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Sculpting chainmail

Discussion in 'Sculpting' started by Magnus, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. Magnus Active Member


    Wanted to try to sculpt chainmail so I started with a Viking bust in scale 1/8 (for easier sculpting of the chainmail).

    Well, it sure isn’t easy! I have tried searching earlier threads on PF and tried some variations.
    The C-shape method I believe is too rough in this scale, tried doing links 2-1-2 (see picture, and joining them with c shaped links) but to be able to handle them they just gets out of scale.



    Also did a test on the back with Anders Heintz method of doing flattened coils, they are in scale but do they look ok or just like flattened coils?


    Any tips, suggestion or other ideas for good looking chainmail?
  2. housecarl A Fixture

  3. Magnus Active Member

    Thanks a lot housecarl for the link. The top link in the thread I cannot get to work but I tried the later one. Unfortunately I’m not that good of a sculptor to get it to work for me, I just grows out of proportion and doesn’t get crisp enough.


    I did a super quick paint up of the alternatives as well to get a feeling on how they will turn out. Comment and suggestion any one?


    crf likes this.
  4. El Tché Well-Known Member

    What you have done in front of the fig is far more better and convincing than what you did on the back !
    Go for solution 1 (y)
  5. MCPWilk A Fixture

    this is very impressive, but you have given yourself unnecessary extra work. The best ready made chain mail available is from antique chain mail purses which can be picked up for a song off eBay (e.g. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Two-Antiq...UK_Vintage_Wallets_Purses&hash=item4d2a598311 and http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LARGE-6-x...UK_Antiques_Silverware_RL&hash=item43d501440c). If you can't bear cutting up such nice pieces, purses with damaged mesh often come onto the market - I have a couple at home awaiting a Roman in 200mm.

    Happy New Year,

    Karlosfandango likes this.
  6. Gaudin A Fixture

    In large scale, i.e. busts, nothing will look better than actual chainmail. Thankfully large scale allows making mail fabric . Then its a job to get size of the rings that suit the project.

    (I wouldnt be able to bring cutters to those lovely purses, by the way, what a waste :D)

    At lower scale, flattened coils dothe job, mostly, because the eye is tricked and you wont see rows not linking, unless you are paying attention (and take care to allign opposing rows). One of the down sides is that you must soak coils with some seal or varnish to eliminate spaces under the coil - otherwise mould rubber will destroy them. The limit of this method will be the size of wire that is practical for the scale. Like you discovered, busts are too big for this.

    There are several methods of making realistic chainmail in putty - you are trying one of them on left side- it needs some practice to get neat rows (and there are easier ways too = easier to deliniate vertical rows in fresh putty, then wait, then create "snakes", then break the links with needle and make them interlock. That orc figure seems to be made that way). So dont get discouraged by the result. This is probably the only way to sculpt good looking chainmail. I have seen it done in 30-40mm and in 120mm. Just needs practice.

    If you choose to go for ready made mail, make sure you stretch it to the max before mounting on the layer of putty - as at the moment the links sit very unevenly, that doesnt happen on real chain mail.

    I like the green stuff sculpting you did on his front best. Flattened coils look OK if you can get a standard spacing. I would always sculpt rather than use commercial 2nd hand mail....but that's likely a false pride thing with me.

  8. Magnus Active Member

    Thank you everybody for the tips and feedback, much appreciated. In the end I opted for the flattened springs but with a smaller diameter wire, it was the only way I could get it in scale for now. But I have lots of new techniques to try out in the future, thanks guys!

    It is getting close to done, but any critique is most welcome.


  9. Gaudin A Fixture

    Rings on the back should do opposite of that they are doing now. The weight of the rings will pull rows down, so they should dip.
    I really like how this chainmail looks, you should be pleased with result.
  10. Magnus Active Member

    Thanks Gaudin, you are absolutely correct. Will see if I can fix that, cheers.
  11. Mark Yungblut Member

    One other observation is that the sleeve is too stiff. It would shift down and folds would form from the weight of the metal.
  12. Magnus Active Member

    Thanks, good observation Mark. I think I know what you mean but if anyone had some pictures it would be fantastic.
  13. Magnus Active Member

    And for an easy way out for the back, what do you guys think about a fur/wollen mantle and/or a shield?
    Gaudin likes this.
  14. Gaudin A Fixture

    Give painters what they want ;) ie. YES!
  15. MCPWilk A Fixture

    A few re-enactment photos:-


    Note the almost complete lack of folds due to the weight of the armour, other than folds in the underlying tunic, and also how the colour of the underlying shirt/tunic shows through the mail.

    Best wishes,

  16. Uruk-Hai PlanetFigure Supporter

    I still wonder why so many re-enactors fail to have the padded gambeson or similar underneath their chainmail?

    Regarding the issue of the colour underneath it, is showing thru. It depends a lot on the distance and and the lightning at the time. Never the less I suspect it would look awkward in miniature form. But I would be happy if someone could prove me wrong.

    I wouldnt mind larger pictures where the ring detail is more prominent, Magnus?

    Janne Nilsson
  17. Magnus Active Member

    Hi Janne, here are a close up of the chain mail, as said, it's just flattened springs.

  18. Gaudin A Fixture

    Janne, I think its simply because they dont fight in it. They wouldnt understand untill some one hits them even with a blunt training weapon, that usually teaches the value of padding really fast. Otherwise its theatrics, not reconstruction.
  19. Uruk-Hai PlanetFigure Supporter

    Yeah, have them pulling out torn and dented chainmailrings out of their wounds should teach them. :whistle:

    I just wonder as they are interested in history it would occur to them too? But I notice that many interested in military warfare does not have any background or experience in martial arts or similar and does not simply understand combat. The re-encators was late to find out the finer tricks of the shield wall as an example.

    Janne Nilsson
  20. Helm A Fixture

    As for the garment showing through unless it's a very new one it's unlikely it would show through as the dirt builds up on the outside of it very quickly and turns it a dirty grey which would be virtually impossible to differentiate from the mail
    As an aside this is a nice piece of sculpting Magnus bravo

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