Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fun With Hirst Arts Molds

I started straight away on trying my hand at casting some of those Hirst Arts molds I purchased last week. Thursday evening saw me cast about 30 or so molds, I lost track after I started to get the hang of it and quickly added more molds to cast at one time.

Admittedly I made an absolute meal of the very first two I did. I started slow and only cast two of the floor tile molds first - I knew that those were the molds I would have to make the most of, though at the time didn't realize exactly how many I'd ultimately need (see below!). Before I'd started, over the last week or so, I'd been watching all sorts of videos on You Tube on how to cast these molds. And each one was different to the techniques they used. Obviously I went to Bob Hirst's videos first, but I also went to a lot of the channels I've followed over the years - Viv at RubbishinRubbishout, Mel at the Terrain Tutor, Mike at TerranScapes, and then just other random Hirst molds videos (these tiles are pretty popular with the D&D crowds!). Anyway, my goof with those first two molds was I ended up waiting too long to do my initial scrape of the excess plaster, which made it necessary to sand them down. They were fine after sanding them, but you can see the problem in the photo below.

With the first goof up under my belt, I did quckly learn to do that scrape of excess plaster right after pouring it into the mold, as well as to simply look at my mixing cup to know when the molds were dry and ready to be popped out. Squeezing the cup and having the plaster crack let me know if it they were ready to go. Easy peasy.

I quickly got the hang of everything and soon made it up to doing 9 molds at once, even though the picture below is eight :)

And this was the end result of two days worth of casting - though all told probably about 8 hours or so of work, but almost 10 pounds of plaster.

Super pleased with the overall casts. I do have some with pin head sized holes in them from bubbles, but overall for my first go, I'm pretty happy. And I figure I can fill in those holes with no problems.

I knew I wanted some cool looking doors for the facility, and I've been nothing short of ecstatic with every Spartan Games purchase I've made so far, so I grabbed these doors off of Ebay.

But to much disappointment, when I opened the box the doors were MDF. I really thought that they were going to be resin like all the other Spartan accessories I've purchased. So I guess we'll see how they end up turning out.

I really wanted to start putting the pieces on the table Friday night just to get an idea of how things were going to look. What struck me right away when I grabbed a few pieces was how cold they were to the touch - turns out they weren't completely dry yet!  And that really became apparent when I placed them on the cardboard and almost immediately it began to warp - so I had to wait an extra day to make sure everything was completely dry. Kind of a bummer really.

So it's a day later and I very quickly threw a primer coat of paint on several floor tiles. I went with a greenish gray - Plastic Soldier Company's German Field Gray - as opposed to a straight gray. But again, this was just a quick initial spray.

Straight away I really liked how the floors looked without doing much to them. I will tell you though, when I looked at how many tiles it took just to place into these two small areas, and then looked at the rest of the board, I did let out a big sigh. I'm figuring that the facility floor gaming area will probably be roughly about 3x3 - now each tile is 1 inch, so that means I'm going to need approximately 1296 tiles. Twelve. Hundred. Ninety. Six. Shoot me right in the face right now lol!!!

I ended up painting the inner tiles for the computer room a dark gray - again though, just a quick priming spray. But I do like the contrast, even without a wash or dry brushing.

A close up of the computer room floor.

One thing that did concern me was the height of the walls. They just didn't seem high enough.

So what I'm going to do is run these Evergreen styrene tubes under the walls to give them the added height I think they need. I have a ton of these left over from a race track I built Jakob when he was little, so it'll be nice to finally find a use for them. I may even need to go one more higher, so three total, but we'll see.

As I mentioned in my last post I had Agent Carter seasons 1 and 2 on my DVR, but lost them when it broke last summer. I did buy the blu-rays and have actually watched season 1 several times now. Well, I went to start season 2 a few days ago and it turns out I got bamboozled by different covers. I have two season ones! Ultimately my own fault for not looking more closely at the title, but extremely disappointing - so a real season 2 is on its way.

One last thing I'm working on is the description of the game for the Historicon PEL - I need to come up with a title for the game and I'm not sure what to go with. I thought about "My Name Is Agent" because it's such a great moment in that second episode where the head of Roxxon says "What's your name darling?" and Peggy responds with "Agent". It's absolutely brilliant but out of context I'm not sure it works. I may end up just going with the generic "Agent Carter" for a title. If anyone has a suggestion I'd be all ears!

Just about a week away from everyone returning home from the trip down south, so I'm going to try to get as much casting done as I can. Twelve. Hundred. Ninety. Six. Tiles.

As always, thanks for looking!


  1. Those blocks add up very fast don't they Ivor ? I need to get back to casting myself.

    Back luck on buying the same season twice mate as I've done stuff like that myself & it's a pain.

    As for a name for the game I can't help you there mate sorry, but I always find these things find themselves.

    1. Absolutely agree Frank! I really thought that I'd done pretty good with the two days work I'd done - I knew I'd need a lot of the floor tiles, but I certainly didn't realize exactly how many I needed!

  2. Twelve hundred and ninety six tiles! Ha ha ha! Glad it's you and not me! Looking good already though. I like that grey green.

    Haven't watched Agent Carter, so a bit ignorant about it, but could you do something like 'Agent Carter and the...(whatever it is that's happening in the game)'? Gives a nice hint to entice people in.

    1. I can't recommend Agent Carter enough especially if you enjoy a 1940's action mystery with sci fi elements to it! And all the characters and actors are nothing short of brilliant! I'm pretty crushed that it got cancelled, but there are rumors of a movie in the works so fingers and toes crossed.
      I may end up going that route, almost like the Indiana Jones titles. It's funny because I think the titles of games are almost like Clive Cussler book covers, just seeing that picture makes you want to read the book without knowing what it's all about - many times reading a title of a game in the events list made me want to join in to play it. But of course there is the flip side and you can have the coolest title in the world and your rules and game stink lol! Being in several games like that over the years, I've now learned to look at what rules are being used first and foremost, followed closely by scale and era :)

  3. 1,296!!! You're a mad mad. I also bought some Eqgytian themed Hirst Arts molds to use in this summer's Historicon game. What type of plaster did you use?

    1. Yeah, I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking!?
      The first plaster I went with was from The Plaster Guys off of Ebay - I bought 10 pounds of orthdontic stone. I didn't do enough research on it though and it only has 8,500psi compression strength when dry - Bob Hirst recommends being around at least 14,000, so I'm now using Merlin's Magic Plaster; and they have different colors available so I went with 15 pounds of the stone gray. And that was purchased off of Ebay as well. Both were super easy to work with if you've never done casting before like me. You'll easily have it down after your first try!
      *I just remembered, you probably have access to all sorts of plaster from your wife's job!!*

  4. Brilliant! You can see why I've taken a break with my Helm's Deep model now ;-) Awesome stuff though and great idea for raising the wall. Those molds are the bomb.

    1. Thanks Jay! Agreed the molds are fantastic, super happy with them :) Just wish it didn't take two days for all the tiles to dry though.

  5. Blimey! You have been busy! Looks superb, though!

    As for Agent about 'Agents of the SSR'? Or 'Peggy Carter, Agent of the SSR'? The trouble is unless you use Agent Carter in the title, people might not get what it's about.

    1. Thanks Gordon! You're absolutely right, as much as I really like the title "My Name Is Agent" I've got to have her name in the title :)