|J'S WORK - Cobblstone Moulds|
A look at two new cobblestone moulds from J's Work...
Manufacturer: J's Work
Material: Silicone rubber
Serial Number: PPA3027 & PPA3028
Price: £3 from Armour Models
J's Works are a new company hailing from China, and are only available from LuckyModel! They manufacture an ever expanding range of diorama accessories, in a variety of materials, these latest two silicone moulds being the latest in a series representing individual cobble stones in 1/35th scale.
The sets each consist of a flexible silicone rubber mould, suitable for making 1/35th scale cobblestones. PPA3027 makes them large...PPA3028 makes them small. Given that they're both labelled 'large' and 'small' respectively, and 1/35th scale, the size is slightly academic since they can both be used in any scale, cobblestones being found in a variety of real sizes.
The moulds arrive in clear plastic envelopes, with cardboard headers and backing, on which can be found printed the product information and full instructions for use.
On close examination, there's a fair amount of 'flash' for want of a better name around some of the individual stone moulds, although as you'll see, if you follow the instructions, they don't impact on the final stones produced.
I mixed up some plaster, the instructions on the reverse of each of the sets recommending just plaster, which I've tried with another of their moulds in the past and which worked fine, although as it was plaster of the wall-filling type the resulting tiles were a little fragile. This time I used Hydrocal, which is an extremely lightweight type of plaster manufactured specifically for modelling, and is quite strong. Although the instructions recommend mixing a little acrylic paint in with the plaster when mixing it, for the purposes of this review I just used it uncoloured. The advantages of mixing colour in with the plaster are two-fold. Firstly...when they're finished they need a minimum of painting, but secondly, and perhaps more importantly, plaster mouldings tend to chip, even long after the diorama has been finished. If you haven't mixed any colour in with your plaster, then you end up with tiny white spots which can be distracting....but with colour mixed into the original plaster mix, it can chip away to its heart's content and will hardly be visible.
Rather than stipple the mixture into the moulds with an old brush, as indicated on the instructions, I used a flat scraper to press the plaster into the mould, from several directions. Using this method the mould surface can also be scraped 'clean', which has the huge advantage of leaving a minimal amount of material attached to each of the cobblestones, that then dries and has to be cleaned off each dried 'stone'. The mould was left to dry overnight, the separate cobblestones were pressed out, placed in a small empty (for Matt) yoghurt container, shaken for a couple of minutes to round their edges off, and then placed on a flat surface.
The actual moulds measure 12.5 x 8.7 cm and there are 70 moulds on the large set and 154 on the small one, therefore a couple of sittings would easily produce enough for an average sized base. The nicest thing about the finished stones are that they are all fairly irregular in size and shape, so mimicking real stones of this type, which are fairly irregular themselves. In this they have the advantage over using something such as lentils, which can be too regular.
I really do like these moulds! Each set released, just sort of adds to the 'whole'. There will be many modellers that espouse lentils etc., but I actually think they may be missing a trick here. For what these moulds cost, it's easy to collect the entire set. Not only do they have the advantage over some natural products in terms of appearance, but they can be used to build up a stock, for example when using plaster for other purposes, we too often have to discard left over plaster....whereas if you have some of these handy you can use it up and save then for later.
Check out the J's Work website for a selection of differing moulds in various styles.
My thanks to J's Work for the review sample.