DAS air drying clay was my weapon of choice. I'd intended to try and sculpt an entire set of 3 Chitin plates in one sitting just to see how the DAS coped but realised [what I already knew] one plate at a time is the way to go to ensure you don't smoosh your perfectly sculpted plates as you try and add another one on.
The DAS performed really well, in some respects, even though too much water will separate all the paper fibres in the clay, the clay leaves sharper grooves than the Milliput. You can see some 'tearing' at the edges but they're easier to smooth and then carve back in and the tearing is reduced considerably.
There is a concern with it's adhesion to the grouted plates though. I wet the underlying plates beforehand so that when I pressed on the clay it moisten the surface and act like an adhesive. These are now dry [24 hours] and I don't imagine they'll fall off but a small part of me is still worried about their durability. This is really just an exercise in creating them and having some more varied terrain so I probably should worry too much about their 'indestructability'
We were on 9 hours 40 on the last update, these took a further 45 minutes to sculpt the 6 plates which takes us to 10 hours 25. The great thing is that this is well within my patience threshold, 45 minutes is nothing and once finished I still get to watch a couple of episodes of what whatever TV series is gumming up the Sky+ It also helps plan ahead, with 21 plates in total [15 remianing] that's another 112.5 minutes on the plates, although it'll probably be more like 2 hours.
A simpler equation is that each level of plates takes a night so the 3 tier ones will be done in 3 days and then on the 4th I can start on their spikes and fleshy muscular interior and finish the 4 tier. Day 5 will be some more overlapping of flesh and complete the 5 tier. Then the next few days will see me finish them off before I look at basing and sculpting the craters they're bursting from. I may also add some of my lava ball sacs and tendril vines on the base of the bigger ones just for a bit more variety. It'll take a little longer but all in all I can see the construction complete in no more than 3 weeks max [that's done it].
Anyway, given I'll be making progress on this nightly there may well be a post tomorrow to show the next tier of progress, lets keep the momentum going!