by: Darren Baker [ ]
I recently had a parcel from Diorama Debris who are a British company producing silicone moulds in most major modelling scales. Diorama Debris also have available the consumables for use with the moulds they make. In this review I get to take the 1/35th Scale German Standard Size Frogged Bricks moulds for a spin and utilise the consumables also supplied by Diorama debris.
In this review I will be using;
1350060 - German Standard Size Frogged Bricks Mould - £7.96
1350062 - Storm Drain Grates Mould - £4.77
Terracotta Coloured Casting Powder with Iron (1.5kg) - £7.52 (Not available outside of the UK at this time)
In addition to the products from Diorama Debris I utilised for the most part readily available at hand items which were;
A disposable take way container
Washing machine detergent
A small trowel (bought especially)
A piece of plasticard
Two cups filled with water
A disposable cup
Starting with the moulds; the moulds supplied by Diorama Debris are packaged in a heavy duty heat sealed plastic bag, and my experience thus far of this packaging method has been positive. First things first; I know I am a messy pup so I opted to work in the kitchen on a marble chopping board as it would be easy to clean afterwards. With all the tools and materials to hand I started by putting some water and detergent into the disposable take away container and then opening the bag with the mould (I should say that Diorama Debris sent me the drain grates mould to see how it had held up to resin being used for casting, and so was not a new mould)
I then placed the silicone moulds into the water and detergent; this helps to prevent bubbles being trapped in the moulds creating holes in your finished moulding. After removing the moulds from the liquid I poured the water out of the mould and placed it on a clean flat surface. Some information on the casting plaster I used from Diorama Debris. In this case I used the Terracotta Coloured Casting Powder with Iron as a sample of it was supplied with the moulds and I think the finished result speaks for itself.
To continue I placed a small quantity of water in a disposable cup and then slowly sprinkled the plaster into the cup, I just kept adding plaster until the contents of the cup was a slurry. I very strongly advise that you do not stir the plaster slurry as it can and will help to create air bubbles in your mix increasing the risk of air bubbles in your mouldings.
The plaster slurry was then poured into the mould and allowed to flow across the surface filling the cavities as it flowed. I then used the small trowel to move the slurry around on the mould making sure that all cavities were completely filled. As can be seen by the pictures I have provided I used way more than I needed wasting a lot of the plaster but the more you use the mould the better you get at judging your needs.
I allowed the plaster to sit for a couple of minutes to allow any air which was going to escape to do so, and then placed the plasticard sheet over the mould before adding the cups filled with water to work as weights. I left the mould a good hour before removing the weight (cups of water) and plasticard from the mould. I then lightly scraped the trowel over the mould as it cleaned the face and ensured a universal brick thickness. I then brought the mould into the living room as its the warmest room of the house and let the mould sit for another hour to make sure the mouldings were fully cured.
The moment of truth; I slowly rocked the mould in both planes in order to free up the mouldings and I was very pleased with the results indicated in the pictures. There were a few air bubbles in a few of the bricks but on the whole a very good result was achieved. Now the bricks formed with this mould are suggested for use as brick rubble or for using to alter the finished look of wall sections when used in conjunction with the mouldings from the 1/35th Scale Brick Wall Section Mould. If you are a sadist you could also build structures brick by brick.
The Storm Drain Grates Mould that I was sent I also filled with the plaster slurry in order that I could see if the resin casting it had been used for by Diorama Debris had caused any degradation to the mould. Well I am pleased to report its use with the resin does not appear to have caused any problems, and while I broke the frame of the smaller grating freeing it from the mould the mouldings look excellent. One of the beauties of the Terracotta Coloured Casting Powder with Iron is that if you colour it black for instance and then leave the fully cured part in water (I suggest salt water) it develops a natural rust that will be very hard to beat.
I have expressed my opinion that the moulds take a few attempts to get the best from them and so I should also point out that Diorama Debris has put a lot of effort into helping you get the best from their products. On the Diorama Debris web page you will find a number of tips and guides for you to view and download in PDF format, these guides should help you to overcome any of the issues you encounter and help you obtain trouble free mouldings.
Some details on the German Standard Size Frogged Bricks Mould. Bricks per casting 144
Approximate brick size: L 7mm x W 3.25mm x H 2mm.
The silicone moulds from Diorama Debris are in my opinion the best I have come across to date. The moulds I have seen to date have the mould cavities carefully laid out showing that Diorama Debris has taken time and care in all aspects of the mould preparation and production. The moulds judging from the drain grates hold up very well to use with resins as well as plaster. I will say that due to the finesse of these moulds that I have used so far they do take a few tries to get the best from them, but with a little trial and effort you will soon be able to produce plaster offerings from these moulds until your hearts content. Very highly recommended