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1/24 Hellcat pilots from putty to retail items

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1 hour ago, Kagemusha said:

Brilliant work Robert, you really should provide the option of a figure without the life preserver, I'm sure there'd be a market for it.

Couldn't agree more Kag, virtually every WW2 RAF pilot you see is wearing a Mae West, but trainees in S Rhodesia and Canada to mention but two places were a long, long way from water!  

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Thank you all for the further feedback.


Tim; I'm using Bees Putty 100g, grey, tripple firm for these two figures.


Max; For 1/32 figures wire around 0.50mm should do. I must admit for this project I used the wire that was wrapped around a roll of chicken wire that I bought! The key is enough rigidity balanced with enough flexibility.

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Hellcat Pilots build log part: The Fourth


It was time to commit the body of the Fleet Air Arm pilot to the 'oven of terror ' (TM), so the clay could be baked before going on to the next stage. The title 'oven of terror' has nothing to do with the culinary skills of any member of the Lane family, but more to do with the feeling of nervousness I get when committing a clay master to the heating process. I had several problems with cracking when I initially used Bees Putty. However, after consulting others who had used the putty successfully, I learned that the trick was to leave the figure in the oven after it was turned off until it had cooled down. This had resulted in several bakings that had gone well.


Unfortunately knowing what to do is an inefficient foil to rank stupidity. I placed the master in the oven and retired to the computer to do some Elan13 Miniatures admin. I didn't set a timer, because they are for sissy's, allegedly. After the requisite 30 minutes baking when the oven should have been turned off, I was still doing admin...after another 30 minutes I was still doing admin (probably playing a game by now, but let's keep that between the two of us). Suddenly it dawned on me I had forgotten to turn the oven off. Language that would only be appropriate for a lads night out in the 1970's filled the house as I rushed into the kitchen. Fortunately I remembered not to open the oven door once it was turned off, but I did have a worrying time while waiting for the oven to cool.


Clearly the modelling gods were with me as the only effect to the figure was that it was a rather darker colour than usual, but there were no major cracks! Huge sighs of relief all round.

I could now begin the next stage which was adding the life preserver. I decided to do sculpt this in an open position, to show off some of the detail of the shirt and give a layered effect to the piece. The work was carried out with Magic Sculp epoxy putty. (I get mine from Sylmasta in the UK.) The smudgy snaps below show this done and the beginning of sketching in the left arm.

I do feel rather guilty about the lack of information about the US Naval pilot. Since we last saw him, he has moved on and now has a torso and head. The snaps below show this. The head is baked but the rest is still un-cured clay. This was a good job because those straps around his thighs are in the wrong place and will need fixing. More of that in Part: The Fifth.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and shoesImage may contain: one or more people, people standing and shoes

Image may contain: one or more people and people standingImage may contain: 1 person, standing and indoor

Image may contain: 1 person, standingImage may contain: 1 person, standing

Image may contain: one or more people


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46 minutes ago, Jolly Roger said:


It's a universal peg clamp.



No kidding. That's cool!! I can think of lots of uses for that. Where do you get one?


Edit: never mind, I found it....https://www.amazon.com/Universal-Work-Holder-CLAMP-VISE/dp/B000RB547G/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1547246718&sr=8-7&keywords=universal+peg+clamp


Edited by BiggTim
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Thank you for the feedback. That is the clamp I use, though mine is now covered in primer and has been baked in the oven a few times too!


I hadn't thought about scanning masters and reducing them in scale. I am at my local club meeting this Thursday and there is a member I can ask about the viability of this.


Max, The Mae West was sculpted in Magic Sculp because I didn't want to re-bake the figure after I had baked it for too long initially. The next instalment shows the arms, which are also sculpted in epoxy putty. This is because I currently use plastic tube for the male joint to the body. This would melt a baking temperature. I need to obtain some appropriate size brass tube to overcome this problem.

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