Clay Molding

What 40K gaming table is complete with out craters, rubble and trenches.  A fast solution is to  make a fast and dirty (pardon the pun) mold from clay and cast the mold in plaster.


Clay – an oil or synthetic based art clay.  Softer the better.  I found a block at my local art store for about $8.00.

Rock – a sturdy piece of textured rock aka concrete to use as the main digging tool.

Assorted cast off pieces – Flat strips, squad bass wood stripping, textured plastic -any thing that can add a bit of distinction from the rock texture.


Flatten the clay into a rough square 4 inches by 4 inches by 1 inch thick.  Right out of the package, the clay can be hard to work with.  Spend some time kneading it like bread to get a softer consistency.


Dig into the clay with the rock or other primary sculpting tool.  Rough out the basic structure of the mold.  In this example, I’m aiming for a ‘C’ like hole to serve as a dug in, fox hold like, position.


The mold cavity is now about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide.  After opening the initial hole with the rock, I used a flat tile to make like concrete panels with re-enforced beams created with a 1/4 inch square of bass wood.

Finished mold

Cast plaster into the mold cavity.  Once the plaster sets, demold the product & check out your handy work.  After a day or two, clean off the excess plaster and sand the bottom to get a flat base.  Depending on how gentle you were demolding the plaster, you may be able to get a second or third cast out of the same mold.   The clay is re-usable, go ahead and fashion a new obstacle & cast again!


Plaster, no matter the quality, is not the sort of thing you want to throw directly on the gaming table.   A few options:

  • Glue the cast to a small sheet of MDF or an old CD.  Flock and paint to match the rest of the table.
  • Use the cast as a master in an RTV mold.  Switch to resin as the material of choice & cast up a whole battle field of terrain.
  1. #1 by Scott on February 2, 2007 - 4:52 pm

    This is such a cool idea. I used to have some of that clay when I was a kid.

    How much detail will it hold/ transfer to the plaster? It would be cool to make piles of skulls or somthing morbid like that with this method.


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