Avast crew! As promised earlier in the week I am posting my thoughts on using my new favourite sculpting tools. Firstly ProCreate sculpting putty:
ProCreate is a fairly new product. See, for years and years the putty of choice for sculpting has been either the venerable "Green Stuff" (Kneadatite) or Milliput. The problem has always been that neither is really ideal for the task of miniature sculpting. Green Stuff is actually a plumbers putty designed to be sticky and very hard when cured. Milliput is designed to mimic ceramics and has a grainy texture that can make life awkward. People have tried all sorts of tricks such as mixing half and half greenstuff and milliput to get past the fact that they aren't really ideal. This stuff though was designed from the ground up to be a miniature sculpting putty. It even talks about how many vulcanisations (the process by which a metal model is made) it can withstand.
Like all epoxy putties ProCreate is an 'A/B' type, you mix the two and it will gradually harden. There is a really handy guide inside the bow for how much of each you need for different tasks. So how does it perform? The only way I can describe it is to compare to Green Stuff. It mixes fluidly and with a minimum of fuss - and crucially a minimum of jamming sticky yellow stuff into your fingerprints - to a smooth grey tone. It is weird how nice it is to work in grey rather than green. Grey is the colour of a finished miniature for me and so having the sculpting in the same colour stops that jarring colour perspective shift that can make you think things are the wrong size or just "look odd". It is far less sticky than green stuff, that means less lubrication required for the tools but a little less adherance to the model - like cling film though it sticks to itself very eagerly. A double edged sword but I have to say one that I think cuts more in favour of the sculptor than against.
The most important difference is quite an airy-fairy technical one and I'm going to try and explain it as clearly as possible. ProCreate has far less "shape memory" than Green Stuff. Shape Memory is the tendency for a substance to return to its original shape if pulled, squashed or twisted. In other words, sculpted! Consider hard rubber vs stiff custard. A hard rubber has enourmous shape memory, you really struggle to alter its form at all before it springs back. The custard has almost no shape memory, prod it and it stays prodded. Green stuff can have an annoying tendency to resist subtle changes while sculpting and sort of retreats back to where it was happy. ProCreate is much more willing to go where you push it. Very pleasant. It seems to cure a little less plastic than Green Stuff too, it has the ability of Milliput to be worked after curing, I've carved it, sanded it, all sorts.
I honestly feel that this is the best putty I've tried. I am far from an expert sculptor but even an enthusiastic amateur like me is able to smooth this stuff nice and easily and get the effects I want. I really, really recommend giving this stuff a go. You won't be sorry.
The eagle eyed and sharp of mind will have noticed I said tools at the top of the page. Well, the second tool I want to talk about is this set of silicon clay shapers. These are essentially brushes with rubbery tips shaped into a variety of different heads. These are size 0 and have been brilliant. They make smoothing an absolute dream. In terms of texture they are about as stiff as a hard drybrush but much harder, they will happily leave marks in the putty but will yield a little as you press so you don't inadvertantly swipe your careful modelling off the figure! Ive found myself using the round one (like a rubber paint brush), the chisel one and the long sharp edged one most of all but all of them have been useful.
Both of these are available elsewhere I'm sure but in the UK; Heresy Miniatures is a good bet for getting hold of the ProCreate (they also stock the clay shapers). I've got no connection with Heresy beyond customer so my recommendation comes free of reciprocity!
I'm back from holiday in a couple of days so will see you all then with more pictures of shiny toys!