by: Patrick Parton [ ]
A couple of months ago, I posted a question on making molds for bricks in the diorama forum. Chris from Kancali contacted me and said that he could probably make something that I could use. The culmination of this exchange of ideas is now available as a kit from Kancali.
There are three molds that make up the Rubble Set available from Kancali. Each mold contains different sizes of bricks and various pieces of building facades. One set includes pieces of pipe for pluming.
whats in the box
The molds arrive in a plain cardboard box with the instructions for use inside. The instructions are clear about how to best use this product.
Mold #1 will make three different sizes of brick as well as three pieces of building façade. This set will best be used to make large piles of standard bricks.
Mold #2 will make three sizes of thinner decorative bricks, four pieces of building façade, and two pieces of broken brick sections. This set will complement Mold #1 by allowing a variety of decorative bricks to be present in you pile of rubble.
Mold #3 will make large textured blocks, one piece of curved façade, one piece of curved façade with bricks, one piece of building façade with bricks, and four pieces of pipe. This mold also adds variety to your pile of rubble.
Let’s Make Some Rubble
The first time I used the molds, I did not get good results. This was the first time I had ever attempted any type of mold use. I followed the instructions, but did not find the “pouring” method easy for me. I altered my approach, and mixed my plaster thicker and forced the plaster into the molds with a wet tongue depressor. It was a motion similar to spreading butter on toast. This worked well for me. I get good results every time.
Once the molds are loaded, place them on a flat surface to allow the plaster to dry. After the plaster has dried, I find it useful to clean between the pieces with a wet cloth to remove any plaster. I then allow the pieces a while to longer to dry. Once this is done, the pieces are easily removed. Then the molds are cleaned with tepid water to remove any residue. Now you can pour another batch, or set them aside on a flat surface to dry awaiting their next use.
With care, these molds should last a very long time, allowing hundreds of bricks to be cast. This long term use makes them a value to any diorama builder.
Now, with every casting there are always a couple of bricks that do not get full. This is due to my method of loading the mold. But, this is rubble, so I break them up and am still able to use them. No materials lost.
The instructions say any plaster will work, but Kancali suggests hydrostone. I have used Plaster of Paris, hydrostone, and dental plaster. All will work. I do not like the strength of the pieces made with Plaster of Paris; the parts are fragile. Hydrostone and dental plaster reproduce nice pieces, which seem very sturdy.
The textured bricks will be smooth on the side they were poured from. The instructions say this can be fixed by sprinkling dry casting medium on the still wet bricks. I find that bouncing a Dremel across the surface works for me.
The only thing I have not been able to master is the pipes. The ends are delicate and if poured correctly, will replicate a beautiful piece of pipe. I do not have the casting skills yet to do this. But, this is easy to overcome. I will simply bury the end in the pile and no one will have any idea they are not perfect.
Three molds are available as a set for $39.99. Each mold can be purchased separately for $16.99. These molds fill a void for diorama builders. Even if you have never build a diorama, any vehicle or figure would look good on a base with some debris scattered around.