Monday, April 17, 2017

Hirst Arts Molds: Some Thoughts

I've spent about a week casting and building with my new Egyptian themed Hirst Arts molds and have come to some conclusions about them for terrain making.  Overall I'm really pleased but have determined these are not always the perfect way to go.  No real negatives so I'll break my thoughts into positives and "considerations".

Bear in mind that my casting material of choice was dental stone - which casts up rock hard but is heavy.  I think the pyramid weighs close to 5 pounds.

So lets go with the positives:

(1) There is a wealth of choice of molds and the supporting materials on the website are top notch.  Anything you might like to cast is likely there and the how-to instructions are really very well done.

(2) The details come out very nicely - if you follow the instructions on mold prep and pouring.  The most important part is to pound your fist around the mold as the plaster is poured in, as this releases any air bubbles.  I did this for every cast and had very few miscasts (less than 5%).  If you want to have detailed carvings or forms in your scenery these molds are probably the best way to go about it.

(1) The molds are small and you'll need to make a lot of casts to finish a project.  The 9 level pyramid pictured above required 14 casts of the pyramid mold.  Each cast takes about 30 minutes start to finish so it will take a good bit of time to build up your "inventory".  Casting is messy so you need to prepare a work area and make sure to clean up as you go along.  I did dave all the over pours and used used them to make "gravel".

(2) You need to plan out what you want to build.  Most of my terrain projects start with a sheet of Extruded Polystyrene Foam (EPF or "pink/blue foam) and I kind of wing it.  The molds construing you to the shapes they form so require a bit more planning than just "winging it"

I really like the Hirst molds but will only use them for "center-piece" terrain constructions.  It just takes too much of the hobby time I have to use them for every project.  That said, they are well worth the investment and any serious terrain maker should have some in his/her tool kit.


Mad Mapper said...

Glad you tried Hirst Arts, I have had loads of fun with the ones I bought. Just recently I had bought some Egyptian ones but haven't had a chance to try them yet so I have been following your posts with interest.

For some additional Egyptian statues, etc., look at


Ivor Evans said...

Full agreement Miles. I've been really happy with the casting of the molds I've been doing, but didn't realize how small the molds actually were and the staggering number of casts required even to make the smallest or simplest of game pieces. I'm much like you and "wing" quite a bit while building a table, all this planning is feeling more like work than fun!

Terry Silverthorn said...

I have picked up quite a few of their molds in the past. Your correct about the time it takes to make the stuff. When I have done a mold, I've gone & cast every piece from each mold, so have a box of 'poly-bits'. You are certainly causing me to pause & think about pulling them out for another build!