If you've ever been to my site, you'd know that I cover products and techniques in a relatively unique way - I show my mistakes, no matter how dumb. I'm a firm believer in the philosophy that we learn much more from our mistakes than our successes. Consequently, my reviews are hubris-free. You may avoid the mistakes I made, and I guarantee that alone is worth the reading time.
This review will document my very first experience with the product. Let me say upfront that to me, it was an inarguable success. Is it worth the money and time? Let's see, shall we?
Instant Mold comes in a blister roughly the size of a GW figure package, and it sells for $13.00. It's a form of plastic that has a few specific properties that make it ideal for press molding:
- It becomes completely malleable at about 170 degrees F.
- It cools quickly and solidifies without distorting or shrinking.
- When cool, it's strong and flexible, but it "remembers" is last shape when hot.
- No adhesive used in the miniature modeling hobby, including cyanoacrylate, will stick to it at all.
- When reheated, it can be completely reused.
My house tap water can get so hot that it steams up, so I waited until it heated up and collected some in a glass jar. BE VERY CAREFUL dealing with boiling or near boiling water. Third degree burns will scar you, and if the burns get infected, it could even be fatal. MWC cares. :)
I placed two of the ingots into the hot water. Here was my first mistake. Hot tap water, even if it steams, is not the same as near boiling, 170 degree F water. In my hot - but not hot enough - water, it took longer to become flexible than expected. I occasionally squeezed the ingots with a pair of tweezers, and waited until they got soft.
In the meanwhile, I had to decide what to mold on my first attempt. I decided to replicate the texture on a door from a Pegasus Large Gothic Building.
Pretty, yes? I really just needed a bit of the texture, and my guess was that dried green stuff wouldn't be stiff enough to serve as a freestanding door, but would be fine for my application.
So I got out the Instant Mold with tweezers from the hot water, and dried it off with a cloth. This is an important step; any water left on the surface will distort the mold as you press the original onto it.
I worked the Instant Mold in my hands, flattening it out a bit to accommodate more of the door. I pressed it quite hard against the Instant Mold and then set it aside to completely cool down.
After it cooled, the original just fell out of the mold.
You can click on the above picture to see if you want to see the detail. The texture is pretty impressive. I imagine it would have revealed even more detail had the water been warmer (making the Instand Mold more pliant). But for a first outing, it looked fine to me.
I then fished out the second one and pressed in two purity seals from the Furioso Dreadnought sprue.
I didn't knead the second ingot because I wanted to see if the composition of the plastic is consistent right out of the package. After this piece had cooled, the original purity seals came out with no effort (even without greasy mold release).
Mistake Number Two: As usual, I prepared too much green stuff. Oh well, it's cheaper by volume than gasoline. :) I jammed an ample amount of it into the molds and set them aside to dry. The next day, after a bit of trimming with a sharp Exacto, voila!
Click the image to see it larger. They look great; even the tiny skulls in the wax part of the seal showed up in the copies; they just required a bit of trimming.
And the door? Well, as I thought, the green stuff is too flexible to stand on its own, but it looks great as a wrecked/stomped door.
Again, click the pic to peek. I will be sure to follow up when it's painted.
Instant Mold does exactly what it advertises. For press molding purity seals, crux terminatus, shoulder pads, etc., I can't imagine a better solution short of having someone buy the bitz and give them to you gratis. For larger items...well, it definitely picks out the details as intended, but the limitations of the media (in this instance, green stuff) placed in the mold makes it challenging to draw a conclusion when considering rigid or free-standing applications. To clear this up, I have ordered some brown stuff and grey stuff, so expect a follow up shortly, along with the step by step instructions for a two part mold. I personally will be using it a ton, and I will definitely be promoting it when I show pieces formed through this process.
I have heard that Friendly Plastic pellets (not the thin bands) work the same way, but I have no experience with them. Anyone want to comment?
I give this product a total thumbs up. It's not a miracle end-all, but it's another cool thing in a converter's arsenal.
- Relatively cheap. Pays for itself very quickly.
- Nothing sticks to it. No mold release necessary.
- Easy to use.
- Holds very fine details.
- Can't use resin, as the curing heat will deform the mold.
- Have to use extremely hot water.
By the way, I saw an amazing thing at Adepticon. Look at this Imperial Fist drop pod:
Click it to embiggen. Those Chapter Logos and Angels could be easily made with Instant Mold and it inspires me to create Rhino doors and drop pod logos for my Blood Angels and Khorne berzerkers.
Again, stay tuned for part two. And once you've scoured this site for all of its incredible information, feel free to browse my site.