Resin, My Precious
This year I am trying to be more disciplined and prolific with my hobby output – be it finishing playable squads for tabletop, minis for showcase, or even constructing terrain.
With that in mind, I’ve been going through the pile ‘o metal and resin to see what needs to be done.
One little fella who’s been appropriately lurking in the shadows of the paintstation is Gollum, from GW’s Lord of the Rings range.
Figuring he’d be a quick project I grabbed him and slapped some paint on him for fun – finishing him in an afternoon. Well I tell a lie, the base took a little while to do, waiting days for the resin to cure, etc. More on that later.
Amazingly he’s not actually a mini of mine. Mrs Von Deadlock has a love of the schitzophrenic ring-obsessive and had him sat in her toy collection with a rudimentary basecoat on him. Not by her hand, I hasten to add. She’s never shown any inclination to pick up the brush!
So anyway, some time back I declared that one day I’d paint him up and it was about time I made good on that promise.
For his base, I decided to do a simple clear resin water effect around the rock and set about replicating the effect I had previously used on my Kingdom Death Preacher.
It wasn’t without struggles.
I use a product from Gedeo called Crystal Resin, which is a two-part job that’s relatively low effort. No having to boil stuff up in a saucepan, and so on. Simply mix two-parts resin with one-part hardener in a disposable cup and pour it into the “mold”. In this case, the mold is a strip of acetate tightly sellotaped around Gollum’s base to stop it dribbling everywhere.
In order to help seal the mold, and to assist removing the acetate surround, I smeared the inside with vaseline before taping it up.
Problem number one: tinting the resin.
To represent the transparency/colour of pond water at a reduced scale I knew I wanted to tint it and to do that I’ve found that inks do the trick. Unfortunately it seems that some inks work and others don’t. I have some Windsor & Newton inks which have an unfortunate habit of turning to flecks in the resin, no matter how much it is mixed. Probably a solvent issue. An old pot of Miniature Paints ink dissolved nicely though.
So in the end I was left with a murky green-brown colour with tiny dark flecks in it. As it turns out this isn’t such a big deal for a dirty pond/river, I figure. So I just went ahead and poured it in. Something to look out for if you’re after a totally clear effect though.
Using a plastic teaspoon I carefully drizzled the resin mix around the rock base and then left it, covered by tupperware to deter dust, for a couple of days. Curing time is supposedly 24 hours on this stuff but I gave it a second day to be safe.
Then came problem number two: the miniscus effect.
This was expected as I’d seen it happen on the Kingdom Death mini. Basically, the resin is viscous stuff and has such a surface tension that it curves up around the edges, and also has a habit of creeping its way up textured surfaces to some extent.
I don’t think it was so noticable on the Kingdom Death mini but here I wanted the water at the base edge to be perfectly flat. So I mustered up the courage and got some wet/dry sandpaper to it. Trouble is, how can I get it back to that lovely shiny transparent finish?
After a bit of Googlage and a few abortive attempts with my cheap Dremel knockoff I came up with a fairly acceptable result. I simply sanded it with the wet paper and then laid down a coat of gloss varnish. Topping that off with a coat of Klear floor polish.
I’m not entirely satisfied with the result as there’s still a bit of a dip in the resin that is particularly obvious in photos. So I think I will go back in with the sandpaper again, and also I think I’ll spend a bit more time polishing up the finish afterward.
As for Gollum himself, there are a few bits on him that should have been dealt with at the prep stage, but I was feeling lazy and I confess that I couldn’t be bothered to entirely strip him down.
I may re-paint his eyes, come to think of it. I could do with making them a bit less squinty.
Overall, though, I’m pretty happy with him considering how little time he took. Hope the Lady likes him.