These may well be the most fun toys I’ve ever gotten.

Just to be clear, what’s happening here is that I’m taking molds like those shown at the right (and also shown in a previous post) that were purchased from Hirst Arts, and casting blocks out of plaster.

When I say “casting blocks out of plaster”, one must understand that this is a significant threshold that I’ve crossed.

Plaster, you understand, is one of those craft materials that only grandmothers use. It’s so fasionable out-of-date as to be historically quaint, in this era of plastics and uber-clay of all shapes and sizes. Why, the very notion of casting something out of something else is itself quaint in many circles. That would involve work, and why would you do that when you can just go and spend money?

Yes, but see…

The molds cost between $25 and $50 each. You can use them (get this) hundreds of times. They are not, in any sense of the word, disposable. You buy them with a certain commitment in mind, something like “boy, I’d better use these, or my wife will slice off my testicles with them, and wow, they are dull.” Hypothetically speaking.

You need plaster to cast with. Plaster, for those of who who have lingered on the edge of craftyness, but have never actually dipped your toe in the waters, is a white powdery stuff that can easily pass for cocaine. You mix it with water (or, as I have learned, sift the plaster slowly into the water, thus allowing it to absorb more evenly… lumps are bad), pour it in to the mold, make a huge mess, and then wait for it to dry. It hardens into something that resembles stone, although is more fragile. It is, in a word, invented by God himself for constructing wargaming terrain.

And, it’s like $3.00 a box. I’ve spent like $9 on plaster so far. It’s cheap.

Beware, though. Once you first discover within yourself the ability to create your own Lego blocks, the future may become clouded and uncertain, filled with constant 40-minute casting cycles in which you generate more and more and more construction material for your constantly inflating plans. This may be unhealthy for those prone to obsessive behavior. I may suffer from this disorder; no conclusive evidence on the topic has yet escaped my minion’s suppressive powers.

Once the blocks have been cast, they must dry. I can now measure the dryness of plaster blocks by touch. And, perhaps more chillingly, by smell. I dry my blocks our tiny oven, on cookie sheets. They don’t taste as good as cookies, but they provide much more joy. Imagine that.

What do you do with a pile of plaster blocks? What wizardry is needed to assemble them into something intelligible?

Wood glue. Lo:

I give you, the Traveller’s Bridge, Darklord-style.

What boggles my mind is that I modified their design on-the-fly while building this thing. The bridge steps in their version are narrow as sin, and are far too steep for my tastes. So I extended them and lengthened the bridge. Try that with a terrain kit from… some… other company that sells terrain… things.

Not only that, I can make a giant phallic symbol!

This is from this Egyptian mold they make.

A question: can you tell me, off the top of your head, the difference between Mayan and Egyptian architecture?

Well, fuck you, so you can. Who asked you anyway. My Mayan architecture that I’m building for my Lustria campaign is going to be graced with heiro-fucking-glyphics. Deal with it.

And what Mayan setting would be complete without a ziggurat? You know, a ziggurat?

It’s on its way. I’ll let you know when I’m done.