Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hirst Arts - Making Your Own Dungeon Tiles

One of the more enjoyable facets of building your own dungeon tiles is creating additional molds to add your own unique pieces, as well as speed construction. At the beginning, it is smartest to restrict yourself to using the molds available from Hirst Arts, but at some point you may want to branch out and customize your dungeon tiles.

Bruce Hirst encourages people to do so, while observing that creating original molds is an exacting process. So far, my mold making efforts have been confined to creating molds to speed construction.

Here is an example. I created this mold to assist in the production of my floor tiles. It yields 14 half-by-one inch edged blocks, and 7 half-by-half corner blocks.

To produce this, I needed to make a master (the original blocks are glued to this piece of 5" x 8" glass.

You'll need a frame, in order to pour the silicone over the master and keep the silicone from running off the sides. In this case, I raided the lego collection of my son and made this 4" x 6" frame.

You'll also need some silicone. As far as I can tell, this Mold Max 40 is the same silicone that Bruce Hirst uses for his Hirst Arts molds, and it sets up fairly quickly.

The goal is to produce more of the floor tiles pictured below. While I have a glut of the one-inch centre blocks, I have very few of the edge pieces, thus necessitating my mold-making effort above.


Arkhein said...

Very cool. I'd like to add - don't skimp and use a latex mold to try to recreate the blocks. While it will work - the mold shrinks - so all of your blocks end up slightly smaller and won't fit right with the other blocks. That was a lot of time and effort wasted - but a valuable lesson learned.

However, if you don't care about the size, it's no problem.:)

- Ark

Jim said...

How heavy do you think your completed set of tiles is going to be? I think Dwarven Forge and Hirst Arts are awesome, but I would hate schleping it around. Maybe it's for home use only?

Sean Robson said...

I'm loving these Hirst Arts posts. Where do you buy your silicone?

Aaron E. Steele said...

@Arkhein: yes, i made the mistake of using some inferior latex materials with prior molds. There is some shrinkage of the mold, as well as the propensity for the molds to crack after several uses.

Aaron E. Steele said...

@Jim: I'm not sure what Dwarven Forge owners do, whether they will take their dungeon tiles with them to other locations. Dental plaster is fairly light, but if you're carrying around dozens or hundreds of dungeon tiles, I can't see that being very practical. Probably better to have your buddies over and use the tiles at your table.

Aaron E. Steele said...

@Sean: I buy mine from the local Calgary distributor, Gyptek Inc, owned by a pleasant gentleman by the name of Rick Hand. I buy the Mold Max 40 box pictured above for roughly $45, which will yield 4 molds.

You should be able to find a local distributor, but if not, search for Gyptek Inc on the web and you should find their website with phone number.

Squeeck said...

Heh, it's pretty funny actually how soon one finds needing blocks that don't exist. Sometimes all you need is some filing or sanding, but there eventually comes the time where you just have to make your own stuff. Incidentally, I just posted about some of my own customs, made for buildings for my Mordheim table.

Sadly, I haven't been able to find any European distributor of Mold Max. The RTV silicone available locally (ECTO) makes very soft molds and is quite hard to mix properly, but so far I haven't had any durability problems with it, and the shrinkage is no problem with it, either, so it gets the job done. It is a bit pricey, though, about 40 euros/500g jar.