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For GHQ: How Do You make Them?

 
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Peter



Joined: 25 Aug 2005
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:03 am    Post subject: For GHQ: How Do You make Them? Reply with quote

A few messages ago someone mentioned they enjoyed a factory tour at GHQ, and said they were surprised that you create the masters in 1/285 scale. Without giving away any trade secrets, could you do a short photo feature or even a text description of how you create the masters? Do you build them up in pieces, carve them from a block of what? or how? I am sure others are curious as well, and knowing how you do this willhelp us appreciate your work that much more. Thanks!
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tanker



Joined: 11 May 2006
Posts: 76
Location: Somewhere near the Chesapeake Bay

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter,

I don't work for GHQ, but I have done some metal casting, for fun, not for profit, and nothing at all like what GHQ does. But maybe I can explain some of the process.

Anything you're going to cast has to have an original. You sculpt the original out of something, sometimes a very hard wax, that is then has a mold built around it in something like vulcanized rubber or plaster of Paris. This original is then removed from the mold to be replaced by the molten metal you're using (in this case some form of usually lead free pewter). This process is called lost wax casting as the wax is melted out of the mold before the metal is poured in. This new metal model then becomes your master from which many other molds are made. I don't know a lot about vauum formed rubber molds, but I suspect this is what GHQ uses for mass production.

What I do is very different in that I carve my molds directly into my medium which is a form of soapstone called Wonderstone (usually comes from Africa and is free of large silicate inclusions like mica). This is at the very least a two piece mold that is taken apart and the cast piece removed. Then it's put back together and I cast another one, and so on.

With the rubber molds a number of them are set up in a vacuum caster that allows a lot of metal to be pumped into several molds at once. You then have a dozen (or whatever the capacity of your caster is) molds of your model. Over time the rubber molds wear out and you have to make new ones off the master.

But for GHQ the hardest part is sculpting the very first original because yes, it has to be in 1/285 or 10mm or whatever size they're making that day. This is the time consuming and delicate part as it is for me when I carve the mold directly. One slip and I have to start all over again with a whole new block of stone. For GHQ they just remelt the wax (if that's what they're using) and start over. But it is laborious and time consuming and delicate work.

I hope that answers some of your questions. Maybe the sculptors at GHQ will tell you more about their role in the process.

So GHQ, how'd I do? Smile

Tanker
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"An armored division is like a tuxedo. You don't need one often, but when you do nothing else will suffice." - quote heard at a meeting of the JCoS
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crucible_orc



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Hamilton Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a lot of other companies(most notably sci-fi miniatures, but I'm sure others do it as well) design the miniatures in a 3D modeling problem and have masters "Printed" from the file using a 3D Printer(Invision, Zprinters, etc) This is a relatively recent development in rapid prototyping(last 5 years or so)

another method is to just sculpt build the master out of something that can resist the vulcanization pressures.

you could also build a master in a larger scale then send it to a tool and die maker and get then to scale it down, but i don't think that is how they do it.

Steve
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CBoy3



Joined: 19 Feb 2005
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be interested in seeing too.
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GHQ
Site Admin


Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 665
Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We make all of our models the same way that we have done it since 1967. Every model is sculpted by hand. It is built with many small pieces that are all made out of plastic by the deisgner, and then assembled. We then have several intermediate processes, and ultimately production molds are used to make all of the miniatures on centrifugal spin casting machines. The production molds are made out of rubber, and don't last forever. The fine details on our models catch, and rip out parts of the mold rubber. We have several thousand molds that we must keep active. We are constantly replacing worn out molds. Every part that goes out of here is looked over with human eyes, and only the good castings are kept- the bad ones are all thrown back. We do not do any lost wax castings. As mentioned in another posting, please feel free to call us up and come by for a visit if you are ever in the Minneapolis area.
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8ball
E5


Joined: 03 Nov 2004
Posts: 464

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"GHQ"We make all of our models the same way that we have done it since 1967.


Do not!

NO WIRE BARRELS!!!! (to paraphrase Joan Crawford)

Razz
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DrBig
E5


Joined: 22 Jun 2006
Posts: 227
Location: California

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GHQ, you do an excellent job wrt quality control. I've only seen one other company (Peter Pig 15mm) as good as you guys
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hobby-bob



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 11
Location: Minnesota

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have also stopped by at GHQ from time to time (not for several years, though). What consistantly impresses me is how unabashedly enthusiastic these folks are! They not only showed me around their facility, they also made a point of showing me their new products that were still “on the workbench.” I have to say, it really gives me a good feeling about the company that they take so much pride in their work (rightfully so, in my opinion), and enjoy it so much. This is one reason that, although I have many hobbies, I always come back to 1/285th scale (or 1:1200, or 1:2400); I just think these guys deserve my business more than anyone else.

Keep up the good work, guys!
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Seems to me, Cap'n, this mission is a serious misallocation of valuable military resources.
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mlcolbert



Joined: 25 Jul 2006
Posts: 74

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DRBig

if you admire peter pig, then how would you compare them to AB figures? I know they focus mainly on Napoleonics and I think ACW but in 15 mm they are the best IMO.


michael
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