Structolite alternatives?

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January 4, 2013 2:53 PM

Getting ready to take my first shot at building a tunnel/mountain. I've started rough carving the basic structure out of pink foam and need to start picking up supplies to finish. I plan to fill it out with cardboard strips, cover that with plaster cloth and then texture it with Structolite. Only problem is I can't find Structolite anywhere in Seattle. The local Home Despot has USG "UltraLightweight All Purpose" and "Lightweight All Purpose" joint compound. Are these similar and good substitutes for Structolite? 

 
 
 
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January 4, 2013 3:18 PM

This is how it is listed. I agree, not all stores carry it. Because it is a base coat material, they may have an alternative. I would ask or see if you have a local masonry/tile store in your area.

 

USG Structo-Lite 50 lb. Basecoat Setting-Type Joint Compound

Model # 163841040

Store SKU # 122242

 

I used to dip paper towels in a plaster mix and then I would cover it with sculptamold. Now I just use the paper towels dipped in structolite.

 

Don

 

Boothe Memorial Railway Society

 

STRATFORD, CT

 
 
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January 4, 2013 3:29 PM

I saw that on their site but the store in my area doesn't stock it. Plus 50 pounds would be WAY more than I'd need. I'm only making a ~6-8" high plateau that takes up a corner of my 5'x10' lay out. 

 
 
 
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January 4, 2013 3:43 PM

Have you considered using Fusion Fiber instead as a texturing material? Highly recomend it and there are many more forum members that are using.

 
 
 
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January 4, 2013 4:12 PM

Just make sure to get the fast setting 20 min mud.  It does not shrink and crack (important).  I got the heavy duty blue shop towels (paper).  Worked just fine, however the towels retain moisture, the set time is 20 mins, but the time for all the moisture to dissipate is related to humidity.  I also use it in my woodland scenic rock molds.

 
 
 
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January 4, 2013 5:55 PM

Fusion Fiber looks interesting and I looked up the earlier threads. Nobody in my area stocks it but might be worth ordering. Doubt I'll get my hard shell work done this weekend so availability could be less of an issue. 

 
 
 
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January 4, 2013 6:31 PM

The two main advantages of Structolite for scenery making IMO are its slow setting time (hours), and its perlite texture that simulates rock very well. You can mix a big batch and work all evening without having it set up in the mixing bowl.

 

I've also used the slow-setting drywall compound (45 minute variety) and added my own texturizer. It just isn't as strong as Structolite when set.

 

Gypsolite is another material almost identical to Structolite and available at many hobby shops in small quantities.

 

Jim

 

 

 
 
 
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January 4, 2013 6:52 PM

Thanks Jim. I've been using your articles in the magazine as my go-to guide for scenery. I'll have to look around for Gypsolite.

 
 
 
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January 4, 2013 6:56 PM

If you're doing a small area, what I've done is use tubes of acrylic,  latex window caulking.  I spread it over the dried plaster cloth and with a very WET brush, I just spread the caulking around and when it dried, it was very durable like rubber.  Then paint & scenic away.   It's inexpensive, too less than a $1 a tube.  (Bought a small case)

 

Only By The Grace Of God Go I.

 
 
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January 4, 2013 7:17 PM

Gysolite is the same stuff:

http://www.nationalgypsum.com/....aspx?ProductID=2396

 

Home Depot:

http://www.homedepot.com/buy/u...pound-163841040.html

 

Do It Best Hardware Stores Online, and then deleivered to your local store free freight!:

http://www.doitbest.com/Concre...tbest-sku-266580.dib   $13.00 for 50 lbs!

 

Russ

 

 

Please have a visit to:

http://www.hobby-tronics.com/1940DRGW/

OGR since Sept 2006.

 
 
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January 4, 2013 7:57 PM

Russ just reminded me of Structolite's biggest advantage - it's only a little more than 25c a pound. The last project used 175 lbs of it. 

 

Jim

 

struct 001

 
 
 
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January 5, 2013 7:41 AM

Hey Russ:

Thanks for the heads-up about other sources for Gypsolite - my big orange box store doesn't carry it but the smaller hdw store can. That's good to know!

 

And Jim:

Could you clue me in as to what can be used as a texturizer? I have some of that smooth plaster stuff that I might be able to use if I can texturize it.

 

Thanks to both of you!

 

Neil

 
 
 
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January 5, 2013 8:46 AM

Check at a local plumbing/bath supply house for stock or referral.  We used it for a foundation under some shower stalls and fiberglass bath tubs.  In recnt years many of the tubs/stalls come with a styrofoam foundation.

 

Does _______ really have any lasting value?


 
 
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January 5, 2013 8:50 AM

Neil,

 

They sell a dry texturizing material that is meant to be added to paint for a textured effect on ceilings. Works just as well when added to plaster. It comes in different grades - smallest particle size seems best for rocks.

 

I have also added fine white sand to plaster or drywall compound for some texture.

 

Jim

 
 
 
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January 5, 2013 10:12 AM

Thanks for mentioning fusionFiber.

 

175 lbs of Structolite has about the same coverage as 2-3 lbs of Fusionfiber, plus you will not have to worry about texture or glue purchases for your basic cover. Also you can apply static grass directly to the wet base. Will not chip and very light weight when dry (less then 1oz/sq ft). Build a scene on bench and simply blend it into layout.

the working time is measured in days. Also once completely dry it can be misted with wet water to reactivate the glue and soften material for shaping.

Here is a thread

j&c studios

 

thanks

We will be a springfield show in Better living center (33)

 

Bill D

 

truescene.com Jcstudiosinc.com/blog

manufacturer of FusionFiber

 

Last edited by wsdimenna January 8, 2013 9:33 AM
 
 
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January 7, 2013 11:09 PM

Here's 800 lbs on my old club layout. 

 

One of the other advantages of structolite or whatever is that it has TEXTURE.  The plaster has ground up cork in it (lite) and that gives it strength (like straw in adobe bricks) and the texture.  Yes you can smooth it but use a stiff brush and stipple it as it sets up it looks great.  Second big feature is long pot life 20 plus minutes compared to plaster ? ? ? ?    Russ

 

 

Please have a visit to:

http://www.hobby-tronics.com/1940DRGW/

OGR since Sept 2006.

 
 
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January 7, 2013 11:47 PM

Originally Posted by SeattleSUP:

Getting ready to take my first shot at building a tunnel/mountain. I've started rough carving the basic structure out of pink foam and need to start picking up supplies to finish. I plan to fill it out with cardboard strips, cover that with plaster cloth and then texture it with Structolite. Only problem is I can't find Structolite anywhere in Seattle. The local Home Despot has USG "UltraLightweight All Purpose" and "Lightweight All Purpose" joint compound. Are these similar and good substitutes for Structolite? 

Google seattle drywall supply and you will find somewhere that has structolite or gypsolite, might even find a drywall contractor that will sell you some.

 
 
 
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January 13, 2013 5:16 AM

Can you use paint in

the structolite?

can you mix in dried coffee grounds?

 
 
 
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January 13, 2013 8:38 AM

Originally Posted by Jim Policastro:

Russ just reminded me of Structolite's biggest advantage - it's only a little more than 25c a pound. The last project used 175 lbs of it. 

 

Jim

 

struct 001

This is amazing! Is the gray building scratch built?

 
 
 
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January 13, 2013 8:39 AM

Originally Posted by ChiloquinRuss:

Here's 800 lbs on my old club layout. 

 

One of the other advantages of structolite or whatever is that it has TEXTURE.  The plaster has ground up cork in it (lite) and that gives it strength (like straw in adobe bricks) and the texture.  Yes you can smooth it but use a stiff brush and stipple it as it sets up it looks great.  Second big feature is long pot life 20 plus minutes compared to plaster ? ? ? ?    Russ

 

Great scene!

 
 
 
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January 13, 2013 9:53 AM

I have added gray paint to Structolite but never dried coffee.
 
 
 
 
Originally Posted by sandysimon:

Can you use paint in

the structolite?

can you mix in dried coffee grounds?

SAM_1689

SAM_1689

 

Don

 

Boothe Memorial Railway Society

 

STRATFORD, CT

 
 
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February 3, 2013 11:29 PM

I was *finally* able to find Structolite here in Seattle. None of the big box stores carry it nor did the usually local hardware stores. Salmon Bay Gravel had it in stock and best part is they were able to sell me a 10 pound bag for $5. Sweet. Funny part is they're closer than any other shop I tried. I was able to hop on my bicycle and pick it up. Covered my first hill this weekend and have to say the stuff is nice and turns out great. I plan to cover the top with FusionFiber which is a little more sod like in appearance. The FusionFiber didn't look right for stone cliffs. Probably going to put a beacon tower in the corner.

2013-02-03 19.45.01

 
 
 
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