If you’ve seen this blog before you will know I like to individualise my models using greenstuff;
I’ve had a few people say to me recently that they would like to be able to sculpt but “can’t” so I have decided to do a series of posts about how I sculpt using the mysterious greenstuff. I’m no master sculptor but I like to thing I can get things looking how I want them and it’s really not as hard as it first seems.
For some, this first post will seem very basic but I find it’s best to start from the very beginning, so apologies to anyone who finds the pace a little slow to begin with, it will pick up, I promise!
What is greenstuff anyway?
Greenstuff is a two part epoxy putty called ‘kneadatite’ which is used by the majority of GW hobbyists to convert existing or sculpt new miniatures (Works in progress often being called ‘greens’) depending on how it’s mixed it has a working time of between 1 -2 hours or so and becomes unworkable after this.
Greenstuff is not cheap and so storage, use and mixing is important if you don’t want to waste it. Obviously, you don’t want to use more than you need to so think about how much you are likely to use in one go, remember;
unless you are sculpting something simple You do not need to sculpt the whole thing in one sitting! This little rule improved my sculpting a hundredfold. It is far better to sculpt small sections, save your precious greenstuff and avoid messing up bits you’ve finished but haven’t let cure.
Now, the way greenstuff comes supplied by most places is fine, but when mixing, remember that the ‘join’ between the blue and yellow strips is likely to have cured in the packet and will invariably lead to lumps. Before mixing, cut off the amount you need and remove the middle, it seems a waste, but it will make your life that much easier.
When you mix, you can adjust the quantities used to affect the cure time, more blue will make the putty set faster and will be firmer in texture, more yellow will be much softer and stickier and will take longer to cure.
Also, have something in your mind to sculpt with excess GS you have mixed, I use mine to make sandbags, always useful for terrain or bases.
Tools are important when modelling, you can’t sculpt a 28mm scale figure with knobbly fingers. I personally find the most useful tool I have is slightly blunted hobby knife, the blade edge for cutting away excess material and the point and back for creating different textures.
I also use the Games Workshop sculpting tool, a useful little double ended sculpting tool which has a particularly good flat spoon end
The last thing which I use is a pin or, preferably, a dentists pick. These are good for textures and for reaching bits which are otherwise inaccessible.
Whichever tools you decide to use, it’s most important to use some form of lubrication to stop the putty sticking to the tool and everything else. Some sculptors recommend vegetable oil or similar, this will last a long time but is messy and can interfere with painting later on. I prefer to use a liberal coating of water which is just as good and free.
When you sculpt, it is more useful to push or squash the putty, rather than attempting to pinch or pull it in to the right shape; for example if you want to sculpt a handle or nose, something which sticks out, it is better to push the putty around the object down rather than try and pull it up into the right shape.
A quick word on the textures you can create with greenstuff. Obviously, it can be used for filling and can be smoothed to suit the miniature around it, but for sculpting it is sometimes useful to create other textures. A flat texture is useful for cloth, cloaks etc and is easy to create. Wet the surface you intend to use and use a flattened knife blade, paintbrush rolling pin or whatever you like to flatten out the greenstuff. Remove it, re-wet the surface and smooth out the other side.
Hair can be sculpted by putting a blob of greenstuff over the scalp and using a hobby knife blade to create lines in the putty paying particular attention to the hair line. Remember, hair does not generally lie in a uniform direction, use diagonal as well and straight lines to create the texture, use references if you struggle.
Fur can also be made by creating a flat surface and using the point of a knife like this:
Greenstuff can also be textured using other objects such as sandpaper, have a play and see what you can do with it.
- Sculpt complicated objects in several sittings.
- Use more blue for a quicker setting, more yellow for a longer working time.
- Cut out the middle ‘join’ before mixing.
- Use a reference and know what you want to sculpt before you start
- Have an idea of what to do with excess putty e.g. make sandbags
- Push or squeeze the putty into shape, cut away excess using your hobby knife.
- Experiment with different textures.
- Don’t be afraid to try and fail, you can always take the putty off afterwards.
There we are folks, it really is easy. Apologies again if you know all of this, but in the next couple of posts in this series I’ll be doing a step by step guide with how I make two simple objects which you can add to basically any troops or vehicles to help personalise your army. I hope this was some help to those who are new to sculpting, stay tuned for the tutorials!
++Walk softly, and carry a big gun++