Hirst Arts II

We received our order of two Hirst Arts molds. They came with a letter from the owner giving some instructions and advice, and thanking us for the purchase.

We also picked up a lot of supplies. In total, with the molds and shipping and tools and plaster, it’s $150. But that includes enough plaster to make a lot of blocks.

The molds came in excellent condition. Despite warnings that the first few castings might come out poorly or with a lot of pits (from bubbles in the plaster), the first three sets of blocks look great.

The instructions say to pour the plaster, wait 6 minutes, scrape the excess, wait 25 minutes, then pop the blocks out. Because the basement is cool, it’s taking 10 minutes and 40 minutes respectively. Warmer areas of the place can’t be used for plaster work because it’s too messy.

The mixing, pouring, and demolding is simple but time-consuming. I haven’t had a block break yet.

One thing that surprised me was that every block is individually sculpted. That is, in the flagstone floor mold you get 10 of the one-inch square floor tiles. As far as I can tell they’re all different.

We’re using 1/4″ birch plywood from the hardware store as a base, for extra strength. The floor tiles are 1/4″, which helps with measurement. We could have used 1/4″ foam and carved it to match the flagstone walls, but I wanted strength rather than appearance – plus, carving foam is a pain. The early Hirst Arts instructions suggest using cereal box card. While easy, I don’t think it’s strong enough on large pieces.

We decided on Plaster of Paris to start with. It looks like after painting and finishing, it’ll be durable enough so long as you handle the structures as carefully as you handle your figures (so none of that *clack clack* “Look they’re fighting!” stuff). If we were going to build larger structures that require a solid foundation, we’d buy dental plaster. I have handled both now and I can attest that dental plaster is more durable than you need, and Plaster of Paris is less durable than you need.

So, I’m happy. We’re still planning what the modular dungeon is going to look like. I’ll post pictures when it’s done.

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