Saturday, 27 April 2019

Experiments with Green Stuff

Hiya everybody,

For a quick change in pace, I've decided to cover some of the new techniques I've learnt working with green stuff. I've never been particularly good working with green stuff in the past - always impatient, naturally wrecking anything I attempted to touch up and as a result, every conversion you will have seen by me on here was entirely free of green stuff... Until the other week when I showed my standard bearer in the WPR.

Did I suddenly become a great sculpter overnight? No, my army consists of wizards but I'm not nearly as capable. In short, the answer is in two parts:
  1. Osiron Dreadnought parts - they looked about the same scale as the Ultramarine icons on the limited run banner bearer from a few years back (didn't use the sandard itself, that's still in my bits box)
  2. Blue Stuff - a thermo plastic molding material, heat in boiling water for a few seconds to make pliant, press onto item you are making a mold of, wait a couple of minutes and hey presto you have a mold - its also flexible enough so that you won't damage your cast when it sets and you need to remove it. Its reusable too so if you mess up or just want to make a mold of something else, just reheat it and away you go.
So with the above in mind, I cast the thousand sons serpentine star from the top of the dreadnought and the scarab on its chest plate. The scarab was on a whim and highlighted how easy it is to work with as it was only 10 minutes after having the idea of adding the scarab, I had a mold with some green stuff pressed and setting within it.

Casting the star was an interesting test as I had to create a two part mold. I've seen tutorials about this online but most involved power tools and creating a frame to hold each part of the mold - I didn't have access to anything like that but what i did have was spare sprue bits to use to line up the two parts so it sits and sets correctly.

Once that was solved, it was quite easy:
  1. Mold the front of the star - making sure that the blue stuff encompassed the entire front part.
  2. Insert sprue bits for guide parts
  3. Once set, apply vaseline or other lubricant of your choice (but not water)
  4. Mold the back of the star to complete the mold
  5. Once back is set, separate the two parts - the vaseline will ensure that the two parts of the mold don't bind to each other in the process
I then pressed green stuff into both mold parts, pressed them together and left it to set. Pro-tip: you can't inspect the green stuff while its in the mold so make sure you leave a little bit of the excess green stuff from same mix as used in the mold to give you a guide as to what the green stuff is like inside the mold - you don't want to ruin what you've done after all.

In the end, after a little bit of tidying up, the result was what you see above. I'm quite impressed as it was easy to do but I would not recommend trying to do anything in bulk as it is ultimately quite time consuming waiting for the green stuff to set.

The other technique is quite a simple one and that's using textured rollers on green stuff:

I used one with Egyptian designs on it and the result pretty much speaks for itself. I'll be using bits of the above on my bases. If you are planning on using textured rollers, I have a couple of tips:
  1. Flatten out your greenstuff as soon as you can but don't use your textured roller right away - the greenstuff will be incredibly sticky and despite how much lubricant you use, it'll still stick and potentially wreck your roller. Use a basic rolling pin to flatten your greenstuff then leave it for an hour so you can use the textured roller while it is still pliant but not as sticky as when freshly cured.
  2. Lubricant is incredibly important - at a minimum you should use water but I personally recommend using vaseline as it won't dry out nearly as quickly. Also, lubrucate the roller, not the greenstuff itself.
I decided to experiment with other materials too for my bases - I settled on using air drying clay. It is a lot more variable in setting time as its reliant on water evaporating from it for it to harden and the bigger the item, the longer it will take unlike greenstuff which is a bit more consistent. You can use it as-is and if you accidentally dry it out, just add water and it will start reactivating it.

The results are pretty much the same which is great - I'll be varnishing my models prior to painting to effectively waterproof them.

I hope that this has been informative! Does anyone here do other things with greenstuff? I'm deliberately trying to learn more with this project than I have with others and I'll be interested in learning of other things I can do.

Until next time,

Hector Cephas