Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hobby tips: Sculpting with GF9 greenstuff and chap stick

I've been doing a lot of sculpting on my death guard recently and thought I would share some of the things I have recently started doing that have been working well for me. This short article will focus on a short review of Gale Force 9 greenstuff and discuss the use of chap stick as a lubricant when sculpting.

Gale Force 9 greenstuff

Gale Force 9 in the tubes. Games Workshop in the battered roll.
My milliput and GW greenstuff recently started running low. When I went to my local game store they had Gale Force 9 green stuff. I initially bought it because it was substantially cheaper than the GW alternative. For $20 (Canadian) I got 100 g of putty. From Game Workshop, greenstuff costs $12 for 20 g of putty. To summarize, I got 5 times the putty for less than double the price. No comparison on price. 100g is a lot of greenstuff though. I'm thinking I might cut it in half and store half of it.

The GF9 greenstuff is also stored in two separate tubes. The GW putty is in a strip which causes the center of the strip to cure in the package resulting in lumps in the putty or wasted material. The tubes make it easy to keep the yellow and blue separate and make them easy to store neatly.

Most importantly, how does sculpting with each compare? Although they look identical, I find that they have slightly different properties. GW greenstuff is more elastic. This can be really useful for some shapes and effects like stretched skin. I have found the GF9 greenstuff to behave more like a mix of greenstuff and milliput. It is easier to smooth and is softer. I have found the working time to be a bit longer too. It holds details and shape very well. The only downside I have noticed is that, like milliput, GF9 greenstuff tends to dissolve in water a bit, making spit a less than perfect choice as a lubricant. Overall, I prefer sculpting with the GF9 putty for most applications where I need a smooth finish. I will probably still use the GW greenstuff for little details like flaps of skin hanging free and maybe other applications where you pull the putty to get the effect. I think I could still do all of this with GF9 putty.

In conclusion, if you can find it locally (preferably at your local store!), I would recommend trying GF9 greenstuff for your sculpting needs. It is cheaper, easier to smooth, and has an interesting smell (it really does! Not bad, just interesting). I have found it overall easier to work with while still holding the detail necessary. The packaging is much better and the savings are huge if you use much greenstuff. That being said, there is nothing wrong with GW greenstuff. I find it works well when you learn it's properties. I just now prefer the GF9 greenstuff.

Gale Force 9 greenstuff. First usage.
Using chap stick as a lubricant

Terminators. See more of these models tomorrow.
Using a form of lubricant is probably the biggest "secret" to getting a good finish with greenstuff. I suspect that many people who struggle to get a smooth finish are not using lubricant. I usually use spit as a lubricant. I spit a little on my left hand and then dab my tool in it before applying the tool to the putty on the model. I find this helps to get a smoother surface and stop the putty from sticking.

Sculpting the belly plates on my Death Guard models I have had to try and create a really smooth, uniform finish. I had previously used chap stick to stop greenstuff press moulds from sticking. I was making some press moulds and just started using a bit of chap stick to lubricate my tools. When you are doing this you need to ensure that the putty is on the model and that no chap stick is between area you want to stick together (or they won't stick!).

The basic technique I use is as follows. I create a blog of putty the size I want. I apply it to the model then use tools to get the approximate shape I want. I then apply a little chap stick onto my colour shaper (a tiny bit, just a thin covering). I then use the chisel colour shaper to smooth the surface, spreading the chap stick as I go. The chap stick allows me to apply very, very light pressure to smooth and prevents tool marks and lines. Doing this slowly and carefully allows me to get a very smooth finish. Finally, I add details using other tools and then go back afterwards to smooth the overall shape and finish again.

My biggest concern is that the chap stick could prevent paint from sticking. To this end, I plan to gently wash each model with soap, water, and a toothbrush once the sculpting is complete to ensure that paint can stick.

You can see how smooth I was able to get the putty on the stomach using chap stick.
I would be interested in hearing everyone else's comments on tips and ways to improve sculpting. If there is interest, I can add some step by step tutorials on how I sculpt some of the details I have added to my models. I am not an expert, but I do really enjoy sculpting and trying to do different things. Sometime in the next few months I am going to try and sculpt a full model from scratch (except hands!). Thanks for visiting. I'll look forward to your tips in the comments!

Also, I'd like to start adding some new blogs to the blog roll and getting Rust and the City added to the blog rolls of more sites. If you would like your blog added just drop me a line in the comments section and add Rust and the City to your blog rolls. Thanks!


  1. Never heard of using chapstick... I've used cooking spray though in some cases.

    Ron, FTW

  2. I've heard of using olive oil. I thought it might get a bit gross though... Chap stick is nice and easy to apply to the tools and does wonders for smoothing. I find it works especially well with the colour shapers. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Interesting idea of using chap sticks. Another bonus for the GF9 epoxy is that they come in separate tubes. This means you don't have the annoying problem found with Citadel green stuff where the point of the two colours meeting becomes hard over time.

  4. I use chapstick all the time. I put it on my fingers when I knead the putty, it softens it a bit and wont stick. When i use it on my tools, I usually just dab the end of the tool right on the stick. Never had a problem with paint not sticking, but I do give my models a spray n wash after conversions to get any dirt off. Get a flavored one and it will smell nice, too.

  5. MoD-Agreed!

    PS-Good to hear you have had success with painting after. I will definitely wash them a bit before priming! I try to keep it out of the putty itself as I find it sometimes gets hard to stick the putty to a surface or more putty if it gets everywhere too much. I am working to try and keep it as minimal as possible.

  6. The tips are great, but GF9 and GW buy their green stuff from Kneadatite. GW's tends to be more elastic since those cheap gits buy the ribbon and repackage it. The blue and yellow touching on the ribbon makes the curing agents activate. The more-rubbery a piece of ribbon is when you open the packet fresh is a direct relation to the amount of time its been sitting in that packet, slowly activating.


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