Sculpting clays

This is a list of different types of clay I currently use or that I’ve used, with their pros and cons.

 

Water based clay

Dragon Priest mask sculpture in water-based clay

This is the most commonly available and easy to use. Spray water and smooth out by hands or tools.

 

Pros :

  • Pretty straightforward, add water to soften it and it hardens when drying.
  • Very easy to mold in shape and smooth out.

Cons :

  • Very messy with water and splashes everywhere, dirty hands.
  • Limited time to work it unless you spray it with water from time to time.
  • Does terrible cracks in your sculpt when completely dried.
  • Not reusable.

I don’t use it anymore as the model is unusable and has huge cracks once dried.

Although I really like the feeling and it smooths wonderfully with water.

 

 

Monster Clay

darth-revan-mask-sculpture-monster-clay

Darth Revan Mask sculpt in Monster Clay

Sculpting clay that is wax-based, chocolate color comes in soft, medium or hard. Smooth with turpentine, mineral spirits or other oil remover.

It already has a microwavable container. Heat about 3-5 min or more depending on how soft you want it.

Melt it and reuse infinitely.

Mold it by hand as it is still warm, by tools when hardened, heat briefly and carefully with a heat gun to make it more workable again.

 

Pros :

  • Easy to work with by hand, easy to heat, can become liquid
  • Very practical if you want a workable copy of your model : pour in mold and you get a copy you can work on.
  • Does not stick in hands.
  • Reusable infinitely and really worth its price.

Cons :

  • Smoothing is tricky, it’s hard to get a shiny surface or hard flat surfaces and mechanical shapes.
  • You can scratch and damage it too easily, even the hard one.
  • Careful not to let it in high temperatures like near a window or it will melt.

I really like it to make workable copies and sculpt organic forms.

Mechanical and hard surfaces are difficult as it does not smooth out shiny but rather bumpy.

 

 

Castilene Hard

darth-revan-mask-sculpture-catilene-clay

Darth Revan Mask sculpture in Castilene hard

I only used the hard version for now, so I can’t speak for the other ones : soft and medium.

Wax based clay harder than the Monster clay, gray-green or red. Smooth with sandpaper, heated tools, turpentine, mineral spirits or other oil remover.

Heat it in the microwave for 5 min or more, it does not heat evenly though. Does not come in a microwavable container so you will have to find one.

It would be better to have a slow cooker to melt it.

Workable a bit by hand but mostly with heating tools (alcohol lamp, torch, heated tools).

 

Pros :

  • Really hard, does not take damage or scratches easily, close to wax
  • Can get a perfect shiny finish with sandpapers, sanding sponges and chemicals.
  • Durable and reusable indefinitely

 

Cons :

  • The clay itself gets dirty rapidly, not really eye-pleasing and no uniform color.
  • No microwavable container included
  • Becomes really hot and hardens very fast, so not really a lot of time to work by hand
  • Does not soften easily, hardly workable by hand

More usable for a copy of your model, pour in mold and work it to a perfect finish. I use this to make a final version of mechanical and hard surfaces shapes.

The model is stored and protected to make future molds.

Working with it is less straightforward than Monster clay and trickier for sure. The feeling is not really pleasant too but being close to the wax you can get awesome smooth results.

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