Thursday, March 1, 2012

Press Molding Necron Scarabs with Milliput and Green Stuff (Interesting Findings)

Old School here to talk about Press Molding Necron Scarabs. This article will cover the basics of press molding and then will also cover my finding and differences between Milliput and Green Stuff as a medium. I know some of this information is really basic for some, but I have never used Milliput for Press Molding and I am sure I am not the only person who would be curious. Anyway, Let's get started:

Before we get too far, I am not doing this to pirate these bases out. I am simply making enough to use without buying a hundred boxes of warriors. I also want to put them on bases for my other models and this is a great way to get them. I stress that you should not use this knowledge to sell scarab bases!

I didn't take a photo of me pressing the original scarab models into the Green Stuff or Milliput, but you get the idea. What I like to do is find a small square or rectangular container. The card containers from bits lots or from baseball or Magic card work perfect for this scale, so that is what I used. I wanted to crank out about 24 scarabs per casting, so I filled the bottom of the container in (about scarab thickness) with Green Stuff and Milliput. You can simply choose one or the other, I used both to see the difference between the two.

Once you have the Milliput or Green Stuff in place, you will want to spray the medium with a light coat of cooking spray (pic of what I use below), their stuff will ensure you get your models back from the medium. You don't need a ton, just a spray and then spread it out with your fingers.

You then want to press the scarabs into the medium while it is still pliable (with their backs down) and sink them in until you get down to the bottom of the model. The bottom will not be covered as it will be down on the bases and invisible from the table top perspective. once all the scarabs are in, simply push the medium around the edges of the models to make sure it is all flush and then leave the scarabs there, preferably overnight, so the medium can fully cure.

Once you have allowed the molds to cure, pull out your plastic scarabs and set them aside. Now you have a mold, so let's start breeding scarabs! Spray your mold lightly with the cooking spray, then make a small ball of green stuff or Milliput and press it into the mold like the photo above. I usually leave a little run one (just a little) to use as a tab to remove the scarab when it is finished.

*Here is where the differences in Milliput and Green Stuff come into play. Green Stuff stays flexible, but Milliput cures hard like pottery. This means that if you put Milliput into a Milliput mold to make scarabs, you might break your bugs trying to pry them out afterward - or you might ruin the details in the mold. If you make a Milliput mold, use Green Stuff to make the scarabs. This isn't too bad as Milliput is pretty cheap and works better for the mold since you waste so much material in the actual body of the mold. The green stuff scarabs that come from a Milliput mold also have very sharp details, so that is also a plus.

If you have a green stuff mold, both Green Stuff and Miliput works fine and either material will produce great scarabs out of a green stuff mold.

Here is what your mold should look like with some scarabs in it. Both products will take about 4 hours to cure, so make sure you give them the time they need before you start pulling on them as you could ruin your scarabs by pulling them out early.

When I pull them out, I use that little tab I told you about to pry them out using my hobby knife or even a butter knife.

Once you pop out your scarabs, they should look like this. All you have to do is trim off the flash and wash off the cooking spray with soap and water and you will be ready to base them.

Here is an example of a Milliput scarab from a green stuff mold mounted on the base of one of my wraiths. The Milliput scarabs clean up nicely and take well to scraping and sanding if it is needed. They also have very sharp details.

Here is an example of one fresh from the mold.

Here are some scarabs pulled from the Milliput mold. The Milliput molds are rigid and force the Green Stuff to keep the details sharp, just slightly better than a Green Stuff mold, so the difference is negligible, but if you want less defects during production, I would use the Milliput mold with Green Stuff scarabs or the Green Stuff mold with the Milliput scarabs.

Here is a closer look at a Green Stuff scarab from a Milliput mold. I think that making the scarabs from the opposite of the mold material is optimal, but after reading my findings, you can make up your own mind on what you want to use. I will keep cranking out my remaining scarabs in Green Stuff from my Milliput mold for sharp details. I will say though that if I were to do it over again, the only thing I would change is that I would use the Superfine Milliput (white stuff) rather than the Yellow/ Grey as it cures like porcelain rather than clay and would give me an even tougher mold.

 So there is some food for thought on the creation of press molded Necron scarabs. Hopefully it helps you save money, create perfect batches of scarabs or some combination of the two and maybe even gave you something to think about when press molding other items. On that note, remember that if you want your product to be flexible, make sure it is made of green stuff (a Milliput mold would be useful though for that), I wish I would have done the shields on my Death Wing that way.

Comments, feedback and notes from your experience with press molding would be greatly appreciated.


  1. Fantastic. Excellent when you need 80 of the little buggers

  2. I made mine with Greenstuff scarabs and Poyo putty from Smooth-On.

    I found the detail to be excellent due to the fact that poyo putty once cured is rubbery so the greenstuff could really get pressed into the recesses, especially the undercuts of the armor which allowed me to trim the flash easier.

    I used to use milliput a lot back in the day. The superfine stuff is excellent for gap filling and sanding. I would never think to use it as a mold though just cause it's too rigid. I feel like it would be hard to pop the pieces out of it. Unless the pieces were rubbery.

    1. I will have to try poyo putty. I think the Gs might be rubbery enough for the superfine to work as a mold, but I wouldn't use it to make actual parts because as you said, it is too rigid. Thanks for the insight and the url, I will try out smooth on's stuff.

    2. I went to hobby lobby looking for some press mold putty like the blue stuff. No luck. I'll be making some scarabs tonight. I think scarab farm is a dick list, but it's pretty funny and want to whip it back and forth for a bit just to garner more necron respect. Plus whatever OST does I have to do better.

      On a side note, your contemptor is sick. I can't wait to see it finished.

  3. The poyo putty is really quick and convenient for small molds. Especially press molds which are 1 sided. It's very similar to "blue stuff" that everyone has been talking about for a while on the blogosphere.

    I wouldn't use it for more complicated molds though. That's what old fashioned RTV or silicone is for.

  4. I'm still trying to figure out what kind of mold/material to use for my ripper spawning (because im a fluff bunny who loves the parasite of mortrex whether or not its a good unit lol), so I find these articles extremely helpful. Obviously rippers have slightly different features (namely that the detail is 2 sided, so I have to create a 2 sided mold. I'm considering putting together more of a writhing swarm type base, with 10ish rippers on top, but all of them fairly low on the base. I could then possibly mold the entire swarm as a unit instead of the individual rippers (plus it would look better, more like the forgeworld model). If all this goes according to plan (which, does anything ever? lol) I'll try out making some sky slashers.

    I'm currently deciding between Poyo and blustuff as my mold material, and miliput and greenstuff as my model material. Since it dries tougher, I'm really considering the superfine miliput.

    1. There are really great how-to on two sided molding and its super easy to do. you really should look into it for making a ton of ripper swarms. I'm more and more getting into the 'buck up' attitude with how much the internet just rants about GW prices but for things like your situation where you just want to run a beer and pretzels list, its super hard to drop the 200 it would cost to get the awesome FW ripper swarms in the number you want. In the end their just ripper swarms and that cost is beyond the level of fun I'd get out of the list.

      Same with the scarabs. Its basically about a buck per little scarab right now and if you want to make a mass of like 10 or more per base (and thus be a true swarm) it'll cost crazy amounts of money; too much in fact. Go mold them and if anyone gives you shit about them I bet their some douche bag that you don't want to spend your relaxing hobby time with any ways.

  5. You might want to mention that this is actually pretty illegal, but other than that its a great tutorial and great for supplementing your existing stock. Using this technique you can add to your existing bases to give them a real swarm effect (like the Forge World ripper swarms!)

    1. He paid for the original minis, and they are his to do with as he pleases. This includes moulding, molestation, mutilation, or ingestion. It's only a crime for him to sell them, trade them, or possibly give them away.

    2. I appreciate both sides of the legal argument, but this article is more about helping people who are interested in press molding for personal use (press molding doesn't lend itself to profitable affairs).

      In any case, lets keep the legal stuff out and talk minis. For GW's "rules" on their Ip, check out this URL

      I agree with you on the bases oink, but I would probably just use resin casting and do make-ups of who bases at that point, even at the rate I can crank these out, it isn't really feasible to do huge swarm bases. There are some great resin kits on Amazon if you wanted to go that route though.

  6. It might be worth trying out the liquid green stuff. Couldn't you just, like, pour it into the mold for each scarab? It might cost more, though, in the end...

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Whoops, ipad copied the wrong link

      It isn't recommended lol

    3. Yeah, follow Ian's link. I already planted a flag on that hill and died there, lol!

  7. I'm a big fan of using Blu-Stuff for my molds. It doesn't require the release agent (cooking spray) and can capture the fine detail like miliput can.
    It's got the flexibility of greenstuff as a mold as well so it has some give and take when it comes time to remove your cast.

    I like casting in greenstuff myself for the ease of use even though I have tried miliput.
    Nice post.

    Ron, FTW

    1. I saw your blu-stuff post. That stuff is sweet looking. Sadly, I'm a pretty impatient person and when I could jsut run to the store and grab milliput and GS or I can otdrer blu-stuff and wait a week I tend to just run to the store....but now that I think about it if I just ordered it when I read your article.....DAMN!

  8. As an added note (a cheviot if you will) OST and I as you may know are both bro-tappin over necron and feeding off each other in the hobby arena. As a result we tend to steal each other's ideas and refine them. He stole my wraiths and made them look much cooler and in turn I'm stealing his scarabs and just adding a little foot note.

    When I did mine I used a mold release spray that I have left over from the oomoo kits, works great. I made my molds out of GS because it allows me to pop the scarabs out. I used Milliput to make the scarabs because, well, its cheaper; under half the cost in fact. and as OST said, it holds edges better and is just generally easier to clean up (try scraping GS some time and not having it turn the bottom of a worn through sneaker). Since GS can be flexed to pop out the scarabs, this allowed me to press the Milliput in without any overflow that you would otherwise need to pry it out and saved a ton of time from cleaning up the excess material.

    Last thing I'd like to mention is that GS set time can be sped up with an oven! Throwing your GS in there at 170 degrees for 5-10 minutes and then allowing it to cool will set it. I had success pressing the scarabs into the GS, baking at 170 for about 5-10 min and then allowing it to cool without melting the plastic. Now this doesn't mean it won't melt for you; I'm just saying it didn't when I did it. If you want to brave it, I'd test it out first on some extra plastic you have, something near the thickness of a scarab because that will effect how much heat it can absorb over time before it melts (think a razor thin piece of plastic vs a 2 foot cube and what it would take to melt one vs the other)

    The same as GS can be cooked, so can Milliput. It takes a little more heat with the milliput though, so I bake mine at 200 for 10ish minutes. More heat and longer cook time for milliput.

    For the scarabs, I cooked my GS mold, popped out the plastic scarabs and then pressed in milliput and baked the whole thing at 200. I had no problem at all. If you over cook GS before it's set it'll bubble up and become airy and misshapen. Once its set though, you can cook at the higher temp and longer and shouldn't be a problem.

    But like I said, test it out with bits you don't care about first. I don't want to hear that you put a mold of 30 scarabs in the oven and they're all melted now. That's your own dumb fault for not testing first.

    Good luck with you cooking. I'll check here for replies since this isn't the top article now I know this won't get as much viewing but if your question is pressing feel free to email me. Good luck and happy forging!

    1. I think we need a follow up with further findings. The cooking could be a topic all to itself.