Saturday, April 10, 2010

Carving game scenery from foam; plaster castle molds

Recently I bumped into the Hirst Arts website again, and I became consumed with the idea of buying one of their latex molds and making a bunch of castle-type models in plaster. The molds are interesting because they're designed to create building blocks rather than finished items. They're carefully set up so that one mold can be used to pour the parts for a number of different models.

Plus, I've cast plaster in latex molds before, it's really easy and the results turn out great. I've wanted to get into casting and molding for a while, but resin casting and mold making seemed too daunting and I never get around to it.

The mold I am most interested in is a fairly generic one for making random-stone walls, their first fieldstone mold on this page. You could use it to make  castles, towers, or dungeon tiles.

Of course, I could also see filling my house with these castle models and not really having a good place to store them; and I don't play enough wargames to actually justify my desire to build an entire medieval city (a city where all the citizens somehow have the money to build beautiful stone homes, of course).

And plaster models are quite heavy. One of the links I got to from one of my favorite wargame modelers' sites, though, provides an alternative that solves this problem and skips the expense of buying a mold, by virtue of directly carving sheet foam to make similar random rock walls. The link was to this German tutorial for building a 'Vampire's Castle.' The tutorial is in the form of a series of photos with German captions. You almost don't need to read it. Of course I have a live-in translator for any rough spots, but still, it's well worth a look. It's an amazing project. I can't wait to get my hands on a thin sheet of foam and try some wall carving.

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