Wednesday, March 2, 2011

CVinton's Old Stuff Day: Green Stuff sandbags

I really liked this article and feel like it fell through the cracks of a time before we had the larger viewer base we do now. Also, its been on my mind since I've recently put together 24 new weapons teams, gun-line, ho!! Enjoy!

Just a quick little tutorial on making some easy sandbags. I'm getting my army around for the paint and play at the local hobby shop and I have to finally paint my weapon teams since the point cost is so low AND there is no armor 14 allowed. Time for bullets!

First off, just as a warning, these eat up your green stuff. I did three teams and went through about a half to a quarter tube of each color. A friend from the store pointed out that there are world war II kits of sand bags but they don't get the custom shape I like. Plus, if green stuff is 20$ and that kit is 10$ish then its not really too much more. I'm ok with the more expensive yet more customized method. Here we go!

Start by mixing your green stuff. Its not too important for this to let it sit since you're not doing much, if any, fine detail. Just mix and glob. next, gloves, wear your gloves for this because you'll end up leaving big finger prints that you'll have to smooth out.

I grabbed up enough to roll it into a ball about half the size of a dime. Roll it up into a ball then squish it down into a more-rectangular-than-round pancake. This is going to be your basic form. To get a good idea of what scale you should come out to mine up up about the size of a guardsmen torso. I've never built a sandbag wall to hide behind while shooting lasguns at people, but I feel like that's a good size.

Next you'll select your location of your model to put the base of the wall and lay it down.

Side note: For my bases I use floor tiles from lowes. You can buy 12"x12" squares for 0.66$ I just break it up with a pair of pliers into random chunks. If you saw my bikes the effect comes out like that. After that I use a product that I found from when I first bought my Bearded Dragon called 'Lizard Liter." It's crushed walnut shells and looks good as a rocky/sandy/fine rubble.

So, after you place your rounded rectangular chunk down press it into any rubble or any other sandbags you might have down and make it look sort of droopy like its been there for a while and the sand has settled in to make it look more realistic. After that, run your needle tool around the end to create a crease all the wayaround to look like a seem. Once you're done there go back to the top and push the droops back down that the seem might have pushed back up. This does two things: makes the seem irregular and thinner in areas and makes the top look evenly effected by gravity.

Next make tiny lines int he top portion to make it look like folds in the material. Over exaggerate them, it'll look good when you paint it and give some great dark/light contrast areas when you use washes or dry brush. I start out by using the needle tool. Keep in mind that material bunches at where its being pulled so it'll form little V's with the point at the edge and the creases spidering towards the center.

After using the needle tool I then push the droops down with the larger silcon smoothing tool. Remember to go back through afterward, repeating your steps until you get it to look like its been hanging there. If you get any sharp edges in the the GS don'tworry too much because GS has a tendency to 'settle' out and smooth out the edges naturally.

After you get one, rinse and repeat, stuffing them into each other, over weird edges, ect. Here's this team, one bag at a time:

Ok, so there is the first layer. Pretty easy. I stopped here and add an all new technique for this tutorial as an experiment.
I was sitting around in class, day dreaming about 40k instead of focusing on how not to kill people via mixing certain IV meds and thought, how can I make my sand bags look even more real? Texture. To get it I decided to use a cloth bandaid.

After you make your first row of bags, just wrap it around your finger and press the texture randomly into the bags. the GS doesn't generally stick to the bandaid but you can still get it wet just to make sure.

Continue stacking your bags until you get the look, stopping each row to texture them then continuing.
More stacking:

There's the first team finished and here are the other two. Too bad I don't get to have cover saves for the terrain on my base! I'd put sandbags on my whole army's bases its so easy!!

Thanks! As always, questions and comments are welcome.


  1. I loved this article the first time it went up and I remember saying "dammit, this kid can greenstuff well too! I need to catch up!"

  2. Great how-to article. I have many Guardsmen in need of sandbagging so I will have to do it in installments. Investment in green stuff is a little cost prohibitive, but as you pointed out, well worth the expense for a custom look. Thanks again.