Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Hi mates!

Some years ago, when I started sculpting, I saw a step by step tutorial of an orc that I never forgot. I remember I said: Oh my god! I want to sculpt like him in the future!

This is the link of the step by step video (it was a long tutorial but it disappeared from the net with the years and this is what remains there):

At that time, I didn’t know that guy, it was only a tutorial I saw in the Internet. Some years later (at the beginning of this year) I knew a new clay which was in developing process and I sent an email to the developers because they were offering free tries for sculptors and, some weeks later, I received my little piece of BeeSPutty.

I added the developer to facebook and, started speaking with him to tell him my opinion about the clay. I’ll speak longer about that in the future but I can say it’s a great product.

One day, when I was seeing all the videos he uploaded about the new clay I saw the video of the orc! Oh my god! That guy was interested in my opinion about the clay he was developing! The guy who made THE orc! 🙂

And that’s the story about how I met Stefan Nieuhes, the sculptor behind the BeeSPutty project.

Some time later, after sculpting a couple of miniatures in BeeSPutty I think it’s a good idea to show other sculptors the idea of the BeeSPutty to make them see if it’s a good putty for them.

That’s why I made an interview to my mate Stefan, to let you know more about this project.

I hope it motivates you to try this putty!

Q: Tell us something about you. For the people who don’t know you, introduce yourself a bit.

A: My name is Stefan Niehues and I live in Germany in a small town called Olfen. I am a professional sculptor for the toy industry. I make my living from sculpting since 1997. Back then I was hired by a company called HobbyProducts.
I have done Demonworld 15mm Miniatures for them. After nearly 3 Years at Hobbyproducts I decided to sculpt as a freelancer. So since 1999 I am a professional freelance sculptor. That is nearly 15 years now :-)…
As a freelancer I worked for many companys in the gaming- and toy industry such as Reaper, Hobbyproducts, Blizzard Entertainment, Privateer Press, Assasin Miniatures, Kraft Masterfoods, Coppenrath Publishing, Ferrero and many others…
Since last Year I also work digital. There is a hype on getting work done in computer-generated 3D. I dont know if that will be the future, but if you can’t get a job done in clay it will not be easier to do it with a computer 🙂

Stefan'2 minis

Q: Why did you start developing the BeeSPutty project?

A: Since I sculpt professional I worked with materials like GreenStuff or Magic Sculp or Milliput. These are all Epoxy-based as far as I know. If I work with Milliput I get big red eyes and my fingers get red. GreenStuff and Magic Sculp are not as aggressive as Milliput is. For Years it was necessary to sculpt prototypes in Greenstuff or Magic Sculp for the production process. The Master has to hold pressure and heat without cracking into splinters. But the biggest problem for me was that every epoxy 2 part putty once mixed together begins to cure and you have to sculpt within this time frame. With GreenStuff it is knead it together, wait 10-15 minutes, have a 20-30 minutes sculpting time and than get the part cured under a light bulb. Sometimes you need it soft then again for scraping and really sharp details you need it nearly cured. So you have to know your putty exactly and the 2 part putty makes the rule of time. With a bakeable putty that problem does not exist. But there is no bakeable putty on the market that satisfied my demands. So the BeeSPutty story starts 🙂 …

Q: Could you tell us the story of the BeeSPutty form the first prototype to the last type you released?

A: Where to start…? From the beginning I have been interested into how clays and putties are made. As I sayed before I was not satisfied with the products available on the market.

Every putty has some advantages and some disadvantages. Wax is good for finishing a piece, epoxy holds fine details and is extremly strong, PVC-bakeable puttys are hard to handle. First I have done a 2part Epoxyputty, it works fine and I still use it on some projects. It’s a waxlike 2 part putty that has a 3 hours time frame for sculpting and after hardening it can be carved, sanded and polished like a hard toywax. I have tried to get it produced. It cost me thousands of Euros and at the end I have had a product that was 90% similar to mine but so expensive that I had to buy 1000g for around 100 Euro. That does not make sense, as a overpriced semi-good product with a toxic sign on it is not needed by anybody.
I went on to mix my own 2 Part stuff for personal use and for some of my friends. So my friend Mati (aka badsmile) works with Supersculpy Firm over a greenstuffed wire-armature.
I have tried this kind of work and to be honest I am to lazy to build up a GreenStuff bonding layer and Super Sculpey is a bit to soft in my opinion. But then the idea was born in my mind.
I need an extrafirm, sticky pvc based sculpting putty that I can put on the wire directly and it should have enough firmness to get stefan's minithe work done how I like it. But it seemed to be an impossible mission to find a company which was interested into making my vision come true. At this point I had done several experiments with mixing all kind of clays and putties with everything that seemed to be mixable and promising. In 2011 I met a chemist who works for a big PVC manufacturer and they were interested in my project. Together we worked out some ideas and after hundreds of tries and using new materials we had done the first 100g BeeSPutty in a usable quality. But 100g is far away from large scale production. The next big obstacle was the biggest I had to overcome. A PVC based clay of the firmness I was dreaming of has to be done in a Z-Kneader. That is a special machine for mixing firm materials. To buy such a machine was exorbitant for me. A small one starts at 60.000 Euros.
So we had to get it produced by a company having such a machine. The idea was good, but we had to reveal our secret formula and we had to produce in batches of 200kg. But such a batch was not the way we wanted it.
So I had to find an alterative metod to get such a firm putty produced in do-it-yourself-manner. It seemed that there is no way … but finally I found one 🙂 And here the story ends because the production of BeeSPutty is a new way of producing such a putty and in the process there are some secrets that we rather not share until we have the patent.

Q: Why an oven-hardening putty and not a two part self-hardening putty (like Milliput or GreenStuff)?

A: Because it is EN71 conform nontoxic and you can sculpt as long as you want on your sculpture and you decide when to harden it. 🙂 In contrast all 2K putties are toxic.

Q: Which advantages does BeeSPutty have compared to other known oven-hardening putties (as Fimo or Super Sculpey Firm)?

A: It fits my needs like no other putty I know. We managed to produce a putty from materials that have special properties to get the putty we want. I think Fimo and Sculpey are both good putties in their way but they don’t have the high quality ingredients we use to get the stickiness and the firmness we want.
If you compare some common pvc based putties by kneading them warm, pressing them between thumb and finger you then see that BeeSPutty will be the smoothest.
Roll a tube of 3-4 mm diameter and about 50mm length, than take it between your fingers and take a look which one has the firmness to be a tube without bowing down or hanging around like a tail. You will see that BeeSputty has the best properties.
The biggest advantage is though that it is a bit sticky and you can sculpt it directly on to your wire armature.
After baking and cooling down completely in the oven, it can be polished with a soft bristle brush to get a waxlike finish.

Q: We know there are different types of BeeSPutty, could you explain the differences between them (advantages/disadvantages)? What type do you prefer?

A: That’s easy: We offer hard, medium and soft. Soft is for bigger sculptures, medium for sculptures around 100mm and hard is for very fine details.
You can also mix them to get the property you prefer. You can heat up BeeSPutty in an oven up to 50-60 °C to get it really soft without hardening. That way you can build up big masses easily.
But don’t get over 20-30mm per layer. It works but it might get cracks easier during the baking process. I chose the one I use depending on what I am about to sculpt.

Q: Which are your plans for the future with BeeSPutty? Are you developing new putties or clays?

QuetchiesA: I already have done BeeSPutty Soft in 20 different colors and some new sculpting sets called “Quetschies”. I also have a new ultra-light airdrying putty in the pipeline.
It will be perfect for building wargaming terrain and such stuff. I already have a cool sculpting wax. There are plans to get that on the market soon, too.

Q: As a sculptor, do you sculpt only with BeeSPutty or do you use other putties too?

A: Mostly I use my own stuff, BeeSPutty and BeeSWax. Sometimes I use Magic sculp for some projects when it has to be really extra strong.

And that’s all mates! Thank you for the time Stefan! 🙂

If you are interested in the products we speak about take a look to the masq-mini shop:

I hope you learned a little bit more about the BeeSPutty.

If you want to see some beesputty minis more, you can visit, for example, Gregor Adrians blog. And here you have some of the fantastic jobs he made!

For example: Knight, Dwarf

Have a nice day mates!