Deep Thoughts

I fancied having a go at incorporating some resin effects into some dioramas, as it seems like a handy tool to have in the box. To that end, I found some scraps of wood from a past life of carpentry, and knocked up a little block of “deep ocean”. That turned out to be a slippery slope, as it’s impossible to model a bit of deep ocean and not want to put a submarine in it.

Well, isn’t that pretty

I started off by cobbling together a bit of terrain on a wooden block. The rocks are some casts I made ages ago from some left-over resin in some Woodland Scenics rock molds. I can’t remember exactly which mold it is, something from their “Rock Molds” range, I suspect.

The sand is just some sand. Any old sand will do, as long as it’s fine enough for the desired scale. I painted some PVA onto the wood block and rocks wherever I wanted sand to be, then sprinkled the sand on.

I finally slapped some paint on the rocks (painting is not my strength) and stuck a bit of plasticard on the back to hopefully make sealing the whole thing for casting the resin easier.

I didn’t really take a lot of photographs of this process, as I just thought it would be a failed experiment, so here’s a little picture of the ready-for-resin base, and another sample on the right, and a sneak peek of the tiny little submarine I made out of Green Stuff hanging from a toothpick.

After the pour, the top of the resin forms a kind of sharp upwards-curving meniscus, and is of course generally very smooth. There’s also a missing picture from just after I took the sides of the mold off, where you could have seen the horrible finish on the sides, the resin stuck all over the wooden base, and a generally terrible overall effect.

I spent a lot of time with a polishing and buffing kit to get the nice glassy-clear sides that you can actually see through, working all the way through various sandpaper grits from about 200 all the way down to 7000. Finally a polishing compound was used to get it actually super clear.

The final step was to take a mini drill (my weapon of choice here is a Proxxon Micromot) and some cheap burrs to carve waves into the surface. I wasn’t sure how well it would turn out, but the end effect was, if I do say so myself, rather spiffing.e

I can 100% recommend wearing a full-face respirator during the polishing and grinding stage, as super-fine resin dust is bad bad bad for whatever remains of your delicate little lungs, and using an airbrush or compressor to constantly scoot the dust off the top while grinding is essential for seeing what you’re doing.

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