Author Topic: What's on my desk WIP's.  (Read 12383 times)

Offline Ninja_Butler

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What's on my desk WIP's.
« on: September 01, 2012, 11:35:23 AM BST GMT »
Blurry photo but it'll do for now, I'll post individual photos of my minis after I've done some work on them. I've got a long way to go but I'm pleased that I have finally learned to get the scale down to 28mm, I'll never complain about Games Workshop scale creep again! (apart from Orks, Goblins, Imperial Guard, Skaven, Dwarfs and Skeletons)

Don't ask me what they all are, I'm not sure myself yet, but I wanted to make some Elves and human militia/peasant types. Elves are really hard, I didn't realize how delicate and finely proportioned they are until I compared what I was doing to a couple of GW Wood Elves. Incidentally, Grenadier did some really nice models in the early 90's, I've been using an old Grenadier Miniatures knight (or man at arms - I'm not sure which he is) as my main miniature for scale comparison.


« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 11:41:27 AM BST GMT by Ninja_Butler »

Offline Icy

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2012, 04:26:00 PM BST GMT »
Wow.

That's quite a load there !

Why do you start so many sculpts without taking the next step ?

Offline Ninja_Butler

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2012, 06:02:30 PM BST GMT »
Two reasons;  when I've done a bit on one mini I have to wait for it to set so while I'm waiting I'll work on another one. Secondly, TBH I'm still not all that good at sculpting, I get as far as making the armature and adding some under-pinning but then inevitably I'll make stupid mistakes with the details and have to cut bits off and start over.

My biggest weak-point at the moment is working on the upper torso - the neck and shoulder area specifically. The neck has to be in proportion with the shoulders and I keep making the top of the back/shoulders too bulky. It's definitely easier to make a big, thick neck than a slender one.

I've also got to learn how to make weapons! No point putting hands on the minis until I've got some weapons done. I could cheat and use ready made ones but I like the idea of sculpting weapons.

Offline Thrasym

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2012, 07:36:04 PM BST GMT »
Most weapons are fairly simple, if you use "subtraction" sculpting methods to shape the majority of the form. I.E. sand/cut/file down a sheet of plastic or hardened clay (something sandable, like Milliput, Magic Sculpt, Polymer, etc), then "add" a wooden or metal rod for the handle/shaft/barrel (if you didn't stick it in the sheet while forming/before curing). Small details can be added by either adding or subtracting them, near the end (it's way easier to add raised filigree with little lines of putty now than it is to leave raised filigree when filing down the sword shape, for example). It works well for curved things like rifle stocks, crazy chaos swords and such too, because of their relatively simple, symmetrical designs.

If that's what you're already doing, I apologize. I can't imagine what a PITA it would be to try and sculpt a weapon in one go with clay before it hardens, unless your weapon of choice is a rock. ")

Offline Ninja_Butler

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2012, 07:29:44 PM BST GMT »
I haven't started on weapons yet but I'm starting to get the idea, thanks Thrasym.

On a side note, I've just started experimenting with a new way of doing heads, I don't know if anyone already does it this way (I figured it out by accident) but making the lower half of the face and leaving it to cure before moving on to the top of the face might just work, it seems to push the greenstuff in the "right" direction, ie, upwards which gives me more access to the nose. I'm still fiddling around with it but I think I'm on to something.

Offline Ninja_Butler

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 10:54:06 PM GMT GMT »
No pictures but an update of sorts..

I've thrown away a lot of armatures because once again I have refined the proportions. It's almost counter-productive but I have gone back to basics and now I'm using better wire frames/skeletons; my old stuff now looks chunky compared to the new ones I'm starting. I'll post a picture some time (when I'm not too lazy) to show what I'm doing.

In one way it's frustrating that my old stuff has to be mostly abandoned before it's even half-done, but it's like now I'm doing it the right way.


Offline Ninja_Butler

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2014, 07:55:27 PM BST GMT »
A year and a half on and still nothing to show for it! I must be insane to keep doing this. But, here's a list of things I have learned that I would tell any novice:

Check the size of the armature. Either use a ready-made armatures (even experts and professionals use them) or measure your wire skeletons with a caliper gauge; check the total height, check the length of the legs. I messed up on that sooooo many times. If the frame is too big, the finished miniature WILL be over-sized.

You can't make your miniature too small. I found that unless the figure is going to wearing a full-length cloak or something, it's best not to add bulk early. Each little extra bit of muscle and flesh I add quickly adds bulk even though the figure looks very skinny to begin with.

28mm and 32mm mean the same thing.

Whatever miniature you are making, someone better than you probably made one already.

It pays to experiment with different tools to find out what they might be good for. For example, I bought a set of Zahle wax carvers (they're great, smaller than the usual ones) and the flat-bladed one which I thought I might as well throw away turns out to be very useful for laying on coats and cloaks.




The armature is a canvas, once the basic shape is there, you work within the canvas. I kept making the stupid mistake of adding more and more bulk in an attempt to add detail, but detail has to be within the limits of the canvas. The face for example; add bulk and the head becomes too big.

But.. on the other hand, adding bulk to create shapes is good. Right now I've got what I hope will be a Goblin, and I've just this afternoon realized that to form the shape of the face, it needs UNDER-PINNING. Underpinning, underpinning, underpinning.. I heard that word so many times but I failed to pay attention.

Milliput is awesome in the hands of an expert... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ph5js62736c

Offline Ninja_Butler

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2014, 04:52:57 PM BST GMT »
This weekend I did learn:

1. I'm a stupid clueless idiot.
2. Using a a magnifier lamp makes the job easier. A lot easier. A lot, lot easier.

Maplins sell a swing-arm magnifier lamp with a 5" lens, that's the one I bought and for £25 it's a no-brainer; if you don't have one, buy one - NOW.

Offline Machinepriest

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2014, 12:36:25 AM BST GMT »
Hey look, the new guy wants to contribute!

You got some good points regarding armatures. My own sculpts tend to end up too big because of sloppy armature work.
A proportion chart seems like a great thing to have but I've yet to find a good one myself.
Wish I could find the one Mati on Massive Voodoo uses: http://www.massivevoodoo.com/blogfiles/tutorials/sculpting32mm/pict0388atxm.jpg 

And oh, magnifier lamps are the bees knees!
My parents gave me one several years ago, but I felt that my eyesight was good enough, so it ended up in a closet.
It was only recently after watching a tutorial from Stan Winston school that I felt that the thing actually might be useful.
Boy was I right. I do 90% of my sculpting without it, but it really helps me when I sculpt individual teeth.

Now, be more of a butler and serve us some of your work instead of hiding it like a ninja :P

Offline Ninja_Butler

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2014, 01:44:48 PM BST GMT »
All I have is 10% started armatures, but I'll upload a picture later. :-)
A good tip I can offer, if you want to achieve accurate scale is to compare your work to a professional sculpted miniature. I currently use this one for comparison:



It's a 1995 Warhammer Wood Elf. These days a 1995 miniature is considered unsophisticated, but wow, it is VERY hard to achieve such a level of precise detail. The face.. the face is so small. Tiny, tiny, detail. When I first began learning to sculpt, I sculpted heads x3 or x4 bigger - far too big.

Offline Ninja_Butler

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2014, 02:25:01 PM BST GMT »
My armatures - WIPs. Three miniatures in front to display scale; the second one is "Cersei Lannister", it's an amazing fine-detail sculpt.



This is the one I'm concentrating on:




For some unknown reason, I am unable to make the head look upward. I have re-made the head at least 10 times but still I cannot get the position right; always he is looking down.Maybe I'll start again but I think I should accept it with it's flaws and complete it, or it will never be completed. The face is almost done, it just needs one more layer.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 02:28:04 PM BST GMT by Ninja_Butler »

Offline Ninja_Butler

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2014, 05:47:56 PM BST GMT »
Gyah! More good news/bad news. I've just this hour figured out I can get a much more correctly shaped female armature, but I have to bend them all at the hip so they are bowing outward.. I'll post a picture some time to explain. Damn, it's a sudden big improvement but all my armatures were WRONG.

Offline Ninja_Butler

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2014, 10:03:02 PM BST GMT »
Not so much an update as an excuse to vent: Yesterday I was looking through some old bookmarks and I found "RagingHeroes.com" OMFG. No, let me repeat that..

(((OMFG)))

Jesus, how can anyone compete with this standard of sculpting?! And of course there are several other ranges of equally high quality. To make the grade and move into the ranks of professional or even semi-pro sculptors, this is now the benchmark. It's impossible. I've been practicing learning to sculpt for an average of roughly an hour per day for almost 5 years now. That's 1,825 hours and I am still nowhere near ready, I'm still learning how to sculpt anatomy, I haven't even moved on to clothing yet. Maybe I've wasted my time.

On the plus side I have learned how to do some of the tricky bits; I can now sculpt female heads in correct 28mm or 32mm scale which was a breakthrough moment for me, and I've almost got the hang of sculpting female butts too - if you haven't tried it before, it's way harder than you think it is in small scale, you can't just add bulk at the tops of the legs, the buttocks are part of the legs. And I can do ankles and feet. Side note: I've spent so much time learning (or trying to learn) how to sculpt female figures I'm struggling with male figures; male butt cheeks gave me some trouble for a while!

I'm kind of regretting starting a sculpt for the TWF mini-exchange last year, it was due in March/April! I have restarted it from scratch over 30 times.

Oh, and finally, once again everything I have done up to about a month ago now looks like junk. I guess that means I'm getting better but I almost wish I could just delude myself that I was already good enough.


Offline bennett.

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2014, 12:18:57 AM BST GMT »
Yes, their miniatures are really nice!

I'd love to see some pictures of yours, it sounds very interesting. I am amazed by your endurence, I can't do anything like that...

Cheers,
Bennet

Offline Ninja_Butler

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Re: What's on my desk WIP's.
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2014, 06:15:56 PM BST GMT »
Yes, their miniatures are really nice!

I'd love to see some pictures of yours, it sounds very interesting. I am amazed by your endurence, I can't do anything like that...

Cheers,
Bennet

Oh shut up. I've seen your sculpts, and they're better than mine.
Still, as frustrated as I might be feeling lately, this weekend has been productive. I've made some progress on sculpting heads and I have re-learned how to make wire skeletons; I took a little piece of advice from the Miniature Mentor "Frightmare" sculpting tutorial video and gave a lot more time and attention to making them than I normally do. More bends, more kinks, more measuring. It does make a difference.