Not bad, just rusty

Review: GSI’s Tentacle Maker V2

Review: GSI’s Tentacle Maker V2

There’s always lump in my throat when I’m mixing green stuff. Not in a romantic way; the opposite, actually. I demand so much from myself that I’m almost always dissapointed. Especially with sculpting. But it’s a journey, right?

Anyway, any tool that takes away some of that inherent GS pressure is a fine tool in my book. And Green Stuff Industries’ Tentacle Maker V2 is one of them. 

I wasn’t privy to the first iteration of this tool, so I can’t compare. However, V2 is now made  using a clear acrylic resin and the build quality is fantastic. Being able to see your results as you roll them is a wonderful addition. There have been many times that I’ve used it to peer through and see how it’s coming along. The tool has been machined with a fine precision, so you definitely feel as though you are holding your money’s worth (before shipping cost, that is!)

You get three different tools in the set. The SAW set. Consisting of 020 (super fine) and 050   (a fine/medium). Then the VEX 040, which produces a medium-sized ’round ribbed’ tube. All three are for different occasions, from my first impression.

Rotate the tool, different result. Rotate the GS, different result. Twist the GS after it’s done, different result. Mix the tools, different result. Point is, not only does this tool do a nigh-on impossible task for the average modeller (pipe sculpting) it also provides endless possibilities, based on the user’s creativity and exploration. [Quick tip: adding wire to the middle of the rolled GS can later help immensely with shaping and bending]

Within minutes I was making several tubes, pipes, tentacles… That’s not to say you’ll be churning out hose after hose straight away, as the toolset invariably needs a little time to adjust to. Pressure, angle, wet/dry ratio etc… As you can see here, not all of them came out perfectly, but this was straight from the packaging attempts:

Mastering SAW-020 will be the challenge with this set. The super fine tool is the trickiest of the bunch. 

After I had made them, my vice made for a very handy drying arm (the GS will dry straight and without morphing, as it would on a flat surface – see above pic for results)

Now, being based in the Europe it’s hard to write a review on a US product when there is at least one other tool on the market (that I know of) for making GS pipes. That’s the Tube Tool over at Masq-Mini – which is based in Germany. I’ve used that tool and it’s great. Moreover, it’s native to Europe (more on that in a bit). However, there’s a few things GSI’s tool has that the others don’t. Chiefly, the bumper and cut-angled top plate. Both of which, as far as I’m concerned, make all the difference. The bumper being the more important of the two – it’s a guiding ridge, as you’d find on a jig – because without it it’s really quite difficult to roll the GS without the tool ‘slipping’ and causing you to start all over again. Of course, you can use a block of wood or something similar, but why would you have to source and use(!) an ad-hoc addition to make a costly tool work properly? That said, then, the downside to the bumper is that it does restrict the ability to angle the two plates to produce different results, however it can still be easily achieved by offsetting.

The cut-angled top plate make tapering a breeze, thus adding to the list of possibilities. Speaking of which, one thing I’d have liked from this set is the inclusion of a smooth block of acrylic for rolling GS before it goes into the tool and then re-shaping/flattening when it comes back out (even MORE possibilities!) What would’ve been even better, to save material and therefore money, is to have made the top plate flat so it could have doubled up. Unfortunately it has a ridge and so it means I’ll have to source a piece elsewhere – no biggy, however.

Results like this (by Ron at From the Warp) can be had from the Tentacle Maker:

So, back to the fact that GSI is based in the US and Masq-Mini in Europe. When you ring everything up, GSI’s tool with shipping comes to $50 (£30) and Masq-Mini’s with shipping comes to €30 (£25). With that in mind, for what you are getting with GSI’s product for an extra £5 is well worth it. That said, I know GSI are keen to get their Tentacle Maker into stores here in the UK, keep your ears to the ground people!

Shipping was FAST FAST FAST too. 6 days!

Given the fact I love conversions and a good hose pipe…

Bottom line: This tool quickly becomes an invaluable part of a modeller/conversioner’s toolbox. It’s seriously that great. But if you are only needing it to create a hose for a flamer here or there, could be costly for those outside of the US – at least for now.

[ ] What is this thing!?
[ ] It’s good, but I wouldn’t buy it again.
[ ] To the Bat Cave!
[ X ] I’m holding genius

by Craig on May 2, 2014