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Following the thread - Sculpt a Confederate Medic

Discussion in 'Sculpting' started by Kevin D., Feb 16, 2006.

  1. Jeff Active Member

    Hi Kevin your head is really coming along. You asked about tools. I use tools I made myself. The first instructon I got on sculpting figures was at a SCAHMS meeting form Bill Horan. At the start of the little work shop he showed us how to make tools form toothpicks covered in super glue. When the glue is dry you shape the tools to suit what you want to do. I used this type of tool for years I even used them when I was working as a profesional model maker on films. I was working at 21century toys when one of the tools that I really liked broke. It was only a toothpick but we were out of toothpicks in the shop. So I needed to make a new tool so what was I going to use.

    That is when I hit on the idea of using brass rod. I had a whole lot of scarp pieces in my tool box. So I got out my little Dremmel tool chucked a piece in to the tool and turend it on I then used various grades of sand paper to shape the toold to suit what I need to use them for going all the way up to 1500 wet dry sand paper and then a little bit of fine steel wool. It was almost the same as using the toothpicks but they are much more durable and they are only a lttle harder to make. Almost as easy as toothpick tools.I will post a photo of my tools.

    I have been thinking about writing a short article on how to make them. So many people use tools like this. I thought it would be a nice thing to share.

    Attached Files:

  2. Jeff Active Member

    Just a little bit more info on the tools the ones on the left of the photo are made of aluminunum. The ones in the center on the blue are brass the ones on the right are steel. Steel tools are a little harder to make but will last forever. The bass tools should last almost as long if you take care of them. We had a nice little knurling tool on one of the miniature lathes at 21st Century Toys so I was able to put little grips on the ends of some of the tools.
  3. Manfred Active Member

    Kevin, the difference is firmness. I have FIMO classic (hard and slightly crumbly) and FIMO soft (softer but still firmer than SuSculpey) at my disposal here. So I mix black classic and white soft Fimo to the Sculpey to get a firmer stuff and by varying proportions can get the firmness I want after a bit of testing. I get a bit more "force feedback" than what stock Sculpey gives me :)

    Best effect however is that it gets opaque.

    My eyes are not the best even with glasses, they can't be fully corrected. So I ALWAYS have trouble with semi opaque stuff close up, ie Sculpey or AVES or MS in their natural forms. I loose depth perception that way.

    Have white Magic Sculp now which is much better but will try their pink and brown soon. I also mix Kneadatite Green Stuff or small bits of FIMO into the epoxy clays to get a tint.

    Your last head shows big improvements and I'm looking forward to its further evolution. By keeping at it you will soon develop an even better eye for proportion and gross errors will become less and less - well thats the theory ;)
  4. garyjd Well-Known Member

    Kevin, Hang in there. Given that you're just starting out your efforts are something to take note of.:) ~Gary

    PS, You're welcome.
  5. Jeff Active Member

    Kevin, you are doing very well. Do not beat yourself up if it is not perfect the fist time. It may take a while before you have something that really looks good if you really get stuck then try again. It is only putty and clay. Learn form your mistakes. Sometimes you get something that is pretty good but not quite there and you just can not get past a given stage. You may just need to put it down for a little while and take a step back. I have done this more then once. It is funny but when you come back to it you can see just what needs to be done to make it look the way you want it to. That is the way it was with the RAF pilot bust I did in Sheps class. If you look at the photo of two before the primer you can see what I had to do to make it right. Any thing that is the yellow color is the old sculpt. Everything else is what I had to do to fix it.

    You have taken a big step in showing your first work to us all. If you want to get better then you have got to learn to take criticism. Some times it is not easy but it will help if you listen to what people tell you. Every one here wants you to get better that is what this hobby and forums on this web site are all about. At least for me it is.

    Allen Ball had a very good article in Historical Miniture Magizine on how to sculpt heads. He like a lot of English sculptors does a lot of carving, not just wet sculpting, and I must say that it looks like it might be easier to do it his way for first time sculptors. I will find the issue number for you if you like. Keep sculpting.

  6. Kevin D. Well-Known Member


    Good afternoon! Good thoughts and cool tools!

    I have been thinking about the tools. Your comments are in the direction that I have been leaning towards. I had a few sewing needles and purchased some darning needles of various sizes. It was the right idea but filing their points will make them much better (a la your tools). I have been using them today with better success but have realized that they do need handles, so I'll be heading to the hobby shop for some hollow brass rods or something similar. I tried attaching them to a exacto handle with no success.

    Good looking tools, b-t-w!

    I think an article on how to for the tools would be an excellent idea for us beginners.

    Thanks for your encouragement on the head! I started over again on this second head becasue I felt the first had gone a bit too far off kilter and a fresh head would get me farther along than trying to repair the 1st.

    I certainly agree with you in regard to criticism! Its the only way I'll grow and thus, my first efforts are on display in leu of having a class to take. Y'all are my instructors in a manner of speaking with your comments and constructive critiques.

    I liked your pilot bust, what a pleasure it must have been to be in Shep Paine's class. I still can't get over talking to guys that know Shep, Bill Horan and others whom I have admired for years! Alan Ball was kind enough to go out of his way to email information to me regarding horse sculpting. And yes, his article on sculpting the head was very good. I have it here but Gary's way, although similar in some respects, seemed more usable to me. For this current head, I've combined some of Alan's style with Gary's and with some hints from a DVD by Mark Alfrey to more easily (I hope ;) ) keep in proportion.

    Please keep watching and add your thoughts to obvious errors that I may be too close to see as well as any subtle changes that you see that will help me tweak to something respectable.

    Much appreciated,

    Kevin D.
  7. garyjd Well-Known Member

    Kevin, As I said, keep at it. There are some folks that try sculpting, never showing their efforts and then end up throwing in the towel because they feel they just cannot do it. You've done the opposite and with what you've done thus far is commendable. What can only serve to help you is is to continue posting your progress, and even those attempts that seem like anything but progress. You're going to have days where it seems like some or all your efforts are going south, and other days where things will click and just happen. Now...get sculpting. :) ~Gary
  8. Kevin D. Well-Known Member

    That is a very timely message Gary.... I just spent the last 10 minutes scraping off everything that I put on the face today. It just didn't look right and I could not put my finger on it. Spent the entire day doing the nose, cheeks, mouth and forehead.


    The more I looked, the more I realized that the underlying shape was off somehow. I measured, compared to my references, left it alone for 30 or 40 minutes at a time and came back..... finally wiped it cleaned and reshaped the head, taking some off the top and narrowing the sides to try to avoid the "egg shape". Took too much off the top and so, reapplied the forehead and top of skull only.

    As much as I want to go at it again... I think I'll leave it alone and get to the review material that I need to have prepared by next Wed on Advance Cardiology Life Support (ACLS to those medical folks who may read this).

    UUUGH, am just a tad frustrated at the mo. Probably just trying to do too much as once; trouble is, how to know what the end result will look like so that I can know what deformities need fixed and what will be hidden when its done and not a big deal to worry about at the moment.

    I know that no time is wasted when learning something new because all practice mores you forward but, man this day feels wasted... phew.


    Kevin D.

    I ain't giving up.... just a tad fed up.

  9. Jeff Active Member

    Just take a step back Kevin. It really may help.

  10. Kevin D. Well-Known Member


    Amen, Amen!!

    Once every two years we have to recertify in ACLS. I think I'll concentrate on that for a couple of days with some sulpting mags on the side for light reading and come back at it in a few days or at least limit my time on it if I go at it between now and then. :)

    I have always had respect for you guys that can do this but now, I think I'm in awe of those who sculpt 54mm faces (let alone the 90mm and 120's) :lol:

    Good night and Good luck!

    Kevin D.
  11. Kevin D. Well-Known Member


    Thanks for the info and the encouragement! As I get more into it I'm sure I'll experiment with various clays so that info will definitely come in handy.


    Kevin D.

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