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"New system for miniatures production" Topic

31 Posts

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Comments or corrections?

Cesar Paz19 Jan 2020 8:22 a.m. PST
rmaker19 Jan 2020 12:48 p.m. PST

Interesting, but I didn't see anything about costs. Their pitch seems to be aimed at larger manufacturers like GW and Hasbro.

DyeHard19 Jan 2020 1:38 p.m. PST

I am sure it cost less than getting started with a new and full setup to cast white-metal. It is a vulcanizer, melt-pot, and "spin-caster" (injector)all in one machine. Will save a lot of floor space if nothing else. And you can feel a lot better about heating up the resin than melting pewter in your home. The down side as an all in one, you need to pay the full price for each expansion.

This must be what the Reaper Miniatures Bones figures are made of. Doesn't GW also do something similar? For high detail thermoplastic injection, it use to take very high pressure and hence metal molds. One of the tricks they are using is holding the vulcanized silicon molds in the same press they used to vulcanize it. That means the mold itself does not need to be so ridged to keep the parts true.

Pretty smart!

IUsedToBeSomeone19 Jan 2020 1:53 p.m. PST

Siocast has been around a little while. They are £50.00 GBPk or so to buy so a lot more than a white metal setup.

Most people are leasing them.

Plastic Soldier Company have one and I think this is what they are using for their 15mm ancients and I believe Warlord Games are trying one out as well…


Fighting 15s19 Jan 2020 2:11 p.m. PST

I am sure it cost less than getting started with a new and full setup to cast white-metal

According to several manufacturers that have already enquired about Siocast, the company was originally asking GBP45k plus GBP10k annual maintenance for a machine. That'll buy you five brand new compressor casting machines for metal with melt pots and compressors, and then one more new casting machine per year…

So, buying is big boys' stuff; hiring might be more immediately affordable.

The thermoplastic resin for Siocast is slightly more expensive per kg than pewter. Of course, you get a lot more plastic figures per kilo. :-)

Fighting 15s19 Jan 2020 2:14 p.m. PST

Mike appears to be able to type faster than I can. :-)

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Jan 2020 5:08 p.m. PST

I have been casting for over 40 years now-- the old way.
This looks really cool, however -- I am old and I don't want anymore change.
When the Old Glory ship finally goes beneath the surface it will be with her standard still flying, me on the bow with sword in hand, and the band still playing as we slowly drop below the surface to our grave in the dark depths below.

Russ Dunaway

Personal logo Mister Tibbles Supporting Member of TMP19 Jan 2020 5:30 p.m. PST

Russ, I hope your ship stays afloat for many years to come!

Bashytubits19 Jan 2020 5:37 p.m. PST

Yes, float Russ FLOAT!!!

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP19 Jan 2020 7:10 p.m. PST

Russ, that sounds like a figure that begs to be made!

Normal Guy Supporting Member of TMP19 Jan 2020 8:04 p.m. PST

Keep on casting, Russ; you are doing just fine.

Don Perrin22 Jan 2020 12:37 p.m. PST

It looks very promising. But I think spincasting is far cheaper. You can set up for under $10 USDK.

The H Man27 Jan 2020 4:51 p.m. PST

I'd be highly cautious of anything branded as disruptive by its own company. Usually this means quick to market, ignoring most applicable legislation and otherwise just a flash the pan money grab.

I doubt injecting into a silicone mould is revolutionary either.

Changing the way you do things an advantage in itself??? Sounds like time and money to me.

"New silicon mould configuration strategy"??? Now they are making stuff up.

Also it all seems based on their own plastic formula. They will have you by the such and such there!

The H Man27 Jan 2020 7:11 p.m. PST

Also, how odd they choose to show a miscast on their front page. See the pic of the spearmen in the yellow mould, note the failed spears.

If it does everything in one machine, that means your entire production halts with one fault. If a spin caster or injector fails, you can still make moulds and vis versa.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP28 Jan 2020 9:28 a.m. PST

This is for injection molded, plastic figures, not metal castings… Comparing this to metal cast figures, is not relevant. The products might be used for the same purposes, but they are totally different in production techniques and materials. Also, plastic injection molded figures are typically sold to the consumer for a fraction of the cost of cast metal figures. They are Apples and Oranges -- direct comparisons are not realistic.

With aluminum molds for injection molding systems costing $30,000 USD-$50,000 per mold, I would say this is likely an improvement in injection molding. As stated above, some companies are test-driving the system. If the results are comparable to standard injection molding methods, this could be quite a technological jump forward for plastic figure makers.

Not only do metal molds cost a small fortune, they also take quite a bit of time to make! For smaller companies, who will never see 100,000+ impressions out of a given metal mold, this could be incredible for them: smaller investment in molds, with a profitable return on the limited sales of castings they can sell from these molds. In other words, consumers could see a larger number of plastic figures made available, as the production costs would be greatly reduced! I can see this offering a far greater ROI for manufacturers, allowing them to offer more diverse, lower-volumes of sales, types of figures. When your molds cost $30,000 USD+, you can only afford to make molds of figures which you know will make a profit… If your mold costs are <$1,000, or even <$500, you can afford to take a chance on more diverse figure types.

I would like to hear the opinion of a company who sells plastic injection molded figures, as I know only a little about it. I used injection molding machines, in my plastics shop class, in middle school, in the late 1970's. I am familiar with the process, and how it works. I can see this as a game changer for small production run companies, like wargame miniatures makers. They could expand their product lines, dramatically, for relatively little investment, increasing their sales considerably. That would be a win-win for them, and for us.

The H Man28 Jan 2020 4:44 p.m. PST

In fact you must compare this to metal casting. As you said steel moulds for plastics are out of reach for many manufacturers. Metal figures is what most would otherwise be making. If you are not comparing it to what your currently doing and looking to replace, well…

Having an all in one is a fools errand. Who doesn't have a printer/scanner that has failed at one? Well, me, but you get the point.

All I can see is they have a "plastic" and silicon mould formulation that is compatible. You should be able to throw all that through a traditional injector with little fuss (says me). People are using 3d printed plastic moulds in injectors and you can inject softer materials, ala hot glue gun.

I see nothing revolutionary, just promotional hype from a self proclaimed "disruptive" start up company/project.

KenofYork30 Jan 2020 1:08 p.m. PST

This is a bare bones plastic injection set up located in my pole barn out back.

YouTube link

It uses aluminum and runs parts with HIPS.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Feb 2020 4:57 p.m. PST

Why not show it all doing what it does and the results ?

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Feb 2020 5:00 p.m. PST

"plastic figures are sold to the consumer for a fraction of the cost of cast metal figures?" Really ???

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2020 1:39 p.m. PST

I've purchased sets of injection-molded plastic figures for around $0.34 USD per figure. And these are fantasy figures, not historical. I commonly purchase Red Box fantasy sets of 48 figures, delivered to my door, for $16 USD, or $0.34 USD per figure. Even Reaper Bones figures are running in the $3 USD-$5 per figure, price range, with shipping costs being extra.

These figure sets are 1/72 scale, which is really true 25mm, assuming a Human is 6-feet tall. Still, the price point is far below what 28mm metal figures are selling for. Even at $5 USD per 28mm figure, the 1/72, or 25mm, plastic figure, sells for 7% of the price. I would call 7/100 a small "fraction". Cheers!

Frank Wang22 Mar 2020 10:19 p.m. PST

For miniature, the most important thing is the design, not the production. I never worry about anything not being made in China.

I read the introduction of this equipment and it doesn't seem special to me. There are a lot of things like this in China, where they brand themselves as "innovative" and "unprecedented," claiming to be able to get amateur users to produce professional-grade work at very low cost or difficulty. It's basically nonsense. It's all about advertising.

As for this equipment, I doubt its actual effectiveness. Even if you could make plastic miniatures without a good design, your product would still not be competitive.

Marc the plastics fan01 Apr 2020 1:07 a.m. PST

This is indeed what Plastic Soldier Company are trying. It will be interesting to see how it pans out. The machines do indeed look expensive, so I assume that price will have to drop (unless it is intentional, to encourage manufacturers to rent them).

Advantages over standard injection moulding is the use of silicone moulds, so undercuts are possible. PSC are using it (and demo'ing) with an existing 15mm ancients line, and modern 0mm armour.

Looks interesting

Cesar Paz01 Apr 2020 5:26 p.m. PST

More information about this system link

Cesar Paz29 Apr 2020 1:36 p.m. PST

First Flame of War miniatures produced with this system

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2020 1:22 p.m. PST

Very impressive detail on those tank track assemblies. It really comes down to retail price on the finished products, for me. Time will tell if this is really something, or just advertising, as some have alluded to. Cheers!

Cesar Paz02 May 2020 8:00 a.m. PST

Unboxing: New Mortem et Gloriam Miniatures | PSC Games
YouTube link

AlemanySystem28 Oct 2020 4:28 a.m. PST

Hello, everybody. I am the inventor and developer of the system you are talking about. From what I've been able to read, people don't really know what it is, so I'm going to try to explain it. First of all I would like to say that for more than 25 years our company has been manufacturing metal figures, and we know all the advantages and disadvantages of metal manufacturing. The system used by Siocast in its machines is a plastic injection system using vulcanised silicone moulds instead of metal moulds, which makes the creation of moulds faster and cheaper, and at the same time allows us to make pieces with undercuts that are impossible in metal moulds. The expertise and experience of the mouldmakers is important in obtaining good results. The material used is a special composite that is not the same as the one used in the 1/72 figures of all life. This material : Even when it bends it returns to its initial position without any problem. It can be glued with cyanoacrylate, it can be sanded with water based sandpaper of grain 500- 320. And the most important thing: it can be painted without primer (or using a simple layer of paint as a base) and the paint will never come off once it is dry even if the piece is handled or bent.
The machine does not make the moulds (you will need a vulcanising machine for this) nor do you rent them. In its day the idea was to create a system so that a small company could have its own system of making figures without having to make them in China or risk large amounts of money. Also so that people experienced in the manufacture of vulcanized desilicone moulds could expand the versatility of their products and customers. First come the brave ones…then the rest.
If anyone has any questions about this system I will be happy to answer them.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2020 8:31 a.m. PST

I looked at the video of the 15mm figures produced with this technology… Impressive detail, easy to cut and clean up with a knife. If the material is as easy to paint, as described, this will be a home run win for everyone.

I hope more companies will make use of this technology. Anything which can reduce the cost to manufacture, while still producing quality miniatures, is a win-win for the maker, and the consumer! Cheers!

phil bagnall29 Oct 2020 3:14 a.m. PST

I have some of the 15mm ancients from PSC and they are pretty good. Bit more flash than metal but easy to clean up. Used same black spray basecoat as metals, despite the plastic being more flexible that I'm used to, paint is certainly not flaking off despite my handling. Picture is of sassanid elephants using the original lurkio metal and psc plastic versions:

‌"TMP link
Plus the light troops at the edge are all plastic and scale same size as the metal equivalents

Cesar Paz04 Dec 2020 5:34 p.m. PST

From the first time I saw this new system, I marveled about it, I think it takes the best of each of the miniatures production methods and the idea behind this post was to spread the voice about it.
I am sure this system will have a great impact on our hobby and it will be a good one.
I am happy to see the number of miniatures sets produced with this system has increas during this year and more manufactures are adopting it.

Cesar Paz28 Jan 2021 4:26 p.m. PST

Gripping Beast has added SiOCAST technology for producing their miniatures link

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