This is standard version of European mud based on dark soils also known as chernozems. Appropriate for Southeastern Europe theatres, Smart Mud XL allows you to quickly prepare tons of high definition diorama texturing paste whenever you need it. To start modelling your terrain you simply need to mix three bundled ingredients. Please click the photo for a more detailed description. Available textures: fine, medium, coarse Finish: Each bundle can deliver wet, damp and dry finishes Recommended techniques: brush and artist’s spatula Combine with: Pigment Expert binders, Spot-on pigments Smart Mud XL allows you to quickly prepare tons of high definition diorama texturing paste whenever you need it. To start modelling your terrain you simply need to mix three bundled ingredients. Contrarily to pre-made pastes Smart Mud XL offers a great deal of flexibility – you can adjust thickness, finish and texture so that the paste is more to your liking! Being a DIY product Smart Mud XL yields plenty of diorama texturing paste that is always factory-fresh! Being a I Formulator enabled product SMART MUD XL allows you to create both dry and wet mud at you leisure. Now you won’t be stuck with one-finish product that kind of satisfies your creative process. Big bundle equals 360 ml of dry or wet mud small bundle 180 ml. That’s more than enough for your average diorama. 🙂 To know the precise coverage please check product FAQ Some say that mud is mud and particle size doesn’t matter. We beg to differ. A sand particle 1 mm in diameter is gravel to your soldiers on a 1:35 diorama. The same particle becomes a railroad ballast stone in scale of 1:72. Therefore we bundled our resin with proper, up to scale micronised material. Not only more accurate, our fine texturing materials make it easier for you to make imprints too! Basic texture can be further modified using activator! As the product is not pre-made you can adjust it to your needs. Use texturing material to mix dry mud. Add a lot of activator for extra gritty paste. Apply pure resin over dry mud to give it shine of wet mud. Use resin with just the activator to mix super smooth paste with no texture. Sky is the limit! Product is very intuitive and fun to use check out it’s FAQ for guidelines.
How much terrain will I be able to model?
Effectiveness of big bundle is around 650 cm² (equivalent of a 25×25 cm diorama, layer 0.5 cm thick ), small bundle is enough to cover 325 cm² (equivalent of a 18×18 cm diorama, layer 0.5 cm thick ).
How long does it take for the resin to harden?
Resin is dry to touch after about 1h but actual structural durability develops within 24h or more – depending on layer’s thickness. Thick layers need more time to dissipate water. Allow at least 24h before you continue to work on your terrain. SMART MUD XL drying rule: each 0.5 cm of a layer needs 24h to dry. For instance 1 cm thick layer needs at least 48h, 1.5 cm thick one 72h and so on. These times may vary according to ambient temperature.
What is the open time of the product?
Depending on ambient temperature open time is around 60 minutes. After that resin becomes more difficult to manipulate.
What tools to use?
For mixing, applying and texturing use heavy duty stiff bristled artist’s brush (hog bristle). For spreading the paste and modelling smooth terrains use artist’s spatula. For quick texturing of larger areas use kitchen nail cleaning brush.
How much activator should I add?
The amount depends on how much mud you are preparing. Add a few drops and stir the mixture. Add some more and stir again. Keep pouring activator until the mud reaches somehow “gummy” consistency and you find it harder to stir it – this resistance is a sign of appropriate thickness. Stick your brush in the paste, if it can stand on it’s own the thickness is OK.
Paste sticks too tools and is not easily shaped although I added recommended amount of activator.
Freshly mixed paste needs several minutes to reach working consistency i. e. optimal for shaping. Spread the paste on your diorama base and wait 10-15 minutes. You can also apply activator on top of already dispensed mud to help you shape it. Simply pour a few drops on the mud itself and tap it with your brush to locally increase thickness and make the mud more manageable. Whenever tools seem too clumsy, use your fingers to even the paste, gently tap the problematic areas.
How to make my mud appear dry?
SMART MUD XL finish rule: Introducing texturing material to the mix reduces gloss. Simply stick to basic SMART MUD XL mixing ratio which is 1:1. Deep matt will develop within 24h.
How to make my mud appear wet/glossy?
First step is to prepare a base layer of standard dry mud using texturing material (1:1 ratio) just as described above. Wait 24h for the base to dry and then apply a thin coat of pure resin (like paint, no activator) over the dry terrain with a flat brush. Rub the resin in so that the texture is beneath it is visible. It will dry in 1h and the gloss will be permanent, the thinner this layer the better the result, avoid localised resin accumulation. We advise to have some spare, not activated resin put aside for this purpose. You can leave dry patches of mud for added variation.
For immediate wet mud finish you can refrain from using texturing material and thicken the resin with just the activator, then apply it. This method is faster but not economical – you will be using up twice the product – this technique is good to enrich an existent base.
I want even more gloss!
You may add a coat of VMS Pigment Expert finishing acrylic resin, Alkyd or ENML 2.0 “gloss action” binders to further enhance the wet finish. Colour will deepen and the surface will become even more shiny. Introduce a bit (around 10%) of dry pigment to the binders for a vibrant glaze. You do that after “painting” your dry mud structure with pure resin as described above. You will end up with 3 layers of resin which is crucial as it’s the multiple layers that produce the vibrant effect. Using just the finishing resin on dry mud (2 layers) won’t do the trick. The resulting contrast between dry damp and wet mud and vibrant 3D appearance of the structure will blow you away! 🙂
I want to create smoother paste and spread it with artist’s spatula.
Use moderate amount of activator, the paste will yield to manipulation much more easily.
I want gritty and thick paste.
Use more activator and apply the mud with a stiff brush using a tapping motion.
How to make imprints such as tank track or tire marks?
Articulate imprints can be made in well thickened terrain. Introduce extra activator wherever you want the imprints to appear, pour it on the mud, rub and mix it in with a brush to evenly distribute it. The idea is to reach the “gummy” consistency which is good for making imprints. Stick your finger in the mud. If it is too soft add more activator. Next wet a part – road wheel or track of your AFV with VMS Universal weathering carrier and then start making imprints with it. Addition of carrier prevents mud sticking to the part. The carrier will evaporate from them terrain leaving no trace. It’s best to make imprints with dismantled suspension parts not the whole model!
Can I use this product to form normal terrain rather than glossy mud?
Absolutely you can! Applied using standard 1:1 ratio it will form great matt finish terrain. You can shape hills, ruts, beaches, roads and even trenches.
Can I use SMART MUD XL on vehicles?
Yes, the product will look just as great on vehicles but being acrylic it has quick drying time. If you prefer more hassle-free work we recommend using VMS Alkyd or ENML 2.0 binders along with corresponding spot-on pigments – you will have much more control over the process. The colours will match exactly as Smart Mud XL is based on spot-on pigments. The binders with pigments can be further used on the diorama terrain itself to enhance the finish. We recommend Alkyd or ENML 2.0 binders “gloss action” for superb dripping wet results, “standard” variants for dry mud “colour extenders” for deeper tones. Check out pigment expert page to learn more about the binders.
May I use other texturing material e.g. sand?
Sand is not recommended as it glitters and ruins the effect. You may mix in other stuff (small opaque stones, gravel) no problem, just remember to stick to 1:1 ratio. Added material must be dry. We cannot guarantee the results if you choose to add your own texturing material but you should be OK most of the time. 🙂
My SMART MUD bottle is half full, what the heck?
Small variant of SMART MUD XL contains 2×90 ml of resin and tex. material while big 2×180 of each component. Both variants share the same bottles – hence the difference. With small variant you get 2 half full bottles of resin and texturing material and with big variant you get two full bottles.
I forgot to clean my tools and the resin is hard to remove.
You can use VMS Cleaners Pro for acrylics (green “acryl” icon) to easily clean your tools. Simply soak your brushes and spatulas for a few minutes in the cleaners to restore them.
What is a “high solids” acrylic resin?
It is a resin that contains at least 50% solid particles dispersed in water. Cheap resins are diluted with extra water and contain less actual acrylic resin which means shrinking and cracking when they dry. VMS resins are undiluted.
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