The sculpting tools I use

I thought I'd go over some of the sculpting tools I use when working with greenstuff. While it's nothing earth shattering, it might be interesting to some folks to see what I use to get the detail I do on my models. I figure I use the same things everyone else does, the standard GW sculpting tool, an X-Acto blade and various other odds and ends for making or pressing shapes into greenstuff.

Let's start with the odds and ends
A good number of the things I use are from discoveries while trying to figure out how to make a particular thing or shape.

I'll use the end of a paintbrush, the top of a nail or the end of a piece of tubular stock to create shapes when sculpting. I'll use whatever I have on hand to make the shape I need. After that, I set it aside and keep it for next time.
I have a small collection of "things" I use like this. Sometimes it works, sometimes it only gets me close and I have to go from there. I've found it's much easier to press in the shape than it is to try and sculpt it from scratch if possible. I even have a small collection of rocks I use to press into greenstuff so that I can add some great, natural texture when I need to.

All kinds of sculpting tools
I bought a pack of these a little while ago after damaging my GW tool.

The thing is though, none of these have the same qualities as the GW one and I find myself continuing to use it and leaving these untouched. They aren't bad, just a bit too big here or there to get the details I want.

A set of clay shapers
These are a fairly recent purchase for me and I love them. They are great for smoothing out the surface of your greenstuff and pressing in fine details (relatively speaking for their size).

I bought these online and you can pick them up any number of places These are a number 2 and 0 (large and small respectively) Flat Chisel Firm. They are also great for pressing greenstuff into molds and clearing away the excess material. They take a little getting used to since they are much more flexible than the standard GW sculpting tool.

The workhorse of sculpting tools
These two are my go to tools. The bog standard GW Sculpting tool and a fine point X-Acto blade.

I use these two tools for 99.999 percent of my sculpting work. They're what I pick up first. The X-Acto blade is for super fine detail and working in tight spaces.

Above an beyond that, I use specific tools like tube tools for making tubes or a particular bit and then I make a mold of it. Then you've got other sculpting extras like liquid greenstuff and files and so on. While most of my work is with greenstuff, I use these same tools when it comes to using other materials like milliput too.

I really do need to buy myself a new GW sculpting tool, it's been a while now that I've been using the one I have and it's seen better days.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
Green Stuff Industries Tentacle Maker
Masq-Mini Ultimate Tube Tool
Using liquid greenstuff... if you have to

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!


  1. Nice review. The fact you have a "tool" set will make a good basis for people that don't know where to start. I would be interested also in some of the ways you use the drill bits or the nail to get some of the textures out of it, article in the future?

  2. Very nicely done.Its nice to know that I'm not the only one who uses X-Acto blades to sculp.I too would like to see an article on how you've used the other odd & sods.Ron,you might want to check Ebay for 'Wax carving tools',you'll be amazed at what you can find for the same price as a GW tool,I managed to get a twelve piece double ended set for under AU$10 (postage included).

  3. Awesome post man, I literally bought some green stuff last weekend for the first time to have a go, so this is perfect timing!

  4. I highly recommend the clay shapers,I have a flat for smoothing, a cone for precsion.
    I feel I regressed a bit working with g/s.
    I think I am at the point if it doesn,t look like Juan Diaz scuplted it I think it is a fail.
    I tried to scuplt a simple sash for my drop commissar and for the life of me I could not get it right.
    Kept looking like he had love handles and not a sash,after 30 mins or so I just scraped it all off
    Depends on the project I guess

  5. I never knew about those clay shapers. Fascinating. :) Thanks for sharing this; perhaps I'll pick up a set myself.

  6. Fayte: Absolutely. I was using them the other night in a project.

    Oktane: The set I got was fairly cheap, it just doesn't have the shape I've grown accustomed to with the GW tool that I know and feel comfortable working with.

    vandalworks: Thanks and good luck! Greenstuff is great to use, it will open a ton of doors to the hobby once you get the hang of working with it.

    Will Wright: I feel your pain. I went to sculpt a simple icon the other day and after working on it for 15 minutes it resembled nothing like it should have. Scraped it all off and started over.

    I'm getting comfortable with the "close enough and look's good to me" school of thought these days.

    R. C. Fountain: They're fun and make a nice addition to an arsenal. Not required though. I've done plenty of work without them and still do, but they are nice to have on hand.

  7. It's interesting that you like the GW tool so much. It drives me bonkers for some reason. I mostly just use it to apply the greenstuff in place. I find that putty sticks to it way too much and it causes all kinds of issues. I primarily use my colour shapers for smoothing and creating shape and a dental rubber pick mounted on a file for detail work. (You can see a picture of it here:

    What do you use for lubricant? I find it makes as big of a difference as the tools used? I recently started using chapstick for smoothing and have found it much easier to smooth surfaces.

  8. Cameron: I'm going to say my love for the GW tools comes from having just that to work with for so long... it's all I know in some respects so I made it work.

    As for lubricant, it's just water. I do make a big effort to keep my tool clean though.

  9. Ron, I got inspired by your article today and wrote a short one on Gale Force 9 greenstuff and using chap stick as a lubricant. I've found chap stick works really well for smoothing larger surfaces when used with the colour shapers (Here is the article if anyone is interested ).

  10. Definitely helps me out seeing what you use. I actually hadn't bought any specific tools when I made my first attempt at Green Stuff recently. What is seen on my blog was done with only a toothpick and the back-end of a paint brush. Which incedently is the cause of all the roughness.

    I have since acquired the Citadel tool to help out. Will definitely have to look into those clay shapers.

    I love the little insights into what you do and how you do it. It definitely helps those who, like myself, are just getting into the wider spectrum of the hobby.

  11. Ijanus: Glad it helps. Sometimes I do these kind of posts and I worry that folks are going to think of them as "filler."

  12. I love clay shapers and use them all the time. They do make black tipped ones that are a lot firmer if you'd prefer that type of feel. I use the black and gray ones. The white ones are too soft IMO.

  13. Nice article, Ron. Personally, I've never used the GW tool but I have a wax carver that is very similar in shape. It's the one I use most so I can see why the GW one is so popular. Thor and I split a $10 set of 12 wax carvers from an eBay auction and that's worked out well for me. I also have a couple of dental hygenist's tools for very fine details.

    I know it sounds a little wierd but for lubricant I like to use K-Y. It stays wet far longer than water and has a very thin consistency. It stays where I put it better than water so it's less likely to slip between the putty and the model while I'm working. It's also water soluble and very easy to clean up.

  14. Nice article, I'm also a lover of the clay shapers, I use the black-tip set. I got them from dick-blick art supply online for a fairly decent price.

    @Kamui - Not weird, I prefer vaseline on the tools, and if I'm sculpting the surface of a base/texture I'll spread a thin layer on top of the greenstuff once I get it stuck onto the object and in relatively the right shape. Makes sculpting much easier, and helps smooth out imperfections/fingerprints.

  15. So I guess we'll know how you've made those moustaches, mohawks and mullets from green stuff, eh Ron?

    *wink wink*


  16. Marshal: I have that post ready to go on Monday. I sculpted a mowhawk, mustache and beard on a wolf torso to show how I do those.

    I just want to paint him up to show the final result.

  17. lycanthropica: Thanks! I didn't think I'd get as big of a response as I did to this post.

  18. With lubricants such as KY or Vaseline, how do you then get it off for undercoating, without damaging the GS?

    I usually dip all my minis in soapy water, using washing-up liquid, and a toothbrush. Then rinse them with water.

    How do you get the oiliness of these lubes off, as I'd assume even a residue would stop an undercoat from sticking?

  19. Marshall: With something like KY, use the water soluble stuff. I use regular spray on cooking spray (when I need to) since I know warm soap and water will take it right off.


If you've got a relevant tip, trick or link, make sure to include it in your comment for the rest of us to check out!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.