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Help for sculpting materials for an absolute beginner

Discussion in 'Just starting...' started by OLECHNICKI, Apr 12, 2020.

  1. OLECHNICKI New Member

    I'd really like to get into sculpting, but I don't want to go all out and buy a bunch of pro-tools and materials, when I really just want to get to know the basics first. Which tools, types of/brand of clay should I look to buy? I've been drawing for years and have well-enough grasp on how to construct the figure but if you have any figure sculpting book recommendations, I'll consider those as well.
    NeilW and malc like this.
  2. kevininpdx Active Member

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  3. Nap A Fixture

    Hi there

    A BIG WELCOME to PF , why not also introduce yourself in the WELCOME ABOARD part as well

    As for sculpting I have put a thread in the Sculpting part linked no this thread https://www.planetfigure.com/threads/sculpting-advice-for-a-new-member.227911/

    I use magisculpt to put details on busts with m main tools being a needle in a cork !

    You might find these books of help ( Amazon )

    Feel free to message me ( moderator) if you have any questions

    Look forward to seeing your putty pushing

    Happy benchtime


    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.png
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  4. Borek A Fixture

    Hi Olechnicki

    Welcome on PF :)

    Such advice is hard to give, because everyone will love something different. In the end, I think you'll want to try everything to compare all the materials. So I can give advice only from my perspective.

    Of the epoxy two-component puttyes, I only used Magic Sculp for a long time. It is really good quality, soft, it is easy to make details and has a working time of more than an hour and a half, although after the first hour it starts to solidify.

    Then I discovered Bees Putty, and since then I have been working with this material. For me (in my opinion) it is the best material for miniature sculpting. It's a polymer mass. Polymeric modeling materials are characterized by the fact that they do not harden, so you can model at your own pace without any hurry. However, be careful not to destroy the finished parts of the figure. And at the end you have to bake it in the oven. Bees Putty is sold in several hardnesses, so it is possible to choose different consistency of matter for different details.


    I still use Magic Sculp, but today only to make fittings and some small or thin parts (weapons, small accessories, and plinths)

    As for the books, I definitely recommend Bill Horan's Military Modeling Masterclass. It's a pretty old book, but it's really great in many ways.


    I wish you good luck and fun in your sculpting work :)

    Cheers Borek
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  5. Nap A Fixture

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  6. NeilW A Fixture

    I came across this ages ago when I was trying to find out about the various putties (read from Section 2).

    It covers most aspects of the materials/tools side.

    BoL, Neil

    Attached Files:

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  7. Richard Baxter A Fixture

    As for sculpting tools, I got hold of some old dental tools from my dentist. Great for getting into awkward corners!
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  8. valiant A Fixture

    All my sculpting tools are custom made by me for specific jobs, out of brass rod or silver steel, beaten and filed to shape. As for putties, I would practice with Plasticine first, to get the feel, because if you stuff it up, you can re use it....(y)
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  9. NeilW A Fixture

    Or you can buy a set cheaply (no doubt not surgical quality but OK for modelling) ... eg here

    Similar are wax carving tools... eg here

    The various grades of silicone tipped sculpting 'brushes' are also great... eg here

    ... and I find those bits and pieces that you have in your toolbox or notice as you walk around a 'Poundshop', hardware store or hobby shop often come in useful (eg, sandpaper, a nailfile or a fine tooth comb can be used to create texture).
    valiant, Nap and Banjer like this.
  10. theBaron A Fixture

    Welcome to the Planet!

    Yeah, I agree with the previous comments, you don't need to buy a lot of expensive tools, but rather, you can make your own. I use toothpicks and sewing needles, for example, and old, worn-out paintbrushes, for shaping. I use an X-Acto knife for removing material, too. I often use something that happens to be within reach on the bench.

    I do second the advice to look for dental tools, too. I have some that I have picked up at flea markets or at shows.

    As for putty, I use Aves Apoxie Sculpt, though I started out with Miliput's basic grade putty. I've also used Sculpey, which is a good material, but it has to be heated to cure it. You can bake it in an oven, or use a heat gun or hair dryer to cure it. I prefer putties that cure on their own.

    Hope that helps, prosit!
  11. OLECHNICKI New Member

    Thank you all for your suggestions.
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  12. theBaron A Fixture

    Speaking of dentists and modeling supplies...

    When my dentist still used an X-ray machine, it used photographic blanks that were sealed in lead foil pouches. During one of my visits, we got to talking about hobbies, and I mentioned that I used lead foil with my figures and models. He asked me if I wanted some foil. I said yes, and he gave me a 3-gallon bucket full of the discarded foil packets. He said he couldn't throw them in the trash, because of the EPA, and disposal companies charged an arm and a leg to remove them. He was glad to get rid of them.

    Most dentists use digital X-ray cameras today, but the next time you go, you might want to ask your dentist if he has anything like this lying around.

    I did ask about old tools, but they hang on to those.

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  13. NeilW A Fixture

    Hi Brad,

    Good tip about the X-ray film packs... though I think I'll stick to wine capsules and tomato puree tubes ;)

    Like you, I've steered away from oven bake putties... but am intrigued about using a heat gun or hair dryer, both of which I've got (but unfortunately no longer the hair to go with the latter :sour: ).

    I've also heard about light-bulb powered tin can ovens

    You or anybody any experience/tips ref these?
    Nap likes this.
  14. Nap A Fixture


    Hi Neil

    I know Jimbo has a box with foil surround inside and a light inside to dry off paint so I presume it could also be used for putty to speed things up

  15. NeilW A Fixture

    Thanks Nap... just a bit unsure as to how heat critical the curing process is?

    I've heard of things going wrong with too hot/cold ovens :eek:
  16. yellowcat A Fixture

    Welcome to the Planet.
    I use Super Sculpey, Milliput and some other brand of epoxy putty. For sculpting tools I have some dental tools from the dentist and I also made my own. I used an old toaster oven to cure my pieces. I prefer aluminium sheets rather than lead sheets for my horse reins and straps.
    Here are some of my home made sculpting tools.


    IMG_0021b.jpg oven1a.jpg
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