12 October 2008

Reports of Progress on Deathray Training

Gentlemen, we have received alarming reports that Prince Musta Gopotty of the Martian state of Galfor, that implacable opponent of all things Right and Proper - that is to say, British - is readying troop of soldiers mounted upon devilish flying mounts. The Martian Deathray is a rightly feared predator of the Martian highlands, where it gracefully soars under the twin moons of the Red Planet. Never before has anyone even tried to keep any in captivity. Their enormous size and strength and well-known ferocity indicate such would be nigh on impossible!

And yet, the impossible does seem to be happening! As these photostats clearly show, the renegade Prince has mounted one of the smaller species of deathrays, the golden whorled deathray. While smaller than its cousin, the Great Deathray, it is much faster and more agile, and clearly capable of carrying off a man, or carrying one mounted on its back.
[Editor's Notes:]
The ray is a spotted eagle ray toy I bought at the Dallas Zoo. I think it was manufactured by Safai Unlimited or something like that. I scraped that info off the bottom - oops! Then I drilled a hole in its belly and popped it onto a clear flight stand. The rider is a Martian prince in 18mm from Black Hat miniatures. The straps are some strips of sueded lacing that I just superglued onto the toy.
The big problem was that the cast miniature would not sit on the flat back of the ray. So I had to make a saddle of some sort.
I bought some clay, mold putty and two part casting resin at the local Hobby Lobby. I sculpted a saddle out of the clay and baked it hard, per the package directions (I used green Sculpey Primo).
Next, I made a mold using the mold putty. It was really easy: knead the two equal sized bits of putty together, then press onto the master and let it sit. It took all of about 30 minutes for the mold to be ready.
I popped the original 'green' out of the mold and
mixed a small amount of the resin - still way too much, it turned out. Poured the resin into the mold, waited about 10 minutes (just to be sure), and popped out the little white beauty you see here, next to the original.
The whole process was really easy. Granted, the sculpting is primitive and a simple form, but I am still very happy with how it came out. I can make more saddles for the Great Deathrays now. I have even figured a way to modify them to make a two-man saddle possible for the bigger rays.
Other projects are moving along as well. I have been working on several Martian buildings from plastic containers of various shapes and sizes, filled with expanding insulating foam for extra rigidity, and then the bottom given a layer of Water Putty for heft. When I get one really finished, I'll post pictures. I even have some "in progress" shots. I am nearing completion of the entire squad of 28mm British Secret Weapons troops [Praetorians from GW], and have one of the two modified Sentinels ready to go except for a final shot of matte spray and the banner.
I bought some dried plants to make more Martian terrain, as well. Some strange looking trees will be making their appearance on the gaming table soon.


Eli Arndt said...

Love this idea. I had considered a similar idea for Aeronef where we were going to have hostile, beast-using tribal aliens harassing our aerial ironclads.

The info on the casting/molding material is great as well. I am working my way up to trying to cast some custom aeronef hulls for my fleet.

James (J) Womack, Esq. said...

Thanks Eli. I have also considered making a few small aeronef ships this way, and I suspect that it would work well for simpler designs, especailly if a flat bottom hull is acceptable for you.

I have some small rays, about an inch or so across laying about somewhere. If I can find them, I'll send some to you. They're bright plastic and will need painting, of course, but theymight make good 'Giant Deathrays' for Aeronef.

Eli Arndt said...

My nefs are a simple shape but are doublesided, though I have been considering being sneaky and sculpting one side, doing a double mold and then gloueing them together...:)

You don't have to send me the rays, but if you would like, feel free to contact me for mailing info. Pretty cool for having just met.