

  5. http://www.composimold.com/ is this stuff any use ?

    1. Looks good, but I suspect metal might be too much for it.....might be worth a go though.