Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sculpting is hard. I'm really impressed with the pros.

Okay, so sculpting a figure from scratch....quite the effort I now think.

I picked up some Procreate (aka Grey stuff) and a set of Privateer Press P3 sculpting tools when I last ordered from the warstore. It was something of a whim to let me gap fill in models or convert but then I got the crazy idea that maybe I could produce an entire model.

So tonight, having done an insufficient amount of reading on the subject, failing to start small, and using only a cork, paperclip and some water, I got going. After about 20 minutes I decided to stop because the putty was sticky and I started realising that I need to bulk up the figure more, but the arms move every time I touch them because they are on separate pieces of paperclip and I am not sure exactly where to go next and the tools are harder to work with than I though and I don't quite know what the model will be and and and.......

....anyway, minor stress panic over. Here are some piccies.

Well here is my workbench and the sculpt so far. I've put Isembard Kickass Brunel next to grey man (my own name for him) just so I can tell how far I have yet to come. The 3 sculpting tools by the X-acto knife set me back $7.99 which isn't half bad given their quality. One of them has two 'knife' ends, one has a 'knife' end and a round dish end and the last has a 'needle' point. I found myself swapping back and forth between them a lot and it seems like they will all have their time and place.

Well you can see here that his pointing arm hasn't come out quite as neatly as it might have I've decided to turn him into a cyborg of sorts. I will probably base him somewhat on Leroy from Ramshackle Games and have a bulky shoulder mounted gun on his left arm. His right arm can just stay where it is, or maybe I'll put a knife in it.

The last one here shows his butt region and how I've tried to shape up the back half of him to be somewhat realistic.

Well so far it's looking alright. The head will come later and I'm sure will be a whole lot of work, as will be the legs and feet. I might try to make him a decent base to stand on if I can push my skills to that level. I need to thicken up the body to a more realistic size as he is currently very thin and flat in shape. That will take a chunk of work and then I'll need to work out what kind of clothes to put on him. I'm thinking that heavy overalls will be the most straightforward for my first model. His arm will be a whole different ballgame as I'll need to make straight lines and shapes for the gun he is fitted with.

All in all, it's an alright start though I realise how much work is ahead. I'm very impressed now with what the professionals do on a day to day basis with sculpting.

Comments and criticism very much welcome.


  1. Thanks for trying ProCreate Putty. You can get an information sheet on our putty at

  2.'s a damn site closer to humanoid than anything I've ever come up with, and I've tried a few times >.<

    Everyone I've ever talked to says just keep trying. It's certainly a good start. One thing that might help: Build an entire wireframe (paper clips twisted together, a length of wire, etc) that is essentially one piece. It makes the whole "the arms move" problem a little easier...though they do still seem to move >.<

  3. I just want to congratulate you on effort. I would never even contemplate building a model from scratch. can't wait to see some more progress on this.

    Oh and I love Kickass Brunel

  4. Thanks for the comments all.

    Bob, I really like the putty so far and my issues with it are soley down to not having any prior experience. I'm impressed at how easy it is to work with just using a little water on the tools. I'll check out the info sheet for some more tips. I chose procreate because of Curtis at and all of his good comments on it.

    Dhinata. I think you're right about building up the framework first of all. Most of the trouble so far has been from the putty being sticky and so it tugs the arms around when I try to move it. The putty is hard now though so hopefully I can get on with bulking it up and really making some shape progress tonight. I think this will be a long process.

    Microgod, thanks for the thumbs up. It's a crazy idea I know and it's definitely a challenge but hopefully it will be at least useable by the end. Curtis at Ramshackle games has been very encouraging and has even suggested that he might make it into a model if it works well enough. That's a good incentive.

    PS: Kickass Brunel is great. If I can ever sculpt this well I'd be really happy.

  5. That's an awesome and seriously motivating offer...

  6. I know :-)

    Fingers crossed here

  7. Wow! That is a great start! I'd never tried sculpting until a few days ago. I was sculpting a longer neck for this terradon and I know what you mean about getting fiddly. I think you need to put down a layer then leave it to dry one night and then come back to add detail. This is a much better start than I've ever had.

  8. Thanks OSH. I've never tried before and I spent about an hour at work serruptitiously reading sculpting guides. They were helpful but nothing really lets you know what it will be like to work with putty.

    Even from my short try, I get the impression that any figure is a multi-day project at the bare minimum. The basic shape of the figure was yesterday. Tonight I will aim for bulking out the chest to the correct proportions and perhaps making a start on the head. Then I will look at sculpting on the clothing details and the like. After that the legs, then the arm details, then the gun.

    Wow, a lot of stuff to do here.

    On the other hand, the gap filling I need to do on another model is now a complete cakewalk by comparison.

  9. Sculpting really isn't easy, especially at first. But good tools and decent Grey Stuff should make it easier. You've gotten a good start on it. It took me years of sculpting small things before I tried anything that ambitious.

    For my part, any sculpts I've done of this kind of complexity have been at 10+ sessions. You have to get the armature, then the shapes, then the layers, then the details. It can be really quite involved as few pieces of a fig can combine any steps. Just give it time, be patient, and give it time to dry between sessions. The hardest part is knowing when to put down the knife...

  10. Dvernig, thanks for the comment. I've been looking over your blog a lot while I was thinking about starting this sculpt. That farseer on the jetbike is really an amazing piece of work. I'm very impressed and hopefully I can get to that level at some point.

    I'm really trying to keep it short bursts of work. Last night I was about to start doing some more but restrained myself. I'm going to have a go at doing some more tonight. Maybe the head first and then the body. Slow and steady...