Sunday, June 30, 2019

Playing with Molds

In addition to the package of molds from Berliner Zinnfiguren, I also received a new casting pot in the mail this week.  I have a 10-lb bottom-pour Lee pot, but it has been troublesome in some respects the entire time I've owned it.  Between times when the valve won't close and metal keeps draining out while I fiddle desperately with it, and times that the rate of fill of the molds is so slow that they don't cast completely, I have been wanting to try something different.

So, after a couple of days of bad schedules, I finally got a chance to fire things up today.

Lower tech casting pot

The Zinnbrigade marching figures cast easily, although it looks like a vent or two might be needed for some of the more active poses.  The only other mold I tried was of an infantryman running and an infantry bugler, and neither figure cast in two tries, so I set it aside for another day and/or some vent cutting.

Zinnbrigade Marching Prussians

I borrowed two vintage Schneider molds from Chris Palmer recently, and had little success with them in the previous casting session.  They make a sheep a goat, a cow, a fence, a farmer, and a milkmaid, and by using the new pot to pour more quickly, I was actually able to get all of them to cast, although the sheep was the fussiest, with only one decent example.  I could have a herd of goats, though... Cue Julie Andrews...  These will likely end up as part of the Not Quite Seven Years War collection.

Late in the session, I finally got around to trying some Meisterzinn multi-part molds, but it wasn't the day for that, or I was already getting tired.  I suspect that these will still be easier with a faster pour rate, but it remains to be seen.  I wanted a few extra horses, so that I can start work on some general figures.

Old farm molds plus a few Meisterzinn pieces
So, in the previous casting session I was playing around with a vintage mold and had another go at it today.  But I have also acquired another Rapaport Brothers/Schneider mold making sailors.  I got two of them to cast, but they are pretty big compared to the Zinnbrigade figures (see below), and I probably won't end up using them for that.  I cast the fox and hounds from a Prince August mold, so the hypothetical general mentioned above can be accompanied by a dog.  I also cast a handful of knights from a new (though of vintage design) metal mold from Castings.  I'm considering notions for a 54mm fantasy project, and this may help get it out of my system...

This one's complicated
Vintage sailor vs. a Zinnbrigade Prussian

Last time around, I made a few of the running Meisterzinn musketeers to be head-swapped with bicornes for the French Revolution (see below).  Ross had suggested that the Prince August Rossbach Prussian grenadiers would probably work as well, and I figured that I had two molds for them, so it was worth a try.
Prince August Rossbach grenadiers and Meisterzinn musketeer for head swaps

If everything is successfully converted, that's another unit and a half worth of troops.

Meisterzinn single-piece musketeer with a bicorne head swapped

I also received a Scad mold for an 1870 Frenchman, but it unfortunately seems to be deterioriating.  Once metal was poured, the mold seemed to be oozing something, and that was bubbling the surface of the casting.  Apart from that, the Scad mold came with vents pre-installed, and doesn't look difficult to cast cleanly.  I don't know if this will clear up after a few casts, or whether this one is dead.

Scad French; sadly, looks like a mold decay issue


  1. Some good results there , moulds can be very fickle at times .

    1. Indeed. As usual yesterday, I "leaned in" to the ones that were working. However, sooner or later, I need to organize for a serious session with the Meisterzinn molds. My goal is to have all of the pieces cast for the French Revolution expansion by the time the weather turns cold in October. I haven't done the calculations yet, but I'm about halfway there, so that seems plausible.