Old School here to talk about Press Molding Necron Scarabs. This article will cover the basics of press molding and then will also cover my finding and differences between Milliput and Green Stuff as a medium. I know some of this information is really basic for some, but I have never used Milliput for Press Molding and I am sure I am not the only person who would be curious. Anyway, Let's get started:
Before we get too far, I am not doing this to pirate these bases out. I am simply making enough to use without buying a hundred boxes of warriors. I also want to put them on bases for my other models and this is a great way to get them. I stress that you should not use this knowledge to sell scarab bases!
I didn't take a photo of me pressing the original scarab models into the Green Stuff or Milliput, but you get the idea. What I like to do is find a small square or rectangular container. The card containers from bits lots or from baseball or Magic card work perfect for this scale, so that is what I used. I wanted to crank out about 24 scarabs per casting, so I filled the bottom of the container in (about scarab thickness) with Green Stuff and Milliput. You can simply choose one or the other, I used both to see the difference between the two.
Once you have the Milliput or Green Stuff in place, you will want to spray the medium with a light coat of cooking spray (pic of what I use below), their stuff will ensure you get your models back from the medium. You don't need a ton, just a spray and then spread it out with your fingers.
You then want to press the scarabs into the medium while it is still pliable (with their backs down) and sink them in until you get down to the bottom of the model. The bottom will not be covered as it will be down on the bases and invisible from the table top perspective. once all the scarabs are in, simply push the medium around the edges of the models to make sure it is all flush and then leave the scarabs there, preferably overnight, so the medium can fully cure.
Once you have allowed the molds to cure, pull out your plastic scarabs and set them aside. Now you have a mold, so let's start breeding scarabs! Spray your mold lightly with the cooking spray, then make a small ball of green stuff or Milliput and press it into the mold like the photo above. I usually leave a little run one (just a little) to use as a tab to remove the scarab when it is finished.
*Here is where the differences in Milliput and Green Stuff come into play. Green Stuff stays flexible, but Milliput cures hard like pottery. This means that if you put Milliput into a Milliput mold to make scarabs, you might break your bugs trying to pry them out afterward - or you might ruin the details in the mold. If you make a Milliput mold, use Green Stuff to make the scarabs. This isn't too bad as Milliput is pretty cheap and works better for the mold since you waste so much material in the actual body of the mold. The green stuff scarabs that come from a Milliput mold also have very sharp details, so that is also a plus.
If you have a green stuff mold, both Green Stuff and Miliput works fine and either material will produce great scarabs out of a green stuff mold.
Here is what your mold should look like with some scarabs in it. Both products will take about 4 hours to cure, so make sure you give them the time they need before you start pulling on them as you could ruin your scarabs by pulling them out early.
When I pull them out, I use that little tab I told you about to pry them out using my hobby knife or even a butter knife.
Once you pop out your scarabs, they should look like this. All you have to do is trim off the flash and wash off the cooking spray with soap and water and you will be ready to base them.
Here is an example of a Milliput scarab from a green stuff mold mounted on the base of one of my wraiths. The Milliput scarabs clean up nicely and take well to scraping and sanding if it is needed. They also have very sharp details.
Here is an example of one fresh from the mold.
Here are some scarabs pulled from the Milliput mold. The Milliput molds are rigid and force the Green Stuff to keep the details sharp, just slightly better than a Green Stuff mold, so the difference is negligible, but if you want less defects during production, I would use the Milliput mold with Green Stuff scarabs or the Green Stuff mold with the Milliput scarabs.
Here is a closer look at a Green Stuff scarab from a Milliput mold. I think that making the scarabs from the opposite of the mold material is optimal, but after reading my findings, you can make up your own mind on what you want to use. I will keep cranking out my remaining scarabs in Green Stuff from my Milliput mold for sharp details. I will say though that if I were to do it over again, the only thing I would change is that I would use the Superfine Milliput (white stuff) rather than the Yellow/ Grey as it cures like porcelain rather than clay and would give me an even tougher mold.
So there is some food for thought on the creation of press molded Necron scarabs. Hopefully it helps you save money, create perfect batches of scarabs or some combination of the two and maybe even gave you something to think about when press molding other items. On that note, remember that if you want your product to be flexible, make sure it is made of green stuff (a Milliput mold would be useful though for that), I wish I would have done the shields on my Death Wing that way.
Comments, feedback and notes from your experience with press molding would be greatly appreciated.