Scratch Builds: Display Bases

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by Robot.MacGyver, May 31, 2010.

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  1. Robot.MacGyver

    Robot.MacGyver Improvisational Engineer

    Feb 13, 2010
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    Hello all. [I've]been thinking about doing this for a long time. You know those bits of molded plastic on a lot of transformers packaging - the Autobot and Decepticon symbols and what not? Well, I thought it was such a waste to just discard them, so I figured on trying to incorporate them into some projects:


    Well, this is the beginning:


    It's more or less . . . a display base, for some figure, I haven't decided on yet. [You can] plan on painting & dry brushing this. It's a lot smoother than it looks in this pic. It'll come out nice.

    I used Durham's water putty.

    If you mix it right and let it set for a good few days, it is true to it's moniker.
    "ROCK HARD"; mix it too wet, and it becomes brittle. When mixing, try not to mix too rough as not to incorporate air bubbles. When pouring, or spooning in, shake often to remove any of those pesky bubbles.

    [You can] plan on using other interesting textured bits and pieces to add that infamous robot greebled look.

    Another idea I've been meaning to get out there is something like these

    While those are awesome, I wanted to try my hand at my own . . . . this is what I've come up with:

    [It's] made from various parts, and electronic housings. Old DVD/VCR player housings/parts are great for this:



    Something else that I've noticed while the Durhams is drying [is] it takes a while for it to dry when you use a lot of it. While it may be rock hard, I'd say that it carves like the consistency of a hard wood.

    The thing that's not that great about it while [is the] drying time. It's been 3 days since I poured the first one and it still feels a bit damp. I've been thinking about warming it slightly to expedite the process.

    Well, all this about wait time, drying, and dampness, got me thinking about something else:
    Instead of something that needs to dry, how about something that cures instead.
    [These are] 2 completely different animals. Behold: Drylok Anchoring / Hydraulic cement


    I have used this stuff in the past, and let me tell you, Durhams doesn't hold a candle to it in terms of durability.
    It's cement for bootin up cold. I don't know why I didn't think of it the first time around.

    Again, Mixing is key. Not too wet, not too muddy, but you can go a bit more runny (not too much) with this guy, and it will still set hard. Drylok will be relatively smooth when poured into a smooth mold. And the curing will occur no matter what. Once it's hard, it's hard. Likewise, Primer and paints all the way.

    One word of caution:
    If you mix any of these 2 things in your home, do not pour the excess from your mixing container down the drain. It will settle in the trap and clog your pipes. Quite permanently, I might add.

    Let it harden, and then chip it off. It's best to mix it in something like a disposable Tupperware container, not because it can be tossed if you so choose, but the container is flexible enough that the hardened material comes right out.

    * * * * *

    After several days of drying, The Durhams holds up pretty well. [There is] still a tiny it damp on the bottom, but I imagine that it will dry 100% eventually. Pesky air bubbles get in there though, so [work] on filling them. You can't really see them in the pics [on mine], but they're there. Well, this is the first one I did, which is now Primed and ready for paint:


    The second was poured a bit thinner, which sped up the dry time:


    [There is a] tiny air bubble in the center, but this is the best so far. Despite the fact that this one is thinner than the first one, it still seems to hold strength very well.

    Next up is my first pour of Fast-Plug:


    When I tell you have everything ready to go before you start mixing, I mean it. I walked away for a mere 5 seconds, and it began to harden already. I ruined my first batch and the cup I was mixing it in.

    Ya live, ya learn. All in all it came out fairly well and set in about [two] 2 minutes flat. No kidding. If you get your mixing down right, you can pour one right after another with this stuff.

    Last but not least:


    I broke [the] format and poured into something I thought had an interesting shape. As you can see, the cement does take on the slick of the plastic mold it was poured into. Not like the Durhams, but like I said, "Damn, it sets fast!"

    [This one is] vaguely reminiscent of the Allspark.

    So . . . here's a quick and dirty paint job. I was sick of trying to fill in the holes left by the air bubbles, so I rolled with it and decided to give it a patina look instead. I dremeled the heck out of it.


    8.5 " x 3.5"

    The one on top of the stack of 3, is made from the fast plug, and it's dry, cured 100% After a solid 5 days, the 2nd Durhams is dry/cured.

    Well there's some good news and there's some bad news. The bad news is that the fast plug molds, even after seeming completely cured, are rather brittle. A simple squeeze too hard was enough to break it. Surprisingly, the Durhams is the better choice for this type of thing. Even though it takes a mission to get this thing cured and fully dry, it's worth the wait.
    Despite my effort to (accidentally) break a mold made from Durhams, it holds true.

    Thanks for reading.

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