Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Sculpting tips. Straight from the heretic's mouth

After my previous post, where I showed the latest progress on my 'Dredd' style Arbites shoulder pads, Andy Foster from Heresy Miniatures* offered me some excellent tips for modelling with putty. I've collected them here to share with any budding sculptors out there.

As reticent as I am to claim any kind of credit for the following nuggets of wisdom, it's got be said that my existing level of sculpting competence (incompetence) clearly inspired him to share this expert advice. So well done me.

I've tweaked it a tiny bit, but essentially this is what he said:

• Keep your putty fresh. Buy it fresh (not from somewhere that has stored it in a warm warehouse and a warm shop), then keep it in the freezer. This helps to stop it reacting to warmth and air. Put it in a grip seal bag or tub. If using the ribbon product, cut it into 1cm bits and keep them frozen in a tub. If using the tube version you should ideally do similar, rolling each colour into equal balls, before wrapping in clingfilm, then placing in the tub. You can then remove as much as you need each session

• Work in layers. Sharpen up details again after 10 mins as Green Stuff will try to soften edges

• For harder edges, mix ProCreate and Green Stuff together. But be aware, this gives it a shorter working time 

• Procreate is excellent for filing and smoothing into swords etc. Green Stuff is not!

• Main tip for full sculpts is always to keep practising, the more you sculpt the better you’ll get

• Always stop and let cure. Nothing worse than doing a really good bit of work, then turning the model around and squishing it with your thumb

• Learn to put the model down and let it dry under a desk lamp or similar. But not too close to the bulb or the putty will swell up

• Get a headband magnifier or reading glasses with strength 2.5. These will massively help with the sculpting

• And finally lots of bright light. A triple tubed daylight lamp is best. But beware, they are also expensive

If you follow the instructions correctly you should end up with something like this

As well as coming up with tips, running his own business, sculpting miniatures, doing Kickstarters, turning up at Salute every year, and getting involved on Twitter, Andy also writes the occasional blog post. For anyone thinking of getting into the miniatures business, he's written a particularly interesting entry. It's quite long, and fairly poignant in places, but also hugely insightful and rather funny. And it includes more pictures of the incredible model dragon shown above. It's his saga of how the production of the Heresy Dragon managed to, ahem, drag on for years and years. It's called Dragon: Slayed.

*If you're currently saying 'Andy Who, from What Miniatures?' then skip this post and go straight to the Heresy site. If you like minis, I reckon you'll love the Heresy range. Once you've checked out all their sci-fi troopers, trench-coat warriors, barbarians and whatnot, you may want to find out a little more about Andy. So if you're still feeling like doing some reading, he has a funny blog post from a good few years ago, which, if you care, will tell you who Andy Foster is. It's appropriately called Who is Andy Foster? Who cares?

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