Buildings in plaster?

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by kitsune, Oct 21, 2006.

  1. kitsune

    kitsune Member

    Hello all:

    I want to build small interurban substation in HO. The prototypes were generally of concrete, and many today are gutted shells, resembling a ruined castle more than an electrical facility. The model would be about 2x3 base size and about 2-3 inches high.

    Anyway, my best guess for a realistic approach is to use plaster. Has anyone here scratchbuilt structures from plaster before? How do I go about doing this without wanting to commit hari-kari halfway through?

    Or should I consider another method? Or maybe something with just a surface layer of plaster? Or...?
  2. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    I have one Downtown Deco kit which is made of cast hydrocal plaster. It really looks great. Encouraged by this kit, I tried to do some hydrocal castings myself. I found out that is not so easy to produce good castings and I gave it up, because I did not like the results. But maybe plaster is not the right material for me. If you want to give it a try, here is a link that might be helpful: .
  3. MadModeler

    MadModeler Member

    My sister-in-law used that to make a cast of me and my wife's hands. Neat stuff to work with! :thumb:

    Thanks for the link!:thumb: :D :thumb:
  4. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Hiya kitsune, and welcome to the Gauge. :wave:
    If you're set on doing the structure in plaster, use either Hydrocal or dental plaster. You could make simple moulds out of .060" sheet styrene, if the shape of the building is fairly plain. I'd cast it as one piece, although you'll have to plan out your mould very carefully, especially to allow removal of the inner mould. If you choose this path, it helps to vibrate the filled mould before the plaster sets: this helps to remove air bubbles. You can use vegetable oil, applied with a brush or paper towel, or a spray-on no-stick coating, like Pam, as a mould release. Once you've made the casting, you'll need to finish it to look like concrete because the plaster will have a very smooth surface. In my opinion, it would be easier to build the structure from .060" sheet styrene, skipping the mould-making altogether. You'd still need to finish the styrene to look like concrete, but this could be as simple as sanding everything with a suitably coarse sandpaper, then painting it in an appropriate colour.


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