from The Century Dictionary.
- noun A modeling-clay so compounded as to remain moist for a considerable time, and thus dispense with frequent wetting during the progress of the work.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
For sculpture, I tend to use plastilina clay on a wire armature, and tend to go for a naked humanism that exposes our frailties.
I don't know, perhaps it's just the characters - an animated penguin with feathers looks a bit more amazing than an animated dog that looks like a plastilina figure?
“… rassomiglia una scivolosa massa di plastilina…”