I tried out a few new modeling techniques that I picked up over the last week, and I'm extremely happy with all of them! As it happens, it was time to sculpt the butt onto the root of my Tommyknocker figure. I can only imagine what impact searching for reference pics of a "baby bottom" will have on my search results, but I guess now is an appropriate time to welcome all of the federal law enforcement agents that are looking at my posts!
First, mixing equal parts of Apoxie Sculpt (Grey Stuff) with Kneadatite (Green Stuff) makes for a phenomenally workable material. The Apoxie makes the Green Stuff much softer and pliant, while retaining its flexibility and stretch. It also mixes together a lot more easily. My Green Stuff is pretty much at the end of its shelf life and has become a bit stiff, but the addition of they Grey Stuff opens it right up and makes it immediately workable.
Second, instead of using water to keep fingers and tools from sticking, and to make it easier to polish and smooth the surface of the putty, I switched to water-based moisturizing lotion. I literally grabbed an old bottle of CeraVe, squirted a bit on the back of my hand, and used it to keep my tool tips lubricated. It doesn't dry out as fast as plain water and it's a lot slicker. Best of all, I couldn't discern that it made any difference in the ability of the putty to blend and stick to itself.
Finally, tools. I found a couple of references to using Comiart Color Shaper silicone brushes for blending, so I bought a set. There were warnings that the brush handles were cheap and would separate easily from the ferrules (they did) but they jam back together well enough--I may use some Green Stuff instead of glue to keep them together. There's still a place for metal tools, but these silicone tips are simply amazing.
My Color Shaper set is 0-gauge (smallest), and trying to use their squibbly tips like metal tools was futile. However, once I started using more of a swirling or painting motion instead of pushing or cutting (like with metal tools) everything fell into place. For as soft as they are though, they are effective for texturing. If you notice the grooves in the butt and across the back, these were done with the silicone tips instead of the metal tools (which were used for the arms). The grooves they make are much smoother around the edges than those produced by the metal tools (which were sharp-edged by contrast), and more of what I had in mind for the appearance of this wee root-creature.
Tonight is game night, so I probably won't have time to work on this model. When I pick back up, I'll add texture to the back of the legs, and continue to fix the shape of the skull, all while continuing to learn how to use these new techniques.