Casting Fool & Son's
"The Pink Horror"
This story is a compilation of several email messages sent to a popular casting list. We hope that you find it entertaining.
> 5. Pour your properly mixed RTV into the mold box and let it thoroughly
> cure. If the box leaks, seal it with more clay on the outside of the box.
> Clay will not stick to liquid RTV, so wipe up the leak before applying the
> clay, or take a Valium first...
> Note: Do NOT go to bed until your absolutely sure that the mold box
> doesn't leak. At least cured RTV cleans up easily off of linoleum, and
> the phone, and paneling... just make sure that you're single, own your
> home and can live with rubbery carpets if it goes elsewhere. [sigh]
> What we learn from personal experience...
I learned this the hard way while setting up a series of molds for a gaming convention that I was going to as a vendor (my first.) I had probably four or five molds set up to pour, and I poured them all at once. One didn't leak. Mind you, that's just ONE of them didn't leak; all of the others did. Then the masters in two of them broke free of the bottom of the mold box and floated to the top of the RTV.
So, I had expensive RTV slowly flowing willy-nilly over my work bench, and several 15mm ships sailing partially submerged in RTV. Ever try to scoop up liquid RTV with folded up index cards? I ran out of clay to plug the leaks, and incidentally, roughed out a new chapter in "Hydrostatics - As Applied to the Flow Characteristics of RTV Silicone Rubber Compounds". I desperately needed that Valium; but, unfortunately, didn't have time to run down to the pharmacy to beg for a free sample.
A long night later, I swore that I'd never do something so foolish and hare-brained again. One mold gets poured at a time now, and it gets checked for leaks before I pour the second one, and so on.
On a bright note, I also learned how to build rigging frames out of Popsicle sticks and CA glue to sink the ships back into the RTV, in under ten minutes.
... and fortunately, since I rent, the rubbery bit of carpet is barely noticeable.
[Next message, the adventure continues...]
> any way, you never said how you solved the leak problem??? :-)
[sigh] As if the story isn't embarrassing enough as it was...
There I was, watching in horror, as pink goo the consistency of freshly mixed strawberry pudding mysteriously managed to ooze out from under the clay holding my mold boxes to the glass sheet that I'd attached them to. With my Sci-Fi background I was tempted to assign actual sentience to the pink liquid nightmare slowly taking over the surface of my gaming table.
A few notes...
The mold boxes were only a few inches apart, and several were mounted on the glass so as to be just a few inches from the edge of the table (this becomes much more important as the oozing spreads...)
What to do? I doubted that even Sculley and Mulder would be helpful against the advances of this alien substance. So, saving the price of a phone call to the FBI (which would have had interesting consequences of it's own, had they actually responded), I began to try to get the ships to sink back into Davey Jones' locker.
Also remember, two of the masters were now sailing, gooeyly awash in HS III, in their respective mold boxes. My horror at the situation only increased. I now had matching tics at both temples, and my son had evacuated to his room.
Which might have worked had I known what I was fighting against in the first place.
You see, the leaks weren't really as bad as I'd thought. But, owing to my inexperience and cash-strapped condition, I was more aghast at the situation than it really called for. So, I didn't consider the consequences of rapidly pushing the ships back into my pink-tinted adversary... over and over again. It didn't quite hit me at first that this action wasn't going to reattach the masters to their anchor on the glass (note to self: ALWAYS use the CA glue, don't use clay as an anchor, EVER again.)
This is the point at which I started to learn about hydrostatic pressure, or perhaps, the point where I seriously began believe that my adversary was alive and from the fire swamps of Venus.
Had the ships merely been floating in water, the pressure created by my frantic pushing (I hesitate to call it "panicked", as that comes later) would have been mostly transferred to the water and into increasing its depth in the mold box. But this wasn't water; it was the Dippity-doo from hell.
Pushing the ships back into the thick pink morass did two things, 1. It did convert my pushing into pressure, but 2. The little pink alien transferred most of that pressure to the sides of the mold box. Sort of an interesting formula, an "x+p=fatal increase in blood pressure" sort of thing.
As the molds lifted ever so slightly, the leaks increased exponentially. I now had areas where you couldn't see the clay between the mold boxes, and somewhere about this time I realized that my scooping the alien menace back into the mold boxes was a bit too slow. Hence my discovery later that cured RTV will indeed peel cleanly off of telephones and wood paneling, but that it is a tad more difficult to remove from carpeting.
By this time, my son was still barricaded... um, in his room casually rereading the CPR manual that any well stocked home should have on hand. This is also the point where the wonderful genetic craftsman heritage of my ancestors kicked in. Thank God that most of them died sane.
I used all of the clay that I had trying to stem the advances of the "pink slink" across the table, noting in passing that clay doesn't stick well to liquid RTV... and neither does anything else. So, hoping that I'd get the leaks stopped before the result was a very expensive mold of my work area and gaming table (along with the phone and carpeting), I abandoned my efforts to re-sink the Titanic twins. I then concentrated on the leaks and my modified pooper scooping to stem the ever spreading alien presence in my home. (Perhaps it was seeking a mate, but I digress.)
I rapidly concluded that plugging the leaks was (mostly) a failure, and that it might be possible to stem the strawberry tide by increasing the pressure on the clay seals. So I started laying the wide Popsicle sticks that I use for stirring RTV in small amounts, everywhere that I could see the pink stinker creeping out from under my seals (now why did I just shudder and think of the "Andromeda Strain"?)
This gave me a solid platform to apply pressure to the seals, but not a very wide or easily accessed platform owing to the close proximity of the mold boxes. It also made it easier for the pink stinker... er, slinker to hide from my ever-present index card-assisted scoops.
After a few minutes of ransacking the house for old exercise hand weights, large magnets and a copious amount of packing tape (alas, I was out of duct tape), the leaks actually stopped... mostly. By this time the alien had begun it's metamorphosis into something a bit more solid, and a skin, howbeit rather fragile, had begun to form on it's soft pink amoebic form. I hoped that the alien's preoccupation with forming skin would keep its attention while I readied torpedoes for the twins.
The only thing in my favor at this point with sinking Mr. & Mrs. Bismarck was that they were both old out-of-production ships that I was casting resin copies of in order to make new masters. (Yes, I also felt that shudder of premonition at the thought of MORE mold pouring.) A few sprue or other additions to their current form would matter very little in the long run. What mattered right then was getting the blighters deep enough into alien goo to make effective molds.
So grabbing my ever-present bottles of CA glue and accelerant, along with a handful of regular-sized Popsicle sticks, I rapidly built two frames that would extend deeply enough into the two mold boxes to sink the two hapless Bismarcks "to the bottom of the sea." (Let's sing that chorus!) After copious use of packing tape, and the successful creation of not one, but two artificial reefs that Jacques Cousteau would have been proud of, I could remove the oxygen mask, lay back down on the gurney and dismiss the two fellows in the white jackets.
After a mental recovery period of 24 hours, which incidentally, was long enough for the pink menace to cure, I had usable molds from all of the mold boxes... and my son would talk to me again.
"Oh! What foolish thoughts we think, when we play with goo that's pink."
Are you happy now? Or do I have to reveal the mysteries of the sea urchin tractor taillight mold, too?
Story: Copyright © 2002 Mike Jackson
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