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Sculpting & Painting a Prussian Jager

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Billhoran, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. Billhoran New Member

    Photo 2.

    Attached Files:

  2. Billhoran New Member

    and a close-up.

    Attached Files:

  3. Marijn Van Gils New Member

    hello Bill,

    wonderfull work! I love the groundwork: how those small branches pass in front of his legs, and the tonalty of the grey trousers which fits perfectly with the colours of the groundwork. This really makes it fit together!

    By the way, thanks for the reply on the Duro-button-question. I tried it this weekend for the "nails" on the bottom of a shoe. While I won't trow away my punch and die yet (at least for the bigger buttons), for this many and tiny nails it is much easier and faster indeed than gluing on separate pices of plastic. Thanks!

    One more question: the loose straps holding canteens etc., nicely flying around in the air, add a lot of finesse and life to your figures. This is something I rarely see other figurinist spend so much attention on. As I tried doing it myself last week, I learned why: it is bloody fiddly!
    Since they need to be painted seperately, I test-fitted the loose parts of the straps and glued them to the equipment, to be glued in place after painting. But I didn't find a very good way to attach the straps to the canteens, other than simply butt-gluing with superglue (staps are too thin for pinning in some way). The addition of Duro buckles to the glue area makes the joint somewhat stronger, but it is still very fragile and the straps break from the canteens regularly. This will be a pain in the *** during painting, and while fitting them in the end!
    The other option would be to fit the straps to the body, gluing the separate canteens on in the end, but since I hold the figures themselves during painting (gives me support for my painting hand), I am certain I would deform the straps badly by pressing on them...
    So, finally, the question: how do you go about this?

    Congratulations again on the beautiful figure, and many thanks for posting such a detailed step by step!

  4. jjgurk Member

    Wonderful piece and step by step Bill. Truly inspirational! John
  5. Billhoran New Member


    Thanks for the kind words. Tha canteen was suspended in air by drilling tiny holes into the side of the canteen and into the upper chest of the figure (where the rope knot is), and inserting a fine wire (an unravelled piece of electrical speaker wire). Once this was glued in place, it was plenty strong to hold up my resin canteen. I added the remaining pieces of rope to his upper chest and back, and the knot from Duro.

    For canteens hanging against the body, I always use vinyl tape (like black electrical tape. I smear off the stickiness with some mineral spirits, and then can cut it easily with scissors. It is not only very strong and flexible, but it also superglues very well. First, I attach the canteen to the body with a wire pin and glue. Then I glue the strap to the canteen (I try to attach as much as possible - no butt joints). I can then actually stretch it taut, giving the canteen a convincing sense of weight.

    For straps suspending things in mid-air, I use sheet copper, aluminum or lead.

    Hope this helps.

  6. Jason W. Active Member

    Thanks for the sbs, Bill!!
  7. amherbert Member

    Very cool.

    The finished figure is wonderful, as is your SBS.


  8. Parkadge Member

    Thanks Bill I'm going to try and put what I've learned to good use
  9. johnnyboy New Member

    hi bill thanks for sharing this really appreciate it.always love your work.and cant wait till world expo this summer so i can see some of your work live and in color.well take care johnny
  10. Automata Member

    Excellent work as always Bill! I can't wait to see your latest work in person at SCAHMS. I have learned so much from your SBSs. Thanks for sharing!

    I notice you have used different types of electrical tape for straps. In your 1994 book, you had some photos where you used yellow tape. On your Yogi Berra figure you used brown. Do they have different properties, or are they just what you had on hand?

    Another question if you don't mind: You mentioned in another thread that you have used walnut bases from Red Lancers. Are these still available? I couldn't find them on their site. I'm always looking for good bases and I've always liked the subdued look of the bases you use.

  11. Robin Active Member


    Lovely figure, a question though what do you use as litter and bush work on that figure.

  12. Marijn Van Gils New Member

    Thanks a lot for your very detailed reply, Bill!

    The vinyl tape tip is a very good one! I read it in your book, but didn't use it yet as I guessed vinyl tape to be a horrible material to superglue (you know how some materials, mostly very smooth ones, never seem to adhere with hat glue...). Very good to know that this is not the case, as it will certainly be easier to work than metal or putty straps.

    One more detail question though: how do you attach your metal straps to canteens that fly in mid-air? I just butt-glued it with superglue, slightly reinforcing the joint with a duro buckle (sculpted on the spot) but this proves to be still really fragile. Do you also drill a hole and superglue the metal strap as with the rond cords, maybe filling the rest of the gap afterwards with putty? I am thinking of this approach for the future... Too late for this one though, as I started painting! :)

    By the way, is there any chance of you visiting euromilitaire this year?

    Best wishes, and thanks again!

  13. Billhoran New Member


    Most of the canteens I make (American Civil War, Victorian British, etc.) have straps that loop all the way around the canteen and are held in place by small guides. This enables me to attach the strap as a continual piece glued all the way around the canteen, continuing over the figure's shoulder. The only one I have done that needs to be butt-glued is the 1870 French canteen, and I haven't tried to make that one "fly out" yet!

    Yes, vinyl tape (I used to use yellow, but now use brown as it is closer to the color of most of the leather straps I use it for - material is the same) is GREAT for supergluing. In fact it's almost too good - if I place it wrong I usually have to slice it off with a hobby knife!

    No Euro-Militaire for me. I have trips planned to MFCA (Valley Forge) and Leon Rampante (Madrid) in May, Boston in July, Maui (golf and beach only!) in August, and Chicago in October. I need some time to make models in between trips!



    The bases I have used for years have typically come from Red Lancers, but his supplier has gotten somewhat unreliable lately (they've been out of stock for months), and I tend to go thru bases pretty fast - as you can see. The last batch I got from S & T. They are more expensive ($10 finished S & T vs. $5 unfinished Red Lancers), but are better quality. S & T is very reliable, and will make bases to your specifications.



    For the forest litter I use a mixture of tea leaves (from a used tea bag), mixed with dried basil and a few hudson and Allen leaves. I spread some white glue and pressed the moistened mixture into the glue.

    I'm not so wild about the tea leaves, though. They looked too much like mush. I'll restrict future forest litter to basil and H & A stuff (mostly basil).

  14. Billhoran New Member

    Robin, please also check out page 4 of this thread. There are step-by-step photos with commentary on the groundwork creation.

  15. trooper Member

    Bill, as all have said before, fantastic work.

    A couple of questions:
    1) You mentioned in your sbs, you mixed A+B/Duro for some of your scuplting. Do you use this mixture when your are working on the face/head?

    2) Do you have any photos or an sbs on just face detail (eyes, nose, facial expression) that you may share?

    AS a scluptor I am always looking new ways, materials or tools that may help in my work. AS for manly-As I work 200mm, remember-larger equals more detail right down the nats *#%$.

    Thanks again for all the years of your great work. It keeps use going on.
  16. Billhoran New Member

    James, that does sound "manly"! I use straight Duro for facial re-sculpting, as it is better for fine detail (less grainy). The Duro-A&B mixture is better for the larger clothing areas.

    I don't have any sbs for facial resculpting as I usually do it all in one session. I am also doubtful about how instructive sbs photography of such a small area would be. Some things you just have to throw yourself into!

  17. y_wong New Member

    Dear Bill,

    What can I say that others have not. Simply excellent work of art. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to your next figure!

    regards :)
  18. Wikinger New Member

    Hello Bill!
    Another masterpiece and a real good guide for painting bases as well. Thank you for your tips.
    Someday I´ll also have to try a self made figure (that will certainly NOT be shown in this forum...). Your explainations are very helpful. :)
  19. PeteC Member

    Hi Bill,
    I've noticed that over the last couple years you have really paid attention to hands. Specifically, the articulation of the fingers. I know you add the fingers after the rest of the painting is done, but could you offer a suggestion as to how you actually sculpt them. For instance, you keep the angles formed by the knuckle joints nice a sharp, avoiding the "spaghetti" look.

  20. Billhoran New Member

    Hi Pete. You're right about the hands. That is something that was mediocre in my earlier pieces, and something I set out to improve on a few years ago. It's a hard thing to describe in writing and even to some extent with sbs photography. The key is that I am sculpting each finger one at a time (no putty blob slit into four fingers).

    I roll out a little Duro finger, attach it to the knuckle, then work on adhering it around the object being grasped, paying very close attention to relative finger length and knuckle definition. Knuckle spacing and definition is a huge element to concining handle sculpture. Each hand takes me around 30 minutes.

    This is really an area where it is important to look at photos or in a mirror. Poorly sculpted hands can really mess up an otherwise nice figure!


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