Dioramas: Buildings & Ruins
Ruined buildings and city scenes.
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Scribing plaster...
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Vaud, Switzerland
Joined: September 29, 2005
KitMaker: 243 posts
Armorama: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2005 - 09:03 AM UTC
I've seen several posts about making buildings by applying plaster on styrene walls...
I've just tried this technique, and I don't find it as good as scribing plaster on plaster walls... The plaster is not thick enough, often breaks. With walls made out of plaster only, I can really pull hard on my knife and get a very clean mark, my brick walls are a lot nicer...
What are you guys' experience? Is styrene only to be used when there is no scribing involved, or only very light one?
Or is the solution to have a very thick layer of plaster, like 1cm...?
In that case it would almost be the same to make the wall only out of moulded plaster; no?
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Aarhus, Denmark
Joined: July 18, 2003
KitMaker: 3,377 posts
Armorama: 1,088 posts
Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2005 - 09:57 AM UTC
I normally use drywall, plates of plaster enclosed in cardboard on both sides.

I wet the cardboard and peel it of on the visible side, and do whatever scribbling i find usefull - cheap and easy.

Theres some ruins in my gallery - look for "medic"

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California, United States
Joined: May 26, 2003
KitMaker: 1,255 posts
Armorama: 485 posts
Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2005 - 10:33 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I've seen several posts about making buildings by applying plaster on styrene walls...

I alwasy scribe my plaster but apply it to thin 1/4-1/2 Plywood to give it a solid base to adhere to and some width. (article I wrote last year -Basic Wall Construction

Here area afew examples

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Joined: March 05, 2004
KitMaker: 1,735 posts
Armorama: 586 posts
Posted: Friday, November 04, 2005 - 01:25 PM UTC
Nicoropi I've just started experimenting using plaster on styrofoam. I think the problem you've been having may have something to do with either the styrene backing being smooth or that the plaster is still too wet.

In the first pic below I put a very thin layer of plaster (2-3 mm.) over a styrofoam. I glued gauze bandage over the foam to give the plaster more grip. I noticed that if I tried to scribe it immediately after laying the plaster the plaster would come off. After about 30 minutes or so when the plaster was more firm I used a blade to scribe the lines in the stonework wall. Haven't tried scribing bricks though although the floor which you can see a bit off in the second pic was scribed using a similar method and it was even thinner (1mm).

The arch is made with cheapo A B epoxy used for sealing wall cracks.
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North Carolina, United States
Joined: February 22, 2002
KitMaker: 11,718 posts
Armorama: 7,138 posts
Posted: Saturday, November 05, 2005 - 12:54 AM UTC
I have done the plaster on styrene method once and found it adiquate. I needed to have a thin wall and a straight plaster wall would have been to thick if I made it thick enough to scribe. Or it would have been to brittle if I made it thin enough for the scene.

I gave it extra time to dry and scribed very gently because the plaster could 'pop' off very easily.

I don't 'think' of using this method very often there are easier methods. If you need it, then it is there as a resource. I tend to use what I need for any given situation. Always try to use what you learn from each technique. As beachbum says - add a layer of something (gause) for the plaster to grip. Or make the plaster a bit thicker, or add a bit of glue to the plaster to give it more grip.
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Indiana, United States
Joined: October 16, 2002
KitMaker: 5,272 posts
Armorama: 2,844 posts
Posted: Saturday, November 05, 2005 - 02:08 AM UTC
Slighlty but another method you might try is pouring your own plaster of paris slab in a baking pan. You can make them as thick or thin as you want, and depending on the size of the pan and how much planning you do, you can layout an entire building on one sheet of plaster (like a puzzle) and cut a whole building from slab with a coping saw. I have have success using this method to make everything from roads and sidewalks to the sides of flagstone bridges.

Baking pan...


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Alberta, Canada
Joined: January 03, 2003
KitMaker: 714 posts
Armorama: 360 posts
Posted: Saturday, November 05, 2005 - 05:26 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The plaster is not thick enough, often breaks.

Use a spray bottle of water and lightly mist the plaster. This should make it easier to carve.
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Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: October 14, 2005
KitMaker: 21 posts
Armorama: 17 posts
Posted: Wednesday, November 09, 2005 - 12:33 PM UTC

In my view it is best to cast a block of "modelling"or
"dental" plaster - these are harder and finer plasters.
If you go for old and rural houses, their walls are +/- 0.5 meter
thick, so a layer of 1 or 1.5 cm is not wrong.
you could cast them in a Lego-block-mould, any size you
You can scribe it with any sharp material, cut it with a knife,
fill it up like plastering a real wall (make a small trowel)
use a rotating brush for woodgrain, use a pulsating engraving tool to give a rough structure to carved stone etc.
I build a house that way 25 years or perhaps more ago and have some pictures on my site Wheels of Victory with this
link http://www.wheelsofvictory.com/index%202%20french%20house.html

Styrene is used to make the mould for the rooftiles and
window frames.

Hope it helps
Ron Perry
[email protected]

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Donegal, Ireland
Joined: May 14, 2002
KitMaker: 9,763 posts
Armorama: 7,444 posts
Posted: Wednesday, November 09, 2005 - 12:47 PM UTC
I would also recommend casting your own plasterblock and scribing it. I did this a while back and wrote anarticle about it ..see here.
This is the finished result.

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United States
Joined: February 17, 2012
KitMaker: 28 posts
Armorama: 28 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 05:15 AM UTC

I used your technique for a 7 ft sea wall that turned out great..I tried to do house and the board crumbled..I know how to do the bricks but how did you build the structure/house. Did you have balsa wood etc supporting the walls
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Quebec, Canada
Joined: January 01, 2004
KitMaker: 7,600 posts
Armorama: 6,110 posts
Posted: Friday, October 25, 2013 - 10:01 AM UTC
I made a suggestion about mold making for plaster walls in the 'Foamboard and plaster question' thread, just a few topics away.
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Pennsylvania, United States
Joined: April 10, 2011
KitMaker: 7,941 posts
Armorama: 7,934 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 12:52 AM UTC
I make my walls out of matt board and put the plaster on that. Cheap and light.
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Montana, United States
Joined: December 08, 2005
KitMaker: 306 posts
Armorama: 272 posts
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 02:18 PM UTC
Add a piece or two of the drywall mesh to your plaster forum when you first pour the plaster. Use the plastic kind of mesh. Even a few strands of it are so strong they are hard to break.

I hand carve all of my master patterns. Check them out at www.dioramasplus.com

Randy Pepprock
Dioramas Plus

PS. I've added the Afhgan Shops to the site.