F I N E   H Y D R O C A L   C A S T I N G S   B Y   C.   C.   C R O W    
  P.   O.   B O X   1 4 2 7         M U K I L T E O,     W A     9 8 2 7 5     U S A    

Scribing brick

I've done the hard work of hand-scribing the brick, stone, etc.


You can scratch build to your hearts delight with these simple hand tools.


I use silicone rubber molds to reproduce my work.

GN Depot kit GN Depot, Bellingham, Washington

The GN Depot, Bellingham, Washington was one of my first kits.

Minden Flour Milling Co. model

The Minden Flour Mill was one of my masterpieces.


    I am a model builder just like you.

    I started model railroading on a special Christmas morning when I received my first train set. I had lots of fun on a sheet of 4 x 8 plywood. I quickly went from plastic kits to wood, and fell in love with structures. After mastering craftsman kits I began scratch-building my own. As an adult, in 1983, I began fooling around with Hydrocal, trying to create my own scale masonry.

    My first attempts were rather crude, something akin to what a drunken mason might do with warped cinder blocks. It was pretty bad. But I persevered and by applying drafting techniques I learned to carefully control my efforts and create very precise renditions. My HO scale brick faces are a scale 3" x 9", just slightly larger than the typical 2-1/4" x 8-1/2" measurement but add a mortar line and we are right on. I even scribe the header courses. I believe my hand-scribed brick is truly a work of art! Especially when you add three more walls, doors and windows, brick arches and other three dimensional details.

    Next I tackled stone. It is a little freer than precise scale brick but there are still some rules. I borrowed Jack Work's method for creating Fractured Stone patterns and made all sorts of bridge abutments and piers with then. I also hand-carved several variations of stone walls on 4" x 8", 1/4" thick, panels.

    After spending up to 24 hours on a single pattern the next step is to make a rubber mold so we can recreate our hard work.

    I use Dow Corning's 3110 RTV Silicone Rubber, a two part system that cures at room temperature, shrinks very little and will give hundreds, if not thousands of pulls. This was really a key element in my model building. It took something that was very precious, that I wouldn't otherwise dare to even attempt to mess with (try coloring, cut up into something else, or even touch!) into something that I didn't have to worry about- if I screwed up I could simply cast another one.

    This opened up all sorts of possibilities from experimenting with coloration to cast bashing my heart out. Quickly I was learning how to work with my stock castings and developing my favorite techniques. Hydrocal really is a dynamic material. Not only is it a very strong castible material but it is easily cut and shaped. When I cut a corner (no, not take a shortcut- I mean literally cut the corner of a brick wall), or cut a window or door opening, I can then scribe the mortar lines around the corners and make the wall truly three-dimensional. This is far superior to what you might do with printed or embossed brick, and so far I have not seen a 3D laser (not that I want to!), they are two-dimensional machines. Sure, they can do cool things but not this cool!

    Since beginning this adventure I have written about two dozen and counting construction articles that have been published.
To see a list of them click   CONSTRUCTION ARTICLES  .
Most have been published in Bob Hundman's Mainline Modeler with others in The Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette and Model Railroader. And hopefully there are many more to come.

    Occasionally I present slide show clinics at local and nation train shows. Usually these include my History of Masonry Construction in North America, at least how I see it and my Fine Art of Hydrocal Structure Modeling in basic and advanced varieties. If I plan to present a clinic soon the following link will be active: NEXT LIVE CLINIC.

    I must say something about copyrights. The key ingredient to all of this is the pattern work. It is unlawful to make copies of other peoples pattern work with out their permission. Even if it is just for your own personal use. I'm selling these castings to be used in a model. I am not selling you the copyright. The price for that would be much higher. I used to express a looser view on this (for personal use) however when I see my patterns under someone else's packaging at a swap meet, hanging in a hobby shop, advertised in national publications, and see modeling articles published that skip the critical part about making your own masters, well, I need to speak firmly against all piracy. Please, make your own patterns. Contribute something to the hobby, don't steal it.

    Below, you will find a list of modest on line how to clinics that I am in the process of developing. I hate it when web things are "under construction", especially, when the site has been up for months, if not years, and nothing has been added- but I promise, I will be adding more of these. And improving them so please do check back. At least the basics will be covered in the beginning. I'm sure you will enjoy them!

Wolf Creek Saloon model.

The Wolf Creek Saloon is a recent effort.

    Please note that I would love to personally answer all of your individual questions, however, sometimes I simply cannot. I'm working seven days a week, usually 9 a.m. to midnight or later. If it's about business I'll make the time to answer your questions. If its about your hobby, how do I make this or do that I've tried to answer you in the clinics below. So please read them before you give me a call or send me an e-mail. I'll be upset if you have not done your homework!

    You'll probably want to check out my Durango Roundhouse model. I've loaded a bunch of pictures showing many of these processes.


C. C. CROW's

  Fixing BROKEN Castings 
Hydrocal is great stuff. It's one weak spot is it will break. It is possible to fix broken pieces, often without it even being noticed. At least you can give it a try.

  Cut and Chop HYDROCAL 
Basic How To work with Hydrocal castings tips including the drops of water softening secret, cutting, filing and assembly, recomended glues.

  Coloring BRICK 
My favorite techniques for coloring brick. You will want to try my water putty mortaring. I'm told it looks pretty good!

  Coloring STONE 
My favorite techniques for coloring stone. But what are we going to do now that Testors/Floquil has dropped their Flo-Stains?

  Coloring CONCRETE 
Coloring concrete is really simple.
Check out how I do it.

Coloring corrugated metal is simple too. Check out how I do it.

Really the same as coloring concrete, it is simple. Check out how I do it.

An overview of my pattern making techniques. This is the heart of my work.

  Make Your Own RUBBER MOLDS 
Now that we have our patterns let's make some molds. This is how I do it.

  Cast Your Own HYDROCAL 
Some simple do's and don't to help you avoid problems. Like bubbles, I hate bubbles!

I am doing my own white metal and lost wax brass casting. Follow my journey to discovering these secrets.

Here's a step by step overview of the lost wax brass investment casting process.

Here's how all those great parts are made.

  The HYDROCAL Business 
Now that I have told you how to do everything you too can start your own model railroad structure kit business. Right?

Not that I am a know-it-all but here are some helpful tips on photographing your models- at least the way I do it.

Non-model railroaders often ask me questions about scale. Here's a quick overview.


  C. C. CROW     P. O. BOX 1427      MUKILTEO, WA   98275   USA