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 Post subject: Hirst block alternatives?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:52 am 
Wayfarer
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Have recently re kindled my passion for this fantastic hobby and have started a couple of terrain projects. Extruded polystyrene is the staple of both projects and to be fair you can create a lot with a little imagination and good reference guides.

However, I’m intrigued with using plaster Moulds and have noticed Hirst are dominating the market and I can’t really find an alternative... they seem over priced for what is effective a silicone mould... my wife has plenty for baking that cost a fraction of the price of Hirsts Moulds... it cant be much difference in making a cake mould to that of making a mould for bricks!

I was wondering if anyone has experience in using Hirst plaster Moulds and could give me an idea of their true value or alternatively if there is a company providing a cheaper alternative?

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 Post subject: Re: Hirst block alternatives?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:58 pm 
Craftsman
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Yes, they are very expensive, but think of them as an investment. I absolutely love mine and just saved up all winter to buy another 200 USD worth of Egyptian ones. I bought my first set 10 years ago and they are still holding up well. There is the odd hairline tear in the moulds, but they are still going strong after probably 100 castings. They are very high quality and heavy. If you store them as recomended, you will minimize warping and they should last you as long as mine. The only ones I did not enjoy are the wood moulds. I am a bit disappointed in these ones and feel balsa could do much the same thing. Nevertheless, I own them now and will commit them to my Lake Town project.

The cheapest way to do it is to make your own. Hirst has kindly put instructions on how to do this, but he asks not to cast his models up. I've done this with the chunky ruins LoTR set and it worked very well. The problem with this is that the silicone is quite expensive and only lasts for a fraction of the number of casts that Hirst's moulds do. It tears and the rubber degrades into something gross.

There are other companies out there, Mapper has links to them in some of his posts. They are all comparitively expensive, however. You can buy the projects already cast up from vendors online too, if that's your thing. I, however, would rather buy the mould as it is usually cheaper that the project they are selling.

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 Post subject: Re: Hirst block alternatives?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:15 pm 
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I've used them quite a bit now, and although they are a bit pricey, they are worth it. I tried making my own at one point; it is messy and ends up costing more for a lower quality product in the end.

Pony up and go with Hirst arts, they are the best!
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 Post subject: Re: Hirst block alternatives?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:34 pm 
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Thanks for the advice.... it would appear my fate has been set and I’m going to buy a couple of Moulds! Thanks again and keep up the good work!

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 Post subject: Re: Hirst block alternatives?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:17 am 
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Dudewatsmyname32 wrote:
Thanks for the advice.... it would appear my fate has been set and I’m going to buy a couple of Moulds! Thanks again and keep up the good work!


You won't be disappointed! Remember, patience is key when it comes to the casting process!
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 Post subject: Re: Hirst block alternatives?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:00 am 
Elven Warrior
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http://www.4botindustries.com also makes molds - I have not tried them but they have gotten good reviews by others. My Moria build I used Keebler studios but they seem to be out of business.

My Hirst Arts molds have held up very well for many years and many castings - as GreatKhan says - take care of them and they will last.

Have fun and don't get discouraged if your first castings don't turn out well, there is a learning curve to getting every thing right. But don't throw out any miscasts, they can always be broken up for rubble or used where the mistakes can't be seen.

Have fun!

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 Post subject: Re: Hirst block alternatives?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:50 pm 
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That sucks about Keebler. I wanted that Moria set! I might just have to make my own castings, then.

As 3D printers are becoming cheaper, you will see more and more companies offering... plans?... available to download. I'm hoping these will revolutionize the wargaming and model train hobbies. Patience and time will tell. Still, I think I'm addicted to the smell of plaster of paris, and I love my "adult Legos".

I would certainly start with the moulds that don't have fine lines or little pieces. Mapper and I have a recommended list floating around the boards somewhere. I use PoP and mix it to runny pancake batter consistency. (Being from cowboy country, I know my pancakes! :rofl: ) Anyway, I hate lightweight Hydrocal. It is light, but it makes lousy, ill-defined casts. If you live in the Great White North or anywhere cold or soggy, a fruit dehydrator will speed things along, or put them on the oven's lowest setting with the door open an inch or two. If you cast every day, at the end of the week, you will have enough to make a good start of your project.

I am more than happy to trade blocks or cast models for miniatures, if that's your thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Hirst block alternatives?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:34 pm 
Elven Warrior
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Oldman Willow recommended the following basic molds:

Prison Tower Mold #60
Wall Builder Mold #200
Floor Tiles Various Sizes
Mold #201
Dragon's Inn Mold #51

I started with Ruined Tower Mold #65 - and continue to use parts of it for various projects. Floor molds depends on what you are planning to build. I like mold 203 - Cracked Floor tile.

I too use plaster of paris - cheap to buy, sets up well and I don't feel too bad if it breaks. I use a food dehydrator also, of course also use it for beef jerky, etc - just have to remember to wash it. :-)

Tried Hydrocal, didn't like it. Recommend you do buy from Woodland Scenics their plaster mixing kit - helps to consistently measure water/plaster of paris. I also use a 4" paint scraper - I use it to remove the excess plaster off the top of the mold.

Not to hijack the thread too much - GreatKhan - what do you have planned for the egyptian molds? I bought mold 93 to use for my Gondor outpost I'm planning.

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 Post subject: Re: Hirst block alternatives?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:12 am 
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Threadjack: Oh, I've got to do some pillars, as they're needed in many Frostgrave scenarios and I'm getting sick of looking at empty toilet paper rolls. I bought the one with the modular pillars for this reason. I bought the floor with the cracks in it; I really liked it in the samples. Lots of variations of the tomb pieces on the website. Frostgrave is a ruined city. Statues and obelisks, of course. A nobleman's estate, though this will probably be foam core smeared with drywall gap filler. Temples and pavillions. Nubian-styled tombs; they look like mausoleums with pointier pyramids on top. Frostgrave has many workshops and factories, so a ruined village like the real one at Abu Simbel. I have been raiding the library kids' collection for Egypt so I can make the pictures. Next year I might buy the pyramid mould. /threadjack

Yeah, the WS plaster prep kit is quite useful. Don't put plaster down your sink, especially if you have a septic system. Let it dry in the bowl and crack it into the trash. I broke the little spatula, but you can get one piece silicone spatulas at Walmart. It's quite durable and isn't super prone to collapsing. Funnily, I found a collapsable water cup at the outdoor store. I've always wanted a watch glass, so I bought it. It's no where near as sturdy as my plaster collapsable measurer and water explosions ensued.

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 Post subject: Re: Hirst block alternatives?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:53 pm 
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Mapper - Don't be afraid to Hi- Jack the post.....All these comments certainly help in providing myself and i imagine others with inspiration for their projects....so with that in mind "pray proceed"

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 Post subject: Re: Hirst block alternatives?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:26 am 
Elven Elder
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I have not checked in in a while glad to see you are all here.

Image

I put this together today as an example. It was fun to build something for LOTR

I cut a thin strip of Pink foam to use as the bridge form. The clamps will hold it until it drys. I used wood glue because it is stronger than normal PVA

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