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Troy’s Crock Pot: Moldy Dungeon II, the Wrath of Plaster

What’s the Crock Pot? Just a simmering bowl of lentils and herbs, with a dash of DMing observations. Don’t be afraid to dip in your ladle and stir, or throw in something from your own spice rack.

I posted earlier about purchasing some of Hirst Arts’ CastleMolds with the intent of making a modular dungeon for my gaming sessions.

Well, several jugs of plaster mixture and a lot of green and black paint later, I’ve produced my first set. 

The cavern floor

A few glass beads serve as a pool in the great hall of the mind flayer from my Age of Worms game. [1]

A few glass beads serve as a pool in the great hall of the mind flayer from my Age of Worms game.


The brown and gray flagstone walls

Gray and brown flagstone serve as the walls in this chamber leading to a balcony overlooking the great hall. [2]

Gray and brown flagstone serve as the walls in this chamber leading to a balcony overlooking the great hall.


My next project

What lies ahead? These unfinished columns will be a key component to the arena I'm making for the next installment of the Age of Worms, "The Champion's Belt." [3]

What lies ahead? These unfinished columns will be a key component to the arena I'm making for the next installment of the Age of Worms, "The Champion's Belt."

I think I’m going to need more bricks.

13 Comments (Open | Close)

13 Comments To "Troy’s Crock Pot: Moldy Dungeon II, the Wrath of Plaster"

#1 Comment By DNAphil On August 28, 2008 @ 6:20 am

That is just awesome. Those Hirst Arts’ CastleMolds are amazing, and the best part is, with the molds you can make as much as you want. Far better than just buying finished pieces from a vendor.

My envy for that dungeon floor abounds.

#2 Comment By LesInk On August 28, 2008 @ 7:59 am

Very nicely done! I’ve been so interested in also doing a set for myself, but I’m so stuck on the 1″ grid situation right now. But lo is that? It looks like the floor times are broken up into smaller 3×3 flagstones. Hmmm….

#3 Comment By Matthew J. Neagley On August 28, 2008 @ 8:31 am

I suppose it depends a lot of the plaster you use, and you could embed things in them to adjust, but how heavy are these?

Also, how sturdy are they? Again, it would depend a lot on what plaster you used, but generally?

Do you basicly lay them out and depend on friction and weight to keep them from moving about?

#4 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On August 28, 2008 @ 9:02 am

Lesink: The mold for the cavern floor creates in each casting:
(1) 2 x 2
(2) 1 x 2
(4) 1 x 1
(2) 1 x 0.5

The floor sections pictured above are 3×3. They were made by gluing several pieces to an sheet of cork, which I cut to fit. But I also made floor tile sections of various sizes, including 2×4, 2×2, 1×4, 1×2 and a few 1x1s.

Matthew: How sturdy? I’ve sprayed each piece in acrylic clear coat to make them more durable. Without that, the paint can scratch off rather easily.

The plaster pieces themselves I would compare to just a little more firm than a Graham cracker. If you purposefully apply pressure, they will snap and break. Adding the layer of cork does reinforce them.

You are correct, the consistency of the plaster makes a difference. In experimenting, I’ve had to toss out a batch that was too thin. The pieces crumbled with normal handling.

Histarts recommends using dental plaster for greater resiliency. But so far, I’ve been happy with the $5 jug of craft plaster I get at Hobby Lobby.

The cork on the bottom keeps them in place, as does the fact the surface of the table is felt (It’s a poker table). But I’ve placed them on the kitchen table, and they stay put for the most part. The pieces with the walls cemented to them sort of serve as an anchor for the floors.

When assembled the seams are obvious. But no more so than cardstock Dungeon Tiles or similar things.

#5 Comment By nblade On August 28, 2008 @ 9:37 am

The HirstArts Molds are great. I’ve done some minor builds with the molds I have. I prefer the look of the Gothic brick vs the Fieldstone myself. I’ve been trying to do modular pieces myself. I have bunch of floor tiles in 2×2, 2×4, 4×4 pieces. Once I started doing stuff with the HirstArts Mold, a few things about a lot of the mapping you may find in some adventures came up. Seems no one really thought about wall and wall thickness when they did their maps. The Wall blocks are 1/2 inch thick which means they scale to 2.5 feet thick. I’ve always been curious how people handle these issues.with the blocks.

The blocks are much stronger if you do use one of dental plasters and the details tend to be slightly sharper.

My favorite utility mold is #85, Cavern Accessory Mold. Nothing like being able to have as many chests, crates, and barrels as you could ever want or need.

#6 Comment By tman On August 28, 2008 @ 11:14 am

Nice work! Clever idea for the pool of water too.

I have never heard of these until your first post about them and now I’m very excited about them. I’m trying to stick to WotC’s tiles and printable terrain (for cost and space) but these just look like so much fun to make!

#7 Comment By Naloomi On August 28, 2008 @ 11:20 am

I’ve used Bruce’s molds for close to 2 years now, when I bought my first mold (203 – cracked floor tile) to add to my, at the time, large Dwarven Forge collection. I’ve since replaced all my Dwarven Forge with Hirst Arts stuff.

Can you share the paint colors and methods used to get that floor coloring though? I’ve done a lava one for the caverns, but haven’t been able to get anything else to look ‘right’ to me, and yours just ‘looks right’.

#8 Comment By Matthew J. Neagley On August 28, 2008 @ 5:35 pm

Re: the water-
One of the other ways to do water, assuming you want it to be permanent, is to pour clear epoxy into the recess. You could (I imagine) add foodcoloring to the epoxy or paint it once dry to make different pool effects. You could do the same thing in a thin-walled cardboard box (just make sure to study your epoxy. some get quite hot as they dry) to make modular water meaning you could drop in the fresh water for a modern temple fount, or the stagnant water for the ruins.

Re: Walls-
Some of the molds feature 1.5″ flagstones instead of 1″. While using those would increase the overall size of your model by 50%, it would also allow you to put walls on while retaining enough space to place minis. You could also try drilling very small tap holes into the bottom of your walls, and mounting them with epoxy to a piece of sheet metal with some small gauge wire or other fastener. If you leave a distance between the sheet metal strip and the plaster wall equal to the thickness of a floor tile, you’ll be able to place your tiles on either side of your wall’s sheet metal “foot” and hold them up with a 1/4″ overlap on each side’s tile, leaving and inch and a quarter to place minis.

#9 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On August 28, 2008 @ 10:38 pm

Naloomi: The paint schemes are exactly the suggested ones from Bruce’s site.

#10 Comment By Naloomi On August 29, 2008 @ 7:14 am

The colors just look off to me from the ones Bruce has used.

#11 Comment By Martin Ralya On August 29, 2008 @ 5:34 pm

Damn, Troy, that looks really nice! I don’t have the patience for it, but I wish I did.

#12 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On August 30, 2008 @ 9:21 am

If you can build with Legos, you can build with these.

The only patience required is waiting for a mold to set, then doing it again, and again, and again, and again …

until you have enough blocks to build with. 🙂

As for painting, like I said earlier, I tried to follow the painting suggestions that Bruce puts up on his website. That’s saved a lot of time, rather than having to experiment with different hues.

#13 Comment By longcoat000 On September 2, 2008 @ 5:26 pm

I’ve had my eye on these for awhile, but never took the plunge (I’ve got too many other unfulfilled hobbies cluttering up a corner of the condo to get into another one). For those concerned about the 1 square D&D scale, take a lesson from wargaming and make everything free-form.

1) Each 1″ / 25mm = 1 square.
2) If two figs are within an inch of each other, they’re considered to be in adjacent squares.
3) Use a compass and draw some templates of varying radii. The number of squares in the burst / blast is the radius of the circle.

I would recommend dental alginate over plaster if you “play rough” with your terrain (or have clumsy players, small children, or inquisitive dogs). Also, it comes in a variety of colors, so if you’re lazy, then you can save yourself the painting step by casting everything in gray alginate. Plus, it comes in various flavors (if you like the smell of mint or cherry while you game), so if you do have small children who like to put things in their mouth, alginate won’t poison them. The cheapest I’ve seen alginate is at snap2 ( [4]), where it goes from $5.90 US to $6.95 per pound (most places I’ve found had it for about $10 / pound), depending on how much you order.

For those of you wanting to make your own water, you’ll have to figure out what the final shape will be. If it’s a square-ish shape, then you’re in luck because Legos make the perfect casting mould. If not, then you’re going to have to come up with something that mimics the approximate shape you want the final product to be in.

For those square pools, figure out the size you want it to be, make a “box” with the appropriate interior dimensions (missing one of the six sides, and tightly joined), and you have yourself your mould. Grease the sides with Vaseline or a silicone release agent, and you’re ready for the next step.

(This next bit is cribbed from White Dwarf magazine. If you’ve already read it, I have nothing new to add and may be missing a step or two).

Next, mix up a batch of clear liquid resin. Add a few drops of acrylic paint to it if you want it to be a different color than clear. Pour it into the mold, and wait for it to set. If you want to be fancy, take an old, cruddy paintbrush and dapple the top as it’s drying to get waves or ripples.

Once it’s dry, you can either pop it out of the mould or take the mould apart around it.

If you want to add different effects (like fountains shooting out water or small waterfalls), take some clear fishing line and glue one end to the water souce and one to the destination. Take your resin and dribble it onto the line (probably easiest to do with an old paintbrush). Do that until it looks like you have a fairly nice looking bit of water, and let it dry.