Casting with Bruce, First Try

For a long time I have thought that I would betray my innovation and my own terrain making “style” if I would chose to join and follow the hundreds of people who preach about the bliss of Bruce Hirst molds. It somehow goes against my principles not to construct something with my own hands but  to just pour some plaster in to some plastic tile and ABRACADABRA, you have detailed terrain masterpiece in your hands. Well, principles are meant to be broken. I bow  to you Bruce Hirst and at the same time curse your name because you make such versatile and fantastic molds!

It should be noted that I bought this mold  for my own use, they were not given to me for review purposes. But if somebody out there wants to send me another mold for review purpose, god yes, do it! =)

I’m detailing my houses at the moment and I needed some barrels. I planned to make those myself but then it hit me. I’m going to build a harbor gaming board and there will be tons of barrels over there. I really can´t make all of them by myself so I turned my gaze to the wonders of internet.

There are dozens of shops which sell barrels but the amount that I’m going to need would soon swallow my wallet. This was the main reason why I decided to order mold number 85, cavern accessory mold.



I have never cast anything but because it’s quite common around the globe, I thought it would be general knowledge to try it at least once. I also ordered some dental plaster because it says in the hirst arts homepage that that’s the stuff you need. I have to say that my wife has seen a lot of strange stuff that I have ordered but when this package arrived, it was amazing that she didn’t call the cops (I guess true love doesn’t conquer everything):


After I printed the casting instructions from the same page I headed to my terrain making lair to do some magic!

Before using the molds remember to wash them thoroughly because those are covered with talc. I didn’t know this so I had to return from my lair to do some washing stuff before magic stuff.

1. OK, so water to one cup and plaster to another


2. Slowly mix some plaster to the water until it won´t sink any more. Mix carefully.


3. Use the spoon to fill the mold. Don´t be too hasty otherwise there will be bubbles. And beware of the bubbles, those are truly terrible! As you can see from the next picture, you should overfill the mold little bit.


4. Now I realized that I had made way too much plaster stuff and because I’m Scrooge it was time to panic,  what to do? Fortunately I remembered that I had ordered some time ago a rockmold from Woodland Scenics so I dashed madly to search it. I filled that mold also.


5. Time for some controlled violence! Pound the table with your fist, leg, chair or some household item to remove the bubbles from the mold.

6. Wait about 6 minutes. When the plaster is as thick as toothpaste but a paper cloth over the mold so that it sucks the excess water. Then use some tool to wipe the excess plaster off and smooth the surface. I used metal spatula.



Here is the rock mold after the swipe:


7. Sit and wait impatiently…..

To Be Continue…




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  1. MasterRabbi said:

    Did a demo of this when at Gencon last year, and bought the same exact one for the barrel, and the campfire. It was just brilliant that it’s hollow! Still have yet to use it myself.. I’m a slow hobbyist…

  2. Wumby said:

    Another tip to help with airbubbles is to use a spray bottle with a mix of water and dish soap, and give the mold a good spray before pouring the plaster. As you probably already know, the dishsoap decreases the surface tension and the bubbles slide to the top a bit easier.

  3. Dalthoraz said:

    My best suggestion is after you wash the mold, get some jetdry or another generic spot-free rinse agent and put some in water and soak it and pop all the bubbles on the mold. then dry and add plaster this keeps bubbles from clinging to the sides under the plaster and when you vibrate it they are much more likely to release.

  4. WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot said:

    While I find the engineering that goes into Hirst molds to be really impressive, that texture that’s on all the basic bricks has got to go. It makes Hirst castings look like toys. The blocks on full scale castle walls are actually smoother.

  5. Mugu said:

    I’ve been using Hirst arts molds for years to make terrain and my expereinces so far have been great. There’s a bit of a learning curve at first (as you’re finding out with the amount of plaster your mixed up), but I find it well worth the price of the molds.

  6. crkhobbit said:

    You can also use a hobby brush to push the plaster into the nooks and crannies and avoid air bubbles.

    Another trick is to take a piece of glass that’s just a bit bigger than the mold (from a picture frame for example) and lay that on top of the mold after pouring the plaster. Put a small amount of pressure on the glass while moving it around in circles and it will push the excess plaster out the sides. The blocks will often end up just a bit thicker this way, but they will be much more consistent than scraping.

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