Bubble Star Review
So there's a new rival in town and it is Bubblestar. This is a thermoplastic is close in appearance to worbla.
NB: The Bubblestar material was sponsored by Outland, so I could test it out and make a review. All opinions are my own. If you are interested in another point of view on this material, then check out the review Pharamony wrote.
This thermoplastic comes in sheets and 1 mm thickness. You cut it using scissors and shape it by heating it (I prefer a heatgun). By heating it it become flexible and the embedded glue is activated. You can bend, stretch, mold and glue it to itself (no additional glue needed). When it cools down it keeps it shape. I did a series of test to see you it was to work with. I will compare it to Worbla, for those of you who know this material.
To the touch it fells like Bubble Star is made by very fine grains, And after heating it and stretching it over a dome the surface stayed surprisingly smooth. It stretches evenly, but a little different than Worbla. There's a risk of tearing the material since the fibres are so fine and while warm it feels more flexible than worbla.
Closeup of the surface after the stretch test.
The armor test
I have made this exact bracer in several different thermoplastic materials, making it easier to compare the different steps using different materials.
Step 1 is to see how well it can be covered around a foam base. It gets warm and pliable much faster than Worbla (Seems like the melting point is a little lower for Bubble Star). This means it can be a little difficult to handle as it gets very soft very fast, but it it perfect for wrapping around a foam base. Another observation is that it glues to itself very well, so if you touch two "glue activated" pieces they will stick and not come undone. The black worbla is more forgiving as you can take parts off and reposition, you can not do this with Bubble Star. It is easy to press out any mishaps as it is very moldable.
Step 2 is to shape the base to your body. As it requires less heat before becoming moldable this was quite easy. You can still get some air bubbles, but a pin and pressure will remove those.
Step 3 is adding details. I have added a strip of Bubble star around the edge. It stick very well to it self, but such small details gets easily distorted or stretch while warm, you need to work slowly.
Step 4 is how well you can use the left overs and mold it. And this is where Bubble Star shines. It is very well suited for molding, felling soft and fives a smooth surface.
It is possible to laser cut Bubble Star, but as mentioned earlier, you need to be careful with tiny details while it is warm as to not deform them.
I wanted to see how well Bubble Star could be molded using SIlicon molds and I'm impressed. It was easy to scult into the molds and it took details very well.
It is the molding abilities of Bubble Star that makes it interesting for me. For traditional armor making it is a little too unforgiving for my taste (meaning when it stick to itself it is stuck). But it can be used in a mix with other worbla types, playing to each ones strengths.