cheers guys, its great to get good feedback for something you love doing...and its all luck, i'm just learning the ropes here!
anyway i've had my head in a bucket of plasterboard paste doing the plaza.
heres some brief fotos of the process, and many thanks to lars for his detailed account of his method in his thread
the difference is i put the paster directly onto the routed mdf. first i reinforced underneath the panels with pine, and then cout slots into the top of the mdf to give the plaster something to 'bite 'onto, the mdf was untreated
i t seems to stick very well, i tried scraping a bit off (around the footprint of the church)and i ended up digging into the wood, its so porous, that it grips inherently.
then after 2 coats of plaster (about 2-3 mm total) and 2 days (its frustratingly slow) i couldnt wait anymore and started drawing the plaza on. the great thing about the plaster is it brings up loads of cool textures ' by mistake', so look out for features in the plaster and draw them out when carving.
i just used an old screw driver and a straight steel ruler
for the curved bits you just do it by hand. then have a good look at it (prferably back lit ) and go round again, widening score lines as necessary, the ruler tends to make things look too straight, so you go round again, messing it up a bit. the flag stones had a much larger groove than the cobbles (twist the screwdriver while dragging it!) the roots of the tree are real roots , stuck into the plaster mixture and then carved around to make them look like they're pushing up the old flagstones. the 'soil is greener and i'll put some weeds on there now.
all breakage of the plaster whilst carving is great, it makes the cobbles look older.
i used black spray gloss after the plaster, and then wall paint, on a VERY dry thick brush...you obviously cant get paint into the grooves
its really very easy, all the painting (after the black dried) took about 20 minutes! and it real gives great effects without even trying, everyone should have a go.
right i want to fix it back on the track cos these flurescents are doing my head in!
hope you like the result
heres some rich church goers!