Building castles in the cellar

courtesy Aidan Phillips

Aidan Phillips, Staff reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

In the basement of an Orchard Park home, castle walls are being built around a expanding kingdom. Local resident Steven Phillips is making a fantasy world based around the ever- expanding tabletop game of Dungeons & Dragons, and he does this with the help of a little dental plaster and a splash of silicone.  Tabletop games are a genre known by many but practiced in depth by a minority. Orchard Park High School senior Nick Oreki said, “Yes I know tabletop games, but I really don’t know much about them.” For someone like Steven Phillips, however, it can almost be a lifestyle. “I love the tabletop game genre; for me, I have been playing for over 30 years, and the hobby always is expanding.” The biggest part of this hobby for Steven is the making of the 3D board maps, and for this it requires a lot equipment, preparation, and the Hirst-Arts method.

“Hirst-Arts is where the method for making the maps comes from,” said Phillips. “That is where I get the molds and the method for making them.” To make the 3D maps for tabletop games, you first need to make individual pieces of each map (Ex. bricks, doors, barrels ext), and this is where the Hirst-Arts method comes into play.

To make the pieces it takes five steps, and the four main tools: the Hirst-Arts silicone molds, dental plaster, a shaking tray, and a food dehydrator. The first step is to prepare the molds and to mix 560 grams of dental plaster with 178 milliliters of water, and then mix with a wooden popsicle stick until not clumpy. The second step is to spray the silicone molds with a non stick spray and carefully pour the plaster mixture into mold spaces until filled to just over the brim. The third step is to take the molds and place them onto the shaking tray to raise air bubbles, after the air bubbles all float to the top you then blow over the molds to eliminate them.  Phillips said, “This is the most important step because your molds will not turn out quality if this is not done, wasting time and all the resources used in this process.” Step four is called the “plate method.” What you do is carefully set a flat plate on top of the mold in a hinged motion; this gets rid of the excess plaster within the mold. Place a weight on top of the plate, and let it sit for 25 minutes. The last step is to then is to remove the bricks from the mold, break off any excess plaster, and place them into the food dehydrator. The finished product is then pieces that can be made to make the maps for various tabletop genres, whether that be Dungeons & Dragons, Historical, Science Fiction, or anything in imagination!

“This method for making these pieces is not only easy, but relatively inexpensive compared to if you were going to buy them straight out,” said Phillips. With the mold being inexpensive and the equipment being basic, you are just a couple of steps away from starting your next adventure in your own fictitious world!             


Print Friendly, PDF & Email