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1917 US Navy Bugler

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Dan Morton, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Apparently it's pretty common for sculptors to use famous WWI photos as inspiration for their figures. Jon Smith's German Stormtrooper and Bavarian infantryman come to mind as do the late Derek Holmes's German sentry in body armor and the Stormtrooper in gas mask with 12 stick grenades(!!) on his uniform.

    I have nowhere their talent, but here's my little contribution. The photo apparently appeared in several major US papers at the time and then was published in E. T. Townsend's "History's Greatest War" in 1919. Can't remember where I saw it first, but I tracked it down. Yes, I know the photo is 'posed', but hey, it still interested me and I wanted to do this 120mm figure.
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    The boots come from Michael Roberts USMC officer as do the center portion of the figure, canteen, web belt, etc. The rifle is a Springfield from New Order Model Designs, as is the bayonet grip. Parts of the pack and the bugle come from different Verlinden kits, but both have been modified. The rest you can blame on me. Sculpted with Magic Sculpt and Duro. You may notice the figure is leaning in several of the photos. That's because it's not mounted completely yet. I want to keep the base (balsa wood scored and stained to look like a dock) and the figure separated until after painting.

    Next we paint.....

    All the best,
    Dan
  2. garyjd Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Dan, Nice job on the bugler. I love these types of subjects, especially the originality. There are tons of photos that would make great figures. It's nice to see you've found such image. Keep it up.~Gary
  3. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Thanks, Gary! And you're right. Every picture tells a thousand....
  4. Jason W. Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Again, well done Dan! Can't wait to see him painted.

    Jason
  5. m@rp Active Member

    Country:
    Belgium
    Hi Dan,

    I see you are also an enthousiast of WW1 era.
    It's a very good subject you are doing.
    Very nice job. Keep up the good work.

    Have a nice day

    Pascal (Belgium)
  6. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Dan, its coming along nicely.

    A couple of things I noticed which I have illustrated with colored lines.

    Your figure is a full head shorter than the picture as represented by the yellow lines. The model head is tilted too far back (blue). The arm holding the bugle (green) needs to be bent back a tad more and there is this nice arc in the right leg (in orange) which really makes the pose that you need to capture.

    I am not sure how much you use Photoshop but I find excercises like this are of immense help in allowing me to see better the areas that need to be modified. Especially when working from a photo you have this perfect reference to compare with.

    Attached Files:

  7. garyjd Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Bob, Great observations. I've been playing around with photoshop myself. It's a great toy and it can be a bit addictive.~Gary
  8. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    I am fortunate in that I use PS on my job and have been using it since it came more than ten years ago. Having reference pictures for sculpting is a quantum leap easier than working without one but even still I use PS to give me a new pair of eyes for proportions, pose, balance, etc. Because I did figure drawing for so many years I instinctively know the various arcs that make poses work. My problem is getting that knowledge into the putty and I find PS helps in that process.
  9. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Many thanks for the comments everyone!

    Thanks for the observations, Bob! I don't have the full Photoshop program, but your comments make me consider buying it. The ideas about how to use Photoshop to control proportions are invaluable and I'd probably never have considered that.

    The figure was temporarily mounted for the photos and, in the left facing pic, was leaning both to the left and away from the camera. The photo taken from the back shows you what I mean.

    The whole figure is shorter than the sailor in the photo, but is still adequately in proportion. Actually I think the legs are shorter [by about the height of the head - per your comments]. This is only the second figure in which I've attempted some sculpting and I learn more every time.

    all the best,
    Dan
  10. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    If you count the overall height in heads you will see that the picture is around seven heads high whereas yours is around six. Tpycially, people are around seven to seven and one half heads high. If you look at the sketch I did of Winston you will see he is around seven and one half heads high and he was a short guy relatively speaking.

    Attached Files:

  11. Alex Lopez Active Member

    Country:
    Mexico
    Nice work Dan, I will seeing the final :)

    Alex
  12. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Thanks for the review, Alex!

    Ahem...there will be a short delay in the painting while I go back and fix the height problem that Bob has pointed out.

    Do you agree, Bob, that the height difference would be correctly solved by lengthening the legs? I've already removed them and started that direction.

    all the best,
    Dan
  13. Von Bock Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Dan Interesting figure. And Navy to boot. Can't wait to see him painted up. Keep up the fine work. Brock
  14. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Yes, I believe the legs are the problem. Also, the curve of the right leg is what makes the pose so if you can shoot for that I think you will be in good shape.
  15. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Also, take a look at the center of gravity (green) and the curve of the body (yellow) which serves to keep the whole figure in balance relative to the central axis. In the photo the curve is arcing to the left and in yours it is arcing to the right. That is why the right leg is so important to help establish the contrapasto.

    No matter how wild or relaxed a pose may be, as long as the figure is still standing (in blanace) then the torso and limbs will counter balance in order to keep the center of gravity.

    Attached Files:

  16. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Thanks again, Bob. This has been really a learning experience for me. ;)

    I've added about 1 head height to the legs and put quite a bit of arc in the right leg. I really hadn't noticed what you pointed out about that arc. It makes the figure a little off balance and more attractive, doesn't it? I suppose, unconsciously, that was what attracted me to the photo. Hmmm.

    Now that the right leg is flexed, of course only the front sole of the boot (being resin and inflexible) is now touching the base, so I'll need to cut the sole, etc. If the sole doesn't give enough to look believable, I may be forced to change the balsa wood base. Possibly to the brick street shown in the picture. I could make that out of putty easily. I'm about half convinced I should do that anyway to improve the accuracy of the portrayal.

    Also noticed that the up angle of the bugle could be slightly corrected by nipping a section of the bottom tube and re-gluing it. A simple correction.

    Once I get all the changes made, I'll re-post pictures, etc.

    All the best,
    Dan
  17. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Here's a couple of WIP pics. I decided to replace the balsa wood base with the paving stone street or wharf as shown in the period photo. It's all MagicSculp with some chalk dust in the seams. Added 1 head's heighth to the figure all in the legs. Bent the figure's facing leg similar to the photo. Lowered the bugle slightly. The field gear and rifle will be replaced later. Note that the figure is again in a temporary mounting, but just about right, I think.
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    Better?

    all the best,
    Dan
  18. Von Bock Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Dan,
    Very nice I like the changes you have made. I take my hat off to you as i don't think i'll ever get to a point where I will be able to sculpt anything. I have enough on my plate just trying to paint well. lol. I can't wait to see this figure done. Regards, Brock
  19. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Finished! Hindsight being 20/20, there are several things on this figure I would have done differently. #1 and most importantly, I would have taken some careful measurements early on to make sure the proportions and pose were correct. In the final version, I still didn't get the angle of the head and neck right, but generally everything was fixed with help from Bob Tavis and others. #2, I would have used the hand lotion trick to smooth the putty all over the figure. I only remembered to do that on the trousers and I was so surprised how smooth the surface looked as a result! #3, I would have taken more time putting in creases and folds. There are a few too many in this figure to suit me and 3 or 4 are not where they should be. The fabric of the uniform was wool and medium thickness, so only a few well-placed folds like those in the lower part of the trousers would be more correct.

    I welcome constructive criticism! I'm still making baby steps and recognize there are many skills that I'm just beginning to learn.

    All the best,
    Dan

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  20. garyjd Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Dan, Nice job on the figure. I find working with putty does take a little more planning. The main folds can be sculpted in, while smaller ones can be carved or made with a set of fine files. When doing folds keep in mind the type of fabric you're duplicating. Given the scale, you have done well. It's a lot easier to do a 54mm figure than a 120mm. The putties are great but I hate to play "beat the clock". You're going in the right direction with this, so keep going.~Gary

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