Hirst Arts – Recycling

So a long time ago, if you measure time in wargaming terms, I dabbled with Hirst Arts Moulds, and to be honest, my efforts were less than what I would have wanted them to be, though to be fair, 3D printing has changed the way I look at the bricks and their possibilities. The buildings I created sat for a long time under the wargaming table (when I had one) and then later in various archive boxes after I moved to be closer to my fiance.

Recent thinking and a desire to not waste was created has meant I spent much of the last few weeks recycling old buildings, breaking them down, cleaning the bricks up, and repurposing them for new ideas and a better understanding of how such could be utilised.

Recylcing: Most of the Hirst Arts bricks I have, are either HydroCal or simple Plaster of Paris. The later has surprised me in its resilience to being immersed for days in water to break down the PVA bonds I used to assemble the buildings originally.

The process of recycling means soaking the building in a bath of water, then waiting *, pulling the bricks apart back to their original units, then rinsing them a few times and letting them soak again and repeat two or three times. The stubborn PVA that won’t break down or refuses to rinse off, is wiped/scrubbed off using a towel (a cheap one purchased for the purpose that can be repurposed for thatch after I am done…hindsight I should have used a cheap scrubbing brush.). The bricks are then left to dry for 24hrs or more (I live in the tropics so AC is a helpful must) before being stored for re-use.

I did consider that it would be quicker to just recast the moulds for the bricks I needed, but there was something about just throwing the old buildings out** that just didn’t sit right, and while I will have to cast certain moulds to give me the exact pieces I might need I have more basic bricks than I can use for quite some time.

The plan is a series of ruined walls, reminiscent of maybe an abbey or monastery for Saga, and my 28mm Dark Ages, with some extra add ons that would not look out of place for my AoS Dwarves & Undead. Oh. and a huge “shout out” to Bruce Hirst for his amazing moulds, they are simply amazing, and really very simple to work with, though they are only scaled for 25/28mm so that is a consideration. (I wish he would do the sandbags mould #340 in 1/72)

New creations coming soon.

* See I keep saying wargaming is a hobby of waiting.

** Storage has or rather will become an issue in the not too distant future.

Thatching – II

Following on from my last post.

Years ago I had tried to do thatching using the towel method, and the result was what you see above, the hand towel was something I picked up cheap at a 2 dollar store, and in the end proved too thin to look good, and I got a better result out of a $5 bath towel.

I pretty much just followed the instructions on Hour of Wolves. Strips of towel were glued into position onto the roof with a generous overlap all round. It was then coated with a liberal application of 50/50 PVA and brown paint, in this case Raw Umber. A second coat was added after 24hrs, and then after another 24hrs the towel was trimmed so the roof would fit between the end timbers. A further coat was added mainly at teh ends where the original towel (after trimming) was visible. After drying , dry brushing with Raw Sienna, Naples Yellow, and Buff Titanium where applied randomly to give the roof its colour. The stone work is simply a base of black, then a wet/dry brush with a dark grey, followed, after drying, with a dry brush of a lighter grey. The door is scratch made from balsa with the planks inscribed with a pencil before painting.

There is a lot of waiting in making the thatch with long drying times, but the overall effect of the strips of towel compared to the one piece is noticeable, and I think will remain my “go to” for thatch for now on. Also having got to play with some Hirst Arts bricks again I decided to “recycle” a lot of my old Warhammer buildings, and make some terrain more suited for both my Dark Ages, and for my Dwarves and Undead to fight over.

The only reason I have little to show so far is that “recycling” PVA glued plaster blocks takes time, as does making terrain in general, the wait period for things to dry is often longer than the doing period of action.

Oh well, back to catching up on the last 3 seasons of Supernatural, while I wait.

Adventures in Thatching

So as part of my Dark Ages project I decided I needed a few buildings, and unfortunately Dark Ages buildings means the one thing I have always hated trying to model: thatching.

Hirst Arts Blocks and balsa/craft wood. (I still have the door to do)

I was thinking that maybe teddy bear fur would be the best option, but a quick online search lead me to Hour of Wolves, where the author does an opinion piece on different techniques for success and seems to come down on the side of using towel cut into strips. I have used the towel method, but never in strips, so maybe this is the way forward.

Time to go buy a cheap towel with a decent pile.