Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Mouldy old dough

Posted by Martin on April 14, 2008

Brace yourselves, I’ve got a little bad news. But don’t get too worried, it’s not terminal.

I received a long-ish e-mail from Peter F. this afternoon describing some woes he’s been through this last week or so while trying to get the moulds finished for the first release of the Saxons. As you know, Peter is something of a perfectionist (a fact that we customers rejoice in normally) and as part of his quality control for the Saxons, he was inspecting and cleaning up the master moulds in readiness to make the production moulds when he noticed an unexpected loss of detail.

Slight aside: I really must ask Peter to walk me through this process one day so that I know the difference between master moulds and production moulds.

Anyway, Peter carried out a number of experiments to identify the cause of the problem. The first suspect was the batch of rubber used in making the moulds. But that was soon eliminated from enquiries after a trial to make production moulds with the same rubber (from stock only a couple of months old). Further experiments soon revealed a pattern with consistently only one side of the mould being adversely affected. Peter tells me that “eventually I could almost predict which figures would be affected”.

The cause? Well, to quote Peter’s words again: “I am fairly sure that the heating elements on the bottom platen of the vulcaniser are slowly burning out. There is a temperature variation of almost 20 degrees between the top and bottom plates and it is affecting one side of the plate more than the other. This is the reason for the lack of flow in the rubber as it is not reaching optimum temperature”. Now, I don’t really understand the technicalities of the mould-making process but I can understand that if the rubber isn’t heated to the correct temperature, it doesn’t acheive the correct state of liquidity to flow correctly and closely enough around the master figures to create a high definition mould.

The upshot of all this is as follows. The good news is that all the master figures for the first release of the Saxons are completed but the bad news is that Peter can’t, at present, make good enough moulds to go into production. Peter’s asked me to pass on his apologies to those of you waiting for these figures to become available and he’s busy penning an official annoucement that we’ll add the the Calpe Web site ASAP. We’ll be meeting up at Salute on Saturday, so I hope to be able to provide up-to-date news on Sunday.


8 Responses to “Mouldy old dough”

  1. Ralph said

    Disappointing, obviously, but the sort of attention to detail Calpe is becoming reknowned for. I’m sure the wait will be worth it…(bites fingernails)

  2. Martin said

    UPDATE: I’ve just posted an official announcement from Peter about the situation on the Calpe Web site. Fingers crossed for a speedy resolution.

    Oh yes – and if, like me, you’re unfamiliar with the processes by which moulds are made and figures cast, this Wikipedia entry is a useful introduction.

  3. Vulcaniser! What the heck has Star Trek got to do with our most cerebral hobby?! Mr Spock has alot to answer for!! 8O)

    I feel for Peter F. with this current hiccough. Hopefully he will be able to get his current vulcaniser fixed. A new one doesn’t sound cheap.

    And like Ralph I am quietly confident that the wait will be worth it.

    von Peter himself

  4. Frank Catinella said

    I too am disappointed. After some 35 years of flitting through the wargames figure world, i had resolved to concentrate on a Prussian army and in due course a Saxon. Of course I shall wait, however Salute in three days……………..

  5. Glen said

    That is real bad luck; hopefully the gods will smile on Peter and provide a quick and preferably cheap resolution to the problem. I for one will be praying especially as I have an order in for a couple of Reserve Battalions!

    Salute is calling and a visit to the Perry’s is in order, Young Guard, the question is what else will tempt me!


  6. Robert said

    Typing this quickly in case the bitter tearsdrops fall on my keyboard and cause a short-circuit, but there IS a silver lining here for me at least! The earmarked funds for the Saxons have just went towards paying a vet bill for one of the cats, so it will be a while before the coffers are replenished again to the point where I can splurge on the Saxons.

    Said kitty is sitting on the sofa washing himself, oblivious to the fiscal carnage he has wraught…

    And yes, it is worth the wait if it means Peter can offer us some really nice, crisp castings.

  7. Robert said

    Oh, and as Front Rank are to be releasing French Young Guard later this year, I had better start working on more of my Russians lest they find themselves outnumbered!

  8. Frank Catinella said

    Further to my last, an email at my office from Peter informs me that my order is to be despatched today. I have always said he is a nice bloke.
    Before I cause complete anarchy, I must tell you that my order does not include any of the new saxons (yet)
    So its only (Prussian) flags and books on Saxons at Salute, or at least that is the plan

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