Sculpting Banners


2014-08-30 13.16.49 I talked about taking a class at Gen Con to start to develop my underdeveloped sculpting skills and after the class, one of the things that was discussed was making a banner. With my Daemon army, I am planning on having 3 units of Tzeench Horrors so I thought this would be the perfect time to start trying out my new skills. After all, I had whipped out several chunks of chain at this point, a feather, and a purity seal. Heck I must be an expert right!

So, I am going to point out, I am no pro at this, as I quickly learned and I probably could use a few more lessons, but the end result is pretty cool. It will take a little bit to get better, but I figure I can take what I have have done here and with a some practice and watch some videos and ask advise and my next efforts are only going to improve. I am, however, righting this article to let you know that this is something that you can do too. If you don’t take on new projects and try to develop your skills as a hobbiest, then you are going to eventually get bored with the hobby, painting and modeling.

2014-08-26 22.33.09 So, the first step was to roll out and flatten a large enough piece of green stuff to form a general flat piece. You can really do most of the work, shaping it with your fingers. As your going to go over it later with a thin layer of green stuff to smooth the banner and add the ripples and flowing banner look, it’s ok for it to look rough. You’ll notice, I am using a small, round mirror to do the work on. I find a mirror a great tool as the green stuff generally doesn’t stick to it and it peels off fairly well.

Once the green stuff had set up quite a bit, about 3 hours, I trimmed the rough banner shape out with a traditional hobby knife and went to peel the piece off of the mirror. Here I wish I would have used a little vasoline or something to make the mirror and the green stuff stick a little less, but with a hobby knife and some coaxing I was able to get the banner off of the mirror without losing the integrity of the shape of the banner.

2014-08-26 22.33.24
You want to peel it off before it’s completely set up and rigid so that you can put something under the banner. This will help the banner establish a wavy appearance, as if it is blowing in the breeze. I used a sculpting tool to place underneath it, but you can use whatever you have at hand. I also recommend going extreme in the waves, as it will flatten out a bit when the green stuff is fully set up.

With that setting up, sculpt up some strips to go over your banner pole that your banner will hang from. Since they will be thin, the green stuff should have enough flex to it, even when dry. You could also use plastic card here, but I like the green stuff better. Attach the banner to the little rectangles to the banner once they have set up fully with a bit of super glue.

When they are dry, take rolls of green stuff. I like to roll it up, about the thickness of speghetti in about 1 inch long chunks and take about half of the roll and apply it to the surface of the banner. I choose the places to put it where I need to fill gaps or smooth the banner surface out. Generally, I start work on the top of the banner and work my way to the bottom. As I get to points where I can no longer work with it easy, I put the project down for a few hours to even the next day and let the green stuff (and my hands) set up and have a break. It’s very easy to smooth the green stuff out when smoothing it out on top of the banner.

2014-08-30 13.16.49
Another trick to do once it is set up is to take a hobby knife and scrape the banner surface. This helps smooth any ripples, finger prints or other defects. You can even use the knife to carve or trim the green stuff. Just remember, if you cut or remove material and it isn’t the way you want it, then your going to have to re-sculpt and add it back. I was also playing with the idea, but hadn’t tried it yet, to use my buffer tool that comes with my high speed rotary hand tool (I have a Dremel brand device), but plan to try this on the next one I do.

Once you have it smoothed out, set up and complete you are ready to prime and paint. I haven’t tried yet adding patterns or sculpted designs to banners yet. Having a large, custom area that I can free hand is something I really value personally. That pretty much wraps up this article. Let us know if you have any comments or thoughts at hosts@wiscodice.com.

Leave a comment