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Making wavesThe idea of the wave came from the drama of the pirates pose and a need to make the entire project really stand out. The ship’s deck needed to be tipped a bit to better suit the pirates poses and what a better way to give the viewer the idea that the ship is rocking than to put it on a crashing wave. Plus the elevation, color, and water element add a real flair to the project. I decided to make the wave with my favorite water material – casting resin.
I’ve done a bunch of ‘flat’ water already, but this would be different, it would have movement and elevation and no sides. So the challenge was how to make a pillar of water with an overhanging lip. The plan (always a plan) was to make a container that I could pour a number of thin layers in at different angles. The angles would allow me to tip the mold to achieve the lip.
I made a master out of clay to get a rough shape. This didn’t have to be exact because the wave was a free flow element. I wrapped the master in aluminum kitchen foil making sure to pinch the seam very well. I wrapped the foil as tight as possible and didn’t worry about destroying the master as I removed it. I wanted to retain the foil shape. With the clay out of the foil I rubbed out any rough spots with my finger.
The water product and technique I use quite often is outline and explained in a feature I wrote called Pouring Resin: Easy and Inexpensive. I added a blue dye to the process for this project.
Mixing was done based on the instructions; I used a kitchen scale to weigh the resin and then calculated the correct number of catalyst drops. One thing you must take care to do is to mix the color in the resin before you add the catalyst. This gives you plenty of time to get the color completely mixed in before the resin starts to cure. The first layers received two good sized drops of blue color.
I poured my base layer in and let it cure overnight. This gave me a good strong base to work up from. Subsequent pours were quite thin ranging from 2mm thick to 4mm thick. As I moved out I added less and less color. You can see from the images I used a hobby vice to situate the mold in some very awkward positions. I poured the thinner layers quicker than the 1st layer. I waited only a few hours between these, just enough time to let each get firm and act as a support for the next layer.
Once it was the final pouring shape I let it sit for a full 24 hours to cure. Then I removed the foil mold. This resin is nice because I didn’t have to use any Vaseline or non-stick solution, the foil just peels away.
I shaved a few places down to make a better shape. I also worked a great deal on the bottom to get a nice flat surface. I used some two part epoxy to adjust the level of the base. I used this because it dries translucent and mimics the resin fairly well. I knew I was going to paint the end result so I wasn’t 100% concerned with a miss-match in media.
I used oil paints to add color and depth to the wave. I simply used a wash technique with very thin white paint. As I got to the foamy areas I used thicker coats of paints. I used a touch of blue here and there for visual variety. My style is to add lots of thin layers vs. fewer thick layers so I go slow and build up layers. There are roughly seven applications of various thicknesses and colors of white.
My original plan was to have the ship deck actually resting on the crest of the wave. This would give cause to the tipping deck. After I finished the wave I felt that the curl of the wave wouldn’t support the deck over time. So I needed some alternate support device. I needed a clear rod to hold the ship. I didn’t want to distract from the wave with any solid rod sticking up behind it. I looked for either a clear styrene rod or a glass rod and could not find one so I had to scratch build one. The solution was in my hand as I was writing modeling notes – a Pen. I found a brand of pen that is made of clear acrylic plastic. The only problem was that it wasn’t round. I removed the business parts of the pen leaving just the tube. I cut it to length which in hind sight was a mistake. I would leave some excess (scrap) on one end to use a ‘handle’. I inserted it into a quarter inch drill and got out some sand paper and sanded the rod into a round shape. I did this by holding the paper in one hand, laying the plastic rod in the paper and spilling it with the drill. This made it very fast and easy. Once it was close to round I increased the grit on my sand paper. As I worked it I continued to increase the grit. I finished the drill work with some steel wool to give it a smooth surface. If you try this the part will look like an absolute wreck at this point; don’t despair. Keep going. The last step was to paint it with three coats of future to give it a nice smooth clear finish.
Connecting the rod to the ship was in need of a ‘statement’, it couldn’t be just a deck and rod. There needed to be reason and representation of tilt or rotation. I found a wooden ball at the local craft store and decided to use it. I cut it in half and drilled a few test holes to get the angle correct. Once I was happy with the angle I glued the ball to the base of the ship and then inserted the rod. The rod went into a hole in the top of the treasure chest base right behind the wave.
Copyright ©2021 by Scott Lodder. Images and/or videos also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of KitMaker Network, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2006-10-08 00:00:00. Unique Reads: 17070