Friday, August 5, 2016

What the hell is it? Part:2

The, "bulk-up" stage... It isn't pretty. 

This is a deceptively fast stage of the miniature creation, you're using your hands mostly and just adding balls of putty in the general areas then using a tool to savagely mash them into a general shape. This is the stage that after an hour or two of working on a figure and seeing how much progress you made in such a short time you think, "Hell yeah I can make that deadline!" but once this step is over and you move onto the detail everything slows down drastically. Suddenly you regret taking that evening off to do something fun because now your worried your falling behind schedule so don't let it fool you!

I'm pretty sure this is going to be a troll. People seem to want me to sculpt trolls the most so I thought I would take something familiar and screw with it. I knew I wanted to give it a gut so he's got a lot of bulk there. I also know that he's going to be leaning or holding something high in his right arm so his shoulders a slanted in preparation for that, Whatever it ends up being. What I didn't plan on was his "package,"  usually I put some kind of lump there just as a suggestion of male-ness but this guy's is way more then I intended. Mostly because as I was shaping the gut line I ended up pushing material out of the way to get the stomach where I wanted it. Maybe I'll keep it, we'll see what happens.

The Technical Stuff!

What I did was to mix up some greenstuff (Kneadatite) with more yellow then blue. This makes the putty more tacky and cure longer. It's the tackiness I'm needing. I then cover the armature with a thin layer of the mixed  greenstuff, getting on the legs and torso, everywhere I want my Fimo to stick. I don't need much, just enough to use as an anchor for the putty I'm going to sculpt with. After that I take small amounts of Fimo and begin to mash it onto the greenstuff, I want the Kneadatite to grip and hold the fimo in place, without it there isn't much to keep the putty in place while I'm working on it and parts would peal away from the armature. This is more important on the bigger stuff I sculpt rather then something in the 28-35mm range where the weight of the putty is less of a factor.

Once the small amounts of putty have been added I let it sit for a bit so the greenstuff cures to the point is has a good hold on the Fimo and armature. After that I begin adding the larger wads of putty, working it into the armature and playing around with the general mass and shape of the figure. Once I have the basics where I want them I take an old brush and some terpenoid and paint it over the figure. This begins to melt the fimo a bit, turning the surface semi-liquid and I'm able to smooth out the rough angles and lumps of the figure and make it look more natural. The more terpenoid you use the more melted it gets so use sparingly! Also, it will ruin your brush so don't get too attached to it.

After that I go over it again with hand sanitizer, this helps smooth out any brush marks I have made with the terpenoid  and the alcohol in the sanitizer will help the liquid evaporate leaving the figure solid again. I know, this may sound weird but it works and saves a huge amount of time in the long run. The pictures in this post show the figure after this process so you can see what it did.

Now it's ready for some details!

What the hell is it? Part:1

I've been getting the question, "How did you do that?" from people lately which is odd since I'm usually fumbling my way through a sculpt and am looking to other more professional artist for tips. I feel like I'm not the best source to ask for information about this but since you did...

 what I get asked for the most is progress and step-by-step pictures of what I'm working on so people can see a figure from the ground-up. I don't have much of those kinds of pictures in my library so I thought instead I would start a new figure and document the progress in hopes that it answers some questions.

The "What the Hell is It?" Project...

So here it is, right at the beginning. Just a wire armature and not even complete yet. What will it be? I'm not entirely sure. I got ideas but I'm just going to free form this guy and see what happens.

I know it will be human shaped... Sorta. The long length of wire at the top will be the head but since I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet it has no shape. The shoulders are a piece of hollow aluminum tube with wire wrapped around it. I did this because I don't want the arms to get in the way while I'm sculpting the body so this way I can plug some wire into the tube when I'm ready to get to that part.

For this step I cut lengths of aluminum wire and bent them into shape and once I had a figure I was happy with I drilled a couple of holes into my plinth and attached the armature.

The Tools...

Here's a shot of the core materials I use to work with; 1/16" gauge aluminum wire for the armature, pliers with a snip for shaping the wire, Fimo to sculpt with, greenstuff to get the Fimo to stick to the armature, hobby knife with #11 blades, a soft, small brush, a 0 size color shaper with taper tip and wire eye on the end, my sculpting tool and sculpting plinth.

Here is a small jar of Terpenoid, some hand sanitizer, liquid Sculpey, a millimeter ruler, an old brush and pin vice. I'll do my best to explain why I use these tools and what for as I get there.

The two things that are not outright store bought are the sculpting tool and plinth, I made those for myself out of necessity. I used to use a "Wax #5" dental tool for sculpting but it was too big for my taste so I followed (loosely) the directions from Ringert's blog on how to make your own...

The sculpting tool I made is about 1/2 the size of the original Wax #5 which means I can do finer detail with it. I've gotten a few comments about the insane size of the plinths I use to attach my armatures to but it's kind of necessary for me sine I'm always doing huge monsters. My fingers would cramp up trying to support the weight of all that Fimo for hours on end if it was any smaller. It's a 6" length of thick dowel I got from an art store with a 75mm pre-cut disc at the bottom and a 50mm pre-cut disc at the top. The discs were part of a pack of various sized hobby wood shapes I got from the craft store as well.

Now that you have a general idea of what I use to sculpt with and you have seen the armature I'll add some Fimo to it and see where it goes. I'll be doing this on my free time so the updates will be sporadic but if you check back in we'll see what happens with it. If you have any questions let me know.