Saturday, 2 August 2014

Are We Getting Any Besser???


Are we getting any closer, would be a more apt statement.  More trials to replicate besser block walls have been conducted and while I will leave the verdict of success up to you guys...if nothing else it has been fun so far!

It was very heartening to get the feedback following the last post and a very sobering experience as well.  It is always amazing how with hindsight and third party comments, the subtle flaws (or room for improvement and refinement) are pointed out and then re-examined.  I have to admit that the original block facing did resemble "face bricks" and a way of softening the faces needed to be achieved before production could take place.

This time as planned, I ran up a set of moulds machined from cast acrylic and in this case I thought it wise to use clear material so I could keep an eye on things as they progressed.  The moulds are basically a two piece affair so that when the DAS is almost dry the finished "block panels" can easily be released from the mating parts.  When I am finally happy with the overall method, a larger set of moulds will be manufactured allowing for a few panels at a time to be completed.

Upon close examination of the latest trial there is still some minor lateral "ridging" of the blocks.  Certainly this ridging is not as pronounced as the first trial and this improvement is a combination of laser settings and the choice of material for this trial.  At the end of the day the laser process does have limitations and will never give the excavated surface finish of glass.  My ever suffering wife entered the debate with a fresh set of eyes and suggested that the best idea may well be to finish sand the face of the completed components with a very fine grade of wet and dry before colouring the faces...I keep reminding myself that I married the right girl!!!

Also in this trial I have also eased up the depth of the mortar joints and will also take on board the sage advice from Iain Robinson (refer last post and comments) and look at a vey light slurry finish coat of the blocks during the construction phase.

In the end I would suggest that some of the factors I am labouring over will not even be easily visible on the completed structures and possibly what I am trying to replicate may well be readily available in plastic...but the main aim is to vary my buildings so that they don't all resemble Walthers Cornerstone kits and to also experience as many facets of the hobby as I can, while all the time challenging myself...

And so... I have included some shots of the latest attempt and in my haste to evaluate the sample I decided to dry brush the DAS clay with a base colour before it was completely dry hence the mottled appearance of one or two shots... I also note that the photos display the blocks as rather dark with the wash applied...they certainly are lighter in reality...

Enjoy your weekend!!!   


  1. The sample finished blocks look really encouraging, they have taken the paint well. I would agree with your wife that a pass over with a medium sandpaper might add something to the surface, I was doing that with the Wills Breeze Blocks and it was quite successful. Looking closely at the unpainted wall, the moulding is excellent, it looks very good indeed.
    There is so much satisfaction from doing something from scratch like this and the cumulative effect is not lost on folk...your layout will be different, it will be an expression of you and your considerable creative abilities.

    I took down the thickness of the Wills corrugated sheet by taking a conical grinder in the Dremel and laboriously going into each corrugation along the edge of the sheet. It takes a bit to develop the skill, and even then you makew a mess sometimes, but errors generally look like cracked edges on the real thing. Looking forward to the next instalment!

  2. Rod

    The finished/painted section does look the part, also the mortar lines are better than the first attempt.

    The corrugated sheeting though looks somewhat NGR to me, as it all but has the appearance of half rounded strips set on a flat surface, rather than the bottom rounded corrugation. That may well be the impression created from the photo & when see by the eye may be much better.

    The other aspect with besser bricks as we talked about is that not all had raked mortar & many had almost none to note, which were often covered with render.

    Keep up doing things & sharing what you enjoy.


  3. Rod

    If you say that the last photo is somewhat dark then I would think that you have captured the look well.

    I confirm what Colin has said about the often lack of raked mortar lines but sometimes we have to enhance detail so back to you on that one.

    A larger mould will need extra stiffening to squeeze the DAS but I am sure you already ahead of me on that.

    Looking good.

    Ray P

  4. Iain, Colin and Ray...

    Thanks for your comments...always encouraging and always welcome!...

    I have been on a pilgrimage around here over the last few days and it is surprising how many besser/asbestos/corrugated iron structures are still in existence. I have to say that the mortar joint treatment on these buildings is as varied as the structures themselves. Some have raked, some not and some have been bagged over the I think I am safe with the present result in model form. I intend to build a number of these type of structures so the variety will provide the ability to present a few variations along the way.

    As for the use of the Wills corrugated sheet...although it does have some visual limitations, I feel that anyone who visit's Iain's blog and in particular the post regarding a breeze block/asbestos composite building...will certainly concede that the material has the potential to pass muster if prepared and treated accordingly. And after all...that is the challenge, to go outside my comfort zone and attempt to create a believable scene from the bits and pieces at hand... The other point that has to be remembered is that we are creating in a small scale and as much as I will be striving for realism...the camera can sometimes skew and magnify what is normally not obvious with the naked eye. I guess while I strive...I have to be mindful of what is feasible...

    Ah well...the results will be interesting...