J's Work is a Chinese manufacturer of diorama accessories. As part of their product line they offer a series of silicone molds for making both individual paver stones and small sections of roadway that are reusable and designed to allow the sections to be joined together with a small amount of trimming for fit along the edges. This allows the modeler to design their own diorama base.
contents and instructions
This review will focus on the large cobblestone road section, PPA 3041. The white silicon mold section comes in a plastic sleeve with a cardboard insert containing basic instructions on how to use the mold. Simply put, pull out the mold, rinse it off, pour in the mold medium of your choice (I use a plaster-like material I picked up at a local craft store), wait for it to set and you have a road section. Pour multiple sections and you have a road or plaza base. Depending upon the medium you use, you can begin the cleanup process while the material is still somewhat soft and easy to work with, which will make it easier when setting multiple sections together.
When I removed the mold from the plastic sleeve, I looked it over carefully. The individual stones are quite large, with an area in the center that is raised in the mold, leaving a depression on the finished piece. The mold appears well made, with some small air bubbles present that add texture to the finished product.
I prepared a thin mix of my plaster material and poured it into the mold. The instructions state to pound the table surface or jiggle the mold carefully to work air bubbles to the surface. The mold is flexible and will conform to the surface it is placed on, so make sure you have a flat surface. If you with to create a gentle grade, this can be done with the mold.
Once set, I removed the cast and examined it. The surface of the stones is very rough and they appear quite large. I expect they could be used easily for 1/24 scale as well as large stones in 1/35. In examining the spacing, I believe that driving a vehicle over this surface would be uncomfortable, as the scale effect would be a spacing of several inches. The horizontal appearance is also very uneven. I looked up cobblestone roads in a Google image search and found no images of a roadway this rough, although I have seen cobblestones placed like these in areas specifically to prevent vehicle and foot traffic. It is possible the section could also be used for a stone wall face. I sanded down the cast section and after removing almost 2mm from the surface some of the stones were down to the join lines while those in the depression were untouched on the top.
The mold is very easy to use, and the material looks long lasting. The finished cast is a very rough roadway, potentially too severe and uneven in appearance for practical use. If you want a rough, stone roadway or field, this will be the product to use.
J's Work products are available exclusively through Lucky Model http://www.luckymodel.com/scale.aspx?department=MAIN
with this mold retailing for $5.99 with free shipping.