Above: Pinehill Station building enjoys new life on my revamped garden line - a new simpler layout has been raised to a height I can potter more comfortably with. Apart from the red mail van, the coaches are my economy class 'CD' designs...the sides utilise intact clear CD case backs, which just happen to be spot on for size, with laminated card overlays. Cheap, but very cheerful.
Above: Memory lane! Just like casting wall blocks for large scale garden railway buildings, believe it or not JigStones moulds were also available for 4mm scale, offering the potential for working up some really chunky looking stonebuilt character. All that was required was casting plaster, glue, and a little patience - but possibly not nearly as much effort required as sticking individual stone 'shims' onto a blank wall. Or the art of being able to scribe stonework with an authentic look. OK, maybe it's cheating a little, but who cares when the above appealing results transpire?
It's a shame that 4mm JigStones is not available any more for making stone walled models - the depth of stone effect texture is so easy to achieve! The roof tiling, doors and windows shown above were also part of the HO/OO scale JigStones mould set.
Good morning, afternoon or evening...and thanks for visiting.
Hi, I'm Peter Chandler or, as some nickname me, 'Mr Jigstones', and the aim of this website is to offer some simple tips if you are creating 16mil (SM32), 'G' or 1/32 scale weatherproof structures.
It was when I was a lot younger, and possibly a bit more imaginative, that the JigStones method was dreamed up and thrown into the ring at garden railway shows. The availability of model building ware at the time was quite limited, so it seemed like a good idea. Someone has already pointed out that casting architectural parts from moulds is old hat. That's very true. I once had a set of moulds called 'Castlemaster' which was handy for making a model castle's walls, turrets and so on. Also the '00' scale Linka system has been a familiar product among railway modellers.
But no-one had yet considered doing something for our larger requirements. A bonus is also that, as long as the right casting materials are used, we have in JigStones also a weatherproof answer to most of the wood rotting, and plastic decomposing problems of scratch building and can therefore sneer at the elements rather than fear them. I hate wood simply because it requires treating, or re-painting, too many times, and like most of us I have better things to do with my time.
A JigStones model might, or possibly will, take longer to create, but once that's done, that's it - more or less for life. Providing your alsation doesn't sit on it, we're laughing. Or at least grinning :)
But let's start with the very crux of the business. JigStones aren't blocks, they're silicone rubber moulds. I know, it's a little confusing. But we do also usually describe a model as having been built with JigStones, and call the blocks the same. I say this just so you know you won't have to take delivery of a wheel barrow load of small concrete blocks. I'm afraid you have to cast 'em...but just think of the independence that brings.
...so let's say you have the moulds. What else is required? Just rapid setting cement (not ordinary Portland - it takes far too long to set!), sand (ideally with any gritty bits seived out), and car bodywork filler like Isopon P38 for finer castings...from your local auto spares outlet. All is explained in my short video guides (see the menu above). Do remember that winter conditions of freezing temperatures will ruin any damp cement castings. Bring them indoors! And never use damp castings when building; they must be bone dry.
For indoor models, casting plaster might be your preference for the wall units. Whether you are working in SM32 (1:19), 'G' or 1/32 scale, the geometry of the JigStones idea is identical, so the simple example designs offered by going to my JigStones Plans website work for all scales.
I've added a list of links to some photos of example models built by JigStones modelers over the years which can be found under 'More' in the top menu. If a model of yours has been included and I haven't given you a credit please let me know. Or if you wish to have a photo link removed please also let me know.
But here are a few more which cover a variety of subjects and finishes...
G / SM32 Viaduct on my Pinehill and Watersmede Railway. How build it is covered in 'JigStones - My Way'
G scale. Church windows WM3 used in a chapel of 'Random Stone' finish. The belltower has a casting from the 'Ironwork' mould JM1. Pantile panels are from PM1. By Peter Chandler, UK
G. Scale. Under construction. An integration of 'Random Stone' and 'Brick' patterns. The lower curved tops to the doorways are from SM5. By Eric Matthews, Australia.
G scale. All JigStones apart from the corrugated roof. By Linda Spencer, USA
G scale. 'Welsh Slate' pattern coloured to represent West Country stone. By Peter Chandler, UK.
'H0' scale castle created by Dennis Upton, UK
1:32 scale farmhouse. By Peter Chandler, UK.
'H0' scale farm created by Dennis Upton, UK
'G' scale. Example canopy using castings from JM1. The roof is of clear plastic.
'G' scale. Goods Shed by John Hughes, USA
SM32 scale. Hotel by Eric Matthews, Australia
SM32 scale. Station by June Halford, UK
'G' scale. Town Hall by Mary Fritz, USA.
'G' scale. Station by Roger Caiazza, USA
'H0' scale. Station by Peter Chandler, UK.
Above we see a standard set of JigStones silicone rubber moulds for 16mm:1ft (SM32) and 'G' scale wall castings (in this case the 'Random Stone' pattern of mould set RSM1), providing main blocks (left), linking blocks (right) and roof pitch blocks (centre). You need all three to create a normal building that will be pitch roofed. Extra moulds of these three designs, for providing the faster manufacture of exactly the blocks you need most of obviously helps to speed up the creation of all your models.
How can the castings be for two garden railway scales? 16mm:1ft and 'G' are respectively 1/19 and 1/22.5 scale. Stonework has no critical scale so any JigStones stonework patterns are perfect for either. This also goes for any windows used. But doors are a give away requiring two scales. The JigStones block geometry means that modellers of either scale are catered for without the extra complexities of producing two separate products with very little size difference between them. A small compromise means that the doors for both scales are to two different heights, the smaller 'G' scale versions just requiring a doorstep to be added. It's that simple. Unfortunately 16mm:1ft doors were discontinued when the system's production left my hands. However, doors are not that difficult to make for a 16mm:1ft scaled model.
A full list of mould product codes has been added at this website...please see the 'JigStones Mould Checklist' in the above 'More' drop down menu for descriptive information. 'H0' scale models have been shown above and moulds are not listed as their availability is in doubt*. The moulds which are available are mostly my original patterns.
Using the smaller 'linking' blocks
Some linking blocks, cast from a mould like the one shown top right in the photo above, are not necessary to be integrated immediately when building, as long as the main blocks remain stable when joined and the PVA weatherproof adhesive has set firm. Linking units can be added towards the end of the build, and therefore just one or two moulds for these smaller units might be adequate. Cast these smaller units while you build the basic model and slot them in place later. It's a way of seeing your model grow more quickly.
However serious thought should be given to having more than just one main block mould (shown on the left above) as two or more will obviously escalate production dramatically. I typically use at least six of these for casting the main wall blocks at speed, which is perhaps overkill, but three would be sensible. It all depends how grand a structure you might be likely to make, and how long you want to be making it!
The original 'three mould set' idea has perhaps confused many would-be JigStones users. This was always intended to be the equivalent to an '0' Meccano set...a very basic entry level starter. Hoping to find joy in the system with just three moulds is doubtful. Common sense dictates that duplicates of the moulds most required to complete a model in a satisfactory time means building up a much faster production of castings. But three moulds are perfect for smaller models.
When people say 'It takes too long...' they are usually referring to their use of just a basic three mould set, which could be the only experience they have of the JigStones way of building. Always remember that JigStones moulds have often enjoyed a very high second hand sales value...build your models quickly with a sensible number of moulds, then sell on. That's the way to do it!
Linked photos in the example model section of this website show some quite massive works of art even I would shy away from starting - and at the other end of the scale some more humble creations. But all are a credit to each creator's imagination and neatness of finish. If one of your photos has been linked to in my list and I haven't given you credit, please let me know so I can do so.
But back to the linking units. The mould shown above also provides a lintel block seen far left and, along the top side, four roof pitch units of a lesser angle than is provided by the centre mould.
Of course, with this standard system, different wall patterns can also be mixed for extra character. This allows zillions of possibilities and no model design need be exactly like someone else's, even if the same basic unit shapes are used.
Below are the ten basic units which are produced from a standard three mould set. The numbers shown are unit references, not quantities of castings per set.
The 'geometry' couldn't be any simpler...
Units 1 and 2 are the mainstay blocks for building walls.
Unit 3 is a lintel block for above doors and windows.
Units 4 are of shallow pitch for roof lines.
Unit 5 is used mainly at wall ends, or interior corners if required.
Unit 6 is used for completing outer corners.
Units 7 are for steeper pitch roof lines.
Units 8 are the common linking blocks of main walling units.
Unit 9 is used mainly at wall ends.
Units 10 are larger versions of 7 for steeper pitch roof lines.
As can be seen in the engine shed model below, the units, once properly grouted, present a stunning image of stonework with authentic cornerstone arrangements. There are no obvious joins at corners betraying the use of wall panels glued together. This provides buildings that are both very substantial and, just as importantly, extremely long lasting.
A chunky engine shed on my railway. The doors are made from laminated lino tiles - I hate wood.
If you feel more at home following plans for a few smaller projects, like the Coal Yard Office shown below in colour coded isometric form, then please take a look at my JigStones Plans site for more ideas. There's a link to it in the above menu. I try to add new plans now and then, but they take a while to generate, so don't forget to visit again occasionally. It would be impractical to provide plans for large structures, and the ideas offered are simply meant to show the nature of build strategy, and maybe a springboard to whatever bigger projects you might want to consider.
The plans may be downloaded and used offline, or even printed out to A4 size if you wish.
JigStones has predominantly catered for the scales of 'G' and 16mm:1ft. But that hasn't been the only option. A 1:32 scale version has been available and is a personal favourite. I don't get involved with Gauge 1 railways, which it can be used with, but as a stand alone modelling hobby it offers quite a lot of potential. The blocks are of course smaller, models are less weighty, and for diorama use some attractive model stone work is possible.
The small cottage below is well suited to figures from Britain's 1:32 farm range...it could be a game keeper's cottage. Or why not create a whole farm to go with it? Or a rugged castle feature shown below. This is a side to JigStones which can appeal just as much as the larger stuff of garden railway functionality...
1:32 Gamekeeper's cottage by Peter Chandler, UK