Sculpting a 1/32 Figure in Polymer Clay from Scratch

rtfoe

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I'd re-do the arm Neil to be honest. Easy is the reference to the size of his thighs...even Charles Atlas couldn't have grown those. :smiling2:
The pose is good...perhaps whittling down his back and arm tunic and shortening the arm from the shoulder to the elbow just a tad wee bit might do the trick.
Fantastic SBS as all have said and many will attempt scratching figures referring to this for inspiration.

Cheers,
Richard
 

Neil Merryweather

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I'd re-do the arm Neil to be honest. Easy is the reference to the size of his thighs...even Charles Atlas couldn't have grown those. :smiling2:
The pose is good...perhaps whittling down his back and arm tunic and shortening the arm from the shoulder to the elbow just a tad wee bit might do the trick.
Fantastic SBS as all have said and many will attempt scratching figures referring to this for inspiration.

Cheers,
Richard
Thanks Richard for the kind comments.
It's going to happen :cool:
And I'm going to completely remake it because the hand is too big anyway and if it goes wrong I won't have destroyed the original. It may well be due to the elbow being fractionally too far forward as you say so a new armature is required.
Ironically it's probably due to not following my own advice and making a rough naked arm before the clothing. Serves me right
 

Neil Merryweather

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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.
To me, that arm looks fine - if he's been lugging those shells about for any length of time, it'll have put muscles like Charles Atlas onto him!
That's very kind Tim and Gerry, and it does look less of a problem in real life, but I have decided. What's more, I've gone on record, so it's happening!
Thanks for your continued interest
N
 

GerryW

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Thanks Richard for the kind comments.
It's going to happen :cool:
And I'm going to completely remake it because the hand is too big anyway and if it goes wrong I won't have destroyed the original. It may well be due to the elbow being fractionally too far forward as you say so a new armature is required.
Ironically it's probably due to not following my own advice and making a rough naked arm before the clothing. Serves me right
After measuring on the photos, can see what you mean - elbow comes nearly to the waist, and given that he's carrying a weight, probably should come about the bottom of the rib-cage?
 

Neil Merryweather

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Thanks all for your input on the left arm. When you see the end result of this you will see what I mean.

I didn’t bother gluing this arm in place like I did the left one as it didn’t work as I had intended. I started as always by trimming away the Milliput to a minimum-especially at the shoulder joint, and then adding small amounts of clay to the armature. I still didn’t follow my own advice and make a naked arm, but I did add less clay to start with and I got away with it on this one.

Right Arm (1).jpg

I deliberately didn’t go to the top of the arm either, saving that for later. Once I had enough clay in the right places I smoothed it out by rolling with the conical silicon tool

Right Arm (2).jpg

We have good reference for the creases in the right arm so it was easy to copy them, using the point of the chisel shaped tool to make alternating v-shaped indents up the forearm.

Right Arm (3).jpg

Once I had done the whole arm I refined the surface with the conical tool and added small creases with the chisel tool. And I trimmed the cuff with a scalpel, making sure it wasn’t too fat where it rests on the hand

Right Arm (4).jpg

I cooked it at this stage, then I Vaselined the shoulder socket and adjacent area on the figure, added more clay to the top of the arm and finished that in situ; and cooked it again. Here’s a shot of the arm joint

Right Arm (6).jpg

These woollen uniforms got really creased with wear so I made a big effort to show it.

Right Arm (7).jpg

I have always had a fascination with creases and folds in cloth, which goes right back to when I started art classes at school-I remember really enjoying drawing denims, although I couldn’t do it now.
I made a point of adding some bagginess at the elbow

Right Arm (8).jpg

And here he is complete-except for BUTTONS! Mustn’t forget them….

Right Arm (9).jpg

I think the size discrepancy with the hands is very plain in this shot.

and just to make the point
hands.jpg
I measured the photo across the knuckles and there is a millimeter difference

I am not going to blog the resculpt, but that’s my next job.

Thanks all for looking

Neil
 

Neil Merryweather

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I've done the new left hand and made DAMN sure it matches the other one
Hands (2).jpg
I was too impatient to use Milliput this time so I just made the first layer on the armature wire with regular Firm BeesPutty. It seems to have worked ok, but I have got a very rigid
set-up with this position, so the flexibility will not be a problem. To make the positive location in the shoulder socket I used my old favourite UV fly-tying glue (with Vaseline, of course), which worked brilliantly. It cured instantaneously once I was happy with the positioning and set rock solid, so the arm didn't come out half way during the sculpting.
I added the shirt cuff this time as it will be quite visible looking down inside the sleeve .
buttons.jpg
Because he was going in the oven anyway I thought I would also add the buttons at this stage.
I placed a small blob of clay in position, flattened it and used a small metal tube as a cookie-cutter. I pressed into the remaining clay with the tip of the conical shaper to keep it in position and create the rim of the button. Then I carefully removed the excess from the outside.
I did the same for the tunic buttons
Buttons (2).jpg
The top two ARE there, they just don't show in the photo.
And looking at this pic I have just realised he needs shoe laces!
That's all for now, thanks for looking
Neil
 

The Smythe Meister

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I'd re-do the arm Neil to be honest. Easy is the reference to the size of his thighs...even Charles Atlas couldn't have grown those. :smiling2:
The pose is good...perhaps whittling down his back and arm tunic and shortening the arm from the shoulder to the elbow just a tad wee bit might do the trick.
Fantastic SBS as all have said and many will attempt scratching figures referring to this for inspiration.

Cheers,
Richard
Indeed they will Richard :thumb2: .......
....... and i`ll be one of them........... not yet mind!!:tears-of-joy:
Andy
 

The Smythe Meister

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Neil,
I`ve had a right old catch up on this,and it`s blowing me away mate!!...... Superb work,and a top,top commentary along the way:cool:,
Thanks for making the time and effort with this SBS..... it is an invaluable guide for the likes of me,who want to give it a try in the not too distant future :thumb2:,
Cheers,
Andy
 

Neil Merryweather

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Neil,
I`ve had a right old catch up on this,and it`s blowing me away mate!!...... Superb work,and a top,top commentary along the way:cool:,
Thanks for making the time and effort with this SBS..... it is an invaluable guide for the likes of me,who want to give it a try in the not too distant future :thumb2:,
Cheers,
Andy
Thanks very much, Andy. I'd be dead chuffed to think somebody actually made a figure as a result of it!
 

Neil Merryweather

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For the laces I used 0.2mm solder.
It's only recently arrived which is why I hadn't done them, but it now occurs to me it would probably disappear in the oven, so it's an ill wind...
I had made holes in the sculpt with a needle but I need to be sure the solder will fit happily so I drilled 0.3mm holes in the boots and stuck short lengths of solder in one side with CA

laces 1.jpg
then I bent the laces across the boot and trimmed them slightly beyond the holes. I flattened them as best I could and then with my best tweezers I bent the ends over and poked them into the lace holes.
GOD it was fiddly!
I ran some CA in and it was 'Job Done'!
laces 2.jpg
I might try modelling them with clay next time.

Here is the new hand compared with the old, out of interest

Hands (3).jpg
and here he is finished(almost)
Finished.JPG
All he needs now is a new tin hat with a straight brim from brother Dave, so he no longer looks like Bill & Ben the Flowerpot Men.
Thanks everyone for looking
Neil
 

John Race

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Mind blowing Neil, your love of cloth really shows with the folds. His poor arm its been attacked that many times I'm surprised the armature wire hasn't fractured. Interested in the use of Vaseline with the mix. Then into the oven, or have I got that wrong?
 

GerryW

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Incredible work! Perhaps one day I may attempt a figure - though hate to think what it will look like!
 

Neil Merryweather

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Mind blowing Neil, your love of cloth really shows with the folds. His poor arm its been attacked that many times I'm surprised the armature wire hasn't fractured. Interested in the use of Vaseline with the mix. Then into the oven, or have I got that wrong?
Thanks John
Vaseline is just what I use as a release agent on the solid part so that the new part doesn't stick to it. The second arm was a fresh one altogether, armature and everything.
 

Neil Merryweather

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Well he’s finally finished, and the observant will note that I have re-done the jerkin buttons. They are supposed to be large but they were just too big and cartoon-like.

Number 8 (1).JPG

This meant putting the boots with their 0.2mm solder laces in the oven, which I didn’t think of until it was too late…


I am happy to report that 0.2mm solder WILL survive temperatures up to 120 degrees C for 30 minutes!

As I said at the outset, this was a learning experience for me as well, so what have I learned about sculpting in polymer clay?

  • For me the big fear of using Polymer Clay was modelling to a finish rather than being able to sand and carve and file, which is how I work with Milliput. I clearly have a way to go compared with some of the masters I see on other forums, but I feel I have made a reasonable fist of it. I found that I used the silicon clay-shapers almost exclusively- much more than I do with Milliput. In fact I only used 4 or 5 tools for the whole job
  • tools 2.jpg
  • The syringe needles are what I used as cookie-cutters for the buttons, with a piece of wire to push the putty out if it gets stuck
  • I do like the fact that the clay doesn’t cure until you want it to means you can leave the work at any stage- for days if necessary-and pick up where you left off, so the clock is not ticking like it is with epoxy clay.
  • You can cook the same piece many times without adverse effect, especially if you lower the recommended temperature. The boots must have been in the oven at least 9 times, and the legs only one time less.
  • I’m not wild about the glossy finish, but I suppose it doesn’t matter much.
  • As a finished surface for painting on I can’t comment yet, although I should point out that it is more flexible than Milliput and MUCH softer, as I found out when I broke his leg with too much rough handling. But it does glue with CA….
Thanks for all the interest, I hope you have found it helpful .
I‘ll put up a completed thread with some more views

Thanks for watching

Neil
 
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