Hirst Arts is a fantastic product for war gaming terrain. Remember Legos as a kid? This is along the same lines – purchase a RTV mold from Hirst, pour in plaster to cast bricks, assemble & you have some excellent looking pieces for your table.
Lord of the Rings style building corner.
Army display base for tournament play.
Cities of Death – 40K – terrain
Field stone Castle wall
Gothic Hirst bricks with GW COD plastic windows.
Bell Tower with wood stain paint job.
Small tower – Turrent mold.
Drop Pod built from using Gothic accessory molds.
The examples shown are part of the Gothic or chipped stone and the field stone product line. Hirst also has molds in field stone, sand stone, Sci-Fi and cavern. Best part is, because all the bricks are designed around the same scale, you can mix and match bricks across lines.
Once you choose a line (or lines) of molds, you’ll need to get your hands on some quality plaster. Plaster of Paris (or Pop), like the kind you find at the local art store, is not the best choice. POP does a poor job of picking up detail and it’s low PSI (pounds per square inch) rating has bricks falling apart in your hands.
The best choices are going to be either a gypsum cement or a dental plaster.
- Hydrostone: my favorite. High PSI 10K, cheap at about $40 per 100 lb and fast setting.
- Ultra Cal 30: A close second. PSI 6K, cheap at about $40 per 100 lb but a bit slow to demold. Despite the lower PSI, I find the Ultra Cal to have a harder/smoother finish than the Hydrostone.
Unfortuantly, Hydrostone is becoming hard to find in the Chicago area. My previous supplier, Great Lakes Clay, no longer carries the product.
- Merlin’s Magic: a dental plaster designed specifically for the casting hobby. PSI 18K, $51 per 50 lb + $17 shipping, comes pre-colored in several shades, available from Clint Sales. Casts to a smooth hard finish.
- Excalibur: a dental plaster with similar qualities to Merlin’s Magic. Available from multiple outlets. Higher learning curve as the plaster/water ratio must be accurate.
Hints and tips
Glue- Just about any glue will work: Elmers wood glue, Aleens Tacky glue, super glue
Paint- nearly all acrilyics are suitable for use with plaster: craft paint, acrylic house paint, model paint, wood stain, spray paint.
“wonder wash”- water/Future floor polish mix used for ink washes. The small nooks and crannies of the Hirst blocks make washes the fastest/easiest way to paint.
Wet Water – water with Jet Dry. Decreases surface tension of water. Spray on the molds prior to casting to help fight air bubbles.
If you were paying attention, you noticed that a number of the above examples all use the same two window arch design over and over again. The reason for that is I glued together a single example of that arch design, made a RTV mold & then mass produced the 3 inch by 4 inch piece over and over again. By doing so, it makes massed produced terrain a snap. Instead of fiddling with 20 bricks to make a pair of windows, I slap in one wall section. Bam – use a little pink foam to fill out the design & you can have a building done in less than a hour.
Not my project, but the effort was so cool I needed to save a pic of it.
More pics posted at VoidGamers.