- I sealed the bottom using florist's foam(the green kind that is mushy) and masking tape(use the low tac kind to prevent it from peeling paint from your figure) This worked well to prevent the mold compound from breaking through the tape and filling the figure cavity.
- I used small hose sections to raise my figure off the bottom of the casting box. This meant I did not have to secure the bottom or support him with clamps to keep him off the bottom. I did have to place a weight on him to keep him from floating up though but it worked well.
- I used rubber bands to hold the mold together and made small notches on two sides for each rubber band group so they would not slide off. This made it easy to keep the mold together and aligned.
- Don't forget to place a ball or plastic cap in your first half of the mold so when you pour the top half it will create a registration or alignment point so your mold is always aligned. I used bottle caps from my mix bottles this time.
- Remember to use a clamp and wood or cardboard to hold your mold together. I did not do it on this project and tried using extra rubber bands. That did not work. When the plastic sets it also expands and pushes the mold apart so my first figure was ruined. I held pressure on the molds by hand because I did not have clamps handy but you should use clamps as I explained in past projects.
If I have not mentioned it before, you should be able to cast a figure using five pounds of mold compound. If you design your mold box correctly, you will have enough to mold one figure. You do not want to run out and have to order more. The rubber will not harm the figure, but if you leave a figure in the mold for a few days, it will turn it yellow as the chemicals from the rubber seep into it. So you don't want to leave a figure in a mold longer than overnight as it dries.
The Hirohito figure was made of plaster and it appears to have straw or strings in the plaster to give it more strength.
I have had many people ask me about painting figures and other models in games. So, here I will explain in more detail how I paint figures.
First, I want to say that slopping paint from the can onto a figure is always the wrong thing to do. I see this too often. Someone has a rare game and they try to make it more valuable by repainting the baseball men or the airplane models and ruin it. They end up with an old looking game and some globby solid color baseball players that look new or they try to repair chipped paint on a model airplane in a game only to have an aged red airplane with a bright red spot that is clearly uneven and does not match in color or texture.
Don't do this to your game. A few extra minutes can make a repair invisible or make your repainted figure look like it is 100 years old.
The techniques I use can be used for any arcade figure or model so you can blend your work in and make it look original or better than original.
I use a combination of paints, acrylic for details, some enamel(like model airplane paints), I also get the sample paint cans at Home Depot that are close to the color I want which is enamel and use those for large areas like the body.
I like to paint the solid areas, then spray clear polyurethane, then do the details over the polyurethane. If I mess up the details, I can easily wipe off the acrylic paint with a damp cloth and try again. When finished, I polyurethane again with three to four coats over the details using a satin finish clear polyurethane. For the details, I get the acrylic paint kits from the hobby shop with all the little plastic pots of paint because I don't need much of any one color, I think there are 64 and 128 color sets which work well. I like to get premixed colors as close as possible first, then I can just add black/white or another color to get it as close as possible without mixing a lot. For my chicken sam I found a perfect spray in blue for his coat so I sprayed him blue and painted in the details.
Think in layers, don't expect to paint it once and be done. Paint once, let it dry, change your color a little, then paint again on areas like the face. Paint is translucent so you can see one color through another. It adds depth and takes a couple of coats to cover darker or lighter primer or base coats. You can also use a sponge(painting type sponge) to take off excess and give a splotchy aged effect when painting a color variation over another. Like on the Hitler figure, I just sponged on his rosy cheeks and then sponged them off to make it very subtle. It took several tries, but painting on the polyurethane made it easy to take off and retry. Hobby shops are great for supplies and ideas, faux painting guides at home depot too will tell you how to do crackling paint if you want to really make something look old.
To paint his body I used a rusty metal primer brown which was lighter than the original. I added sunrise red to give it a little red tint to match the original. I always prefer to find colors as close as possible to the color I need and then tweak it until it is perfect. This is easier for me than trying to mix colors to match. I have a good eye for color from photography, but I cant mix colors very well, they usually come out a muddy brown. So always try to find a color close to what you want, even if it is a spray paint. I painted my figure then I let it dry.
After you have the large areas painted, like the base body color, face color etc, spray with clear polyurethane. This gives you a surface to paint on for the details. If you mess up a detail, you can easily wipe it off without affecting the painting you have already done. If a detail stroke is wrong, wipe it off with a wet paper towel or let it dry and you can scrape it with a toothpick to get it perfect. Be careful though. You can wipe away other dried brush strokes because they are just sitting on top of the polyurethane.
Sometimes it is hard to match fine details. You are painting one figure. The person who originally painted may have done hundreds and had more experience. I sometimes use a color magic marker with a fine tip that is close to the color I need or lighter. Draw in the detail, wipe and redraw until it is right. Then take paint and paint over that using it like a guide or paint by numbers. It is easier and you don't have to paint the edges perfect because they blend with the magic marker if the color is close.
Next, after your details are painted, spray with clear polyurethane to seal and protect those details so they do not rub off. Two or three coats is good and let them thoroughly dry between coats. You may have to let them dry overnight. Then over this clear coat we will paint our aging effects. Over the brown areas I mixed a 2:1 rusty metal primer brown to flat black and used a painting sponge to apply and then remove the darker brown. Both paints were enamel but you can use any paint. This truly gave the paint some depth and it really made it look old. I only did this over the brown parts. Over the yellow sections I mixed 2:1 yellow with black and used the same sponge technique to remove most of the paint. The little that was left made it look very old. This is your formula to make anything look old, mix flat black with the original color and sponge on a slightly darker color to make it look aged and dirty. If you mess up your aging or it is too heavy, you can easily wipe it off of the clear coat base and try again without messing up your painted details.
The final step is to spray with clear satin or gloss polyurethane. This is necessary because your details and aging effects are painted on top of clear coats which means they can easily come off. Spraying with a final 2 or 3 coats of polyurethane will seal the paint layers and hold them in place. You can also spray with 5 coats and then use steel wool to knock off the shine so they look old.