Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bootleggin' Bastards

As we gear up for this Friday's sale, let's take a minute to look at the step-by-step process of turning a bunch of chemicals into a little plastic Mexican.

The lab: Tools, paints, sprays, dyes, sandpapers and 2 dozen random action figure limbs.  There is a crap load of materials needed at any given point during the process, and it's handy to have them all at an arms length.  Shouts out to my Dremel: stay grinding.

To kitbash a figure, is to give it immortality.  Here I take one of my all time favorite figures, a Dick Tracy Mumbles, add in a head from classic lucha rudo, Pierroth (from the 90's CMLL figure line) and and add pegs and sculpting that will help with easily pouring the resin.

The next step is to create a mold for each seperate piece, which is likely the most labor intensive aspect of the process.  This involves making two halves for each mold, using a combination of Legos, clay and silicone rubber.  Many factors, including gravity, air flow, and mold volume, make the process a little trickier than it sounds, and using quality silicone can make mistakes somewhat costly, so mapping out good molds is key.

Once the molds are in place, I cast each piece by measuring out and mixing together resin and pouring into each mold.  The resin has a short working time, so once poured and the mold is secured with rubber bands, they are quickly placed into a pressure pot hooked up to a compressor and pressurized by 30-40 psi.  This shrinks bubbles forming in the resin and helps ensure a smooth cast.

The resin takes less than 10 minutes to set, then it's out of the pressure pot so I can get the next batch in.

The cast looks good and bubble free!  With this small victory achieved, it's time to trim off any flash that bled out of the main mold area, which generally can be done with a fingernail or small knife shortly after casting.  This is followed by sawing off the vent holes and sanding down the seams with 3 different levels of wet sand paper.  A somewhat daunting process when you multiply each figure by 8 pieces!

As I previously mentioned, I had never painted figures prior to Ultimate Carlos, and ended up trying a few different paints and small brushes.  Getting a clean application can be nerve-racking, but I am starting to enjoy the meditative qualities of painting tiny shoes and sculpted hankerchiefs.

Each figure is sprayed with an industrial aerosol gloss, glued together with high quality adhesives and packaged with their numbered, photoshopped headers.  Don't miss out on your chance to score one of the 6 original Battling Bastards figures, this Friday at 6pm PST in the Scraped Resin store.

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