Tutorials

Shell Casting a Rock Face on the Cheap

Posted by Beano Boy on 25 May 2016, 13:56

The old saying "Cheap is Cheerful ", comes to mind.

My aim was to produce casting between 3mm to 5mm thickness but large light strong things,and not slabs of heavy soldid stuff.

The first casting required 3 Yogurt Pot fills.


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Two full measures from the small section filled with water were tipped into the larger section.

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Then three Heaped Table Spoonfuls of Plaster of Parish was added into the water. Once all three were heaped up into the water it was then the time to mix it with a large brush. Always add the Plaster to the water, because this avoids lumps that go instantly hard.


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Each of the three layers was brushed on with a large cheap brush and not poured. Poured on it would flatten the crumpled up Cooking Foil I used as a Pattern. There was plenty of time to cover the foil and so I was in no frantic rush. Each layer was left to harden then the next was applied in the same way.

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One must not over crimp the foil tight ,because the result would be spending time picking the shiny stuff out like the Old 49`ers did. Work it lightly into the shape required.

Please notice the edges of the metal foil was bent up slightly and odd things slipped underneath for added support while the work took place. in using this brush on method a thin shell casting was produced.

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Casting No 1 is just over a foot long by 9 inches,and was produced from the three small Yogurt Pot measurements described.
It will dry out hard and very light and it cost a few Penny`s to produce.

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I will re-use the Foil again but intend a better shape. One must learn as one travils the pathway of scratch building, and with confidence move forward to a better end.


Casting No 2
Made in the exact same way.

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Turned over when hard and the foil required no great effort to remove it.

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It turned out well.___ :cowboy: " It sure did Pard, Perfect 4 Those there Rocky Mountains"

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Always the object is to try and show easy ways to save time, effort and money on projects.
These simple to make castings only took 30 minutes to make including the drying hard time.

:read: " BB`s aim was spot on this time. They being all 3mm thick."

Thanks 4 Looking :-D BB
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Posted by Susofrick on 27 May 2016, 09:23

Very nice-looking rock face! And great idea! Maybe I will use this for my expedition! The gnome doesn't look that bad either! Where did you find him? Can use one or two.
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Posted by Beano Boy on 27 May 2016, 17:00

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:-D Nice one Gunnar, last time I showed this rather massive wind up toy it reminded everyone of Paddington Bear!

If you need them thicker Gunnar,just pour the stuff in once the shell has been formed and has hardend . Mine are thin in order to snap pieces off easy for modelling around the railway layout,and the canal.

As for the picture above i don`t mind playing the fool, because deep down i know i am not one.
Life is often fast paced out, hectic and even downright hard cruel at times, and to be stiff faced serious all the time is not good,because everyone needs fun in their lives. Often is the case I let others share part of my daily fun.
As for passing on tips that gives me the opportunity to play ,but also helps others with my crazy ideas some of which seem to work. i reckon 10 Penny`s worth of UK Sterling would more than cover the cost of producing one of my shell castings. The Biggest cost afforded and not included here was of course the Yogurt ,but I got to eat that. :-D " Gosh! That was jolly nice. "

:read: "A good way for taking impressions useing cooking foil, to get much better finished results is to rob it over lumps of natural rock or coal._____________Wash the coal first"

I am now working on the actual rock faces .

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Heres the first one made by the cooking foil method total cost 20 Pence.
There are two others to do today for my Rockface features on the model railway.

"Mrs B,have you seen my Specs?"

Credit goes to Mrs B, who suggested doing the faces in the same style.
See you guys later BB
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Posted by MABO on 27 May 2016, 18:32

Another great Invention from created from the workshop in your mind!
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Posted by Beano Boy on 27 May 2016, 19:34

Thank you Jan, for the nice compliment. I just finished head number two,but it is hit or miss whether it will be a good casting or a dud one. Producing the first head was Mrs B`s ,idea and quite frankly i had thought it would not work,but what do I know of such things?
These life size Rock Faces are to be set into a Rockface on a bend like Mt Rushmore,on my quirky but nice model railway,that Mrs B and I,have rebuild over the past few weeks.
P T S D, has relaxed at long last! BB
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Posted by MABO on 27 May 2016, 21:57

Good to read, Paul!
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Posted by Beano Boy on 28 May 2016, 15:50

Life Sized Made For Wig & Hat Display

Bought along with another two from China a few months ago i used them for my rock climbers of the 1950,s to scale to incredible heights. Now the plan is to produce them in Plaster of Paris, but not by the traditional method of making moulds. These will be developed fancy free from cooking foil that will help form a shell casting of each head. I expect the castings to look more quirky than the polystyrene heads,and that is the intention.
Mrs B, has helped out so much with added input with many projects including this one. The idea was hers but I had to figure out how best to do it cheaply while we both had fun. If it were not the case there would be no real point in doing such things.

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She has no ears but is Perfect for Sci-Fi & Fantasy projects, as are the other too which I will show later.

Below is plan B. Plan A, failed and our efforts were fruitless. Well it`s no big deal it`s time and a few mixes of plaster.

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With three layers of foil used one on top of another,and a long stretch of foil formed into a collar and fixed over the skull ,down each side of the face and tied and twisted tight under the chin like a scarf,
i believe this time she will look to be right on the button as far as my needs are concerned.

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The collar can be seen in the picture above.

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Because of wrinkles over everywhere the great and trusted butter knife came into smoothing out play.

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Working at smoothing out was undertaken while there was still moisture in the plaster. A 20 minute period for this and the job was well done and dusted. She will lay as she is for a few days and will harden tough into a most perfect white.

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Thanks for looking at this experimental modelling. :-D BB
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Posted by Kekso on 28 May 2016, 18:22

Great work Paul. I wonder if it would crack over the time.

Is it necessary that yogurt pot is triangle shaped? :xd: :xd: :xd:
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Posted by Beano Boy on 28 May 2016, 20:37

No these will not crack Dalibor, and are much thicker being between 5mm and 10mm thick.
Plaster of Paris is very strong, and still used by some of my friends upon a certain pathway,and who are Master Masons one and all.

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The Second Head. i Only Need The Skull,Face,And Part Of The Neck.

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Pure Sci-Fi Fantasy_________i miss having that slot on the Forum.

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Not bad for 25 Pence UK Stirling!


After A 15 Minute Tidy Up With My Old And Trusty Butter Knife. He Will Fit Snug Into The Mountain Side And Like The Lady Will Seem To Melt Into The Rock Face.

Two Down & One To Do Later. :-D BB
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Posted by Beano Boy on 28 May 2016, 21:09

Yes the shape of the Yogurt Pot is most important as a Polygon shape directs the mixing brush in order to make a much stronger mixture. Of course the mixing must not be in a merry go round style,or indeed a figure of eight, but must be one of hugging the sides of the triangle pot in order to get the exact angle to the mix. The direction of the brush must be from right to left,and very slow,and not left to right,because that forces the water to rise to the surface and the plaster forms rock hard boulders in the bottom of the pot with the brush fixed firm in them.
Three cornered Yogurt Pots are ideal for exact measurements for every mix. However I always allow a little over to spill on Mrs B`s clean floor. :-D
i never use a round mixing up pot or bowl because i do not believe in cutting corners,but I do believe in dotting every i. :mrgreen: BB
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Posted by Peter on 28 May 2016, 21:48

Like it so far Paul! And I love the humor in this post! :-D
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Posted by Beano Boy on 29 May 2016, 00:59

Thanks for your interest Peter. :thumbup: ___________BB
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Posted by Beano Boy on 29 May 2016, 13:41

It has been mention before and rightly so that topics should be about figures.
So here are are my HO OO ________20mm model rock-climbers from the early 1950`s


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Tiny holes drilled out will fix these in place after all the painting work has been finish. :-D BB
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Posted by Peter on 29 May 2016, 15:26

This will look awesome when finished! :thumbup:
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Posted by Beano Boy on 29 May 2016, 17:04

I don't know if it will be awesome Peter,but it could be darn right tragic if one of those tiny climbers tip over tail slipped.

The Last Head Was Placed On The Production Line.

This was the start of that certain shiny look of foiled Sci-Fi.
I must make mention that It seemed very strange throttling foil around the throats of these decapitated manikin heads.

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I just finished globbing on the last of the Plaster of Paris. It took 10 Yogurt Pots of the mixture to fill everywhere with a 1 cm thickness. So it took 30 heaped Table Spoonfuls of Plaster to complete the work.
It is intentional left untidy and lumpy and looking messy because making it smooth at this stage of the work would be doing it wrong. Rough and ready like it is strengthens the actual casting.

Another update soon.
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Posted by Beano Boy on 30 May 2016, 10:06

The Rock Face`s Are Finished

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The one on the right was the 3rd and last one cast.
In total it took about 4 hours work to produce all three heads ,and the cost to make them all around about a Pound Sterling including the Cooking Foil .That`s good going for me.

Mrs B,asked me to cast up the little fellow after she found him thrown away on the pathway leading through Fiddle Wood,during her 4 mile dog walk today.
Her wish was my command. He`s Kinda Cute! :-D BB
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Posted by Beano Boy on 13 Jun 2016, 16:58

Using the same method I made a rock-face housing today.

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It`s Half a cm thick,and it took two hours work to gradually build up this thickness,because you cant just lump the stuff in. Four hours since starting the cooking foil was removed.

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Because I used two sheets to make this mould some plaster ran underneath the foil in the line you can see. It will pick out ,but quite frankly it will not be seen as i place the face into its rightful place.
I can bed the face into a bed of plaster now to fix her tight,and It will take a week or two for this new casting to all dry out to nice white,then everything will have simple colour washes applied to finish them off.

I still have two more faces which are looking great and well fit for porpose,but they`ll have to wait until another day,as I am rather busy doing other stuff.

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Well there she is within the rock. No expensive moulds were bought in order to produce her.
Designed to be viewed from afar this alien type piece of abstract art will more than meet my requirements.
I still have two sets of climbers to paint however they will have to wait a while longer before I am able to paint them. BB
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Posted by Peter on 14 Jun 2016, 09:19

Can't wait to see more of this Paul! ;-) :thumbup:
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Posted by Beano Boy on 14 Jun 2016, 11:55

PASSING SHADOWS OF A FUTURE KIND

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As the Time Clock Tick`s...... THE FATE OF THE YOBONAEB ......is not known. As the Ship burnt only one Life Pod was successfully launched. Skipping into the atmosphere of an unknown hostile planet
it hit the Horizontal MARK and LANDS intact. BUT....There is always a but.................
The only survivors were these three,who marooned for life felt they should at least leave their mark just to show that they actually existed in time and space.

Laser Cut into Solid Rock!
A One Off.
No Orders Accepted.

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Here we have almost that pose within my imagination with this mornings shadows passing slowly across the casting up table. So the plan is to make the other two housing one for each face but each slightly at differing angles and both must fit exactly with the contour of the other rock-face.

A Puzzlement 4 Sure.

The rest of the story is unwritten but is perhaps for another time. BB
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Posted by Beano Boy on 15 Jun 2016, 12:37

The Left Hand Side Face Housing is Made

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Polystyrene supported, she slips into place perfectly.
The required angles will be reached as all three pieces slip neat and trim together,and the one shown above is by way off illustration only.

The Final Housing is Prepared For Casting Up.
So that's how all three were made,and one knows that each one will fit.


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Supported on her sides and resting upon foam to protect from damage.

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The foil has been formed in the shape of the rock i want displayed either side and top. Simply pushed into the hollow of the casting so as to form this mould that will produce the final housing required.
This will be cast up today,then the real work to produce this complted piece begins.

Story continues.

:read: "i wonder if EYE can save them? "___________My Topic,Eye Was Hopping in The Garden.:-D
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