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WhiteWulfe

Putty for sculpting terrain?

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So, I'm about to start working on making some 3D bases of my own for my dragons (and hubby's too)...  Anyone have any pointers or tips on particular putted to use when coating stuff like cork to add more detail, or would there be much of a difference between say Milliput, greenstuff, or other things?   I ask as terrain generally doesn't require as much detail as a mini would, but it never hurts to get a few more opinions. 

 

I do have greenstuff atm (and Aves Apoxie if this supplier I'm trying to buy some from sends me an invoice ::P: ), and might be ordering some other stuff, hence why I'm curious. 

 

Love greenstuff for stamped or rolled bases, and gap filling (I suspect when I try sculpting I'll like it too, I'm enjoying how it behaves now that I've had a bit of time using it for gap filling and bases), but naturally I'm open to other options too. 

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To fill LARGE amounts of gap, of course, you'll probably want to build things up with foam board or whatever other -- presumably cheaper! -- materials you might have to fill space.

 

When it comes to the detail work on the surface, I prefer to use two-part epoxy putties such as Magic Sculpt / Magic Sculp (WESCO), or Apoxie Sculpt (from AVES Studio) (with "creative spellings" as indicated).  All three of these putties -- well, honestly, I'm not even sure if they're actually DIFFERENT from each other in any way.  In basic form, they come in tubs with one being labeled "Part A" and the other being "Part B."  One is a mid-tone grey, while the other is usually a grey-tan color -- though I've gotten varieties of Apoxie Sculpt that come with dyes mixed in with the grey-tan part.  (Beware!  Those dyes are POTENT, and can make quite a mess.  Especially the black.)

 

As near as I can tell "Magic Sculpt" and "Magic Sculp" come from the same manufacturer -- it's just at some point they decided to play with dropping the "t," and yet I can find suppliers who carry the stuff with one spelling about as much as the other.  Not quite sure what the deal is there.

 

Locally, I get Apoxie Sculpt from a company called "Reynolds Materials."  I've also seen it in Amazon, but I prefer to support local suppliers when I can (because I'd rather my local suppliers not GO OUT OF BUSINESS and thus deny me the option to go aisle-browsing and to ask questions to store staff).

 

Whether it's Magic Sculp(t) or Apoxie Sculpt, you mix the two parts together largely as you would with the green stuff, but it's much cheaper by the ounce.  Once you apply a bit of putty, it's possible to smooth out the surface with a bit of water, and once it hardens you can file or sand it down.  My preferred method, however, is to make texture stamps out of Japanese "plastic clay" (the same stuff as the pricier "Instant Mold" sticks), damp the stamps in water to serve as a cheap "release agent," and then stamp the surface of the putty with faux boulders, cracked pavement textures, or whatnot, in the process of obliterating any fingerprints I may have left while kneading the stuff.  Then, I can go in with my tools and try to transform it into crumbling stone block ruins, the occasional fallen log, or whatever else it is I'm trying to suggest on a large base.

 

The two-part epoxies are also a lot better for making shattered ruins.  When hardened, they're a bit more solid and rigid than the green stuff can ever manage, so if I want to make, say, some broken pavement or maybe a broken statue or whatnot, I can sculpt it in the putty, let it fully harden, stick it in the freezer for a bit, then actually break it.  I'm not sure I could manage the same thing with the green stuff.

 

Actually, nowadays, I use the "grey stuff" routinely for custom basing and gap filling far more often than I use the green or brown stuff.  For really FINE work (sculpting hands, faces, horns, tiny details such as leaves), the green or brown stuff is all-around superior (and with a little bit of "give" so it's less likely to break), but the grey stuff is far more cost-effective for larger and more solid structures.

 

 

 

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For bases I usually Master Plumber's Epoxy Putty (True Value or Ace Hardware stores); re, it sculpts nicely, is easy to get a texture with, it can be sanded/drilled, & dries in about 5 minutes.

For large bases I use it over an insulation foam base. For really large things, like trees & towers, I make the basic shape out of floral foam sometimes in conjunction with shaped aluminum

foil then I cover it wit air dry clay (DAS is my favorite) & sculpt details.

This a photo stage I have underway to use as an example of the air dry clay: 

DSCN5871.thumb.JPG.7da986315fb79e6a025ea65d42950346.JPGDSCN5864.thumb.JPG.db929e3583893762a2df20ef3cc61127.JPG

 

This is primed:

DSCN5953.thumb.JPG.9a04f3df2553149810ce81f86a8c0183.JPGDSCN5952.thumb.JPG.fa0561e45a8e37de40cbb53c16b01b89.JPG

 

If you have any questions, I would be delighted to answer them.

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I use Magic Sculpt on anything needing sculpting on a scale any larger than a 40mm base.

 

Best stuff there is. Sculpts like clay, sets like plastic.

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I have found that I like milliput best for bases because I can smooth it with my fingers and water, it takes texture nicely and you can sand and drill it after it sets. 

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7 hours ago, Jordan Peacock said:

To fill LARGE amounts of gap, of course, you'll probably want to build things up with foam board or whatever other -- presumably cheaper! -- materials you might have to fill space.

Definitely a good tip, and what I was planning.  That would be a LOT of weight on a base if pure putty were to be used, not to mention I don't even want to know how expensive that would get!

7 hours ago, Jordan Peacock said:

 

When it comes to the detail work on the surface, I prefer to use two-part epoxy putties such as Magic Sculpt / Magic Sculp (WESCO), or Apoxie Sculpt (from AVES Studio) (with "creative spellings" as indicated).  All three of these putties -- well, honestly, I'm not even sure if they're actually DIFFERENT from each other in any way.  In basic form, they come in tubs with one being labeled "Part A" and the other being "Part B."  One is a mid-tone grey, while the other is usually a grey-tan color -- though I've gotten varieties of Apoxie Sculpt that come with dyes mixed in with the grey-tan part.  (Beware!  Those dyes are POTENT, and can make quite a mess.  Especially the black.)

The dyed Aves Apoxie was tempting, but given that I intend on painting and basing things, I figured such wouldn't be of much use.  Glad to read that there's an additional reason of it being even messier to avoid the coloured ones ^_^

 

Magic Sculpt has been tempting, especially since I like the fact it comes in separate tins ^_^

7 hours ago, Jordan Peacock said:

As near as I can tell "Magic Sculpt" and "Magic Sculp" come from the same manufacturer -- it's just at some point they decided to play with dropping the "t," and yet I can find suppliers who carry the stuff with one spelling about as much as the other.  Not quite sure what the deal is there.

 

Locally, I get Apoxie Sculpt from a company called "Reynolds Materials."  I've also seen it in Amazon, but I prefer to support local suppliers when I can (because I'd rather my local suppliers not GO OUT OF BUSINESS and thus deny me the option to go aisle-browsing and to ask questions to store staff).

Oh trust me, I TRIED to find somewhere local that carried... SOMETHING other than small strips of green stuff or Tamiya putties.  Called (or visited) every single hobby shop in town...  Not even Milliput is carried, which is odd.  Nearest place hubby was able to Google (since he uses different search terms than I do) was a store in Calgary...  A store that will only let you put a single stick in your cart for some reason.  After all of that searching, I wound up saying screw it and ordered it from a company in Ontario, three provinces over, or about 2/3rds of the way across the country.  I won't mention how terrible the "deals" are on Amazon Canada, but I will say that ordering from the Ontario company I wound up choosing is $10 cheaper - with tax and shipping - compared to the list price on Amazon Canada, and that's with shipping that almost doubles the price!  But it'll get to me in less than a week ^_^

 

Most of the other stuff it's looking like I'll have to order in from GSW, since there aren't really that many suppliers that carry any of the two part epoxy putties for some reason here in Canada.

 

7 hours ago, Jordan Peacock said:

Whether it's Magic Sculp(t) or Apoxie Sculpt, you mix the two parts together largely as you would with the green stuff, but it's much cheaper by the ounce.  Once you apply a bit of putty, it's possible to smooth out the surface with a bit of water, and once it hardens you can file or sand it down.  My preferred method, however, is to make texture stamps out of Japanese "plastic clay" (the same stuff as the pricier "Instant Mold" sticks), damp the stamps in water to serve as a cheap "release agent," and then stamp the surface of the putty with faux boulders, cracked pavement textures, or whatnot, in the process of obliterating any fingerprints I may have left while kneading the stuff.  Then, I can go in with my tools and try to transform it into crumbling stone block ruins, the occasional fallen log, or whatever else it is I'm trying to suggest on a large base.

 

The two-part epoxies are also a lot better for making shattered ruins.  When hardened, they're a bit more solid and rigid than the green stuff can ever manage, so if I want to make, say, some broken pavement or maybe a broken statue or whatnot, I can sculpt it in the putty, let it fully harden, stick it in the freezer for a bit, then actually break it.  I'm not sure I could manage the same thing with the green stuff.

 

Actually, nowadays, I use the "grey stuff" routinely for custom basing and gap filling far more often than I use the green or brown stuff.  For really FINE work (sculpting hands, faces, horns, tiny details such as leaves), the green or brown stuff is all-around superior (and with a little bit of "give" so it's less likely to break), but the grey stuff is far more cost-effective for larger and more solid structures.

 

Interestingly enough, cheaper is kind of what I was looking for...  Basically similar properties, but I'm a lot more willing to use a good amount of a product if it's half, or even a third of the cost...  And I don't mind losing some of that resolution for detail that greenstuff has, doubly so since I don't plan on having super detailed terrain - if it'll hold the detail from a Happy Seppuku stamp or GSW roller, I'm more than happy enough already.  Perks like being able to work on it for longer, or even breaking (ESPECIALLY being able to break it) are definitely nice things to have on the table.

 

I've seen some interesting things done with shattered/broken milliput to say the least.

 

6 hours ago, malefactus said:

For bases I usually Master Plumber's Epoxy Putty (True Value or Ace Hardware stores); re, it sculpts nicely, is easy to get a texture with, it can be sanded/drilled, & dries in about 5 minutes.

For large bases I use it over an insulation foam base. For really large things, like trees & towers, I make the basic shape out of floral foam sometimes in conjunction with shaped aluminum

foil then I cover it wit air dry clay (DAS is my favorite) & sculpt details.

This a photo stage I have underway to use as an example of the air dry clay: 

(pics snipped)

 

If you have any questions, I would be delighted to answer them.

 

Those are definitely some delightful photo stages...  Ones I hope to someday be able to have something similar (of my own theme) that looks half as good ^_^

 

Insulation foam...  Hadn't thought of that for use on a 170mm oval base, but it definitely fits my two main criteria of "lightweight" and "structurally solid"

 

Air dry clay I'll have to consider and look into, although I am curious how room humidity affects the curing of such - it's insanely dry where I live.  Does it also fully cure after drying?  DAS is one of the few (no baking required?) ones that are stocked locally (the other brands being Fimo, Sculpty, Super Sculpty, and Modge Podge, but pretty much all of those require baking to cure)

 

2 hours ago, Bruunwald said:

I use Magic Sculpt on anything needing sculpting on a scale any larger than a 40mm base.

 

Best stuff there is. Sculpts like clay, sets like plastic.

 

Will definitely keep such in mind, doubly so since I was planning on picking some up on my next GSW order anyways.

 

1 hour ago, Keianna said:

I have found that I like milliput best for bases because I can smooth it with my fingers and water, it takes texture nicely and you can sand and drill it after it sets. 

 

Definitely some good points for me to keep in mind, especially the sanding and drilling parts!  To confirm, are you referring to milliput standard, or one of the other ones for basing?

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19 minutes ago, WhiteWulfe said:

 

Definitely some good points for me to keep in mind, especially the sanding and drilling parts!  To confirm, are you referring to milliput standard, or one of the other ones for basing?

 

I have only used the standard and the terracotta. I did not notice a difference, other than color. 

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10 hours ago, Jordan Peacock said:

The two-part epoxies are also a lot better for making shattered ruins.  When hardened, they're a bit more solid and rigid than the green stuff can ever manage, so if I want to make, say, some broken pavement or maybe a broken statue or whatnot, I can sculpt it in the putty, let it fully harden, stick it in the freezer for a bit, then actually break it.  I'm not sure I could manage the same thing with the green stuff.

 

Had an additional question come to mind regarding this...  I'm guessing you're referring to Apoxie Sculpt and/or Magic Sculpt alongside some of the other two part epoxy putties you mentioned for being able to freeze and then outright break it?  ^_^;;;;  This broken effect is one of the things I definitely want to be able to do for some of the bases I'm looking at!

 

2 hours ago, Keianna said:

 

I have only used the standard and the terracotta. I did not notice a difference, other than color. 

Glad to read, many thanks!

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DAS doesn't require baking. I let it dry for a day before painting; I also do a light coat of Krylon Workable Fixative to make sure the paint doesn't soften the clay.

Plumber's epoxy putty works just like Milliput, but it dries much quicker & costs less.

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On 3/8/2018 at 9:13 PM, WhiteWulfe said:

 

 

The dyed Aves Apoxie was tempting, but given that I intend on painting and basing things, I figured such wouldn't be of much use.  Glad to read that there's an additional reason of it being even messier to avoid the coloured ones

^_^

 

The main use I found for the black-dyed Apoxie Sculpt was back when I was doing "pony conversions" a long time back.  I think there's another Reaper thread here somewhere, but basically I was taking some 2" tall PVC "My Little Pony" figures, and using some putty to convert them to resemble various conventional fantasy archetypes, along with a few "bits" for accessories.  Some of them I repainted at least partially, but for most of them I wanted to keep the original "MLP" look, especially about the eyes.  Well, the trouble with that is that if I'm ADDING putty to an already-painted figure, there are going to be recesses in the putty that I add where it would be hard to reach with a brush.  With a putty that's light-colored or even grey, if I can't paint over those areas, the figure will end up having an unfinished look -- it will be obvious where I couldn't reach with the paint -- but if I DO try to probe a brush down there, it'll inevitably splash onto the bare plastic of the original PVC figure -- and probably deep enough that I can't just scrape it back off with a hobby knife.

 

Therefore, I found it useful to apply the black-dyed putty.  Any recessed unpainted areas would therefore be BLACK, and that's typically not a bad thing for a recessed, hard-to-reach area on a miniature.

 

I don't usually work that way, however, so that was a very special case.  The dye from the putty worked against me as well, as it would tend to dirty up the plastic of the PVC ponies, and require extra care to clean up.  So despite its utility in that very SPECIFIC application, I doubt I'll ever buy the dyed Apoxie Sculpt again -- I'll just stick to the plain variety.

 

And I don't mind losing some of that resolution for detail that green-stuff has, doubly so since I don't plan on having super detailed terrain - if it'll hold the detail from a Happy Seppuku stamp or GSW roller, I'm more than happy enough already.  Perks like being able to work on it for longer, or even breaking (ESPECIALLY being able to break it) are definitely nice things to have on the table.

 

It definitely takes detail from stamps.  In addition to my makeshift "plastic clay" stamps, I've picked up a few odds-and-ends (usually parts from broken toys in thrift stores) that have interesting textures that if inversed can make interesting textures in putty.  If I force the putty into a mold and allow it to cure in place (rather than just "stamping" the surface and then pulling the stamp off), the detail can be remarkable -- even to the point where if it's pressed against a perfectly smooth surface, the cured putty will take on a shiny, glossy sheen.  Doing this tends to be harder on my "molds," though, when pulling them apart, so I routinely keep a "master" of my interesting textures, and periodically have to make a new "mold" out of the plastic clay.  (The same would be true if I were making resin casts and so forth.)

 

I haven't quite figured out the working time for the putty.  I probably should work with it and time myself.  I would say that after about an hour with the Apoxie Sculpt or Magic Sculpt, it's solidified enough that I can't really knead or sculpt it per se, but it's still pretty soft and easy cut or carved into.  I've sometimes deliberately shaped the putty, then allowed it to PARTIALLY solidify, so that I could then bend and warp it while still keeping its texture and finer details.  I can typically put putty into a press-mold and take the whole thing out after 4 hours or so while keeping its detail, but I wouldn't try sanding or drilling it until it's had a full day to cure.  If I want to do "broken pavement" effects, I can do that after about 4 hours or so.  I'll have to find some pictures of a Relic Knights figure I painted and custom-based for a friend, where I used gritty sandpaper to texture some putty, carved an "Eye of Ra" into it once it had cured in place a bit, then broke it in several parts and reassembled it later (slightly offsetting the various "fragments") so I could make the look of some sort of pseudo-Egyptian ruined floor.

 

I've used air-dry clay at times as a "base" for a project.  It works well as the rough interior build-up (that you then apply putty to before texturing and detailing the exterior) for a "master" item that you want to be durable and have some weight to it, that you might be making molds off of, but not so much if you're concerned about light weight.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Boaz said:

Thanks for so many great tips ... cant wait to try some of the mentioned products out ... 

Glad to hear the thread has been of use!  I've personally used GreenStuff as well as Magic Sculpt now, and have some Ave's Apoxie Sculpt to try out the next time I do terrain. 

 

I really really like how the Magic Sculpt handles, especially for smoothing, but I also prefer how Green Stuff is ready to go the instant it's mixed (even if it is rather sticky). 

 

In short, like others have said, it all depends on what you're doing with it but I suspect I'll wind up liking both, doubly so now that I'm starting to work on a few extra things so that the mess is more contained ^_^

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