Making my First Model

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Fatality

New Member
I want to make a model figure for a friend of mine for their birthday. Something along the lines of a ShowToy Collectibles type figure, highly detailed. Doesn't have to be pose-able or interchangeable but if anyone knows how to pull that off that would be even better.

I plan on sculpting it out of WED clay and then casting it and painting it. I am not sure if this would be a good method or not. I also need to find small glass eyes to use in the final model.

What would be the best casting material to make the figure from ?
I am assuming casting the clay using silicone would be the best way to make the mold from the clay sculpture.

Any tips tricks or suggestions would be appreciated as I have never done this before.
 

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robn1

Master Member
If you want to sculpt it then yes, silicone molds can be made then cast in resin. Make sure the clay doesn't contain sulfur.

What figure are you making? If you want the pose-ability of an action figure you could start with a bought one and modify it. Lots of people make custom/modded figures, and it would save some effort and expense.
 

Sym-Cha

Master Member
Hi Fatality and welcome aboard ... do some extensive research ... perhaps check out this section of the rpf forum for tips regarding sculpting : http://www.therpf.com/sculpture-makeup-effects/ and remember KISS when you try something new Keep It Simple Stupid ... now as for that Superman statue it may be a nice goal to reach for, however starting with much simpler figurines might be a good advice for now, unless you already have 10.000 hours of sculpting under your belt ;) For casting/molding check youtube there are plenty tutorials online that will get you started into the right direction :)

Chaim
 

mcusanelli

Active Member
I sculpt for a living, and that Superman blows MY mind! You have the portrait, and then the suit with the intricate pattern. if this is your first time, I'd say, especially for a gift, why not do what Sym-Cha and robn1 suggested. There are some really nice figures available out there from Mattel and Jaxx pacific. The hard work is done, so you could cut it apart and re-pose it, as they are a bit stiffly posed, and then give it a really nice paint job, for a fraction of the price. This is a good way to get into sculpting, by doing some conversion work, learn to fill gaps and resculpt some details - That's how I started years ago, and eventually taught myself how to sculpt. Also important to know that there is a learning curve with molding and casting too, so maybe start small and work your way into it, when there is no deadline to meet, much less pressure! I say these things to you NOT to discourage you, if anything I encourage you absolutely to learn to sculpt, I can't think of anything in this hobby that is more satisfying ! Good luck!
Regards,
Mike
 

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crackerjazz

Sr Member
That would be a cool project! How people can tame the sculpting material and shape it as they desire remains a mystery to me -- while my apoxie sculpt seems to stick to the tools and I can never smooth it down - and when I feel like I did a good job in one area it's so easy to ruin by making a second pass. And that artistic eye too that sculptors have -- I can only sigh in frustration. Sculptors have all my respect.
 

mcusanelli

Active Member
Thanks crackerjazz, that's very appreciated! You might want to try Magic-sculpt epoxy putty, it's the nicest one I've used. Especially on a figure conversion, it sticks like crazy to styrene, abs, and the pvc that action figures are made of. Great stuff! The best way to use this stuff is to work one area at a time. Say you're adding a piece of shoulder armor on a figure. Mix up a small batch that is roughly the size of what you want to make. Stick it on the area it's going on, and wet your fingers with a bit of water. Start shaping the part to the rough size and shape you want, then you can switch over to tools and even a firm paint brush dipped in water, that's a great way to start refining and smoothing it out. at a certain point, it's going to start to get firmer, and less workable. That's when I stop, and mix a fresh batch and move on to another area. If you're not in a hurry, put the figure under or close to a desktop or goose neck light, and let the heat finish hardening it. When it's cured now you can sand , carve , and shape it, and if it calls for it, wet sand it for a really smooth finish. or, you can add more material to it and build up and refine the shape further, repeating the steps i mentioned. Sounds pretty basic, right? It is! Practice , practice, practice, that's what it takes, and try to pay attention to the shapes that are in the object you're trying to sculpt. Try to see the basic geometric shapes, that will help you break down the object to more easily understandable forms...For instance, look at the top of your hand. Pretty complex, right? but look at the basic shapes...The top part that the fingers are attached to is a trapezoid, and the chunk that your thumb is attached to is a triangle. Your fingers are cylinders, but flat on top, sort of d-shaped, in cross section. And they narrow closer to the ends. You can break almost anything down by looking at it for a few minutes, and it really is the most important thing, to learn to OBSERVE things, not just look at them. I'm not going to lie to you and say it's super easy but if you're willing to put in some elbow grease, you might be surprised at what you can do! I went to a show once and was admiring a figure when the guy came over and asked me what i thought of it. I thought it was great, very professional, and then he told me it was his first sculpture! I almost couldn't believe it! But there you have it- you never know until you try:) I hope this makes sense, and hope I didn't ramble on too long!
 

Fatality

New Member
I sculpt for a living, and that Superman blows MY mind! You have the portrait, and then the suit with the intricate pattern. if this is your first time, I'd say, especially for a gift, why not do what Sym-Cha and robn1 suggested. There are some really nice figures available out there from Mattel and Jaxx pacific. The hard work is done, so you could cut it apart and re-pose it, as they are a bit stiffly posed, and then give it a really nice paint job, for a fraction of the price. This is a good way to get into sculpting, by doing some conversion work, learn to fill gaps and resculpt some details - That's how I started years ago, and eventually taught myself how to sculpt. Also important to know that there is a learning curve with molding and casting too, so maybe start small and work your way into it, when there is no deadline to meet, much less pressure! I say these things to you NOT to discourage you, if anything I encourage you absolutely to learn to sculpt, I can't think of anything in this hobby that is more satisfying ! Good luck!
Regards,
Mike

Thank you for the info. any recommendations on what to use for an armature or if their are any books, courses, websites that have step by step instructions? I have looked in the forum a little bit as Sym-Cha suggested.

I have done sculpting once before. and made a predator mask it was my first time sculpting in WED clay and it is the medium I prefer. I tried sculpey ii and I found it impossible to work with. Couldn't get shapes right, couldn't smooth it kept tearing etc...

What would you recommend for using armatures and to make moveable joints ? ultimately I think it is going to be a solid piece.

I have never modified existing figures before, I wouldn't even know where to begin...

What resin material are the figures made from ?
 

mcusanelli

Active Member
Fatality,
You're welcome!
For armatures, I use1'8'' aluminum armature wire, it's strong enough to hold up a figure but soft enough to cut through if you need to separate parts for molding.
Sculpey is a wierd yet cool material to work with - It has it's own learning curve, and great sculptures have been done with it. If you're learning to sculpt, use the material you're most comfortable with! I'm not sure which websites or articles to send you to, maybe someone here can offer up a suggestion?

Modifying figures is really just a matter of finding a figure that's close to what you are looking to make, then carving and sanding away the details or features that are unwanted and replacing them with the details you need - Like taking a figure of, say, the flash, he';s pretty basic, and using him to create Batman. First look at what's there. I'd say carve off the little lightning bolts on his head, and sand down the outline of his mask, then using some styrene plastic,and epoxy putty, make new bat ears and a cowl. Then do the same with the rest of the figure. Just work with a section at a time. Afterward, you can paint it, I would recommend using water based paints - acrylics - that won't react with the plastic... Most of the action figures out there are made from pvc, a type of vinyl, if you paint it with enamel paints , like Testors, or Krylon, you run the risk of the paint staying gooey and never actually drying. Hope this helps!
 

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Fatality

New Member
then using some styrene plastic,and epoxy putty, make new bat ears and a cowl. Then do the same with the rest of the figure. Just work with a section at a time. Afterward, you can paint it, I would recommend using water based paints - acrylics - that won't react with the plastic... Most of the action figures out there are made from pvc, a type of vinyl, if you paint it with enamel paints , like Testors, or Krylon, you run the risk of the paint staying gooey and never actually drying. Hope this helps!
Where can I get styrene plastic and epoxy putty? I have never worked with either.
Good tip on the paint as I probably would have tried to use Testors or some other incompatible paint lol

- - - Updated - - -

http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=187886

Magic Sculpt onto an existing Rancor by me ... first
time working with the stuff to give you an idea :)

Chaim
Nice work, I like it!
I have never used Magic Sculpt, is it hard to work with ? Do you have to cure it or is it self curing ? Can you build on top of itself after it has cured or will it separate, chip and crack/ fall apart ? Is their anything it cannot be used on?
 

mcusanelli

Active Member
Fatality,
Google both, there are many sources, check 'em all out as prices will vary. Even ebay is a good place to find hobby / art supplies, i've gotten some great deals there that were less money than art supply companies.
 

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