Author Topic: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12  (Read 2624 times)

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Offline banjomike

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Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« on: July 24, 2013, 06:14:29 AM »
Hi everyone, just thought after quite a bit of interest in what I do, and some request for tips on how to sculpt. I thought I would start this thread. Ok here goes, so you want to start sculpting little people for your garden empire? It's definitely quite a rewarding part of the hobby and your in good company. The first thing to consider is what look are you trying to achieve? I would say that most people with a it of practice will be able to sculpt one of a kind character figures that can help bring your railway to life. Below are some pictures of some of my early g scale characters, the first picture is the first figure I ever sculpted in polymer clay and would be about 8 feet tall in g scale! Consequently he never saw active service on my g scale logging railway although I did design him...if that's not to strong a word! To hold onto the handrails of my bachmann consolidation. The next is the first engineer I was happy with, he recieved paint and did good service in my shay. The next are some seated ladies, I was never that happy with any of them although they looked ok in the coaches. Finally ther are two of my cowboys and my breakthrough sculpt hobo with banjo! He looked great riding in the box car and singing Big rock candy mountains..or at least that's what I heard in my head!


  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 1.20.3, 16mm 7/8ths

Offline banjomike

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2013, 06:21:11 AM »
While I was sculpting these sort of g scale figures I noticed that the heads where coming out at roughly 1/12 scale, it wasn't intentional my style at the time was very free and each character that I made just appeared in front of me. I used no pictures or reference material and consequently the figures reflect this. After a couple of months of playing I started to realise that I had a little bit of skill coming through and I started to think could I make the figures more realistic. The next pictures show a couple of my 1/20,1/19 figures and my 7/8ths engineer figure to help illustrate difference in size between true scale figures and my character figures.
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 1.20.3, 16mm 7/8ths

Offline john foley

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2013, 06:30:15 AM »
I have to admire a person that can sculp figures.
I will have to try my hand at it after I retire.

Great job

John F
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 7/8" = 1'-0" 1:13.7 45mm & 32mm gauge
John Foley

Offline banjomike

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 06:39:17 AM »
So we are into quite an old debate now true scale versus character. I have to confess to being a bit of a fence sitter, I like both. I enjoy the quirky and sometimes truly hilarious and highly entertaining figures coming out of the workshops of the likes of Rob and James, that really stand out and have a life that can be hard to express in true scale figures. But I also love the work of R kapuaala which just astound me with the intricate detail and real look. My own sculpting is taking me at the moment down the road of what I hope are characterful scale,ish figures. So lets make a start. The first thing you need to do is gather together the various tools and equipment you will need. First things first, workbench. My workbench is a piece of kitchen work top with a small vice mounted to one corner, I drilled a hole for the vice to sit in so that I can take it out easily if I need to. The next thing you will need are some tools for sculpting. There are so many to choose from ranging from homemade bits of wood and wire to dentists tools to ball ended scribing tools, etc. my sculpting kit consists of side cutters, bent nose pliers, (these are for cutting and bending the wire for the armature) two dentist tools, one has a pointy trowel tipe end with an arrow type tool at the end.( this I use almost exclusively for all my sculpting) and one that has a flatter circle type head, ( I used to use this one a lot but only use it for a bit of smoothing work now) a sharp scalpel type knife,( for removing excess clay) fine tweezers, a ruler and vernier gauge. Then sculpting materials either sculpted or fimo and soft aluminium wire for the armature. Also finally I have worked out a couple of 'ideal' type outlines of heads and body's to use as a guide for sculpting.
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 1.20.3, 16mm 7/8ths

Offline banjomike

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 06:54:45 AM »
So step one, make an armature. Using your side cutters and your basic human outline lay out the wire over the the picture and leaving plenty of excess cut out a loop for the legs and a piece for the spine. At this point I don't bother putting on a piece for the arms as it gets in the way. So twist the bits together then lay them out on your outline. I then mark out using my sharp knife the bottom of the trousers and and the top of the shoulders with a simple score mark in the wire. Then I start adding clay. The best bit of advice I can give here is work in stages. Sculpey and fimo are great in that they can be baked and re baked as many times as you need. So work in key stages, my order so sculpting goes like this; trousers, (bake) Torso, (bake) arms,, ( bake), shoes, (bake) hands(if I haven't already sculpted them attached to the arms.(bake) then finally head. The head can sometimes consist of two or three bakings. The reason for baking the work in stages is so that you don't inadvertently lose hours of work to misplaced finger print or find that as you've been concentrating hard on one area you've destroyed another through over handling. This is also where the vice comes in handy, you can set the figure up in it and not need to touch it until you have enough sculpted and baked that you can then hold it in your hands.
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 1.20.3, 16mm 7/8ths

Offline banjomike

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2013, 07:09:32 AM »
As you can see I have left some detail like the hem of the trouser legs and belt and pocket detail off. I tend to do this until I have added the torso so that I don't cover up detail that may have taken a n hour or so to sculpt! The basic technique that I have found for sculpting the clay consists of using the dentists tool smoothing the clay and moving it about until I have the basic shape, then I start ' dragging' up areas of clay to make fold and creases. I never cut creases I always smooth them up either side of the fold then add another and this process goes on sometimes dragging a bit more clay up or smoothing a bit more down. It helps to have some pictures around that you can use as reference for how clothes 'hang' and an appreciation of where folds and heavy creases can occur, for instance a sitting person wearing trousers will find lots of tight folds and creases of material around the crotch but the material over the knees will be flat and tight, but at the back of the knees you will have bunched up tight folds and creases. Heavier materials tend to have larger ' rolls ' of material whereas lighter fabrics tend to give lots of little folds and creases. Also freshly ironed clothes would look quite flat, maybe with a strong crease running vertically up th front and back of the trousers, with some slight creases around the crotch and back of knee, whereas un laundered few days old clothes have Miriad folds and creases. Here is picture of the trousers after baking, I bent the armature at the feet and head so that no flat spots occur on the figure by lying it straight on the plate. It is now safe to handle without leaving finger prints etc so we can move onto step two.
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 1.20.3, 16mm 7/8ths

Offline Allen G

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2013, 07:22:40 AM »
This is great, please keep going.

All the best

Allen
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 7/8ths & 7mm

Offline banjomike

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2013, 07:42:51 AM »
Ok step two. Before the real work of adding the torso can begin I add the wire for the arms and use bait of clay to hold in place. Then it's back to the oven, 10 minutes and we can start the torso.
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 1.20.3, 16mm 7/8ths

Offline banjomike

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 07:57:12 AM »
At this point I think it's worth pointing out that there is no one way of sculpting, I have developed some techniques here that some of the professional sculptors use and others that I have just found along the way. There are some incredibly talented people on utube that use completely different tools and lots of them and others who prefer to sculpt all in one go, these are the techniques that i use and am happy with and I feel that for the beginner in sculpting possibly an easier less mystifying way of going about it.
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 1.20.3, 16mm 7/8ths

Offline banjomike

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2013, 08:55:26 AM »
Ok so sculpting the torso, this particular figure is going to be a guard, so I found an image of some train crew and they are all nicely turned out, waistcoats ties, caps and coats so we are going to sculpt a waistcoat and and shirt beneath. Add clay to build up the body within the outline of your ideal person outline. I then roll out some clay thinly then add this to the body. Taking the sharp knife cut the excess away at waist and arms then make a v shaped cut at the neck. Then start smoothing, you need to smooth the shirt area below the surface of the waistcoat by about a mm then I add the seam detail to the edges of the waistcoat add two thin strips of clay for the pockets which I blend into the waistcoat leaving a hard edge at the top. Add some crease and fold detail then back to the oven. I haven't put any detail on the back as he will be wearing a coat also, I have bent his left arm down to its approximate position, he will be having his hand in his pocket.
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 1.20.3, 16mm 7/8ths

Offline Noel C

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2013, 09:45:28 AM »
Mike,
  While cleaning up the resin castings I received from you on the 22nd, I noticed your fine attention to detail. Fingernails!! Nice touch. Iris in eyeballs. I have had to fill in some small voids with Squadron Putty, but that is always the case with resin castings.
Keep up the GREAT work
Noel

Offline banjomike

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2013, 11:42:10 AM »
Hi John, thanks for the kind words, Alan, no worries stay tuned!, Noel, Glad you like the detail, with every figure I do I try to get a bit more detail or a more natural pose or something! to everyone else, keep watching!
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 1.20.3, 16mm 7/8ths

Offline banjomike

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2013, 02:42:52 PM »
Right, back out of the oven and on with his coat. The coat is applied in the same way as the waistcoat, roll your clay out thinly then drape it over the shoulder, under the arm then round the body. I am going to do the  left arm, the coat, then I am going to bake it then do the right arm. So work round the clay smoothing and forming creases and folds, you will find that draping clay on the figure will give you most of the creases and folds that you would find on real clothes. Once these are formed to your satisfaction then add the collar, cutting triangles from some rolled out clay then smoothing and blending it into the coat. The arm and the coat took about an hour and half to do time wise all in we are at four hours. Back to the oven!!!
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 1.20.3, 16mm 7/8ths

Offline banjomike

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2013, 07:24:13 AM »
Right, day two! We have to give our chap another arm, so roll out a sausage of clay, then thread it onto the wire. Now is the time to work out the pose, I am going to pose the arm hanging down, he will have his hand by his side and will be holding a flag, drooping towards the ground. So again just like the rest of the sculpt, smooth out the clay using the dentists tool, introducing folds and creases, if you find there is too much clay just slice bits off. This also helps to make areas to add folds and creases in. To the oven!
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 1.20.3, 16mm 7/8ths

Offline banjomike

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Re: Sculpting figures for 7/8ths and 1/12
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2013, 04:31:57 PM »
Well, I have been having to do lots of other things today so it's now quite late but I have sculpted a hand. So hands are quite tricky, it's hard to sculpt them without plenty of support as they are small and thin. What I do is take a piece of clay about the size of the hand then I put it on a knife blade so that I can sculpt the details. Firstly I rough out the fingers and the thumb, then after checking the size with the figure I then start to put in the finer details. I smooth out each finger then using the tip of the dental tool I press down lightly into the the finger tips to make an impression of finger nails, then I take the sharp knife and mark the joints and knuckles, then back to the dental tool to smooth out the details. Once I am satisfied I carefully slide the blade of my scalpel u der the hand on the other blade and bend it over a cocktail stick,(this will represent the flag staff and will support the hand while it bakes) inevitably you will have to redo a few areas of the hand where the detail gets lost due to handling. I have also added turnups to the bottom of the trouser legs, in readiness for sculpting the shoes. Anyway into the oven and I will carry on with this thread tomorrow. Night all!
  • I am interested or build in the following scales: 1.20.3, 16mm 7/8ths