Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tutorial: Sculpting Green Stuff Chains

TJ here with a tutorial on making 3D Green Stuff chains from Dark Future Games. This tutorial was created by DFG author and sculptor Chris Vinton, but I cleaned it up and posted it here to get it out there in hopes that it helps others!

First thing first, you could use some gloves. They will protect your work from finger prints. If you don't have them just be careful. After you get your gloves you need some kind of lubricant. I've heard a lot of things for this and looked everywhere for the perfect lube. In my research I've found vasilne, spit, water, KY (which is awesome), and baby oil. All of these work just fine. They'll do the job of making your green stuff no stick. The biggest challenge however is after you work your green stuff into the position you want you then have to get it to stick to your model. Oils will need to be washed off and while I don't mind doing it, it is just an extra step.
One day I was looking for a lube for my tools and I was tired of working with spit or water. It was then I looked across all the clutter that is my paint desk to see my personal green stuff savior: Flow Aid. It's great, it drys on its own, its viscous, it doesn't leave any weird film, It doesn't alter the green stuff and it can be patted dry cleanly. I got my bottle of it at the local art supply for $8. I don't imagine I'll need to buy a new one soon and I do a fair amount of green stuff work now.

Now for the record, I know this stuff isn't for green stuff. Its original use is to increase the flow of paint and to smooth the surface of brush streaks. That doesn't stop it from being awesome.

I digress... Making chains: First start out with two equal portions of green stuff from your yellow and blue tubes. I prefer a little more blue. After you get your two semi-even pieces mix them up. I put them side by side and twist until they're decently mixed then I just roll it around between my palms. Whatever works for you works. Work it until its a solid even tone of green.

After you get your piece let it sit for a little while and it'll firm up. Green stuff usually takes about a day to cure so you can let it sit around for about 20-30 minutes for it to become a little more firm
Drop a bead of flow aid (FA) on your work surface and streak it with your finger. Separate out a b-b sized ball of green stuff (GS) and work it into a thick cylinder in your hands. After that work the GS on the work surface while rolling it in the FA into a very long, very thin string make it about 1mm or as small as you can. The thinner you make it the better your chain will look but the more difficult it'll become to do long lengths of chain. Be care to support the and work by putting pressure in the middle and out towards the ends. If you put pressure on the end and work inward you'll create a bump and end up twisting the string on its self.

After you get your string made, cut it in half and try to make it just a little thinner just to push that boundary. You could just make two smaller ones but I find that I end up making it two long any way and still have to cut it in half even if that wasn't my intention. Long story short; end up with two very thin lengths of GS that you want to be about the size of your chain.

Now comes the tools. Its very important to keep your tools lubricated to avoid the GS sticking to your tools. The biggest tool I use is my smoothing tool. I'm not sure the exact name so I just call it my smoothing tool because it smooths. It has a flat angled side and a round conical shaped opposite side. For this, we'll use the conical side.

After your GS is in place slowly and carefully put tiny indentations with your smoothing tool down the length of the string. Make them about .5mm apart.

Once this is done, your holes need to be deep enough that they've bulged the sides out creating what looks like a bunch of 8's stacked on top of each other. Now carefully lay your other string on top of the 8's. To get this as straight as possible I'll put some FA on my index finger and thumb and just run it down the length of the GS, careful not to apply too much pressure and loose the bulges on the bottom '8' string.

Once this is done I use my pin tool. I don't have a picture of it but at best its a wooden handle with a thicker-than-a-sewing-needle pin in it. Use this tool or something like it to press the top layer down into the indentations of the '8' sting by laying the side of the needle completely across perpendicular to the GS string. This creates your top links.
You'll want to make sure that you keep your needle well lubricated while doing this.  I just dip it right into the bottle and usually keep a bead of FA on it while I'm doing this.
After that I just go back over it and poke little holes where I compressed the top string into the bottom string. It breaks it up and makes it look more like a chain. Also, I'll push the sides in to emphasize the curves of the bottom string.

The final product can now be carefully lifted (don't stretch it) and placed onto the surface you want it on ... or you can wait a couple hours when it is almost solid.

Here is a chain added to a Dark Eldar raider conversion:

As always, please feel free to post any questions you have or comments or links to other chain tuts in the comments below!


  1. That is awesome, but go to a model boat or hobby store, and you can get any chain size you want. Saying that, super impressed. Great idea with the flowaid, Beats my spit, especially if I'm drink my tea!

    1. Hey Phil. I do love tiny chains for aine projects but I have also found that sometimes a green stuff chain is easier to keep in place and paint on a model, so each is a tool in the toolbox, each serving its own purpose.

    2. Hey Phil. I do love tiny chains for aine projects but I have also found that sometimes a green stuff chain is easier to keep in place and paint on a model, so each is a tool in the toolbox, each serving its own purpose.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...