Make your own Settlers of Catan In

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					Make your own Settlers of Catan
           In 3D
        By: Jeffrey Heinrichs
                                         Step 1
•   First off, you need some modeling clay. I like the polymer clays, they
    stay malleable until you bake them. I like Fimo, and it was on sale, so
    that's what I used. This part is really up to you. The clay colors don't
    matter since you're only making originals, so get whatever is on sale. If
    you're doing a lot of originals like I did, you can get FIMO in bulk, but
    I want to warn you about—stay away from them. I had
    to contact the BBB when they didn't ship my order but charged me for
•   Roll the clay flat, and use something on the sides to keep the thickness
    even. I used 1/4"x2"x4 poplar strips my wife uses when she makes
    sugar cookies.
•   You can get them for a couple of dollars at any home improvement
    store. When you have enough rolled out (each flat hex took me a little
    more than one package of FIMO), use a cardboard hex from the game
    to get the shape right. I cut down with a straight knife then baked the
    flat hexes. This made sure that anything I add to the hex doesn't mess
    up the shape of the base. Be careful and try not to leave fingerprints on
    the pieces like I often did, they will show up on your casted pieces!
                                Step 2
• The more time you spend on this step, the better your
  set will look. I am definitely not a sculptor, and even
  pieces that don't look that great sculpted can look real
  nice after you've painted them. The great part about this
  is if you don't' like it, add more clay and try again. If
  you get something you really like, bake it hard. You can
  still sculpt and sand the pieces after baking, but it's
  tougher to get what you want. Every little bit of texture
  will transfer to your casted pieces, so the more work
  you put in to smooth or rough areas, the more rewarded
  you will be. Be warned that undercuts may complicate
  your molds and cause more wear and tear than they're
  worth. The materials I used were fairly forgiving, but I
  have two molds that started coming apart after about 20
                                   Step 3
• Before you get started making molds, you should pick up a few
• I strongly recommend some rubber gloves, a big stack of plastic
  cups, and some plastic spoons. The silicone is real greasy and
  difficult to wash off of things like your fingers. try not to get it all
  over everything. Use the plastic cups to mix your silicone. The
  cool thing is they clean up easy—wait for the silicone to cure
  then just peel it out of the cup and (if you mixed things up good),
  you can reuse the cup. The two important things to remember
  here are: one, make sure you measure as accurately as possible
  each of the silicone liquids. Too much of either one and you'll
  have stuff seeping out of your molds. Two, make sure you mix
  the two liquids completely. It's got a long enough pot life, so
  spend the extra minute or two mixing the silicone.
                                         Step 4
•   Take a couple of plastic cups, put one inside the other and pour 1/4 cup of
    water in the top cup. mark the side of the bottom cup at the level of the
    water. Repeat for 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, and 1 cup. You must have large cups to
    mix 1 cup of each liquid. Plus, the silicone gets harder to stir properly with
    plastic utensils when you have that much liquid. Remove the cup with the
    water in it, put a new cup in and measure parts A and B (in different cups).
    You can reuse the "measuring cup" until the project is done. Sorry about the
    dim picture, this one was hard to get with a flash.
•   When you've got your originals done, you're ready to make the molds. I
    purchased a trial kit of Smooth-On to the Oomoo 25 silicone rubber from
    Far West Materials out of Walla Walla WA, who happens to be my nearest
    Smooth-On distributor.
•   The great thing about this stuff is it's simple to work with in a 1:1 by volume
    mixture. The silicone is pretty fluid, but you should still be careful about
    bubbles. Pour your silicone mix into a 4" PVC pipe joiner with the original
    face up at the bottom. My pipe joiners weren't smooth at the bottom, so I
    sealed up the edges with FIMO to keep the liquid silicone from leaking out.
    Some people make their own mold boxes for this step, but the PVC worked
    great for me.
                                               Step 5
•   If you get the gallon kit of Oomoo 25, make sure you pick up some cheap plastic
    measuring cups, preferably with a looped handle, as the gallon kit of Oomoo 25
    comes as two buckets. This is not something that pours easily. Your arms will
    get tired if you try to make too many molds at one time, you really have to put
    some elbow grease into mixing the silicone (the plastic is much easier!). Pour the
    silicone into your mold. I found pouring into the lowest part of the mold and
    letting the level of silicone rise up and over the original works great. If you have
    some undercuts, you can brush the silicone on around the trouble areas and then
    fill slowly. I never bothered with this, as my undercuts weren't very big. Make
    sure you pour enough silicone to completely cover your original, then give it
    another 1/2" at least on top. A little more won't kill you, and your mold will last
    longer. I found that a little post-molding cleanup is also necessary. Cut away any
    unwanted silicone with a small sharp hobby knife. You can continue to alter your
    model by carving the silicone, but that's pretty crazy and I don't suggest it.
•   I found the silicone takes a couple of hours (around four) to firm up, but it was
    also easier removing them if I let them sit overnight. It's a little tough to get the
    mold out, but work slowly around the back by pushing your hand through the
    PVC pipe until it starts coming out. Smooth-On recommends heating the silicone
    to 150 degrees Fahrenheit for four or five hours to evaporate leftovers from the
    silicone mixture. I did this for all my molds, so I don't know what happens if you
    don't. Make sure you keep everything around room temperature and that you use
    up all the containers that you open because they have a limited shelf life after
    you start opening and closing them.
                                      Step 5
•   Get some silicone mold release. I've read that
    talcum powder works, too, but I stuck to the
    manufacturer-recommended release. I used Mann's
    Ease-Release 200, one can goes a long way. Spray
    your molds every 3 or 4 pieces to preserve the life
    of the molds and ensure the easy removal of the
    casted pieces. It's best to let the release agent dry,
    but in all honesty most of the time I just sprayed
    and casted again. It leaves a sheen on the casted
    part, but it didn't appear to hurt anything. Smooth-
    Onto the website also recommended spraying
    primer into the mold after the release agent dried.
    When you pour your plastic, it supposedly comes
    out bonded with the primer. I did not test this,
    although I am still thinking about doing it in the
    future. The problem is you have to wait for the
    release to dry, then the paint to dry, before you can
    cast parts—not good if you're making a lot of small
                                     Step 7
•   Get yourself some sandpaper and a palm sander, because you'll
    be here for a while. I tried to hand-sand the parts, but gave up
    due to my arms nearly falling off with the strain. I sanded each
    edge and bottom with progressively finer sandpaper, starting
    around 60 grit and ending at 440. Make sure you have a
    respirator/filter on, you don't want to breathe in plastic dust.
    Spread all the pieces out and spray them down with
    automobile primer (recommended by Smooth-On). Make sure
    you get all sides. You can skip this step if you spray-primed
    the molds.
•   Spray on a base color. I chose to use normal spray paint for
    this part, and it worked pretty well. I used a different base
    color for each different type of terrain to make it more easy to
    identify when playing Settlers of Catan. Since I created two
    different sculptures for each terrain type, this reduces
    confusion. I tried to keep them close to the color of the original
    Catan resources, red for hills, gray for mountains, yellow for
    fields, etc. When the paint dries, you're ready for the real work
    to begin.
                                       Step 8
•   used enamel paints from Tester's, they have a decent selection
    of color and were the only enamel paints my local craft shop
    had anyway. This next part is real important: beg for, borrow,
    or steal an airbrush—I promise you won't regret it. An
    airbrush not only turns an art-challenged person like me into a
    pro, it also uses less paint doing so! Also get some newspaper
    to put down, some paper towels, cotton swabs, and a few
    different-sized brushes. Don't forget plenty of brush cleaner.
•   Fire up your airbrush and pick a color. Don't be afraid to
    experiment! I was really overwhelmed at the beginning and
    didn't know where to start, so let me make a recommendation:
    grab a nice brown and spray it around the middle of your
    mountains. Move on to any other parts that may need brown
    to cut down on the number of color-switches you do with the
    airbrush. I hate cleaning those things. Switch to a forestry-
    green color and spray the base of the mountains, then add
    white to the top. That's all I did here, and it looks pretty nifty.
    Add a final two coats of clear matte coating and you'll be
    ready to play!
                           Step 9
• Apologies in advance for some sloppy focus (some of the parts
  were photographed very close to the camera) and in a few cases,
  less than optimal lighting. I took these pictures in my garage
  and it was freezing out there. As with most things, the closer
  you look at them, the more little details you see that you either
  like or don't like. I see a lot of mistakes when I look this close,
  but when you play the game you just don't see them. Anyway,
  without further delay, here they are:
                    …Pieces to build…
•   1 Volcano
•   2 Farms
•   2 Sets of Mountains
•   2 Forests
•   2 Pastures
•   2 Sets Hills
•   1 Desert
•   1 Gold
•   1 Port - Wood
•   1 Port - Stone
•   1 Port - Clay
•   1 Port - Wool
•   1 Port - Wheat
•   1 Port - Any
•   1 Ocean - Calm
•   1 Ocean - Rough
•   1 Ocean - Serpent
•   1 Ocean - Shipwreck

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