Totally unrelated

On Rene’ Gourley’s Pembroke87 blog he mentioned looking around for a metal crew to drive his 4-4-0 . I wondered aloud whether he might make a set of masters and cast them in Cerro-bend. Curious, I spent about 90 minutes carving hard machinable wax (Matt brand hard green machinable) into something mammalian. I was aiming for a Columbian Blacktail deer but, working from memory, I drilled a hole in the wrong place early on and ended up putting the front legs too far forward. Then  I levered some of the wax and broke the front legs. I also snapped the head off twice. Each mistake meant that I was less able to work the wax until eventually I was forced to abandon. It ‘s very rough – this hardness chips like ice but that very trait makes it hold fine detail (tiny thin legs, little ears, etc). Maybe I need to try the purple (medium) or blue (soft) wax.  Maybe I just need to use a moderately sharp blade instead of a dull one!

hard machinable wax test failure

Whatever the result, I’m interested where this might lead. The animal’s body would be  a little over 1/4″ high had I been able to take the legs to hoof level – definitely on the small side for a freehand wax model – but it never seemed daunting which is encouraging. At the roughing level it is just easy enough. I don’t know what it will be like to take this sort of thing to a suitable level of finish but I guess that is step two. For that I’ve collected images to work from instead of going by memory.


2 thoughts on “Totally unrelated

    • I had a little time in the wee hours this morning and tried another animal about the same size as the deer attempt. I found that I could get a nicely smooth surface by drawing a tool across the surface as one would with a cabinet scraper. I used the same No. 11 blade as for sculpting. I know now that there are lots of little details better handled with custom tools made from old blades.


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