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MvA Pumpkin Monster Casting

Halloween is just around the corner and I’m rapidly trying to turn out a few of my pumpkin monsters (Wicked Jack from the Monsters Vs Aliens Halloween special). Here’s a bit of the process I’m going through to create these and the sort of thing you can find in the supporter section.

“There’s quite a few tutorials around about casting small parts, but not much for larger pieces so I took a few photos as I was working on my Halloween project, Wicked Jack, a 12″ pumpkin monster from Monsters Vs Aliens. Things are hectic, so I haven’t had time to pretty this up, so bear with me for a quick and dirty guide to large scale casting…”

Step 1 – Get ready to make a mess. Protect anything that you don’t want covering in sticky or hard resin! I find this large box from a flat pack wardrobe useful as everything stays within it and can’t roll off the worktop.

Step 2 – Small castings frequently use silicone molds, but this tends to be pretty expensive. Those techniques are going to cost you a fortune if you scale them up for this job. Therefore, here’s what I will be using to make mold – latex. It’s cheap and cheerful, and gets the job done. Unfortunately, it does take a while to create the mold in the first place.

Still Step 2 – To create a latex mold you need to apply 15-20 coats of latex, giving each layer enough time to dry (upwards of 3-4 hours for each layer). Over a week I applied coats in the morning, afternoon and evening until I was finally happy with the thickness of the mold, and then left it for 3 days to ensure it was completely cured.

– Ensure that the master has been sealed to protect the paint.
– You can use a latex thickener additive to thicken the latex to the consistency of emulsion paint, however you don’t want to use this for the first couple of latex layers, otherwise it may obscure some of the details in your master.
– For smaller molds you could get away with 10-15 layers.
– For the final few layers, cover the mold in cheesecloth and paint the latex over it. This will help strengthen the mold. I haven’t done this here as the original intention was to do this in one piece and to get the mold off over the tight waist required as much elasticity as possible.

Step 3 – Reinforcing the mold. Ugh. The intial one-piece plan didn’t work (old plaster and it was getting heavy) so I split the mold in half making sure the seam lay along one of the vines running up either side of the body. This resulted in two rather floppy molds which weren’t going to hold up with some weight apllied to them, so the molds were put back on the master, wrapped in clingfilm and mod-roc (plaster bandage) applied to both sides. 3m of this wasn’t enough to make it as rigid as I’d like, so I shot both sides with expanding foam. Now I have a mother mold that the laex mold can sit in and retain its shape.

Step 4 – Resin. I’m now using a 2-part plastic resin. You mix equal weights of both parts together and this hardens enough to demold in 30 minutes.

Step 5 – Additives. I’ve got a couple of extra tricks up my sleeve for this cast which you wouldn’t normally do with the smaller castings. The first of the additives (on the left) are polyfibres, which you add to the mix to make it more thixatropic. Commonly known as thickening. I’m adding this as I need the resin to stick to the sides of the mold. Without it, the resin would be as runny and collect at the bottom of the mold. 5% of the resin weight will thicken it up nicely.

Step 6 – Yes, scales are a must… I usually put the container and spoon on the scale and press the Tare button to reset it to zero.

Step 7 – Extract a little of the resin – I usually used about 20-30g at a time as it will set very fast and I don’t want any unused resin going hard before it’s been applied.

Step 8 – You can add these polyfibres to part A or part B of the resin before they’re mixed. I’m adding them to part B first as it’s thinner than part A and easier to mix together later. You only need 5% by weight (a very heaped teaspoon is approx 2g)

Yum, looks like baby food 😛

Step 9 – Add the other part of the resin and you should now have a thickened liquid. The clock starts ticking now….

Step 10 – Here’s the second additive, to be added to reduce the weight of the resin and bulk up the volume. You can add quite a bit to the resin, though I prefer to stick to a ratio of 2:1 for resin and filler. It makes a horrible grey colour but it’ll get painted and saves a fortune in resin.

Step 9 – Here’s the final mix ready for pouring…

… and in it goes…

For the head, I use a bit less polyfibre so the resin flows better, and then roll the head around so all areas of the mold are covered.

Step 10 – For the larger body shells I use an old brush or spoon to move the poured resin to where it needs to be. The brush will be ruined, so buy lots of cheap ones.

Step 11 – Once the resin is set, the latex if peeled from the cast piece. If you have significant under-cuts it may take a while to get it off as you try to free the latex.

FIN – Tada! Cast pieces all ready for refining (some bubble filling) and then paint.

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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


Monsters Vs Aliens Wicked Jack Pumpkin Monster

Here’s an old one I’m revisiting after it won the Halloween contest last year. I’ll be posting about the casting process I went through last month and I’m just finishing up a limited edition run of three of these fellas ready for Halloween auctions! Stay tuned!

“This is a scratch-built action figure of the pumpkin giant from the Monsters Vs Aliens Halloween special. It’s huge in the film, so I decided to make it equally huge; it’s about 14 inches tall, so should be roughly in scale with the Ginormica/Susan action figure from the line (though I couldn’t find one to check).

“The figure was made from a block of foam, trimmed to a basic shape using a hotwire. The foam was then coated with basic details using air-drying clay as it’s very cheap, but brittle and cracks as it dries. Having used probably a kilo of the stuff, I coated it all again in mode expensive Milliput epoxy clay. This forms a complete shell around the figure, dries as hard as rock to hold the whole thing together, and takes sculpting detail easily. Even with the airdrying clay making up the bulk, I still got through about five boxes of epoxy on this monster.

“The arms are made from Struxx connectors and ball joints, covered in wire, and both clays again. The big ball joints are firm and can easily hold all the weight I put on them. Lets just say, Lego Knights joints pale in comparison and would not be up to this job.

“The neck is a combination of two large ratchetting joints to give extension and lift, topped by another Struxx ball so that the head can move from a monsterly shrug, to upright like ET, and still look around.

“Finally, he was painted with Tamiya and GW acrylic paints.

“I have to say that he isn’t finished yet, being maybe 80% complete so far. I will be casting him which will hopefully make the copies sufficiently lighter so that I can wire him up with some LEDs to make the eyes and mouth glow like the film. Once he’s been cast I will also add the finer vine and foliage details, and I still have a shed-load of painting effects and shading to do to make it more movie accurate.

More pictures of the build process on the Facebook page ( so please stop by and click the like button.

“Incidentally, this technique is what I’m doing for the TF Prime Unicron build, currently underway. More pics on that soon.

“Thanks for all the votes in the contest guys; it was a close race towards the end with some great competition (respect to TTT and Solrac for some awesome entires), but it made my New Year to have retained the contest crown after Steampunk Scourge last time.

“Happy New Year!”

Work in progress shots
A full step-by-step is my Facebook page

Foam blocks and air-drying clay for the rough shape

Struxx and various wires for arms

Painting my ass off after the primer finally dried

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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized



Shattered Glass Insecticons

Here we have my Shattered Glass Insecticons, although they equally work as Diaclone originals too (given that the diaclone molds were repurposed for the SG universe). They are created from the G1 Insecticons and have been heavily modified to provide some much needed articulation. I’ve also taken a bit of artistic licence and allowed Shrapnel’s jaws/horns to rotate for a more streamlined look. All chrome bits were redone with holochromatic spectral chrome for a lovely rainbow chrome effect.

These were done for ThielMJ who is organising a charity event and hopefully they will raise some money for a good cause. More details on that soon as the event rolls out in June.

There are some WIP pics at the end to show what was done to them and a picture of the final packaged set including my signature collectors cards 🙂

So it’s my pleasure to introduce Kickback, Shrapnel and Bombshell (or Shothole, Zaptrap and Salvo if you prefer)…

My Packaging…

WIP photos…

More details on the Pimp My Toy facebook page (likes or shares appreciated!

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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


Well, March has been a write off…

Ah, real life, eh? Just when you get into a good stride, ‘real life work’ comes along and knocks all your good intentions to one side. Yep, it’s been a busy month but unfortunately very little toy pimping action.

Unicron got a bit of attention and is coming along nicely, but I do need to get some Insecticons articulated and painted up in the Shattered Glass style for a Make A Wish charity auction. So hopefully, more details on that soon 😉

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


Movie Seeker Ransack

Ransack never appeared in the TF movies, but was included in the various accompanying comics and books. He is supposedly one of the Seekers in the movie continuity (as was Jetfire), and loyal to the Fallen. He didn’t get any screen time, but concept art by Ben Proctor is floating around depicting a Model T transformer looking remarkably like Ransack. So, here’s my re-imagining of this Seeker…

“After failing to activate the energon harvester on Earth under the leadership of the Fallen, Ransack remained on Earth. Low on energon, he powered down in the early twentieth century, having taken the form of an early automobile and sought refuge in an isolated barn. There he remained, rusting, and awaiting the return of his master, the Fallen…”

Ransack is based on a HtfD Hubcap with a few minor modifications:
– The head of the biplane toy was modified to fit the Hubcap balljointed neck
– The hood transformation has been altered to allow the engine/head to protrude
– The door panels have been removed from the forearms and attached to the shoulders to allow the attachment of machine guns to the forearm
– Magnetically attached machine guns store under the car in alt mode.
– Prep’ed, primed and painted with Tamiya acrylics.

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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


More TFP Unicron WIP pics

Busy fleshing out the basic structure and will soon be modelling the details. This guy is one BIG mofo and he doesn’t even have his arms yet! 16″ so far… in width! 22″ in height… So who wants one? 😉

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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Uncategorized


HoS Shockwave from Mastermind Creations

Well, this is looking rather nice. Images are appearing all over the place of the new prototype and it’s slated for a January release. This could be very harmful to the wallet…

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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Uncategorized