Every five thousand years, when the planets align in a specific manner, a great evil is allowed free to attempt to destroy all life. The Mondoshawan have the only weapon known to be able to destroy this evil; The 5th element. In 2263 they will return with four stones that represent the four elements of earth, air, fire and water and use them to unlock the fifth element, defeating evil before it eliminates all life. The stones are pretty darn cool though and I don’t feel like waiting that long, so here is my take.
I started with models from Imirnman on thingiverse and shrunk them down to 80% of their original size. While my printer could do the full 11 inches, I didn’t care for how much space they took up and 80% seemed to shrink them just enough to still look legit and not take up so much shelf space. After printing, I took a random orbit sander to each face of the stone to get rid of the layer lines and give it a more uneven texture. These are in eSun wood PLA.
After rough sanding, I did some hand sanding with 150 paper to smooth out the rough spots and then I did a wet paint bath. While I’m going to be covering most of this, I wanted to make sure that I had at least a background that made the stones look like they had been in a cave for awhile and had water and whatever dripping down them. I took some opaque black paint and diluted it heavily with water, then just dipped a rag in the paint and washed it down the stone. I made sure to leave the stone sitting upright like it would be if it was on display so the black filled in the cracks and ran down the sides more realistically.
Interestingly enough, the wash effect before any other finishing looks a LOT like bamboo, so I may have to use this again on a different piece in the future. After they dry, I coat the stones with a layer of XTC-3D. This is purely to smooth out the layer lines with the least amount of effort possible. They get sanded again once the XTC dries to knock down the shine.
The next bit I don’t have pictures of because it’s hard to take pictures while you are doing it, but it’s pretty much just mottled painting. You take a color of paint and a paper towel (I like shop rags), dip the towel into the paint and then just start tapping the towel against your stone. You can OCCASIONALLY swipe the paint, but you don’t want to do it often at all. You might also want to water down your paint a bit to give it a transparent effect. Not much to it, just takes time and can be a little messy. After the paint dried, I hit each stone with a few coats of polyurethane to seal it up and then knocked down the shine with some 00 Steel wool.
The picture makes the colors look too intense, they are much more subtle in real life, but you get the idea.