I fudge a lot of timeline stuff for my blog.
My last progress report on my Tyranid bastion went live just last week, but I’d actually done that work back in February and shelved it until recently. For anyone that reads my Frugal Gaming page, you would’ve seen that I actually made the purchases for green stuff & tentacle makers back then. Of course, I’m under no delusion that anyone actually reads that part of my site, but it is there to expose how much of a fraud I really am.
Anywho, time has passed and the green stuff and tentacle maker (along with more sculpting tools) have arrived. They’ve been here for probably over a month as well, but they took a back seat to <No Hobby Progress>. In an attempt to buck the trend, I busted out the bastion again and started going to town with tentacles.
First, let me say that the tentacle maker I purchased was from Green stuff industries. Apparently the version I purchased is no longer for sale (man, I must’ve purchased it right at the end of it’s life), and has now been replaced with the version 2. I’ve heard about these devices in the past, and had a friend who’d tried them out, but never saw a need for one; however, a big empty bastion seemed like the perfect thing to cover with vermiculated tubes.
If you’ve heard that word before, that probably means you played Everquest back in the day–likely as a druid in the Plane of Fear. I remember thinking it was an odd word when I played the game and wound up looking it up. It meant “covered in worm-like markings.” Sure, I probably used the word incorrectly above, but any chance I have to harken back to my days of nerdom past…
So the tentacle maker came and may or may not have had instructions, but I clearly didn’t follow them. I just rolled up some green stuff and scrubbed it between the plates to see what it did. I won’t bore you with too many of the details, but I will go through some of the things I discovered during my use:
- Water is your friend. I found that the green stuff likes to stick to the plates, but if you just coat each one with a little water, they glide smoothly.
- At first I would just put the green stuff between the plates however I felt, and that works, but it does have the potential to make the corrugated lines less defined. This is because the plates are designed to line up with each other. If you use the supplied guides when making them, you’ll end up with the well defined versions. If, however, you wing it and do whatever you like, the plates may not line up correctly and that seems to lead to the less well defined lines (and therefore more worm-like appearance). Frankly, I like them both, but it was interesting to note.
- I apparently didn’t capture a picture of it, but if you alternate the plates so they’re facing different directions, you can get an effect that’s similar to an Imperial Termite’s drill bits. It’s really kind of nifty looking, but not one that I was able to easily recreate. I wish I’d have taken a picture to show you…
- Timing the putty is kind of important. At first, I rolled up a batch of green stuff and just started going to town. What I found was that it was very soft and lead to me accidentally touching it when working on other tentacles–it also meant that they stuck together a lot. Alas, I only seem to have taken photos of the back of it, and the front of it is where I had most of my problems (I likely took the rear pictures because of this–the back just looks cleaner/better). So what I found later is that it’s best to let the green stuff cure for 30 minutes or so before working with it. It was much more resilient to my ham-fisted efforts after it had been given time to dry.
- Again on the timing, I think that you’re going to want to do this sort of work in stages. Certainly if you’re building up a model with layers of green stuff, it’s best to let the base cure before adding another layer. The same logic wound up serving me well here–even though I’m not really dealing with layers. I found that the tentacles all started drooping if I allowed the model to stand up naturally, so I laid it on it’s side and worked in stages: front, back, & top.
This go around I didn’t do any changes to the model other than putting tentacles all over it. Since it was my first time, I didn’t know what I was doing or where to stop. I wonder if it’s a little over the top, or if it’s the right amount? Frankly, I suspect that whatever you want to do is the right amount, but it seemed like a pretty good place to start.
Based upon the sheer quantity of them, it’s probably pretty clear that I had fun making the tentacles. I’m also really happy with how it makes the armor plates look–they don’t feel as goofy as they did before. I’m not sure if that’s really the green stuff, or the fact that the model has had several months to grow on me though?
My next stage will be working on some more detail work. I’ll need to cover up the metal bits on the various hatches, plus I want to try to work in some more transitional elements between the carapace pieces and the underlying tree/volcano structure. I wound up buying some more sculpting tools to help me out with that.
By the way, if you’re looking into purchasing a tentacle maker, I’d certainly recommend this one. I found it via ebay, but noticed that if you buy direct from their website, it’s far cheaper. Shipping is very reasonable, and fast (considering it’s coming from Europe). Then again, if you’re local, you’re welcome to come borrow mine as well…