Wargaming Tradecraft: [REVIEW] Stamping with Happy Seppuku's Kickstarter


[REVIEW] Stamping with Happy Seppuku's Kickstarter

I was recently pointed to a rather interesting Kickstarter by Moe (aka, the local Gaming Guru) of the Windsor Gaming Resource. The company is Happy Seppuku Model Works and they're in the business of creating texture and accent stamps. The idea is that instead of spending $2-10 on textured resin bases, buy some stamps and quickly make them yourself. Being very intrigued, I contacted Happy Seppuku and offered to review their product, which you can read below. Their Kickstarter ENDS THIS WEEK. If you're interested, don't bookmark this to come back later, go take a look now. (If it's ended, you can still get other stamps at their store.)

The following review / tutorial is also useful if you happen to find other objects useful for texturing bases. Some hobby stores / model train stores will carry moulds, but they're usually 3D, while these are flat and better for bases.

My overall impression is this:

This is a great product for hobbyists who are looking for a quick way to make textured bases themselves without going to a whole lot of work. Stamping's a very easy process and the stamps themselves are big enough that every base will look a little unique with accents that offer even more flare. Purchased resin bases will provide better quality but cost quite a bit more. If you don't mind investing the time, imperfections like bubbles and broken details can be repaired with a once over using some kind of shaping tool. The cost of a single reusable texture stamp is about the same as the cost of resin bases for a small unit of troops.

 The way these stamps work is really straight forward. There's a nice selection of textures, and after covering your base in green stuff, press a stamp on it. Once the putty dries, you've got a base that looks nearly as good as the resin. Their accent pieces are things like grates, grills, sewer covers, etc. (More on these later.)

Something to always remember when working with green stuff - if you don't want it to stick, cover it in water. So, don't wet the green stuff when you press it into the base, but DO wet the top before you stamp it.
 There's a nice selection of textures available and you can see the whole range in their store / Kickstarter.

As part of the Kickstarter, they also include some putty with the stamps. It's firmer than green stuff, holds the texture better and dries hard, not flexible.

For larger areas, I found the easiest way was to spread green stuff out across the stamp, then with the stamp facing down, use a rolling pin to press it. You can see in the photo below that the edges were a little rough, but the center turned out well.

 If you have two similar stamps, you can make two-sided stampings as well. This could create small walls and rubble for bases or in larger projects would allow you to create big walls. You could make raised platforms and walkways without worrying about ugly flat bottoms. While the putty is drying, you could even bend it to create a curved structure.
 Speaking of curves, the moulds themselves are pretty flexible. This makes removing accent pieces pretty easy. It also allows the stamps to be a little more detailed.

On the down side, detail is sometimes affected. A firmer stamp would create sharper edges.
 These accents are nice and once you've made them, it's a simple matter of trimming the flack off the sides with a hobby knife.

Once you've got a texture stamped on a base, you'll need to make a slot for your model to sit in. You can use a pin vice to drill the first edge of the hole, then measure the edge of the tab to figure out where to drill the other hole. These are just markers so you can cut the tab out.

I would strongly recommend cutting the tab down to just where the feet are. Last thing you want is a nicely textured base with ugly flat tabs beside the feet. These stamps need to be used before the model's on the base.

 You can also mix accents and textures. Make an accent first and let it harden. Surround it with green stuff and stamp the whole base. You'll be left with a nice merging of the two and can trim off any excess you want.

Some of the other accents can be stamped right into your base before it dries.

 If you want the textures to be more defined, you can use a sculpting tool to press into the grooves and emphasize the texture.

This also cleans up imperfections left by the stamping process or air bubbles in the textures.
Speaking of sculpting, feel free to add your own modifications to the textures while they dry. Here I've cut up the stones to make them look broken. (left pic)

You can also stamp a texture you've already created, like here where I've made the stones look rough. (right pic) Just don't stamp too hard or you'll squish the texture.

Speaking of modifying textures that already exist, Look at what I've done to this simple metal pattern. Using a file, the grip on a pick, a dentist tool and a stiff bristle brush, I've added a bunch of different textures to the metal. That'll make these stamps go even further.

You'll notice the green stuff looks wet - once again, this prevents your tools from sticking to it.

 Want some fun? Cut the textures you've made and glue them together. Make walls, buildings, doors or just boxes this way.

Accents like the manhole covers don't have to be just for manholes. That'd make a great window. Or, while you're using them as manholes, some have blank spaces where you can scratch words. (Like, maybe your last name and the date)


There were a few concerns I had with these stamps. I found there to be A LOT of air bubbles in the stamps, which led to imperfections in the things I made. You can clean them up, mind you. Either use a knife after it's hardened or a sculpting tool to press them out while still malleable. Part of the Kickstarter is to improve their processes and they're planning on adding some equipment to the process which should take care of these bubbles. [UPDATE] Since getting the final product after the Kickstarter, they didn't correct for this flaw.

I don't know much about mould making, but the other impression I get is that the smaller details could be firmer to improve some of the pressing.

It's nice that they've hit a milestone on their Kickstarter to include putty, but I wasn't a fan of it... not at all. Don't get me wrong - still works great for stamping.

It's a 2 part putty like green stuff, but VERY sticky and oily. A real mess to work with.

[UPDATE] The darker stuff I got in the Kickstarter had even begun a chemical reaction that was eating through the plastic bag.

Kickstarter Close-Ups

The main issue with these stamps are air bubbles that were supposed to be corrected with a vacuum system purchased with the money from the Kickstarter. After my initial review and promises of error correction, I ordered 9 stamps from the Kickstarter. Like the originals, all of them have many air bubbles.

Another flaw in some of the areas of the stamps is that details seem to have been cut off or missing

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting idea. Too bad I saw your article only today, once the Kickstarter is over.

    I'll have to have a look once the new stamps are in the store.


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