Creative Tip: Working with Epoxy Putty

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In this Creative Tip I'll show you how working with Epoxy Putty can greatly increase what you can achieve with your next project.

Safety

All that dust on the front of my table was from grinding, cutting, and sanding just two pieces. You do not want that dust in your lungs or eyes, so make sure you wear a dust mask or preferably a respirator and safety glasses or goggles. And when you're done, make sure to vacuum up what you can. Have fun and be safe out there folks!


We'll start with some of the things you'll need. I really like using Tamiya Epoxy Putties, especially the Quick Type. I find it to be more sticky when first working with it which is a huge plus since adheasion to the piece is critical. It also sands beautifully and has a density that is very close to Bandai plastic. 

If, for some reason, you can't find it, or you don't have access to it, there are many other artists' Epoxy Putties available. Milliput, Magic Sculpt, and Aves Apoxie Scuplt are just a few.

You'll also need some files. The larger file in this image is a general purpose flat file or bastard file. This is used for initial filing and getting the rough shape into the refining process.

The smaller file is a needle file. It's used for finer filing work when precision is needed.

A good hobby knife is essential in almost all modelling applications and this is no different. My knife of choice is the Olfa Art knife with their normal hobby blade and their chisel blade

The chisel blade is especially useful when evening up surfaces, which I'll show a little later in this tutorial.

 

To get a really refined surface you'll need a few sanding blocks of different grits. I usually use two for the refining process; one with 400 grit sand paper and one with 800 grit sand paper.

These particular sanding blocks are by Hobby Mate, but you could easily make your own with some thin plywood or MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard), or if you have access to a laser cutter you can cut your own from thin acrylic sheet.

If you're trying to match an angle, you'll need a metal protractor like this. It's used to check to make sure you have the correct angle along the way during the refining process. It's also really useful if you have to cut some plastic sheet or strip at an odd angle.

The last thing you'll need is a small container of water.

 

STEP 1

Epoxy Putty comes in two parts that you mix together in equal amounts, so to begin we'll cut equal amounts of the White and Gold parts.

STEP 1A

Once you have them cut, they should be of equal size.

STEP 2

Use some water and wet your fingers before you start mixing the two parts. This will prevent the Epoxy Putty from sticking to your fingers. It also makes it much easier to mix. Knead and mix the putty for several minutes until you get a smooth even color throughout. As you mix it the water on your hands will start to dry and you'll feel the sticky feel start to return. This is important in the coming steps so that the Epoxy Putty properly adheres to the piece. 

Different brands will be different colors. Tamiya happens to be a pale yellow color when fully mixed.

 

This will be the piece that we'll be working with. We'll be packing Epoxy Putty into the corner around the perimeter of the upper part of the piece.

STEP 3

Now that the putty has that sitcky feel back, we'll apply it to the inside corners of the piece. Make sure to apply a litte more than you need and that it covers or overhangs any surface you want to match. We'll be removing the excess later and refining the shape. 

It's best to scuplt your rough shape at this point to make later steps a bit easier. You can use the water again to smooth the surface of the putty. If you have any sculpting tools or an old hobby knife, you can use them to better rough out the shape.

STEP 4

Wait.

Epoxy Putties differ in cure times, but I usually find that a good 12 hours is long enough for Tamiya to fully cure to its full hardness. I like to attach the pieces to paint holders so they are out of the way and to minimize anything coming into contact with them during the curing stage.

 

STEP 5

This is where the fun begins. Our first step into the refining process is to even out the Determination Points. They are the points that will ultimately determine your angle or shape.

Here you can see a cross section of the piece. The upper Determination Point is the corner of the top surface of the piece, while the bottom Determination Point is the corner of the base layer of plastic. For this piece the angle is 52 degrees.

STEP 5A

Since we now know the Determination Points are the top corner and bottom corner. I use a chisel blade to even out the surfaces and make them flat. Here is what it looks like after I've evened out the surfaces.

 

STEP 6

At this point we'll probably have to remove a good amount of material to get down to a workable shape with our files and sanding blocks, so to do this I'll use my Dremel with a common cylindrical grinding bit. You have to be very careful at this stage as you can easily take off too much and have to add some Epoxy Putty to fix your mistake.

STEP 7

After you've used the Dremel you can start to carve more material off with your hobby knife and clean up and over hanging Epoxy Putty.

Step 8

We'll start to file the shape down to the angles we need to achieve. The bastard file works really well for this and will remove a good amount of material.

 

STEP 8A

Make sure to stop often and check your angles. This is really easy to mess up.

STEP 9

When you have your shape pretty close to what you want, you can start to use the sanding blocks. This will really flatten out the surface and get you really close to your final shape.

STEP 9A

You can also use your needle file during this stage as well if you need to refine a small problem area.

 

Step 10

You've got your final shape and it's nicely refined, but you can still see some faint filing and sanding marks. Go over it with some fine grit sand paper to really clean up the surfaces. Be careful not to dull and sharp edges though.

STEP 11

Repeat the process for the opposite piece. This is always the harder process since you're trying to duplicate your work. It's best to stop often and check your work.

Here you can see the Before and After of the refining process.

 

And here are the final pieces. All the angles matche and the edges are sharp.

With Epoxy Putty you can achieve bevels like this very easily.

But making bevels isn't the only thing you can do with Epoxy Putty. You can completely reshape parts and fill in voids (especially on SD's and HG's). 

As you can see in this montage, I've used Epoxy Putty to reshape parts of the chest and completely alter the head of the Ozymandias. 

Epoxy Putty is a wonderful resource for modelers that has nearly limitless applications. You can make just about anything from it, so go experiment with some on your next project!

I hope you've found this tutorial helpful. If so, give it a like and feel free to share it!


Finished Piece

Here is the finished piece. Details and plating have been added and finished.