Awful Green Stuff from Outer Space

I have a confession to make. I have never used green stuff. That’s right, I’ve been painting and assembling these miniatures on and off for twenty odd years and I have never done anything with green stuff – the two-part (blue+yellow) modelling putty which a majority of sculptors use to sculpt the minis I paint. Most modellers will make use of it to convert their miniatures or just fill small gaps in assembly. Yet to this day I have avoided it, partly out of laziness but mostly I expect due to an irrational fear of this unknown product.

It’s high time I got over this self-imposed obstacle and added some sculpting skills to my hobbying arsenal.

A perfect candidate project, I have decided, is the Rhino for a small tactical squad of Nurgle Death Guard Chaos Marines. I want the thing to look corroded and diseased, with pustules, slime, and other such grossness breaking out all over it. Seems perfect in that I probably can’t go too far wrong.

“It’s not a modelling flaw. No, it is the corruption of CHAOS!”

Now, because I’m new to the green stuff game I decided to read around a bit on the subject and then go through an instructional DVD to see how the pros do it. I’ve been very happy with the previous stuff I’ve seen by Miniature Mentor (I have the Laurent Esposito Mas, and Jen Haley painting videos), so thought I’d try the Secrets of the Brotherhood Anime Girl video by RAFM sculptor James Van Schaik.

The first painting one I got on DVD but, having setting up my Xbox 360 as a Media Centre, I’ve since used the online download option which has worked very well and painlessly. My Xbox won’t play the Quicktime files directly so I do have to do a video conversion which is a slight inconvenience but I do this for many media files anyway so it was no real trauma.

So far I have watched the first few parts of the sculpting one and I’ve learned tons. It’s too early to do a full review but so far so good.

I don’t know if these videos will be for everyone and they can be a little pricey. But personally I think they’re great. One thing I really wanted as I was getting into the hobby was to see how an expert would do something. And I mean really see – by looking over their shoulder and asking questions. This is something we don’t all have access to and have to muddle our way through trial-and-error, practise, and online tutorials. With these instructional videos you really are seeing, from the modellers eye-view, exactly what’s going on. How wet are the paints? How loaded is the brush? How do they apply it? Exactly how is that sculpting tool used? How much putty gets loaded on and how does it react when pressure is applied?

Many many questions which can only be answered so well by a written tutorial – and there are plenty of really good ones out there, don’t get me wrong.

So far I have only tried the Miniature Mentor videos but there are other companies out there who I should probably investigate. Anyone got any recommendations, I’m all ears.

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~ by Max Von Deadlock on January 14, 2010.

4 Responses to “Awful Green Stuff from Outer Space”

  1. I might download those Miniature Mentor vids, they look pretty good, and as you say there is only so much you can learn from written tutorials even with pictures.

    Also, we should definitely do another “day of painting” like we did back in the days of yore. In my eyes you are pretty advanced at this painting stuff now, I’m sure I’d learn from watching you work, and you can pick up on my obvious errors by watching me work. Now we have Steve and Mark painting too we can make a day of it.

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  2. I bought the Laurent Esposito Mas video from Miniature Mentor and watched most of it last night. I thought it was quite pricey, and got slightly repetitive, but I still learned a lot. I also found it quite relaxing, very much like watching that guy with big hair who paints watercolours on the telly.

    I definitely need to
    – water my paints down a LOT more
    – be more patient
    – buy a new brush. My brushes always end up with the same fault, a slight “hook” at the end, I assume from pushing too hard into crevices. Need to fix that. Tempted to buy some expensive Raphael 8408 or W&N Series 7 brushes, but concerned that I will trash them after a week.

    There are loads of other tutorials on YouTube, though of course the quality is generally quite poor. I’ll let you know if I find any good ones. A guy called Jeremie Bonomant has done a DVD, might be worth a look.

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    • I just got a few brushes from Rosemary & Co as recommended by the experts over at Platoon Britannica. Really nice brushes at a reasonable price and fast delivery. I am enjoying using the Series 33 (0 and 3/0 I think) and I got a Series 323 which is also very nice.

      I think the Laurent Esposito Mas method requires a lot of patience to work with such thin paints. Jen Haley uses a thicker mix (though still significantly thinner than most painters I expect).

      Patience does seem to be a key ingredient, in that on the vids they will repeatedly touch up areas which look done to me. Even on the sculpting one he’ll go back, add, subtract smooth over and over in an area which isn’t making significant differences. I think it’s this subtlety that probably gets the last 5% of the way to an awesome job.

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