Germy's Cyber Project Part 1

For this part of my Cybermen project I will show the methods I used to create a small army of 49 Cybermen (was going to be 50 but I broke one during construction!). The reason I wanted to make that number of Cybermen was due to my previous Dalek project where I created two rival factions of 60 Daleks for each side. If the Cybermen were to be a credible opponent I'd need at least that many . Unlike most people I'd always preferred the Cybermen to the Daleks, especially the Cybermen designs of the 1980's. Unfortunately the only commercially available miniatures in that style are from Black Tree Designs and then they only have two different designs and a Cyber Controller. They were also out of my budget especially when considering the numbers required. Cybermen were available as with the Daleks off the front of a magazine, but the Cyber offering was extremely poor.

The first step was to find a miniature I could convert into a Cyberman. I will also state at this point that I wanted to stay well within the bounds of copyright. So each miniature had to be a conversion in its own right. I made no castings or duplication of any commercially available miniatures. The only duplication made were of the parts I sculpted myself, the miniatures were also only ever for personal use (sorry if you want some you will have to make your own). I'm also not assuming any ownership of established copyrights, this was purely a fan project. Anyway on we go ...

The miniature I settled on for the main part of the Cyberman was the old (but still available) Viridian Marine plastic figure for the wargame Void. I'd previously bought some of these miniatures as Marines for other games. They are probably 10 or so years old but they have enough detail on the figures and are multi-part allowing for variation in how they can be posed. They were sold in batches of five sprues with 2 Marines per sprue. Which for the price I paid worked out at around 45p a miniature. The picture shows my first mockup with the sculpted Cyberman head and initial idea for the front mechanical unit. At this point I was happy to leave the shoulder pads on.

I'm not sure how I got from that early design to the idea of making the entire collar from one piece of 'green stuff'. Depending on the exact ratio when mixing the 'green stuff' it remains quite flexible once cured (or almost cured) that you can bend it as you see in the picture. This provided a much better looking collar design, much closer to the style I was looking for. I then took the test collar and added more detail for the final version.

Next was to look at how I was going to convert so many and maintain an acceptable level of uniformity. I was going to have to find a method of reproducing my conversion parts. I'd previously used a silicone mould material called Siligum and created castings by simply filling the mould with 'green stuff'. For one sided designs you can effectively use the mould as a press mould. Here we see a first attempt at creating a mould for the finished collar. Although the results for the collar came out well, my attempt at using this method to reproduce the head as a two part mould didn't work that well. Siligum is also expensive and so I was in danger of spending more on the conversions than the base miniature.

Enter Oyumaru! Ok a bit of explaination, for some time now I had seen advertisements for something called Instant Mold (American spelling). Essentially a plastic compound that when placed in very hot water became less solid and you were able to press objects into it to form moulds. As it cools it becomes solid (well harder).. So I thought I might try it instead of Siligum. As is often the case for most hobby products they are often repackaged versions of a product that already exists. Enter Oyumaru which is the same stuff and comes in a variety of colours. I went for clear as I thought that would help me see if I had made a good mould or not. The advantage of using Oyumaru over Siligum is that if it goes wrong you can just melt it and try again. The disadvantage is that it doesn't copy the detail of the original as sharply and heat will melt the mould. So they are not that great for moulds you might want to keep for some time. From the picture you can see my first attempt at using Oyumaru to make several moulds for the collars. I was able to start up a production line to speed up the project.

As previously mentioned Green Stuff in a thin layer as the collar pieces has a rubbery quality and can be bent into shape. I achieved this by taking them out of the mould before they were fully cured (but cured enough not to pick up my finger prints) bent them and rested them against a slightly open drawer. In the picture you can see this in action. The drawer isn't squashing the collar but acting as a brace to stop it uncurling.

Here we have the first two production collars placed on the miniatures. The heads are my original sculpted ones for the Cyber Trooper and the Cyber Controller. You will notice that the collar on the Cyber Controller has a small split in it. Some of the collars did split in places as I bent them. I put this down to the ratio of how I mixed the Green Stuff. It was easy enough to fill these cracks with more Green Stuff later on in the process.

After the collars I turned my attention to the Cyber Gun. The original I made from wire, plastic rod and Green Stuff. The picture on the right shows a cast one from my first two part mould using Oyumaru.

It took quite a few goes to get the two part mould to work properly. I watched a number of youTube videos and tried using lego bricks to create a surround for the moulds, and to also help line up the two halves. In the end I found the Oyumaru plastic was cooling down too quickly and thus losing the ability to squash round the piece I was attempting to cast. So I simply flattened the hot plastic on a flat surface and pressed the gun into it so that it was submerged half way in (or near abouts).

I would then simply squash another piece of hot Oyumaru over the top and then when cool cut the mould square with a knife. For some I left one side uncut which could act as a guide to lining up the mould. Once you have both parts of the mould it was a case of trial and error judging how much putty to put into the mould before pressing the two halves together. As you can see from the pictures there are different amounts of flash showing as a result of this guess work. At this point I had a fairly good production line going.

Once I had made enough collars for my Cyber horde I turned to attaching the arms. Although the plastic miniatures are good (and cheap!) they are a pain to assemble. The torso comes in two parts that needs to be stuck together before being stuck on the legs. Then you have both arms and the shoulder contact point isn't great. But 100 arms later and I was ready to move onto the head.

I didn't manage to cast the head I sculpted in one piece. The handlebar head piece just didn't work, so I was forced to come up with an alternative. The method I used was to bend a paperclip into the correct shape and then sculpt the three points where it connects to the head. This did extend the length of time for this project but I could see no other way around it as I wanted there to be a gap between the head and handlebars.

Here we have the assembled Cybermen. They really started to look the business once I had under-coated them in grey primer. It took longer than I wanted but in the end this method of using Oyumaru to mass produce original sculpted parts worked well enough for me to want to use it again. The beauty of Oyumaru is you can do exactly that. If you click on part two of my Cyber project you will see how I went about painting them.