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I make toys for kids who don't want to grow up. I'm on the lookout for new projects. If you're interested in commissioning me to build something ridiculous, shoot me an email.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Genestealer Build Update 5: Prepping the Carapace for Molding

I'm a bit late with this update on the Genestealer build.  Last week's stormy weather and a couple of days sick in bed hit me with a one-two punch combination that completely knocked out my productivity.

This week will be different.

Regardless, last week Jeff stopped by and did a bit more cleanup sanding and polishing on the carapace and we sprayed on one more coat of greay primer.  After that had dried, I slathered on another coat of XTC-3D epoxy resin:
Second Hardcoat in Progress

The goal here is to make the whole thing shiny and smooth in order to make it easier to mold:
Hardcoating Genestealer Carapace Again

Then I set it on a stand so that the epoxy coat could cure:
Second Epoxy Hardcoat Curing on Genestealer Carapace

Shiny:
Second Hardcoat Curing on Genestealer Carapace

If I was really thinking I would've taken the time to flip the thing over a few times during the remaining pot life and early in the cure time in order to keep the resin from pooling or building up runs anywhere.  I wasn't thinking, so what I ended up with was a handful of drips like the one on the back of this spine bit:
It may be hard to see, but that little nipply bit in the middle of the frame shouldn't be there.

Or these more noticeable ones on the edge of one of the recessed openings:
Drips!

The worst of them were the run and drips hanging off the very bottom edge of the whole thing:
Goddammned DRIPS!

So the next day I went after the drips and runs with a knife, some files, and progressively finer sandpaper.  I ended with 600-grit:
Edge Polishing

This, of course, made it not shiny:
Polishing GS Carapace Bottom Edge

So I gave the whole thing a few layers of wax and buffed the gloss back onto it.  Then I glued some cardboard flaps onto all of the edges and built up some clay margins around the edges in preparation for molding:
GS Carapace Mold Margin Progress

Next thing I'm going to do is build a parting line along the top edge of the whole thing in preparation for molding:
GS Carapace Mold Margins

It's starting to look like the mold for the carapace is going to be made in 12 parts.  Possibly 14.  This will be a bit annoying during the molding phase, but it'll have the benefit of making it easier to store the mold when we're not using it.  For now, it looks like so:
GS Back Mold Margins Added

Meanwhile, the head armature was sitting where I had left it the previous week:
Epoxy Coated Head Curing

Rather than subject it to a lengthy period of static endurance testing,* we went ahead and started adding a layer of oil-based clay around 1/8" thick:
Jeff Begins Claying Up Genestealer Head Armature

Here it is with a complete clay layer in place (as well as some glass eyes that were laying in the sculpting toolbox for no reason at all):
HEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYY!

There will end up being more clay built up as the skin gets detailed and textured, but this first layer will give us a minimum thickness of rubber for when we mold it and cast the final pieces:
Popeye the Genestealer

So now here I am, staring at the beginning of a fun sculpting project:
Face-Off

The fun sculpting project is also staring at me.

Stay tuned for further updates.  I'm starting to think of ways I can improve upon the stilt plan and I'll be carving out the arm parts as soon as possible.  That, and the ridiculously complex molding of the carapace in fiberglass.


*"Static Endurance Testing" is when you put something on a shelf and forget about it for a long period of time.

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