I’m still trying to put together our second Pulp campaign and although the scenarios are coming together, I seem to have side-tracked myself into creating small Pulp terrain pieces. First we had the crates (which I’m certainly sick of), and now we have some Pulp luggage which I intend to use as decoration as well as objective markers in the campaign.
This photo shows the finished masters which I’ll mold and cast in resin for a handful of luggage pieces. So far I’ve mastered a piece of strapped luggage and a lady’s hat box. I’m also considering creating a simple carpet bag before I mold them all. Also while these pieces are certainly all castable in resin, I’m wondering if it’s time I learned how to cast in low temperature white metals because it would be nice to be able to mass produce these pieces.
Topmark in Auckland sell both high temperature RTVs and raw metals for casting. They recommend the Wacker M4670 product the resell from Barnes for high temperature casting. Then it’s just a matter of securing a butane torch and some kind of crucible that can hold and pour molten pewter.
Anyway, I thought I’d go into a little detail about the thought process behind these masters. For some reason there’s a scene in the third Indiana Jones movie that sticks in my head, where Indy (dressed in a stolen porter’s uniform) forcibly ejects a Gestapo officer from the passenger deck of an airship onto a large, loose stack of passenger luggage. Since I started Pulp gaming I’ve wanted a pile of 28mm scale luggage, and as I couldn’t find an online manufacturer selling 28mm scale 1930’s luggage I thought I may as well create my own.
The first step in sculpting anything is to gather reference material. Fortunately my lovely wife has several pieces of 30’s luggage, as well as a number of period hat-boxes. So I dragged a couple of these musty items out of storage and took some photos.
Since I’m making a 28mm scale gaming piece I’m not really interested in creating an exact replica of the real object, but more of a stylised suggestion of it. However the easiest way to do that is simply to copy a reference object to the limit of the materials (green stuff) and process (garage resin casting) involved.
Then of course there’s a question of scale. Again, as I’m making gaming pieces I’m not concerned with exact scales, but rather what looks good. So I typically create ‘scale test’ mock ups. For luggage this consisted of two pieces of 1.5mm plasticard glued together. I scribbled a few coarse details onto this test with a fine Sharpie marker and plonked it next to a few figures to see if the scale felt right.
It looked pretty good to me, and the scale test actually ended up becoming the master after I spent several evenings applying green stuff to it. Here it is next to a painted Copplestone Castings figure.
The hat box was thrown together over a bamboo off cut as something of an after thought as it turns out that hat boxes really have very little detail. They’re basically just hinged, lockable cylinders and many in my wife’s don’t even seem to have handles. I guess the hired help had to deal with them rather than the hat owning lady!
For a carpet bag I’ll probably just mix up a large blob of green stuff and fashion it into the appropriate crude shape and add a couple of seams. Then it’s just a matter of adding some folded down handles and the suggestion of the closed metal hinge at the top of the bag.
Molding and casting these pieces will be interesting as they all involve undercuts of various degrees. That’s not much of a problem while molding them as I generally brush the RTV on so can manually fill the undercuts as I go. However casting with resin will certainly lead to a few air bubbles getting trapped in those undercuts. As I’m only looking to cast a handful of each type of luggage I’ll probably just resort to releasing any trapped bubbles with a toothpick after pouring the resin. This is far too labour intensive for mass production which is why I’m considering white metal casting.
Once I’ve cast and painted a few sets I’ll post them up here of course!