Saturday, September 4, 2010

Making Custom Green Stuff Press Molds

I decided I wanted to have some unifying insignia across the Freeboota army I'm building, but I was not crazy about the idea of building the same elements out of plasticard or sculpting them out of Green Stuff dozens of times. I thought about casting them, given my recent experiences - but the resin & other supplies are a bit pricey, and I didn't want to sink a ton of money into this project. I started looking for other options and found this great tutorial over at Capture and Control - I decided if it worked for GW bits, then there's no reason it shouldn't work for something I custom made. I started by sketching a basic design on a scrap of plasticard with a technical pen:

Then I cut out the Orky skull with some scissors, and did the fine cuts with my hobby knife:

For the eyes & nose, I cut a triangle from platicard, then used my cutters to clip off just the corners:

To apply these to the skull, I put some superglue on a scrap of plasticard, then dipped a toothpick in to put a few dots of glue on the skull:

To easily pick up the triangles, grab a fresh toothpick and touch it to your tongue, then pick up the triangle and place it where you want it.

I glued the skull down to a piece of plasticard...

...and I made the "crossbones" and glued them down:

Since I was working on a very small scale and there was a lot of excess glue, while it was still wet I grabbed one of these cool little micro brushes I picked up to spread the excess glue out thin, so it wouldn't spoil the impression for the mold:

Then I cut the whole thing down to just a bit larger than the design:

Now, I'm ready to make the mold: I grabbed my Green Stuff and mixed some up:

I stuck the ball of Green Stuff down to another scrap of plasticard. Using a sculpting tool lubricated with water, I spread it out flat & smooth, but still left it a bit thick:

To lubricate the mold (so I can remove the original piece), I grabbed my Chapstick. I just spread some on the tip of my finger, then spread it on the surface of the Green Stuff:

Then I pressed the original into the Green Stuff, using even pressure:

(I realized I didn't mark which way was the top, so I did that before I forgot). I made a "channel" in the Green Stuff, to make removing the original piece easier:

After letting the Green Stuff dry for a couple of hours, I carefully pried the original piece out of the mold:

Since most Ork vehicles & structures are covered with random armor plates, I decided that would be a useful application for this piece - so I grabbed a scribe and poked holes around the perimeter of the imprint. These will look like rivets on the molded piece:

At this point I let the press mold dry overnight. The next day I was ready to try it out - I put a small amount of petroleum jelly on a cotton swab and coated the surface of the mold:

Then I mixed up some Green Stuff and pressed it into the mold, trying to get it as level as possible with the surface of the mold:

After letting the Green Stuff dry for a couple of hours, I carefully pried the copy out of the mold:

I trimmed the excess off the piece & washed off the petroleum jelly:

...and now I have custom armor plates for my Ork vehicles!

This is a pretty easy way to add a lot of custom touches to an army, as well as a great use for leftover Green Stuff - I keep the molds on my desk and whenever I have extra Green Stuff, I'll mold a few pieces and when they're done I throw them in a baggie for future use.

This method also works great for factory bits - after I broke the hood ornament off my Trukk model three times, I decided it would be better utilized for a press mold:

(I glued a scrap of plasticard to the back, so the Green Stuff wouldn't squish all the way through the holes for the eyes & nose.)

These will be great on smaller vehicles and as small accents.


  1. Very nice!
    It's something I thought about doing for some customised eldar craftworld symbols but I wasn't sure if it would work all that well.
    I think I will give it a try once my batch of Falcons are magnetised :)

  2. excellent stuff, glad i found this!! (however late to the party i may be) :)