Sculpt or Coat® vs. CrystalGel vs. Jaxsan 600

Chris Chapman

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Greenville, Michigan, United States
So I'm building some medium sized scenic rocks (4'x3') and did one set with my remaining supply of Sculpt or Coat. I'm getting ready to reorder, but am seeing CrystalGel and Jaxsan 600 as viable alternatives. Any input on the 3 different materials?

The rocks are carved from bead foam, and then dressed with a muslin skin. I'm using the Sculptor Coat as a scenic dope to bond the muslin to the bead foam.

Thanks for any input.
 
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gafftaper

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Check the wiki for VSSD, Van's Super Scenic Dope. Make it yourself for a lot less money.

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krice

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Van's Super Secret Scenic Dope (VSSD) is what I'm using right now to cover trees and other woodsy findings. It is alot cheaper and all the materials can be found at your local hardware store so there is no wait time or expense for shipping.

But to give you somewhat of an answer for your original post: Sculpt or Coat is lovely but I use Jaxsan 600 more regularly. you can tint it, paint it, it's durable yet flexible, water proof and cheaper than Sculpt or Coat. The only con I've ever heard about it is you cannot sand it since it has a rubbery finish once dry. You can get it in a 5 gal. (You can get Sculpt or Coat in 5 gal. quantities but no theatre I've ever worked at has had 5 gal. in stock I usually find the 1 gal. but I think that's more a price thing than anything else...) Jaxsan is actually a roofing material so you find it from other manufacturers besides Rosebrand- you might be able to price shop. But if you buy from a roofing contractor make sure you purchase the 600 series, it's the easiest to work with. Jaxsan also isn't a great thing to being going down the drain (and is a pain to wash out anyways) so make sure you apply it with brushes you can toss or trowls you can wipe clean before rinsing.

As for Crystal Gel, I've never used it.

You could also thin Joint Compound with water or paint, but it's more prone to chipping by itself which I'm guessing is why VSSSD mixes it with things like caulk and paint.
 

derekleffew

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Great insights there, krice.
...The rocks are carved from bead foam, and then dressed with a muslin skin. I'm using the Sculptor Coat as a scenic dope to bond the muslin to the bead foam. ...
I'm concerned about VSSSD's properties as a bonding agent between the muslin and EPS foam. Not to tamper with "the recipe," but do you think white PVC glue could/should be added to aid with this? Is the muslin even necessary when using VSSD?
 

Chris Chapman

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Greenville, Michigan, United States
Great insights there, krice.

I'm concerned about VSSSD's properties as a bonding agent between the muslin and EPS foam. Not to tamper with "the recipe," but do you think white PVC glue could/should be added to aid with this? Is the muslin even necessary when using VSSD?
I'm going to try the straight dope for the pieces I have left. I used the muslin for a skin to make the pieces last longer and be part of my stock. The remaining pieces are show specific, and just need to make it through a 3 week run.
 

kicknargel

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FWIW, I've used crystal gel on sprayed insulation foam (making a cave) and it was super tough. More of a hard plastic than Sculpt-or-Coat. Haven't used Jaxsan. The cool thing about Crystal Gel on this project was we painted the foam white, then tinted the gel blue, and got a nice ice look.
 

josh88

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I've used jaxsan a couple of times and really liked it both on vertical foam stone and over a homosote floor. Real durable easy to clean up. Doesn't dry as hard as some stuff but it's decent


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TheatrePros

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I am a HUGE fan of Jaxsan, easy to thin, easy to tint, easy to clean up. Put that on a foam roller and you have a nice texture that a six year old can do (literally my nephew textured an entire fake stone henge with the stuff). Get the trowel grade and then you can use water to thin it to what you need. Doesn't chip, and isnt sharp like other products can be when you get carried away.
 

jowens

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Centerport, New York, United States
Hey Everyone.
What would you recommend a good substrate for vsssd? I'm looking to make a city wall and short staircase. I imagine that the vssd with sand will be good cement texture. Also, any suggestions for the surface texture for the treads of the stairs would be great.. (3-5 steps).
Thanks all!
~Joe
 

Van

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After mixing up VSSD, I'm a total convert. Big bang for the buck.
Wow, Makes a poppa really proud to see his lifes work take on a life of it's own. :lol:

BTW I love hearing peoples recipes. I kinda just put the guidelines out there, and the cool thing about it that is can be adapted.

a thin mixture, mixed with sand makes a great traction coat for stairs. < just don't use too much water thinning it or it won't adhere vey well. >
 

josh88

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Wow, Makes a poppa really proud to see his lifes work take on a life of it's own. :lol:

BTW I love hearing peoples recipes. I kinda just put the guidelines out there, and the cool thing about it that is can be adapted.

a thin mixture, mixed with sand makes a great traction coat for stairs. < just don't use too much water thinning it or it won't adhere vey well. >
I have to agree with Chris, after using it, I have no reason to go to anything else, well maybe in a couple of specific applications. But seriously I don't have to order anything and wait for it to show up, I can run to the store and if I run out, I can go get some more and be back in 15 minutes working again.
 
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Hey Everyone.
What would you recommend a good substrate for vsssd? I'm looking to make a city wall and short staircase. I imagine that the vssd with sand will be good cement texture. Also, any suggestions for the surface texture for the treads of the stairs would be great.. (3-5 steps).
Thanks all!
~Joe
What type of show is this for? The time period may help you figure out a good substrate for the vsssd. If it's a show such as "Hello, Dolly", then a cement substance would be the best.
 

Okugi

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Aug 13, 2012
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Sculpt or Coat is a flexible coating that dries clear and smooth unless tinted or other textures such as sand or sawdust are added. In the shops that I have worked, those that could afford it, it was used to coat scenery or props carved out of foam. Due to it's thickness it is also good for creating 3 dimensional textures such as wood grain.

Jaxsan 600 has a more rubbery finish and because of the bits of rubber in it, has it's own texture. It also dries white unless tinted and the end color is muted, which works well for a base coat. I have used it in places where the floor is textured or the facing of platforms or stairs have texture such as the rock facing in the picture below. However, because Jaxsan 600 is a roofing material it is almost impossible to get off your tools once dried. I usually keep a bucket of water nearby to drop tools in for when I take lengthy breaks.

Scenic Painting - 04.jpg

CrystalGel is much like Sculpt or Coat, but it is translucent and it's really for this quality I would buy it and only for special projects where you want light to come through the texture like in a stain glass window, which can be done on muslin or plexi as it will adhere to anything.
 

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