Looking closely at the beards on the Hellcannon crew they look much less neat and pristine than the beards of the 4th edition models. I find it easier to make the clean and neat beards from GS, but the very irregular ones are tough.
Although I could still sculpt a rough-looking beard from GS I wanted to try something slightly different as I wanted some free-standing coils of beard - which is hard to sculpt without some support by a piece of wire inside or similar and can sitll end up being flattened while making the indentations for the coils.
Instead I started with a roll of GS, but instead of cutting off sausages to use as beard coils I left the whole thing to cure for 2 days (it’s been insanely humid here this Summer and was still springy after just 1 day).
I pre-drilled a hole into the centre of the roll so that it was big enough for a thin rod of plastic to fit into. I then removed the plastic rod and cut thin sections from the roll, I also tried this without pre-drilling the roll and it works, but the pre-drilling makes it very easy to align everything and hold its shape later…
Once I had a pile of these donuts of cured GS I used the X-acto blade again to cut the rounded edges off the pieces, making them into irregular shapes that were only approximately circular. Not that if the roll you start with already has a thin crosssection then you won’t be cutting off much material at all, just very small slivers.
Once there’s a pile of these irregular shaped pieces they are threaded back on to the plastic rod (this was the part that the pre-drilling made much easier). Individual pieces are rotated so that the beard has the most irregular presentation achievable. A very small amount of Krazy glue is applied along two sides of the outside surface of the reassembled roll and then propped up to dry (or else that Krazy glue will glue it to your drying surface).
Once you make a few of these you you have a stock of individual beard rolls on hand that you can cut and trim to suit your needs - even cutting on a steep diagonal so that it can marry up with a sloped surface on a model is trivial - and a little blending with a very tiny amount of GS is all you need at the very last step to blend it all in. Trimming away the exposed support rod slightly within the recessed hole of the beard also allows gives you the look of a coil of beard at the tips of each one without any additional work.