View Full Version : What/how to sculpt?

2011-01-05, 04:18 PM
Disclaimer: this may be in the wrong sub-forum.

This christmas, I got a whole bunch of packs of polymer clay (three or so 'bricks' are FIMO brand, about seven 'bricks' in all) in a variety of colors. Problem is, I have little to no idea what to sculpt with it, or how to do it.

I come hear, to the playground, for a two fold reason: inspiration, and instruction.

for instruction, How thick of a base must/should I make? should it be 1"x1"? how tall is an average "human"? 60 milimeters, or another height entirely? including or excluding the base? what tools must I use (besides an oven)? toothpicks and fingers? or specialty fine tools made of wires and rainforest wood? Should I avoid needing a 'bitz box', or embrace it and make all my models modular? Should I choose colors extremely carefully, or just paint it afterwards?

For inspiration, what kinds of characters or models should I start with? I'm already thinking of a hydra, and maybe a... were-hydra (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9240689&postcount=133)... but other than that, I'm skunked for ideas. give me ideas.

2011-01-05, 06:11 PM
I can't make any comments on the actual sculpting, as I'm exceedingly poor at it.

About the scale, though: if you're using the D&D scale of 1'=5 ft; then 25.4mm = 5 ft. Assuming your average human is 6 feet tall, then he'd be around 30-31mm.

2011-01-05, 08:25 PM
paint second, don't start with faces or anything too detailed. Take your time. Just don't expect world class results until you move up in the world a bit.

Don't worry about the base too much, give them maybe a tiny bit. You can always mount it to a plastic base later.

Also, you should probably start with something less complex than a Hydra.

2011-01-06, 07:56 PM
I thought a hydra might be a little complicated, but it's all could think of. I'm definitely not trying for, say, a dragon, but, you might be right.

any more help/suggestions? what's been said so far is really helpful, but a few more oppinions would be nice.

2011-01-06, 08:46 PM
Whatever you are sculpting, don't try it in one hit. Start with the skeleton (wire or something similar is good to use) and slowly build it up, piece by piece. It's better to use small amounts of putty/clay/whatever than large wads.

Also consider making it in pieces that you can fit together later, that way if it does get dropped it will be more likely to break apart along the joins and hence easier to repair.

And also, don't limit yourself to a couple of tools. Get a few different ones.

Check out sites like C'MON for very helpful articles on sculpting and painting miniatures (Here (http://www.coolminiornot.com/))

Fuzzie Fuzz
2011-01-06, 08:48 PM
I believe that standard D&D minis (as well as most other mini lines out there) are at a 28mm scale. That's all I can contribute here. Good luck!

2011-01-07, 09:26 AM
There are a number of great tutorials on miniature sculpting available out there. For your first attempt I would really suggest following along with one of them so you can get an idea of how to:
1) build an armature
2) create proper scale
3) learn techniques so you don't have to figure it all out on your own.

The first thing you need, besides your clay, are the proper tools. You need at least a sculpting tool that has a blade on one end and a small spoon shape on the other. This is the most (or one of the most) common tools used in mini sculpting. If you want to get a full set of tools I recccomend Gale FO]orce 9 (http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.gf9.com/store/product_info.php%3FcPath%3D37%26products_id%3D160&sa=U&ei=1B8nTbKdJ4X7lwf1h6yQAg&ved=0CBQQFjAB&usg=AFQjCNErbdMUHND1H4SaTRReRMsC8vO3zQ). It's a very nice set.

Second, you need some clay shapers. These are tools that look like paint brushes but they have soft, pliable tips that you can use to push your medium around. If you don't want to drop a lot of money on them at least get the angle chisel and the taper point- they'll work in almost any circumstance. I use Extra Firm clay shapers from Royal Sovereign- size 0.

This handyscale guide (http://www.prophet-miniatures.com/wip/Scaleguideweb.jpg) from Prophet Miniatures shows you the outlines for male and female in scales from 10mm all the way to 54mm. It's also already scaled to beprinted- just print the image as is and you'll have proper scale reference.

Now, some of these tutorials deal with sculpting in Green Stuff or similiar, so you may have to modify your technique to use clay. This means you may have to bake your figure multiple times after you finish each part.

http://griffinguides.com/ has a Sculpt Along series that is unfinished, but is very good at showing how to do a lot of different techniques.

Musketeer Miniatures (http://www.musketeer-miniatures.com/blog/?page_id=6) has a great tutorial on sculpting a pirate. This is going to be my next sculpting attempt!

Miniature Mentor (http://www.miniaturementor.com) sells some sculpting tutorials from master sculptors. I haven't watched any of them yet, but I've reviewed a couple of their painting tuts before and they are top quality with excellent instruction. I highly reccomend checking them out if you decide this is a part of the hobby you are interested in.

http://www.squidoo.com/sculpting_tips- this is some info on sculptign with clay.

Finally, there is http://www.minisculpture.co.uk, which is a sculpting forum. Check them out for more resources and as a place to post wip shots of your work and get help.

Good luck!

2011-01-07, 08:35 PM
Skeleton and fail-safes? under stood

Ooh. So I will need specialty tools. Thanks.
your scale guide link turns up a 404 for me.

Thanks all, all the help I can get is appreciated. any more coming :smallsmile:?

2011-01-07, 10:36 PM
Ooh. So I will need specialty tools. Thanks.
your scale guide link turns up a 404 for me.

Then just google Prophet Miniatures Scale Guide to find it.