Head Casting ???? [Archive] - OSW: One Sixth Warrior Forum

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06-13-2003, 22:23
Does any one know what materian to use for casting heads ?
I've got some Mold Builder liquid latex , but what do I use to make the actual head ?


06-13-2003, 22:32
Resin. It's liquid, with A and B parts. You combine them, pour them into your mold and they harden after a few minutes. www.smooth-on.com makes some decently-priced stuff (under liquid plastic). Also, I think most people who make head molds don't use Mold Builder as it has some funky properties.

06-13-2003, 22:34
The part i dont get is how exactly do you make the mold?

06-13-2003, 22:39
I've found that this method works best for me and is the simplest I've seen for beginners while still giving good results.

Just get the basic idea of what they're doing. You don't have to buy special clays to seal the base or anything like that.

There are other variations on this with an upside down head, but that tends to give me lots of bubbles on the sculpt.

06-13-2003, 22:51
Hey Aly.. go with the Alumalite stuff... really easy to use and casts really well.. I have done a number of items with success with it.. am going to try casting a head here soon.. just got to get more mold compound first..

06-13-2003, 23:23
why would you need 2 of the same head? Could you possibly mod the sculpt with temperary putty then put in the mold so when you rip the original back out you can peel off the putty or whatever and have a head that was a mod of the original, is this in anyway possible? If so im going to get to work fast!

06-13-2003, 23:29
Action Joe ... Thank you for the links and information .

Mike ...Will get some Allumilite soon .

Neverquit ... that sounds like a pretty viable idea . I've never done a mold casting before but it seems like it would work .
Lets get crackin !

Thanks Gentlemen .


06-13-2003, 23:30
Hey Joe,
So what's the main difference between the Alumilite and the Smooth-on products?
Does one have greater detail capabilities than the other?
I'd like to do some heads too.

06-14-2003, 00:00
I used the Alumalite to cast a number of Bren gun magazines (need to cast some M4 mags next) also cast a bunch of Vickers K gun drum mags for my SAS jeep... can't tell the casts from the originals... smooth and all the details are there..

06-14-2003, 00:07
Whaoh !!!!
I hadn't even thought about casting anything besides heads .
Wow thats a whole other can of worms .

Clobberin Time !!!!:knock

06-14-2003, 00:26
why would you need 2 of the same head?

some folks here, like the talented quietfart, make molds of heads and then re sculpt the features to make a new head. he also is able to make molds, shrink the mold, and then produce properly sized heads for figures like those made by hasbro, which are usually good sculpts, but 1:5th scale.

and then there are folks like me, who have a professional sculptor sculpt a head, and i'll have casts made for people who want one.:)

06-14-2003, 00:37
why would you need 2 of the same head?

Please don't ask that question of Matt Newman. :lol

06-14-2003, 01:51
USMC Ron - I honestly cannot give you a good answer on that as I haven't used any Alumilite products yet. I have heard mostly good reports about both brands, though. The only negative report I've seen was someone claiming that Alumilite didn't pick up detail as well as Smooth-On. Without doing a comparison myself, I can't say if that's true or not. My guess is that the results would be quite close. Close enough for a beginner to not mind.


And regarding the multiple heads issue, it's good if you want to start customizing (painting, sculpting additions, hair, whatever) but are afraid of doing permanent changes to the original head. Especially if it's one of the hard to find or unusual heads. Or perhaps it is one of the many celebrity lookalike heads and you want multiple copies so that you can do figures from different movies.

06-14-2003, 05:14

06-14-2003, 23:01
I started off using Alumilite when I got into casting and molding over 10 years ago, and now I'm Smooth-On stuff. I believe that Alumilite, as far as detail goes, is just as good as the SmoothCast 300 resin I've been using. Detail of course, can only go as far as your mold, but Alumilite is more expensive than SmoothOn stuff which is why I made the switch. Alumilite does come in colors and easier to get in hobby stores where SmoothOn is hard to get (well, at least here in Canada).

06-16-2003, 00:12
Thanks Gentelmen,
Action Joe
Looked at both Alumilite and Smootcast sites and found that Dow Corning site will send me a free sample of their Silicone 3 mold and cast resin, so I'm going to try both and see how they work.

Can you still use petrolium jelly for mold release with these products or do you have to use their products for everything, just wondering about compatibility?

And what about neck holes? Do you leave them solid so they can be dremeled to fit any figure, or do you make several molds to account for this? What's the norm there?

Thanks for this thread Alyasha


06-16-2003, 04:04
No worries USMCRon...
I am just as curious as you are .
I as far as petroleum based products go I,m not sure either .
If I remeber from my high school sex ED class , petroleum has adverse effects on Latex based products and I would assume it might end up messing up your mold .
Who knows ?
I read somewhere where a guy used babypowder ....!!!????
Really interesting and useful info coming in .
Seems like we're all getting schooled here . (in the positive sense )
Might try a couple different techniques ...

Thanks to everyone !

06-16-2003, 07:23
That's what I use as my mold release, good old vaseline. The key is to brush on a very very thin layer on your first part of the mold before you pore the second part. I'm sure Canoehead will step in, he's the man when it comes to molding and casting :)

06-16-2003, 08:36
The petro jelly should be fine as a release between silicone based molds if you're doing 2-part molds. Also, I'd recommend Smoothcast's Oomoo 30 if its your first time molding, just because its a 1:1 mix by volume instead of the mix by weight which other types have.

I believe babypowder is used as a release from the casting to the mold. A release between casting and mold is good if you're doing the 20-30 type of mold because it will stop it from losing moisture and preventure premature cracking.

For you neck hole, I'd try to mold a "plug" from the original, and make that another part of your mold that you suspend when you pour your casting.

Here's a neat link on casting and molding heads using Mold Builder - Latex mold maker. Personally, I hate the stuff because its time intensive and smells like dead fish, but its cheap and can be bought at art stores:

Darrel Moye's Head Casting and Molding Tutorial for SW Figures (http://www.fortunecity.com/tattooine/picard/46/moldingcasting.htm)

Well there's my jump-in Primus :banana

06-16-2003, 08:54
O.K. so I've watched this thread hang around a few days, seen several mentions of Alumilite and Smooth On, but no mention of MicroMark. I've used MicroMark RTV and resin, and I've found it to be quite forgiving as far as matching quantities and mixing. It don't have to use graduated cylinders, pipettes, and digital scales. I just pencil an line on two paper cups at the same height, and voila... I use it for two-part molds almost all the time. I have wondered if I could get better results with Micromark resin, if I used a vacuum. What do the pros think?

I tried the latex "glove" mold technique and was disappointed with the results - on head casting that is. The neck is hard to prevent from stretching out and making the casting look like it has a turkey neck. :p ...and it smells like dead fish. :X

06-16-2003, 09:11
See I knew you'd step in Vern :) Oh btw, did you get my last e-mail last week? Never heard from you.

06-16-2003, 10:13
USMCRon - It's funny you should mention Dow Corning silicone. That's actually what I used to make my molds (though I used Smoothcast resin to do the castings). I just followed the alumilite method to make my head molds and overall it worked pretty well. Just make sure the tube or box you use to surround the head is glued down fairly tight. The rubber can leak out otherwise.

You should really look into buying or borrowing a good digital scale to ensure that you have the right ratio of silicone:catalyst when you are mixing your Dow silicone rubber. I did it with a cheap scale and found out later that I over-catalyzed all of my molds. Scary stench in all of them and apparently the only solution is to bake them in an oven to drive off the volatiles. No way I'm doing that in the same oven I cook food with. Otherwise, the molds still seem to function okay, though.

For mold release, baby powder does work. Another method is to coat the inside of the mold with a thin layer of acrylic paint and letting that dry. The resin will pick up the paint and the casting will come out 'painted'.

Just to clarify (as this confused me at first too), but you use your mold release on the COMPLETED mold. ie, use it each time before you make your casting. You do not use it on your original head when you are first making the mold. The only time mold release should come into play during the mold creation stage is if you are doing a 2-part mold, which is unlikely since you are doing heads.

For the neck hole, like mrcanoehead said, try to mold a plug from the original. Then put that plug into the resin when you are making the heads. If you've ever seen a Frontline Hero Heads head, their neck holes are shaped perfectly so that they can fit onto a Dragon neck post with no effort yet it still holds pretty tightly. Incredible.

06-16-2003, 10:22
For neck holes, I use a Forstner bit and my hand drill. 9/16 inch diameter is usually good for the bigger posts.

...if you are doing a 2-part mold, which is unlikely since you are doing heads.

ActionJoe: I always make two-part molds for heads, and I've found that mold release of some sort should be used on the original anyway. I use talcum powder. Brushing on vaseline can leave brush marks as raised spots on the original. Talcum powder leaves a smooth, but flat textured finish on the casting that takes paint well.

06-16-2003, 10:58
Skypilot, why is that? Seems it would require much more work to set up and then more work cleaning up mold lines on every single casting. What's the benefit? Longevity of the mold?

06-16-2003, 11:28
ActionJoe: The only way I know how to do a one-piece RTV mold for a head, is to make it so that I can flex the mold enough to demold the casting without tearing the RTV mold. This is possible, for a number of castings, but it does limit the life of the mold before it will inevitably tear. I've seen one other method - using a cylindrical can for a mold form, and slitting it once - where the seam is minimized on the back of the head. This method is also susceptible to tearing the RTV mold. The only other one-piece head molding technique I know of is with a latex "glove" mold, and I've already stated my reasons for not using that method. It might work for others, but I'm not that good at it.

The flashing on a casting from a two-piece mold is a very easy thing to clean up IMHO. To me, its "Model Building 101". After layers of paint and finishing, they're pretty well undetectable.

06-16-2003, 14:33
I just started experimenting with RTV and found it much more susceptible to tears than Smoothon 131/20 (I think that's the designation). With Smooth-on I use a paper cup, glue the original head to the bottom of the cup and poor the rubber around it. To release the head, just slit up the back and the Smooth-on material is strong enough that you can then work the head out. With RTV I tried this method and ended up ripping the mold.

I have to then drill the neck hole but flash clean-up is minimal.


06-16-2003, 14:50
I use the same method as Dave but do use RTV and haven't had any rips in the mold. But I do use quite a bit of RTV to make a stronger mold...last one I made had about a 1 1/2 inch of RTV surrounding it.
For the neckpost I kinda cheat. I used a FL head neckpost and wrapped it up in clay and created a negative of the interior of the neckpost (i.e. plug). Whenever I cast a head, I drop the negative into the neckpost area and when it dries I get a pretty good neckpost that mates with the DML post pretty well. Takes some practice to center it correctly but at least it eliminates the need to dremel.

06-16-2003, 14:55
drop the negative into the neckpost area

That's a great idea - how do you keep the neckpost negative from sinking?

06-16-2003, 15:09
Okay, so it is a longevity issue, skypilot. I see what you're saying, but it still seems like a bit of overkill IMHO, especially if it's a beginner doing it for personal use (ie, not to sell copies). My understanding is that with the cylinder & slit method and a decent RTV rubber (which Dow Corning stuff is), you could probably get more pulls out of the mold than you'd ever need. Especially for items like heads (who needs 30 copies of the same head?). But to each his own..

06-16-2003, 15:21
Dave: I put the clay around the neckpost first and smoothed/flattened it out. Then I measured about a 1/4" out from the interior rim of the neckpost and made a clay wall/cyclinder. Pour the RTV and you end up with a "plug" as mr.canoehead says. The rim that you create with that 1/4" base acts as your contact with the other mold and prevents it from sinking.
Not 100% scientifitically proven but it gets the job done. Like I said though, a lot of trial and error. Have fun with it though.
Not the best pic but here's a look at the finished neckpost.

06-16-2003, 15:56
Thanks Freddy, I'm definitely going to have to try that - I hate dremeling and getting resin dust everywhere.


06-16-2003, 16:30
Thanks Guys,
So let me get this right, Dow corning HSlll silicone for the mold using a paper cup or PVC pipe with the bottom glued down. Cast it upside down so I can make a plug for the neck hole and use the alumilite resin for casting, and either draw a line on the cup or use a digital scale.
Baby powder for the casting release cause petroleum jelly can leave brush marks.

So what if the original is painted with acrylics will it stick to the silicone molding material? Probably so eh?

Then there's the two piece mold, if I plan on making a shipload of heads that would seem the best way as far as a longer lasting mold eh?

You guys are sure helpful. Oh BTW Dow Corning rejected my free sample of mold making material but directed me where to puschase some. Humm, I was thinking they owed me since they were involved in making Agent Orange defoilent sprayed all over in Vietnam, but that's another story. LOL

So either way it's going to smell like dead fish eh? Gee's!

Thanks again
Keep the molding comments coming, they're great!

Semper Fi

06-16-2003, 16:44
I started off using Alumilite and have since moved to Vagabond Corp resin. It is very similar to work with and is half the price. I can buy 2 gallons of it for $72. I'm still very new to casting, but I have yet to see any negatives with it. All of the Bruce's and Ron's that I've sold were cast with it. It is VERY reasonbly priced and if you call them they will send you a free sample.

For the head molds I do a 1 piece slit up the back. As for RTV, I first tried Dow Corning HSIII and had a lot of bubble problems with it. I than tried Micro Mark's High Strength stuff and surprisingly haven't had any problems with it. It pours very nice. Since I've purchased my pressure pot I haven't even had to pour the multiple thin layers over the master like I used to. I let the mold cure under about 40lbs of pressure and the pressure pot just chews up those small bubbles that collect around the eyes and ears, like nobody's business. As long as I let the mold cool between castings, I get about 30 pulls out of it (I don't know if that is high or low in comparison to other people). I got similar numbers out of the Dow Corning stuff. I also use baby powder as my release agent.

I use a section of PVC pipe cut in half lengthwise to pour my mold into. I than use the pipe halves and a rubberband as my clamp to when I pour the resin so that I don't distort the mold.

I have been using my dremel to cut my neck holes. I'm wanting to experiment with using a neck plug, but since I do my casting under pressure and pour through the neck post, I think I would need to expermiment with adding additional vent sprues so that the pressure will still help with minimizing the bubbles in the resin.

Maybe if I get some free time I can snap some pics of the process.


06-16-2003, 17:38
Ok, I'm at work so I'm just shooting some thoughts out here:

USMCRon: the DowCorning stuff is a ratio mix by weight, right? Are you comfortable with that if you've never done molding before? Smooth Cast's Oomoo 30 is 50:50 mix by volume and beginner friendly, plus strong enough for split molds.

I just remember when I first started, I used MBS RTV and Alumilite which was all the hobby store had, and mixing the RTV by weight was total guessing and my earlier molds took up to a week to cure because of the poor mix ratios I had.

I've experimented with both acrylics and Testors spray in my silicone molds and they came out fine. You have to watch how you're spraying because you could fill up some detail with the paint when it dries, but it does work and was recommended as a way of stopping bubbles from sticking to the side of the mold.

Any paint that was not picked up can be removed from the mold by scraping it off. I was using MBS RTV for that test.

I've heard alot of good things about Micro Mark's stuff but shipping to Canada makes it way too expensive, much more than the locally available Smooth-On stuff.

Primus: sorry for the late reply, I was off-site away from my work email, working to pay for expensive action figures I impulsively buy ;)

Crap, can't remember the address for the tutorial I made on casting/molding...oh well, if anybody wants to read it, I can dig it up somewhere. I still have to redo and edit some of it because it can be better...

06-16-2003, 19:18
What a great thread just when I need it. I want to try them out on my Chesty Headsculpt so I can resculpt it to make him as younger and older, then if that works out, I do want to try to sell some. So I want to learn as much as I can to create quality copies not just for personal use.
Mikegar: I'll check out that Vanguard and Micro Marks.
And the split PVC sounds like a great Idea.
Canoe: I have done some casting but it's been a while and they didn't have good silicones and resins like they do now. Those are some great tips, I forgot about having to measure the Dow stuff. I'd rather spend money on a preasure pot than a digital scale. Who's a good supplier for those? Or did you get yours in Cananda? Yeah, I'd like to see your tutorial w/ updates.

Thanks again Guys,

06-16-2003, 22:20
You could just use the digital scale once and return it. Once you've weighed out the material, just take another cup and mark off the level where each material fills to. Set this cup aside as a "reference" cup. For any future moldmaking, you just pour out the material to match the levels in your reference cup. You know the weight ratios will still be correct assuming you are using the same kind of RTV and the same size cups.

I used Dow Corning HSII + clay catalyst without a pressure chamber and it took several tries before I figured out how to get bubble-free molds but it is possible. Just follow that Alumilite split mold tutorial very closely and it should be cool. If you paint a thin layer of RTV onto the head first, that can help prevent bubbles in the mold.

02-12-2006, 21:36
How would you make a plug for solid resin casting? You know that solid resin doesn't exactly yield as easily when trying to minupulate. Hm.
Anyone know?

09-14-2006, 16:08
I did a few head casts using eager palstics urethane rubber,
Its not that hard to figure out, I was spooked by it at first, it seemed too much like science, but I got into it and had some pretty decent results.
The guys there will even give you pointers.


09-14-2006, 17:41
ActionJoe I could not get your URL to come up.....

06-28-2009, 23:40
RTV is the way to go. There is also a wax based parting film to ease seperation of the molded piece from the mold. I read a thread using the two part method as described which maintains the next post in the overall results. Not my idea but it works.

09-02-2009, 18:17
Alyasha, I was just curious if you were going to try this on your POTA sniper gear or the Grodd heads? :notworthy

10-15-2009, 13:36
Any update on this project's progress?

11-02-2009, 18:35
i use alumite mold maker and its pretty good..usually get it at hobby lobby with a 40 percent off coupon..for about 20 bucks after...ive done heads(tons..for 9")...and pouches/grenades for 12" stuff...and am working on some 12" heads....right now, im doing boots..trying to get them 100 percent hollow..right now, they are about 90 percent..lol..