Lately, I’ve been trying out a neat way to make your own risers. I’ve always wanted risers for my display cases, especially for my detolf. I thought about buying acrylic risers, but somehow those are super expensive – at least in Germany – or I am simply too dumb to find cheap ones.
So, I went to my local hobby shop for inspiration and I found exactly the thing I was looking for. The stuff you can see in the first photo is called “Schmelzolan” or “Colouraplast” over here (I have no idea what this is called in English or if this even exists outside of Germany…?). It’s basically polystyrene pellets that can be molten into different shapes in the oven.
Second thing I bought was these molds, except the 2 on the left. That’s actually an old tin can I already had at home. I use those for the legs of the risers.
The 2 molds for the legs are 110x80mm
The circular mold has a diameter of 130mm
The square one in the middle is 150x120mm
and the big square is 220x140mm
Everything out of metal that can take the heat in an oven is probably suitable. You’ll just need the most basic shapes, all we’re trying to do is a riser.
Process is as easy as can be. Preheat your oven to around 200°C, fill some of the pellets into the mold(s), put it in the oven for 15min (the pellets should be molten into one piece by then), take it out, let it cool down and there you go:
It should look something like that. The bubbles in the plastic is something you can’t really avoid. It just happens when the pellets melt into each other. Although it’s plastic you’re melting, the fumes are not toxic. It smells a bit like opening a bluray box for the first time (don’t know if that helps). I don’t find it too bad, but if you do: I read the smell should vanish when placing a bowl of vinegar next to the molds in the oven.
You could also go crazy with colors, too! The pellets do come in all sorts of colors, I just chose transparent ones for my risers because that way they wouldn’t block lighting or attract too much attention (you’re supposed to focus on the figures on it, right?).
If you mix differently colored pellets together you’ll get something that looks like the one on the left.
A nice thing about polystyrene pellets is, that you need no glue to connect the pieces to each other. Just take the already cooled down pieces you want to use for the legs and push them into the top part while it’s still hot and soft. Let the whole thing cool down and you’ve got your finished riser.
Another positive aspect is that you don’t have to be scared of screwing up. If you’re not satisfied with one of the parts (or the whole thing) you can just simply remelt it. You can do this over and over again. God, do I love thermoplastics.
And this is what I got out of roughly 600g of pellets.
You can do all kinds of different shapes and heights. Most of my risers are 8cms in height, the 2 at the front are 5-6cm-ish.
I started using kitchen scales to get the same thickness for the different pieces, so:
The big square riser has 20g for each leg and 70g for the top,
The round one doesn’t count. That was my first try and I had no idea what I was doing, but I’d take the same amount as for the 3 square ones on the right.
Those have 15g for each leg and 30g for the tops.
The 2 on the front are actually made of 1 piece (the 220x140mm mold), I used 80g for those and bend them into shape while they were still warm and soft (I use these as One Coin risers).
That’s enough material for risers for standard 1/7 and 1/8 scales. The shape of your riser depends on your personal taste or the shape of the figure’s base. Saber Lily, for example, has a pretty huge base, which is why I took a bigger mold for the top (she would wobble around on the smaller ones).
Well, this qualifies at least as a rough guideline. I’m just really happy I can do those risers myself. One simple riser in Germany is like 15€, the ones I can do now would be around 2€ for the material I used. Waaaaay cheaper. And it’s not that big of a difference in appearance either.
It’s also really easy to do and 1 riser will not take more than 20minutes to make.
Custom stuff is so nice and you can customize pretty much everything like that. Different heights are no problem, you can mix and match all the colors you want, you could even do something like… I don’t know… a heart shaped riser for your favourite figure in your collection.
It just seriously bothers me that I can’t seem to find the English term for those polystyrene pellets… I do hope they are availabe in your country, otherwise this DIY would be such a big tease =_=
If anyone knows what it’s called, please let me know in the comments section!