Sculpting by Carving

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Andrew
#1
I had this tutorial on the other site, which can't be mentioned. Hopefully it will inspire some of you to have a go at carving.


Most sculpting is done with the vast array of putties that we have these days, but you can also create by carving away material as the Old Masters did. Here's a brief description on how to do it.

My best friend is Adrian Bay, who is a Master Modeller himself. He has asked me for accessories in the past, mainly for some of his fantasy figures. He used to post me bits from Games Workshop and ask me if I could make one for a larger scale figure that he was creating.

This request was for a pair of wolf's heads which decorated the top of the figure's backpack. (I'm not into this sort of fantasy so don't know all the technical names for it). Here is a photo of Adrian's completed figure with the wolf's heads and frostblade sword that I made for him.

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First stage for me was to stick the small pack on a photocopier and enlarge it to the scale that Adrian wanted. I then cut a lump of polyurethane to the rough dimension and drew the side profile with pencil. I kept a substantial lump to act as a handle while I carved it. I have access to a lot of power tools so I cut round the profile with a bandsaw. A hobbyist could do it with a coping saw or piercing saw if you have one.


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The next stage was to draw a centre line through the top profile as it was symmetrical. I then drew the profile to from the sides. See pencil lines on top.

Having bandsawed off the unwanted bits on both sides, I added some of the pencil marking again.


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In the next stage I have carved away some more of the detail and rounded the sharp edges. This can be done with a chisel, scalpel or Dremmel.


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This next photo shows that I gradually removed the unwanted bits little by little, always referring to the original for reference. I also smoothed out rough edges with sandpaper and files

Having got the basic form I cut it off the handle to sort the ears out. (My wife is a Dermatology Nurse and would be disgusted at my dry fingers!)


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This just shows how the ears are developed and a bit more detail.

Having discussion with Adrian, I opened the mouth by cutting it off and gluing it back on, to make him look fiercer. I also cheated by adding some filler around his mouth and made the brow more pronounced.


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When I was satisfied I gave it a coat of primer. This showed that it needed sanding. I've also mounted it onto discs that fix it to the backpack. I made a silicone mould to cast a second head, rather than trying to make 2 identical heads.


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This is an eagle head sculpted the same way and the pack that I scatchbuilt for them to fit onto.

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Jim R

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#3
Hi Andy
Most interesting. A great SBS. You used polyurethane. Could you have used something softer like Balsafoam? It is easy to carve and yet quite rigid. If you Google it you get images of quite complex carvings.
Jim
 
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#4
Yes Jim, they are similar. Polyurethane comes in different densities and what I've used is one of the denser types.

I don't get much opportunity at work these days for carving as things are mostly 3D printed but I do get the occasional job. This is a sculpture near Marble Arch in London. The real thing is 10m high, so my 1:100 version is 100mm. I did it in the same way as the others, but drew out a grid to sketch the profiles onto.

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I finally primed it and started to refine it with filler. I also adjusted the eyes as on was higher than the other and I'd not sculpted them as the original looks.
 

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#5
I achieved this weathered bronze look by spraying it with brown cellulose paint. When dry, I then speckled it with light blue green colours, which I heavily speckled with thinners to make it run into each other. The original is called Still Water by Nic Fiddian-Green.

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Mr Bowcat

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#6
Excellent tutorial.

I use a similar technique with knife making for adding the handles. It starts out with the tang inserted into a rectangular block of wood (or whatever other material I may be using). The sides and top/bottom are trimmed to shape on my bandsaw, then eveything gets rounded over and shaped with files & sandpaper.
 
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