Sculpting a 1/32 Figure in Polymer Clay from Scratch

John Race

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The laugh was for you becoming a Victor , join the club Neil.

Great to see the wire making an appearance for the arms. Well beyond the skill of most of us I'm sure but highly readable and amazing.
 

Neil Merryweather

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Having recovered from my ‘Victor’ meltdown I got started on the right hand.

This one is a kind of half fist so it will be slightly easier than an open hand, but not much.
I started by adding the putty to the armature in very small amounts, pressing it into place with the metal tool.

Right Hand (1).jpg

I teased it into the shape of a fist and lightly marked the fingers with a scalpel. I compared it with the reference figure- it’s a bit big

Right Hand (2).jpg

I must apologise for the poor quality of the upcoming pics-I’m no David Bailey at the best of times but these extreme close-ups really taxed my phone’s ability to focus. Unfortunately my bench lighting is connected to the mains lighting so I can’t turn it off independently. I think I found a solution eventually by moving to a less well-lit area, but it’s enough of a struggle to stop and take photos mid-flow, without having to move locations. But I’ve organised it now so that I only have to swivel my chair, and there’s only one more hand left so I think I can cope.

I worked a bit more on the fingers with the chisel shaped silicon tool

Right Hand (3).jpgRight Hand (4).jpg

Next came the thumb

Right Hand (5).jpg

And the inside of the hand

Right Hand (6).jpg

I put it on the figure to check the look

Right Hand (7).jpgRight Hand (8).jpg

All I can say about the next stage is that I just kept tweaking and refining, mostly with the conical silicon tool, using tiny dabbing motions.

Right hand (10).jpgRight hand (11).jpgRight hand (12).jpgRight hand (13).jpgRight hand (15).jpg

It’s still a gnat’s on the big side, but it’s taken me about 2 hours to get to this stage and I’m losing the will to live. I have somehow managed to expose the Milliput in the palm area, but I don’t want to damage the work I’ve already done so I am going to cook it first and then trim that away.

Right hand (14).jpg

Hopefully I won’t wreck it all and have to start again anyway

Thanks for looking

Neil
 

Neil Merryweather

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That is serious patience :thumb2:
Thanks for interupting your flow to keep us updateded
Thanks Gerry I didn't mean it to come across like that, sorry.
I actually enjoy doing this, both the sculpting and the blogging, strange as it may seem, but it does take a lot of concentration. Back in the day I had a job as a full-time sculptor of toys and bubble bath bottles, and a full day of sculpting was an absolute KILLER!
 

GerryW

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Thanks Gerry I didn't mean it to come across like that, sorry.
I actually enjoy doing this, both the sculpting and the blogging, strange as it may seem, but it does take a lot of concentration. Back in the day I had a job as a full-time sculptor of toys and bubble bath bottles, and a full day of sculpting was an absolute KILLER!
Didn't mean to make it sound like you were complaining (?) just that I know what it's like to break concentration to do something else, and that is what I was thanking you for
 

Neil Merryweather

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The left hand was a bit easier to deal with, being attached to the shell over his shoulder. And it took me a lot less than two hours this time

I started as before by trimming away any Milliput that I thought would get in the way and then pressing small amounts of clay into the armature with the metal tool. I shaped it roughly, including the wrist which is more exposed than the other hand. I’m sorry, these photos are even worse than the previous batch- I think the translucent shell refracted the light and played havoc with the phone's sensors.

Left Hand (1).jpg

Checked it with the reference figure for size

Left Hand (2).jpg

I marked in the fingers with the scalpel. I always end up getting one finger fatter or thinner than all the others, so take extra care at this stage because something like that can throw things out later on

Left Hand (3).jpg

Next I worked on the back of the hand and the knuckles. Beware of creating them in a straight line, likewise the bends of the fingers. I also took care to have the fingers in line with the forearm

Left Hand (4).jpg

The thumb was next, and it’s a common mistake to put the thumb too far forward. There’s really quite a distance between the joint of the forefinger and the first joint of the thumb

Left Hand (5).jpg

From now on it’s just tiny tweaks, refining the finger joints, the length of the fingers, modelling the underside of the hand where it touches the shell, and then suggesting the tendons and veins on the back of the hand(not visible in my shocking pictures, I’m afraid)

Left Hand (6).jpgLeft Hand (7).jpgLeft Hand (8).jpgLeft Hand (9).jpgLeft Hand (10).jpg

Then check on the figure.

Left Hand (11).jpg

Again I think this is slightly too big, but there are people with huge shovel-like hands so I’m leaving it alone. Maybe at a later date it will irritate me sufficiently to change it, but it’s going in the oven now.

Now I can get on with the sleeves and then I think he’s done!
Thanks for looking
Neil
 

Neil Merryweather

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Ok, here we go with the left arm.
I trimmed away the Milliput from the shoulder that I thought would get in my way, and unfortunately I lost a bit. Hopefully it won’t cause me problems.

Left Arm (1).jpg

I then glued it into position with UHU to prevent it moving about whilst I am sculpting. When the glue was set I added some clay across the gap

Left Arm (2).jpg

I covered the armature with clay as always pressing it well into place, bit by bit, until I had the rough shape of the sleeve

Left Arm (3).jpg

Left Arm (4).jpg
BUT I wasn’t happy, the upper arm is too long, caused by the Milliput underneath. So I bit the bullet and flayed the back to the bone, as it were

Left Arm (7).jpg

And trimmed the Milliput back to the wire underneath

Left Arm (8).jpg

And started again

Left Arm (10).jpgLeft Arm (9).jpg

That’s better. Now I can add the creases with the chisel-shaped silicon tool, checking out other reference pics to be sure they are convincing. I have even been known to pose members of my family in appropriately similar clothing and take reference pics for myself… they are quite understanding, thankfully.

Left Arm (11).jpg

By this time the UHU had failed and the arm was separate, so I cooked it at this stage, even though I hadn’t dealt with the upper arm. I will do that next and it will actually help to be a separate operation

Left Arm (12).jpg

You can see cracking and crazing in the clear resin which is evidence that it's not indestructible. Fortunately I have plenty more, both with fuses and without

Here is a view of the creases on the inside

Left Arm (14).jpg

Once it was cooked I vaselined the arm socket (on the figure) and finished the top of the arm. I also took the opportunity to enlarge the square socket which enabled me to drop the arm enough for the shell to rest on the shoulder properly, rather than adding material to the shoulder which was my original plan.

Left Arm (15).jpg

I have to admit the arm looks a little bit out of scale from the side, and I MIGHT whip it off and do it again. Perhaps it’s a kind of ‘Chinese Whispers’ effect from the hand being a gnat’s too big?

That's it for this session- almost there!
thanks for looking
Neil
 

Jim R

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Hi Neil
Excellent work on the hair. The helmet strap fits well with the hair. Very clever way of doing the arms - detachable. Hand looks good. I realise it would be cheating but could you cast a hand from another figure or is each hand very specific to each figure? This whole SBS is very enjoyable.
Jim
 

Neil Merryweather

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Arm looks fine to me Neil. I don't think clothing in those days was close fitting.
John.
Thanks John, but they are usually the same on each side of the garment! Now I've done the other sleeve (will post tomorrow) it will have to go:tired:
 
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Neil Merryweather

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Hi Neil
Excellent work on the hair. The helmet strap fits well with the hair. Very clever way of doing the arms - detachable. Hand looks good. I realise it would be cheating but could you cast a hand from another figure or is each hand very specific to each figure? This whole SBS is very enjoyable.
Jim
cheers Jim.
Casting another hand wouldn't be cheating if it was for personal use only , but in this case I have a faint hope of selling him so he has to be all my own work. But I prefer to sculpt anyway because of the way the hand fits on the shell. So I will be biting the bullet
 

Tim Marlow

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Fantastic SBS Neil. Your technique and advice is first rate. I know what you are saying about the upper left arm looking a little overdeveloped, but think it might just be distortion from the camera lens.
 
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