So in another thread I realized that there are probably a whole bunch of Pathfinders of the plaster persuasion; somehow it just never occured to me before.
Anyway one of the folks commenting in that thread made an interesting point; they said they were stuck on 2 HA projects because they couldn't COMMIT to actually gluing things.
I find myself stuck but because of 2 other issues. I want to make this big arena floor piece and then populate that with different dividers and cool modular decor, but 1. I suck. Seriously, I have been at this for dozens of casts and my scrapes are all over the place, my sanding is atrocious and the few pieces I do produce never seem to glue and sit true; and 2. I have no eye for design. For example I took over 1/2 an hour with a ton of bits trying to mock up a simple stepped dais, and when I finally got it all together I realized I'd used so many different bits that it looked like a 3 year old assembled it.
I guess I'm starting this thread because I want to hear from the plastered masses out there. Make me feel better and tell me that we all start out THIS bad. I'd post pics but honestly I have only 3 room tiles and 4 walls and I never want anyone to see them.
We've all made crap. It's part of the learning process. The best thing is to simply keep on doing it, and things will eventually start to fall into place. For me, the biggest road-block is financial. I would be miles ahead of where I am currently if I had the financial freedom to scrap the junk I make and move on. But because my funds are not unlimited, I tend to make sure that what I do make is of usable quality... of course, that also means I don't make as much as I'd like.
The biggest two things I can suggest to any one doing crafts are:
1: Patience. And when you think your about out of patience, find some more and keep patient. Mistakes happen most often when you rush.
2: Celebrate your mistakes when they do happen / don't be afraid to make mistakes. It is (often) from our mistakes that we learn the most, and sometimes we even surprise ourselves with something we didn't intend but still works (perhaps for something different, or the same thing but in a different way).
...of course, this is all general. I'm only just starting to get into plaster for gaming myself, but I do have some previous experience doing similar work (making molds and so forth) for theatre (masks, prosthetics, makeup, props, design, etc).
So yeah. In the end all you can do is experiment, try and try again, find out what works best for you, and keep on doing it. And if you enjoy it (from what I've read, I think you do), the effort you put in now will all be worth it.
Mark, I started out purchasing the Hirst molds for the 4" cut stone wizard tower and the fieldstone bridge. Instead of winging it and making up my own designs, I first decided to follow the instructions on the Hirst Arts site and just build the tower and bridge the way they were designed to be built. I decided to do that because I specifically wanted to focus on learning how to cast, assemble and glue the pieces. I think that ended up being a good decision.
However, doing that meant that I had to cast 20+ molds of the tower and another dozen molds of the bridge. So it took me several days just to cast and let the pieces dry.
Also I learned a lot about materials too. What are you using to do the casting? Plaster of Paris is cheap, but it's fragile. I use "Hydrostone" now, but my tower and bridge were made with a super strong plaster called "Excalibur" which is used for making dental models. The Hydrostone is almost as strong and about 1/3 the cost of the Excalibur.
I purchase my Hydrostone at a local pottery supply store. It's about $25 per 50 pound bag. I'm on my second bag.
I will say this, you have to be very diligent about following the instructions on the bridge and tower. Even with meticulous attention to detail I still ended up messing up a few blocks, although I was able to recover and complete the bridge so that it looks the same.
After that I purchased a bunch of additional molds (it's like a drug, really) and have been making smaller things like a ruined tower, a stone hut, a fountain, etc.
But, as I said in the other board post, I've been focusing for a while on just making blocks, and now I've got probably fifty pounds of blocks just waiting to be assembled into stuff. Unfortunately right now we are packing up the house and trying to sell it, so my building is very limited.
You might be interested in other terrain I've made on my blog. There's quite a bit of info there, although it's all just my own work, so I make no promises of its suitability, aesthetic value or playability. It's mostly worked for me so far though.
Yeah, I made a mess or two out of my first attempts. Eventually, though, I became so good at the whole process and the whole hobby in general, that I now sculpt my own models, mold them, and cast them for sale.
I guess I'm saying that if you keep at it, you will get better and better at it.
Others have given a lot of advice, so I will just add that if you are having trouble with your pieces gluing and staying in place, it probably means you are gluing too soon, or relative humidity is such that the blocks are not fully drying. You can help that process by:
A. Setting the bits on tinfoil in direct sunlight for awhile
B. Heating your oven to a low temperature (120 or so), and placing the bits on a cookie sheet. Give them 15 - 20 minutes in there, with the oven door OPEN. Might sound counterintuitive, but it will allow you to subject them to some good heat to get them to start dehydrating, without getting so hot they become brittle.
Also, some tips on casting.
First you really do need to find the higher quality plaster like Hydrostone, Hydrocal, Excalibur, Duracal or others. I'll plug Hydrostone again because it works so well for me.
You have to mix the plaster very thoroughly, I mix hydrostone at almost a 3 to 1 ratio (3 times as much hydrostone as water). You need to pour the water first, then quickly but smoothly pour and mix in the plaster. Then you need to stir it briskly, but smoothly, for at least 30 to 40 seconds. Don't The plaster will go from a gritty to a more silky smooth texture when it's ready. Of course that means it is already starting to cure, so you need to pour it quickly.
When I first started mixing and pouring plaster I found it very difficult to pour cleanly and not only did I make a mess with it, but I left bubbles all over the place. You have to learn the technique of pouring along the edges of the molds so that the plaster fills without bubbles. Once you have the molds all filled with plaster you can use the "glass method" to level them off. You can look that up on the Hirst site, basically you press a piece of glass down on the mold twisting it back and forth until it squeezes the excess plaster out and is sitting flush on top of the mold. Then you put a book or some other weighty object on top to keep it there until it dries.
I just scrape, but you have to be careful to scrape at the right time. If you let it cure too much then scraping will leave uneven marks in the plaster.
Also, what kind of glue are you using? Lots of folks swear by the "Tacky glue". I use that too.
One thing I did early on was use a large hypodermic needle to fill in the molds so I could control the amount very exactly. That works well but you have to be quick or the plaster will start to set.
Right now I use Durham's water putty. I've never measured all that closely; just poured plaster into water til it "humped up" and then mixed it all together. I have a bag of Hydrostone in my garage from a pottery supply store - once I finish the Durham's I'll move on to that.
Pouring's not really been a problem and once done pouring I just pound, so not really any issues with bubbles. The main issue I have is probably scraping.
My very first cast ever was way too deep, and my blocks came out concave on the bottom. Since then I scraped too shallow a few times and my blocks are humped on the unfinished side. And since they're malformed it forces me to have to sand.
Sanding is another area that I cringe at. I have done it a few times and either it didn't seem to make a difference or with a couple of blocks I took off so much that they're noticeably shorter than others.
@AD: I have only molds 40 - 45 and 201, and then only 1 of each. I have no "building" molds for towers and such, so I'd have to juxtapose from mine if I wanted to make one. Besides I'm mainly focused on making a dungeon anyway.
I usually cast 3 of the molds at one time: 201, 40, then either 45 or 41 most of the time. For some reason my water putty has always taken forever to set, that much has remained consistent: anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes. Once done I dont use a dehydrator or anything, just wait for a day for them to be dry.
I glue with Aileen's as Bruce suggests. My stuff is dry when gluing, it just doesn't fit well because I'm kind of terrible at making bricks. Then once glued there's seams, gaps and my pieces wobble.
But dang it; they're mine!
I also stink at painting but that at least I seem to be learning from. I can see gradual improvements so I feel confident that I'll get there. I feel my primary issue is just consistently crafting quality blocks. If I could get that down I think I'd let the rest slide.
The thing you have to know about me is this: I'm a middle-aged guy that's never done arts and crafts in his life. Ever.
When I was a kid I never made models. I build legos but that's not really the same. I doodled a little but never drew or painted. As I got older I got into wargaming in college but I used unpainted minis or someone else's terrain.
Other people on forums I've chatted with either have tried off and on for years, or been generally creative, or like the pirate above have had SOME kind of relevant experience. I am like a kid, trying all of this for the first time. And to add insult to injury I'm scattering my casts across multi-month spans of inactivity and fitting into a schedule and a house already packed with me, the wife, and 2 daughters.
But like I said, the pieces I made are mine.
And that's it isn't it; the disease that strikes us when we first get plaster in our veins? I know for me pride of ownership is huge. In all the 2 dozen casts I've made I haven't built a single fancy thing or used any decoration, save in a single doorframe I built. However as basic, wobbly and poorly painted as my pieces are I not only can say they're mine but diversifying the cost across several bits I'm paing a fraction of the cost of buying someone else's.
I've not ever tried the glass method. Maybe I'll give that a shot. In the meantime though I'll continue casting and building. I know I'm just starting and I know I'll get better EVENTUALLY.
Projects: DUNGEONS! My main gaming group dungeon hacks A LOT (we're all dyed in the wool 1e gamers and 3 of them are heavily into board games) so I want to assemble a massive, sprawling dungeon layout. I'm leaning toward an arena style floor with random dividers and bits for defining rooms. The bits I've already crafted are modular rooms but I'll find a use for them!
Humm where to start...
don't be afraid to cast... alot... have extra pieces.
keep all of your fubar /bad blocks they may come in handy or make ruins with them..
use good plaster such as hydrostone or above ( this cannot be stressed enough)
if you need visuals I have a you-tube channel with lots of how-to,s
Go to my channel.
Don't be afraid to try new things...
now that being said.. I cat using hydrostone and dry my blocks in a dehydrator.
Mark, it may just be that you are a perfectionist. I can get that way sometimes. But now that I've cast a couple thousand blocks, I find I'm not that picky. Seams and gaps sort of go with the territory. Bruce even has some tutorials or suggestions to deal with them. You can use caulk or almost cured plaster to fill gaps. I use my uneven, broken or poorly sanded blocks for ruins. I also sometimes like the rough and uneven look, especially for things like ogre huts.
It sounds like you have the bug. Now it just boils down to volume. Post some pics!
Oh I have the bug; no question. I have all that hydrostone unopened in the garage, taunting me. I have a day off tomorrow without kids, spouse or chores; in short it's casting day.
Anything I should know before then; tips or tricks working w/the stuff? Also how fast does it set up and when should I scrape? I guess I am a bit of a perfectionist after all.
I will make tons of bricks then lay down an arena floor. What do you guys find more playable: 2 or 3 high walls?
Oh man I'm psyched. I want a gothic, sprawling dungeon; I have for years now. I don't know where I'll store it all, but dang it I want it.
Y'know I've never attempted to use the bricks from the dungeon molds to build anything else BUT dungeon. I wonder what inspiration might hit from the day o' casting...
Mark, how much have you explored the Hirst site? Bruce has dozens of tutorials on everything from scraping to painting. It's really an amazingly useful site.
But to try to answer your question, here is what I do.
Typically I cast as many molds as I can get away with. That's usually four or five. Even if I'm not currently planning on using some of the blocks, I cast those that I think are the most likely to be needed in the future. Usually that means floor blocks, but I also do a lot of casting of the cut stone walls because those are the only straight walls I have. All my other walls are for circular towers or are cavern "walls". I need to buy some more wall molds.
Back to casting.
I have found my own sweet spot to be found in a plastic party cup. I use them because they are flexible enough that I can crack the dry plaster out of them and reuse them a few times, I can pinch a bit of a spout in them for pouring and they are big enough for easy mixing without splattering a lot. Also, they are reasonably cheap. I usually get about four or five pours out of each one before they crack and I have to use a new one.
I use two of these paper bathroom cups for measuring out the hydrostone and water. First I fill one cup with water as close to the top as I can. Then I pour that into the plastic cup. Next I take the other (dry) paper cup and scoop three full cups of hydrostone and do my best to distribute it evenly and slowly onto the water. It will end up with a mound that will dampen as the water seeps up. I let that stand usually for about fifteen seconds, then I use a plastic stirring stick to gently stir the mix, being as careful as possible to avoid beating any air into the mix. I stir usually for 90 seconds to two minutes, but what I really am looking for is the point where the mix transitions from a "gritty" feel to a more "silky" feel. It is a subtle thing, so you should probably go with the 90 second time for now until you see what I'm talking about.
Oops, before all that, I lay paper towels out on my crafting table (actually it's a sewing table that my wife donated to my hobby) and lay my four or five molds on the paper towels. I leave enough room between them so that I can scrape them without them interfering with each other. (OK, honestly I don't do that very well, I tend to end up with them too close together, but don't be lazy like me, put some space between them.) Then I get a little $1.00 spray bottle I bought at Walmart (about the size of a C battery) with a mix of one drop dishwashing detergent and the rest water. I spritz the molds generously with the mix (called "wet water" on the Hirst site).
Now, with the mixed plaster, I'm ready to pour. If I wasn't smart enough to pinch out a "spout" on the plastic cup before, I do it now (and you should do it before because once or twice I've cracked the cup with messy results). Then I pour the mix into the molds, using a thin stream, about the thickness of a matchstick, but keeping it flowing constantly. The stream needs to go just along the edge of the mold cavities so that it flows down and fills up most of the cavity from the bottom. This takes some getting used to, but you should quickly develop some skill at filling the cavities and then quickly moving to a new cavity. When the mold is full I quickly repeat the process on the remaining molds.
Usually by the time I get to my last mold, the plaster is starting to thicken up and gets more difficult to pour. To keep it pouring smoothly I tap the cup with one finger while pouring.
Usually I don't have quite enough plaster to fill all of the molds, so I am picky about which cavities I fill. I skip blocks that are not used freqently or focus on specific blocks I need for a specific purpose. You'll get the hang of it. For the floor molds I rarely fill in all the little tiny triangles and focus on the large tiles. For the wall blocks I focus on the main blocks and sometimes ignore the decorative pieces. You'll figure it out.
Now, once all the plaster is poured I take a little vibrating plastic ellipsoid that came out of a chewed up dog toy and vibrate the table all around the molds. I will even vibrate the molds directly. This can also be done by pounding on the table, if you prefer, or you can build one of the vibrating tables described on the Hirst site.
Next I take my hypodermic (you can usually get one for free just by asking for one at a Target pharmacy, they don't have needles, they are just plastic and are used to dispense medicine to infants or pets) and suck up any excess plaster in overflowing cavities and squirt it into any cavities which are not quite filled. You only have a minute or so that you can do that.
Then I leave it alone for a couple of minutes. The Hydrostone will start to settle a bit, leaving a bit of watery skin on top. I use a clean stirring stick to gently scrape across the molds to flatten everything out. After five minutes or so I come back and use a metal plaster spatula for a final scrape, but again, very gently. If the plaster is too firm, you can pound or vibrate the table and it should soften up just enough.
Then I go sit in front of my computer and engage in internet messageboard wars until it's all cured. When it is cured I take the blocks out and put them on paper towels, doing my best to stack them such that as much of the surface on all sides is exposed to the air for faster drying. Some folks pop them in the oven, others have dehydrators they use. I've found it to be fine just letting them dry.
If I'm serious about casting I can usually get about five or six rounds of casting this way in an evening, and I've done as many as two dozen on a weekend day dedicated to the process.
|Sean K Reynolds Designer, RPG Superstar Judge|
I cast a LOT of bricks for my brick workshop at PaizoCon. Using excalibur, I have a 6 minute window between pouring and scraping, and a 20 minute window between scraping and popping. With time for mixing and distractions, that means I can generally get 2 casts done per hour (actually 4, as I was using more than one mold at a time). Just set aside a day on the weekend to cast bricks while you do something else--paint minis, play a video game, watch TV, whatever.
Even doing 1 casting a night adds up over a couple of weeks, giving you plenty of bricks to work with.
Yes, we all start out that bad.
I've found that the skill to cast HA bricks will go away if you don't cast for a while. It usually takes me a few casts to get the mixture right, the scraping correct, or the drying time figured out. And then I won't cast for months (or in my current case, over a year), so I'll have to relearn everything.
Practice and patience.
I found that I could set up a rhythm of mixing and filling a mold while another mold set (excess water expunged) and a third mold was scraped and drying.
Also, I think it's okay if there's a slight concave bottom.
Well, I thought I'd have a "full day" today to cast; turns out I only got myself a few hours by taking off from work (the Honey-Do list MAGICALLY appeared at 7:30 am :0). Even still I've stayed dedicated, cast and dried four (and some change) molds.
I cast 1 ea of 201 (gothic floor), 45 (basic gothic dungeon), and basic gothic walls (forgot the number), with another full go at floors. I have enough bricks drying to make a 20x20 room. I dry stacked said room with an accent arched-niche in the back wall and a small shrine inside that.
I was mistaken; I thought I'd gotten hydrostone when in actuality it wasn't even close: Densite K-5. Per the GP website its a roughly 34-35 per 100 water to powder ratio so I basically dropped a cup of the stuff into 1/3 cup of water. I have to say even though I mixed up what I had waiting for me in the garage I'm still happier with this than the Durhams.
More importantly I'm happy to report that with some slight sanding I should have all usable bricks! I followed a lot of folks advice and kept the plaster scrape blobs for a change; don't know yet what I'll do w/them but I have some ideas.
I'm definitely sucked back in. I took several months off and DW you're right; what little skill I had did go away a little. Still I'm pleased for my first time back and will just keep going from here.
Here's my gauge of success: I still haven't successfully cast the spiked gate in mold #45. It's impossibly thin and I'm sure my plaster isn't strong enough. Still that's when I know I've got some decent skill at making bricks.
So now: phase 2 - gluing and painting. Even though I baked the bricks they still feel a bit tacky so I'm going to let them dry a bit longer. Then I'll start gluing them down to the first board and get ready for a black spray undercoat.
I took a picture of the dry stacked first room; I'll post when the wife gets home w/her laptop since mine won't do the trick.
So in all the casting of 4 molds, 2 at a time, took about an hour & 15 min. It's entirely doable then that, a couple nights a week after dinner but before bedtime, I could be either on the deck or in the garage setting up the workstation, casting, popping and breaking down. 2 nights a week plus a few hours on the weekend translates to 16 molds a week. If I can keep that pace up just through the end of the summer I should be set for basic floors/walls by the time we have our first massive dungeon crawl in Oct. Not to say I won't keep casting after the summer ends; the second level won't build itself y'know...
I have only straight bricks and accessories left in my bits and I anticipate more of the same. What projects do you guys see actual use from on the tabletop that I might build w/those?
@PF: welcome to your new hobby! It's seriously a lot of fun and once you get your first workable bricks you'll never look back. A buddy of mine plays Descent and has tons of flat tiles from D&D, so we've been using them quite a bit, as well as a battlemat. Despite their ease and nice look there's something really powerful about putting 3d terrain on the table, moving your fig UP instead of just back and forth, and knowing that at the end of the day the cool tiles you put on the table are ones YOU made yourself, and for a pittance of the cost.
I spent $20 and some change on Densite K-5 plaster from a pottery supply store down the street. Most of the workstation materials and paints I had on hand. I spent roughly $200 on the initial molds. Oh, and I had a big tube of durhams that I started casting from that was already in the house from another project. All totaled I've spent about $230 on my hobby.
I use about a cup of Densite per cast. I don't know how many oz that is per run but by "cast" I mean 2 molds; judging by the small dent I put in the bag today it should last a while. So every time I cast my cost is diversified among the pieces I make. All totaled with old and new blocks I have enough to build a 6 room dungeon with a couple hallways plus decorations. If I bought that same amount of stuff from Dwarven Forge I'd spend $200 easy.
Now maybe my stuff isn't nearly the quality of DF, but its all mine, so there's pride of ownership. And I'm only just started on the Densite the more I make the more I save.
And finally I'm glad you mentioned getting your wife and daughter into it. My wife is an art major with a lot of crafting experience so she's given me a lot of pointers over time. My elder daughter (10 years old) is asking to learn how to do this with me and wants to make her own dungeon pieces.
I highly encourage ANYONE that games with maps, tiles or mats to take a look at this stuff. For inspiration I go here or here. This is fun for building terrain, dungeons, models and dioramas...or just connecting with your kids.
|Dennis Baker RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor|
Dennis, I keep an eye on eBay and occasionally some molds come up for a bit less than retail. Frankly retail is a bargain for these molds, check out DwarvenForge for comparison. There's high demand for the molds, so even on eBay they tend to be pretty close to retail. There was a pretty good set of them that I almost purchased a month or so ago.
Mark, glad you got to do some casting today. Sounds like the Densite is similar enough to Hydrostone. Most of these plasters are pretty similar, I can hardly tell the difference between my Hydrostone and Excalibur blocks. Both work great. I've heard others sing the praises of Hydrocal and Duracal as well as some other plasters. That gate you mention is, I believe, intended to be cast using casting resin, not plaster. You can check the Hirst site to be sure, but I know I remember seeing one mold with a gate that Bruce recommended casting with resin. Resin is quite a bit more expensive than any of the plasters, but the good resins cure into a solid, extremely strong plastic-like material. I use resin to cast miniatures. Some of the items in the "Cavern Accessories" mold also do better with resin.
We'll know you're really serious about this when you buy some platinum molding material and start making your own molds that you'll then cast blocks from. ;-)
AD: I'm all about keep cost down, not adding more cost!
Seriously though I never intend to enter stuff in a show or have it out for display, even if I got great at it. I'm not a super competitive person nor do I enjoy displaying other stuff I've made in other hobbies. I'm strictly about home gaming use.
For that level of involvment I doubt I'll ever need resin or homemade molds. I thought about homemaking some just to be able to cast whole walls or multi-tile floor tiles, but for right now I'll stick with the stuff I have.
No right now I'm all about improving my skills within this medium. For example I've never built a model in my life, haven't made a diorama since I was 9 and in all the years I've gamed I've never used flocking. I'm kind of excited to see how I can use not just rubble but also the blobs of dried/scraped plaster in terrain pieces like ruins.
It just occurred to me last night as I was looking over all the bits I have that one of my current campaigns is planned around spending the first few levels exploring ruins. I better get cracking on this stuff. Do you folks ever make playable ruins? If so would it be easier for a noob such as myself to build a bunch of cd-mounted small ruins or make one or 2 10"x10" large pieces?
@Mark Thanks for the welcome. I'm excited now, just talked to the wifey and she's up for it! Glad you mentioned connecting with kids, it's hard enough as a father to connect with my daughter. I am fortunate that she likes a lot of things that aren't barbie :) Browsing these forums daily I start feeling like a lot of people GMing on them don't have much time for gamer dads, so it is refreshing to have someone talk about connecting with your kids through gaming and related activities.
Mark, check out my ruined tower for an example of ruins.
I have a lot of "broken" or malformed blocks that I've made. I've got an entire plastic container half-full of them. Some of them are accidental (I once dropped a container full of hundreds of newly cast blocks from my chest to the tile floor which broke a lot of blocks) and some are deliberate (I will angle one of the molds and partially fill cavities so that I can create blocks that appear to be protruding at an angle from the ground).
I've also done some "stressing" of blocks by belting them with gravel to create a rough, aged look to them.
I actually really enjoy making the ruins. I think they have more character in some ways, and are more suitable for dungeon crawling. Bruce makes a "ruins" mold as well.
|Sean K Reynolds Designer, RPG Superstar Judge|
Since we're on an HA persuasion here, can you find the molds discounted anywhere? Are there any good online sources for Hydrostone (that don't charge an arm and a leg for shipping)?
Ebay for used molds.
For dental plaster, see if your city has a dental supply store. If not, ask your dentist where he/she orders it, or see if you can get them to order some for you.
I would like the world to know that last night I cast the gate piece from basic gothic/#45. I pulled it, complete (with a couple bubble pock marks but still) from the mold and baked it. This morning I used a toothpick and poked off excess plaster on the back, and it has held together. I have, for the first time ever, successfully cast this piece!
my dungeon is taking shape. From previous castings plus what I've done in the last 2 days I have enough floor tiles to cover 6"x15". This is not counting bits like half floor tiles or triangle floor bits, which will extend this further. I will cast more today and throughout the weekend.
Densite is faster to set up and is more solid than my old stuff. Also when fully dry my old stuff unpainted felt gritty while the densite K5 feels smooth. With quicker cure times I've been able to get more castings into the same amount of time, which means my little plastic drawers are overflowing with bricks right now!
Soon will come the gluing on the board and the crafting of accent walls and bits. And now I have a gate piece to add in there somewhere. I may build a shrine and cover its entry w/the gate; not to celebrate what's enshrined there but the gate sealing it!
|Sean K Reynolds Designer, RPG Superstar Judge|
So in another thread I realized that there are probably a whole bunch of Pathfinders of the plaster persuasion; somehow it just never occured to me before.
I had to read that post several times, to check we weren't discussing Cynthia Plastercaster.
On a serious note, it's been a long time since I cast plaster blocks, and they were of a much thinner type, for modern buildings, at railway scale, which meant they had a very small brick pattern which proved susceptible to bubbles.
I got round this by laying a thin layer of plaster across the bottom of the mold, then taking a cocktail stick, and running it back and forth across the detail, dislodging any air pockets, and working the plaster into the crevices. Then I'd top up the mold as normal, scrape, and leave to dry.
Does anyone know how to post a pick of a dry stack from my iPhone? I have no flixter acct, no facebook and have never posted pics ever online in 38 years of life. What is my best avenue here?
You could always set up an account at deviantArt; it's totally free to begin with, though I pay the small fee for premium account, to remove ads, view more thumbnails per page, and other fripperies.
You will also see lots of inspirational artwork for PC portraits, and meet a lot of familiar faces.
And if they're NOT familiar to you, then WHY NOT? Download your free copies of Wayfinder from the Paizo store, right now!
This is my work in progress, of the froghemoth (who sadly met an undignified end, at the hands of a toddler, before I could paint him, but at least he did his job on the battlemat...).
|Sean K Reynolds Designer, RPG Superstar Judge|
Mark, if you view the cast blocks as raw building material you can build pretty much anything you can imagine. Check out some of the things built on the HA gallery page. Some really creative stuff.
I suppose the best answer to your question of how hard it is to build without a mold is that it depends on how much of an architect you are, because that's essentially what you are doing.
I am still in the process of casting as many raw material blocks as I can because I want to be able to free-hand my own structures. I find it helps a lot to use graph paper to lay out the floor plan.
I use Excalibur plaster. I get it in grey which is nice because if any chips occur while in use they don't show up well.
I also use Elmer's wood glue. It doesn't soften when it gets wet and so your structure stays true while painting.
Finally I follow the wet water method from the Hirst arts site and I pound my work surface to get out the bubbles.