Saturday, April 15, 2017

In Memory of Joe (Joseph) Sikic

This post is in memory of a man none of you know.  But to me, he was a great man.  Joe Sikic.

He was my mentor.  He took a confused high school drop out aimlessly bouncing from job to job and gave him a chance to determine his future.  His direction in life.

A European, Croatian to be specific and a hard man.  More than once he threw a part out of the shop during my learning process.  I wasn't allowed to read the newspaper or a book or anything during coffee breaks.  We didn't have cell phones then.  "I'm paying for your coffee break.  So you'll concentrate on work."  He'd say.  And I'd spend my coffee break writing down fractions in a 1/64th format up to one inch, calculate in my head the three decimal equivalent and then write it down and memorize it.  During the day he'd shout out fractions and I had to know the decimal equivalent.

My parents weren't his biggest fans and more than once I had to tell my dad to stay out of it.  It was a small jobber shop that earned me invaluable experience in the mid 80's when everyone else was out of work and only the most seasoned and experienced machinists were still working.  Nobody wanted an apprentice.  They all wanted machinists with 15-20 years experience.  Not a former prep cook. 

$6.00/hr  Don't laugh.  Its 1987.  Considering my previous job as a cook was $5.50/hr...I was in heaven with the raise.  I worked hard and laugh now at how he would teach me lessons.  Things I still apply today.  I always have the cleanest most organized work bench.  For a reason.  Things he taught me.  Things they don't teach today.  Tricks of the trade.  Tricks I have since adapted and applied to the action figures I make.

I wanted to have lunch with him.  To thank him.  For all he did for me.  Its been a few years since last we talked.  I was in the corner store when I saw him. wasn't him.  It was him alright, but younger.  It was his son.  Upon talking to him I learned that Joe had passed away from cancer.

I feel bad that I never fully told him how much I appreciate everything he did for me.  The opportunity he provided me and the skills he willing shared and taught me.  He was a hard man with a soft center.  A good man.  I feel very fortunate to have known him and to have apprenticed under a man as skilled as he was. 

I wish I could have told you in person.

Thank you Joe. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Cast Repair

There are a couple of ways you can repair a cast if you choose not to throw it out.  And probably a couple more I know nothing about. 

The first...Sometimes when pouring a sprue mold, you may accidentally over pour flooding the spout.  This can produce an air bubble which may fool you into thinking the mold is full.   Then when you open the mold, you find half a cast.  These are fun for customizing.  Now if you are lucky enough to be able to achieve a full seal by reinserting the cast back into the mold, then first simply cut out the part of the cast that failed put it back into the mold making sure it is 100% seated, and fill the rest of the mold.  You can have fun by changing the color...or not.  I've had success blending the same color together seamlessly in 2 or 3 pours.

If its a Smush mold, you can do the same as the above.  Cut out the bad, reinsert cast into the mold, and add more resin.  Sometimes that's not an option either.  Sometimes where the cast fail happens, particularly in sprue molds, prevents simply cutting out the cast fail and adding more resin.

If its a high detail area, depending on the amount of resin used for the complete cast, I might suggest simply scrapping the piece and checking the mold for what could be causing the problem and try again.  Sometimes its not worth it to save and fix.  How much time are you willing to invest to save the failed cast?  Is it worth it?  Its not always.

If its in an area that can be worked back into form with a little sanding and ingenuity, then I would suggest taking some clay and building a little bowl around the hole which you would then fill with resin.  The clay bowl keeps the resin from running all over the cast and ensures the failed area is fully filled.  The bowl doesn't need to be very high.  Simply tight to the cast and slightly higher than the cast surface.  You can easily remove the clay after the resin has cured.  What doesn't easily sands off.  You then sand/rework the detail back.  This method works well for flat, geometrical surfaces or areas where detail is easy to rework manually.

Those are the methods I use when I repair casts.  Of course, you don't need to have a cast fail to have fun with the cast.  You could intentionally under pour or pour discriminately to achieve results of a more specific nature.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Nothing like fan support to change peoples minds. 

Mr Waugh, underestimated the value of his site to both collectors and the general public.  Upon hearing how much people were upset, efforts have been taken to salvage and reactivate ISO.  There may or may not be a domain name change, but ISO is in the process of being reactivated.