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Watching tons of terrain videos I see people mentioning Sculptamold. I saw a Lukes APS video on how to make it yourself cheap. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eail7eqdzxk&t=260s Got plans for lots of terrain so figured I'd try it out. Bought a 25 lb bag of fiber insulation (recycled paper) a couple days ago and ordered some hydrocal to mix with it today. I've been wanting to try this out for awhile so I didn't wait for the hydrocal and dug out some plaster I had already. First batch I didn't have enough plaster in the mix but I corrected it for the next few. I bought 19pounds of hydrocal thinking it might last me years. I used nearly 2 pounds of plaster on 3 small to medium sized hills so depending on how nuts I go I may be buying the big bags of plaster later. I only used a couple handfuls of paper and have a 2.5' cube of it tightly compressed.

 

As a starting point I had a few off cuts of styrofoam from a hill my younger son made. They looked like they'd make decent curved hills. All together I can use them as a big crater as well. Not sure if I'll do them totally bare or grass on the outside slope and sand on the inside. So far liking the sculptamold but like anything it takes a bit of getting used to. Will sand, flock and paint them tomorrow once they've dried enough.

 

 

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Thought I'd do a little carving and then cover these in pva or modge podge to toughen them up before I go to work. They are still soft and damp after over 12 hours. I actually think they felt harder a half hour after I slapped them together. My main concern with them is toughness. I've tried plaster on foam before and it didn't turn out well. These have some large chunks of the sculptamold with no foam inside. The ultracal I have ordered is supposed to be pretty tough once it sets and I may have to do only thinner layers of the plaster mix. I'll figure it out later. 

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I think my proportions of plaster to paper were off on some of it. I made 3 different batches for the hills and only one patch is drying properly. I was experimenting because all the advice I read said use 50/50 plaster to paper. It is really hard to know what 50/50 is when one is a heavy powder and the other fluff. Do I pack the fluff or not and how much? More paper is more economical but no so good it it doesn't dry and crumbles. Looks like it's better to be heavy on the plaster. Right now I'm trying to salvage the poor spots with pva glue because cheap beggar that I am I don't want to throw away a few dollars of wet paper and plaster. :ik_oops: Live and learn. 

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Read that elsewhere too and it's probably good advice. I think it's tricky to do small amounts too. I was mixing a disposable cup of plaster with the same of paper. Real easy to get the proportions wrong with the fluffy paper pulp. Nothing a little bit of trial and error won't fix. Should have started with a bunch of smaller pieces until I figure out what I was doing. The larger hills is 2" high and a foot long, the others about 3/4 that. Used up almost all my plaster so I think I'll wait until I get my order next week to experiment more. The hills I have may be dry by then. :rolleyes: If it wasn't for the foam part I'd throw them in the oven for a bit.

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I would mix the plaster to the desired thickness and then add the paper. You might use more plaster than necessary, but rather that than ruin the project. Of course I haven't used anything like that in decades; pretty much use dental plaster to cast molds these days.

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1 hour ago, Froggy the Great said:

Does this work to fill in those really nifty-shaped fiber and plastic press-mold packing material?

 

It probably would if you get the consistency right. Never thought of that before and it's got me intrigued. Not sure if I have any of that stuff around right now because I never saw a point in saving it before. My order of ultracal is in UPS delivery limbo at the moment but if I can find some of that fiber molding I'll give it a try. I'm looking forward to experimenting more with it.

 

These actually turned out ok. I took some pics a couple days ago but haven't transferred them to the computer to show off. Some of the edges where my mixture was wrong were a bit crumbly so I coated it in a couple layers of straight pva. Then I used more pure pva to glue down the sand and flock. Then I realised that I forgot to paint the first piece before flocking and the white showed through. So another layer of watery pva and more flock and sand. Put enough layers of pva on and I thing you can solidify almost anything. It seems to be lighter and tougher than straight plaster even before the multiple pva layers.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Took these pics a long time ago but never got around to loading them on the computer. They've been played with some already. The areas with the right proportions are nice and solid. The ones with too much paper are slightly crumbly. My daughter also showed me that it is quite easy to dig a hole in them with a pencil. :wacko: Nothing a little pva and sand couldn't fix. Haven't had much time for hobbying lately so haven't tried it on anything new.

 

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