Plastiline is a commonly used product in prosthetics and it’s necessary to have a working knowledge of its properties to help you when choosing and using it.
It’s usually used for fine detail sculptures of prosthetics such as appliances and maquettes.
The name plastiline covers a broad range of products that are also often referred to as oil-based clay. This can be a little confusing however, because most plastilines are made with varying degrees of wax. Its most useful property is that it’s non-drying. This means it can maintain fine detail, whereas water-based pottery clay dries out.
Plastiline is more expensive than water-based clay because it’s formulated from different components and involves a manufacturing process, whereas clay is a naturally occurring material. There are many different varieties available with different consistencies and it even comes in different colours: grey and terracotta. Most prosthetics artists have a favourite brand of plastiline and experimenting with different varieties will help you find out which is yours.
By practicing with it you’ll also discover how environmental factors such as heat affect it and establish what sort of plastiline suits which kind of job – sometimes it works to use different plastiliines for different parts of the same job.
Although plastiline tends to be used for smaller sculptures, there is one very famous large-scale movie creature that was sculpted in it – the original Jurassic Park T-Rex, created by the brilliant Stan Winston Studio back in 1993!
Jurassic Park: Universal via YouTube screengrab
To be a successful prosthetics artist you need to know your materials well, and our ONLINE COURSES have you covered with a whole section of video lessons about the key materials and equipment of our craft, including the basics about plastiline!
In this lesson Neill Gorton takes a look at some of the more well-known products on the market and considers their working properties.
ACCESS-ALL SUBSCRIPTION £18.99 per month for unlimited access to all the lesson videos on our website plus new ones added regularly. Also includes PDF downloads of voiceover transcripts that are ideal for translating into other languages, and materials lists with alternative product suggestions,