With the end of the 1st Quarter now past, I have a bit more time to post on what I've been up to, but I have to finish this soon as I have yet another graduate paper to write.
With the problems of getting the weapons and heads to cast from the Prince August molds, I went ahead and bought a thermometer to test the metal temp. Yep, the pot does not provide a consistent level of heat. My target tempt is 590 degrees, Fahrenheit, which the pot does get to within about 8 minutes. Casting was ON LIKE A BOSS!
However, an hour into casting, with no adjustments to the temp dial, the temp was down to 430 degrees and casting issues cropped up again. I had to fiddle with the temp dial to get it back to the correct temperature.
I've also vented several of the heads in the various molds, to get them to cast. Those pictures were too blurry to include in this post, though. The casting temperature of the metal needs to be between 572 and 608 degrees, according to the documentation and a Celsius to Fahrenheit calculation.
The metal still needs to be a liquid within 30 seconds of the pour, in order for it to get to all the details in the mold. Tapping on the mold can help, but not always. Sometimes, a large pocket of air is trapped in the mold cavities, and a few raps on the mold will cause the metal to displace the air. This is visible, if you know what you are looking for. Thus, molten metal at too low a temperature will harden within 5-10 seconds (at the top of the mold, which means it hardens sooner than that inside) and that is not enough time for it to get where it needs to be, thus causing items to not cast properly.
A couple days later, we had another casting session, with Brent again assisting by removing the figures from the molds and cleaning them up and with myself doing the casting.
I've no pictures from that, which I thought I had taken, but we have about 50 infantry figures, in addition to the command groups, cast so far. I've more metal and molds incoming, which should arrive this week.
However, I have parent-teacher conferences all week, after school, which means no casting as the light is gone shortly after I get home. All of my casting is down outside on the back porch, so we can use the light of the sun while it lasts.
I will be casting a bit, this weekend, regardless. I need to get all 220+ figures cast before the end of November.
Since the new SYW cavalry molds are unlikely to be released in time. And since I do not want to waste money on buying the old molds, cast and paint the figures for the event, and then remelt everything when the new molds are released, I am probably going to skip the cavalry for the convention game. I'll look for a tabletop teaser scenario that lacks cavalry and modify that for my games.
This will save me money and painting time, to be sure.
On the other hand, I have no figures for generals and notable leaders. I may go with Front Rank AWI models for this, for the event, but I would really like to see a Prince August mold for leaders/generals.