Customizing with Green Stuff
Epoxy Putty, also known as Green Stuff, or by the common brand name Kneadatite, is one of the most versatile and user-friendly customizing tools out there. It's durable, flexible, easy to work with, and one of the most forgiving mediums in the Customizer's arsenal.
Green Stuff is fairly easy to acquire, either through hobby stores (HobbyTown USA carries it in small amounts) or online, where you can by 3-ft rolls like this:
A little goes a long way - it's highly flexible and "stretchy" when mixed, so make sure you only mix as much as you need - the working time is about 2 hours and the curing time is 6-24 hours, so it's always better to mix too little than too much (since it will go to waste otherwise.)
To mix, I just use an Exacto or scissors to cut off the desired length (mix equal parts blue & yellow) and I start twisting and kneading the product until it turns a uniform green color:
Keep a small container of water nearby to keep your fingers moist and to occasionally wet-down the putty. It tends to get rather sticky and you can ruin your sculpt if you're not careful. When I notice that it's sticking to my skin, I'll dip the piece I'm working on and my fingers in water (no need to soak, just give it a splash) and I can continue to work it without it sticking.
Because of it's sticky nature, you can usually just sculpt onto a piece of plastic, and then when the putty cures, it'll be permanently attached to the item. I've had the occasional piece pop off, but it's easily glued back in place.
Common sculpting tools work perfectly with Epoxy Putty - this is the set that I normally use:
But anything works - I've used the round edges of screwdrivers and my Exacto knife many times to get the look I desire. For this demonstration, we'll use a Cyborg custom from the No-Joe Challenge. Since Green Stuff is so easy to work with, and since sculpting in generally changes the appearance of the original parts, there's no real need to go overboard. A little bit of Green Stuff makes a huge difference to any project.
Here you can see how a little bit of texturing on the soles of Cyborg's feet are accomplished using the edge of a sculpting tool:
Further mods are made by stretching the putty into straps and wrapping them around the arms & legs. Then I will take the round, smooth edge of a sculpting tool, roll it over the putty to smooth it out, then I'll trim off the edges with an Exacto to get the look I want:
Since the Green Stuff is so easy to work with, instead of sculpting an entire chest plate, I just sculpt the neckline and then smooth out the bottom edge to get it to blend with the chest:
I recommend if you're sculpting on a whole figure, you separate the pieces and work on them individually. Many is the time I've been working on an arm and realized that I just jacked up the leg that I spent a lot of time sculpting. (I assembled this figure after sculpting each part for demonstration purposes only.)
Once you've got a piece where you want it, set it aside for the putty to cure. Normally after 4-6 hours, it can be handled well enough that you won't mar the surface, but I usually wait at least 12. Green Stuff is completely sand-able and can be Dremeled easily, but wait 24 hours for maximum hardness.
Fingerprint Removal & Other Cleanup
I normally leave a lot of fingerprints behind in my sculpts. These are easily removed either by smoothing the uncured putty with wet fingers or tools, or by sanding after the putty has cured. For this project, I sanded the putty after 24 hrs and used my Exacto to trim edges that weren't quite square:
And after a few paint apps, you have a fully playable (if desired) custom at your disposal:
Some other examples of how a little bit of Green Stuff & paint can totally change the look of a toy:
Toy Repair Uses
I use Green Stuff to repair my toys as well, since it hardens into a semi-rigid plastic-like material, it's great to cover up flaws in toys, like Magneto's weak ankles. I've even used it to repair broken hinges on my Killer WHALE and Tactical Battle Platform.
So in conclusion, Green Stuff is perfect for the beginner to the most advanced Customizer. It's easy to work with and more durable and forgiving than SuperSculpey or Plumber's Epoxy in my opinion. Go grab yourself a batch and play around with it - it won't hurt and you may wonder how you ever lived without it. :P