So the past few days have been filled with playing with plaster and cement to get the perfect mixture. As a result, I also have my first few Hirst Arts pieces assembled for my modular dungeon.
Before I show the pictures, I will ramble about plaster for a bit as apparently using cement is a bit contentious. If you don’t care about plaster, please scroll down to the first picture.
I had read recommendations of 3 parts plaster to 2 parts cement. Away I went carefully measuring and…ok, my first mixture actually hardened as a brick in the mixing cup since I wanted to photo document as I went. You saw the results of the salvaged pictures.
When I actually poured my first plaster/2 cement mix it had a few surprises: first it starts setting sooner so scraping must be done sooner. Second, the curing time is longer so I had a few just crumble into a muddy mess.
With time I got the timings down and I realized that it was brittle in crevices and fine details but otherwise solid. It meant I could do some solid wall pieces but got none of the cool pieces. And the odd brick that was slightly more detailed or offset would break into the mold.
Through trial and error I have settled on 4 parts plaster to 1 part cement for most pieces and 5 parts plaster to 1 part cement for some of the detailed pieces. The only thing I am struggling with is the fragile nature of the pieces at the crucial stage where they are still flexible enough to remove. Strangely the pieces are all hard as a rock and assemble fairly well. Once painted, I will show off the nice effect the cracks and lines produce with wooden structures.
My first piece is here. The rubble was a little addition to use some pieces I broke taking out of the mold. I added a wooden buttress to show the failed attempt at reinforcing the walls by a dungeon denizen. The missing bricks and air bubbles add to the look of disrepair and I am very happy with the ramshackle look of this piece.
As the astute reader will notice, there is a whole spectrum of different greys in this brick works. I am happy with the grey colour and am not sure if I will opt to wash and highlight or if I will basecoat black and build up.
A corner piece. As walls don’t interfere with lines of sight one picture shows all the details.
A stack of crates provide cover and potentially treasure. I intend to have some fixed pieces but most of the treasure pieces will be placed on a mobile base and placed into the dungeon. I am currently pondering how to base them right now. Using a floor piece seems obvious but I am open to other suggestions.
A bit of fiddly work was done on this to put in bamboo skewer bars. I glued them in place prior to cutting. I am skeptical on how they will look without a thick layer of paint: the wood texture and splintering will still be obvious I think.
So that is the dungeon thus far. I have some ideas percolating and I may copy some of the suggested rooms from the Hirst Arts site, but I am opting for a 2 square wide corridor vice the one square he uses. I did this for two reasons. First, the two square width gives more flexibility and freedom of movement. I realized this after my first game of Descent (2nd Edition). Second, the stereotypical D&D dungeon is 10′ wide by 10′ tall. The 1″ square is pretty close to 5′.
And of course the action shot I try to include in every post:
As these pictures show, the crates provide good cover for the miniatures, and the squares are fairly obvious for movement. The dust on the wizard from handling both plaster and him is also evident.
I hope something here inspired you today.