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IntroductionsEdit

Me and fiared[1] are in the same D&D group, and decided to create some stuff in Hirstarts[2] . It turned out to be a bigger project then expected.

MoldsEdit

We first looked trough all molds available at hirstarts, and made 3 decisions/observations.

  1. Get many types of floor molds, these are gaming surfuces

  1. We need to limit yourself to what type of walls you get as there are so many.

  1. There are some molds that kind of ties in together.

These are the molds we got

·         40

·         43

·         50

·         58

·         59

·         71

·         83

·         84

·         85

·         203

·         206

·         210

·         221

·         250

·         260

·         266

·         281

·         282

·         701

Total cost of molds: 543,00 USD

When they first arrived my first observation[1]   was that the molds are smaller then you first thought. There are some incredible quality in these molds, and the quality was very high of the molds. And it was a nice touch that you received a personal letter signed from Bruce Hirst. We where very exited to get started.

What you needEdit

But there are things you need first to start making them. This is what we got.

·         scraper (for scraping plaster of the , 12 USD

·         screws and bolts, 11 USD

·         reusable oven paper, 7 USD

·         Plastic cups, 4 USD

·         Dental plaster 18kg, 199 USD

·         4x Lunch trays, 7 USD

·         Lego, 39 USD

·         Paint, 92 USD

·         Mushroom dryer, 45 USD

·         Storage, 39 USD

·         Plaster cups, 4 USD

·         Syringe, 19 USD

·         Foam for vibrating table, 4 USD

·         Glue, 11 USD

·         Can opener for paint, 2 USD

·         Wood glue, 6 USD

·         more paint, 12 USD

·         styrofoam 120x60x3cm x 6, 53 USD

total: 566 USD

In addition you will need some additional supplies that we already had.

·         A back massager

·         A lot of ziplock bags

·         Food scale

·         Plastic forks (for stirring plaster)

·         Some wood to create a vibrating table.

·         And expect to use a lot of paint.

·         Razors, and something to cut things on.

·         Rinse Aid

·         egg timer

·         sand paper

First things first. You need to wash your molds they come in covered in baby powder. let them dry then put them in ziplock bags and in a storage. Don´t let them lay bent, make sure the are flat.

With the plaster there are a lot of options. As I live in Sweden, I orderd from Forshagadentaldepå[1] , we opted for Moldastone CN, as it was the hardest. You can mold in stone plaster, but for finer details you may want to use something that´s harder.

As most dental plasters have thixotropic properties[1] , and because of it you may want to build a vibrating table. You will learn to hate bubbles.

As luck would have it, a friend had previously gifted me a back massage that´s the exact model that Hirst uses inhis instruction video[2] . So this is what we ended up with[3]  .

We first used a Plexiglas surface, this was horrible, stick with wood. You can also see every thing that is needed to start molding (the blue mold is a custom mold that fiared had made previously)

Let´s go trough everything:

·         Scale in ziplock bag (it will get messy)

·         Vibrator table

·         Plastic glasses for pouring water and plaster

·         Plaster cups (the black ones)

·         Syringe

·         A toothbrush

·         Rinse Aid

·         A scraper

·         A mushroom dryer (that has a fan).

·         A none slip surface.

·         Lunch trays

·         Reusable oven paper

One important thing. Make sure everything is 100% level. We made the mistake that our lunch trays where slightly off. This made it a bit more difficult.

Now you need to make a plan. What do you want to mold? What peaces do you need? We decided to make a dungeon set and a cavern set, plus some one offs on accessories. We had from the beginning 18kg of plaster, and thought that that was almost an infinite amount. No, it will go faster then you think.

MoldingEdit

Now you are ready to start, this is how you mold.


  • Measure water and plaster in two different cups. For us 3parts plaster and 1 part water worked best. We used the scale for this, and used the tear function on the scale to remove the weight of the cup.</li>
  • Put the molds in a bath with some rinsing aid. use a toothbrush to scrub them. If you see bubbles, remove them with the toothbrush.</li>
  • Hit the molds on your hand to remove the excess water</li>
  • Put the reusable oven paper on a tray, and the molds on top of that. The tray is to so the excess plaster don´t pour out everywhere, the paper is when it dries you can clean it off easily.</li>
  • Start mixing the water with the plaster in the plaster cup (the black one), thoroughly. We used a plastic fork</li>
  • Start the vibrator table and at the last part of the mixing, put it on the table and start vibrating it. Some bubbles will come up. It´s easier if your two. Things will start moving around, so if one makes sure everything is in place the other one can.</li>
  • Use the syringe to inject the molds with plaster. You can pour, but we notice that you spend way less plaster, plus you get less bubbles with a syringe.</li>
  • When molds are full, stop vibrating. Lift the tray to a flat surface.</li>
  • Wait ~6 minutes, then take the scraper and with a 45 degree angle, scrape of excess plaster. The more accurate you are at this step, the less sandpapering you will need to do later. This is how it will look after you have scraped.</li>
  • Let it sit for 30 minutes.</li>
  • Carefully remove the peaces from the mold, they are delicate at this stage.</li>
  • Place them in the mushroom dryer for 2 hours (small peaces) 4-6 hours (bigger cavern peaces), this is the most satisfying part of the process, you will be amazed on all the details that comes out.</li>
  • All the excess plaster are now on the reusable oven paper, and can be without a mess be thrown away.</li>
  • Clean the molds with your tooth brush under water.</li>
  • Repeat at step 1. You will do this a lot, and become an expert at it.</li>

    Pro tip for step 7: If are molding something with very fine detail, such as wood grain texture, you may want to pour in just a little plaster, take a brush and brush the mold with the plaster, then pour the rest.

    Pro tip for step 9: Quickly suck up some water from a plastic cup and eject, then clean it under clear water. You don´t want plaster in your sink, and you don´t want things to dry up in your syringe. The excess plaster will dry in your cups, and plaster cup. You can easily reuse them by bending them slightly (the plaster cup is made out of rubber). You should though keep some of the waist as you can use them as rubble on bases for figures or in your environment later on. After a while you will start to have a lot of different peaces. It´s a good idea to sort them in something, this is how we did it.

     

    AssembelyEdit

    When you have everything you need, it´s time to start creating stuff.

    Some peaces needs to be assembled, it´s an easy process:

    ·         Sandpaper rough parts (where your scraping was not perfect)

    ·         Use wood glue and put them together.

    ·         Wait.

    Now you will need to start gluing stuff on some sort of basing material. There are some options out there, but what to look for:

    ·         Something that´s cheep

    ·         Something that´s easily obtainable

    ·         Something that´s easy to work with

    ·         Something that does not warp when wet.

    Cardboard would be nice, but it warps. Styrofoam is slightly harder to work with, and was our option. You can get it cheaply at any construction store.

    Now you need to figure out a system. How will your tiles work. There are pros and cons with everything. We decided on this

    ·         Walls with floor[1]  . The walls are raised to be level with the floor (some extra work with Styrofoam, but looks better)

    ·         Floor tiles[2]  

    ·         Lose wall bits[3]  .

    ·         Corner peaces[4]  

    You also need to think of how high your walls are going to be, high is nice, looks more realistic, but harder to see when you play. We decided on two blocks high.

    BuildingEdit

    Time to build!

    First build an L shape out your legos

    Then cut out Styrofoam with a very sharp razor. If it´s sharp you won´t get particles that get´s all over your house. A dull one will create a mess. Then lay out your bricks as you want it to look. Pour wood glue on the Styrofoam and put the peaces on[1]  . Then press everything against the L shaped lego so everything sits snugly[2]  . Let it dry for a while. Then cut of the excess Styrofoam at a slight angle (it will make it easier for the peaces to sit close to each other).

    ·         For doors, make sure you sandpaper them so they fit

    ·         For doorways when gluing them together, ensure the doors fit.

    Also take in consideration that the paint will make everything a bit thicker, so if you are making something with precision, make sure you count for that.

    Building is fun, all your hard work is coming together[1]  .

    PaintingEdit

    Now it´s time to paint.



    We opted for latex based paint, same kind you paint your walls at home with. Using Games Workshop paint will get very expensive very fast. Also water based paint is easier to work with.


    1. Base coat everything[2]  , we did it twice in gray

    1. Dry-brush with another color[3]  , we did mossy green (this was all we did for floors).

    1. For walls, we Dry-brush again with white to get the walls to pop out and to get them to look more rocky.

    1. Do detail work with other colors as you see fit.


    Congratulations, you are done![4]  


    ==Conclusion: ==


    Building all of this took more time, effort and money then I first anticipated. If you are going down this road, make sure you are doing this because you think it will be fun, not because it will be impress your players. They will be impressed, but they will not fully understand the work that goes in to all of this.



    I was really impressed with the quality and the all the thought that has gone in to the small peaces that Bruce has put in to these peaces. Almost every single peaces have several purposes, and all the molds fit together. And yes, the initial cost is high, but then you just need more plaster, Styrofoam and paint and you can make how many you want. And the end result is mind blowing seeing it live. It´s not for every one, but if your a crafty kind of person, and have some money to spend. Go for it.



    We are also creating a wiki to document every single peace we have. This is to make it easier for others to be a dungeon master without actually having the peaces at their place. Under each peace we have drawn a seral number on them so they can be identified, as you can see on this picture[1]   DWF3_03 stands for "Dungeon Wall with Floor 3 long # 3".