Friday, July 22, 2011

Sculpting an Ambull: Molding and Casting Continued

Here is a size comparison showing the Ambull Green next to an old Rogue Trader era Space Marine mini. I'm pretty satisfied with the scale, which is lucky because when I started the sculpt I did not pay too much attention to how big it was going to be.

This got me thinking more (for the future) about how to properly size a project before beginning. I printed out different sizes of Leonardo's Vitruvian Man to get an impression of how big or small certain scales of minis should be. Tom Meier wrote this very helpful article about this on his blog about minis and proper proportions.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sculpting an Ambull: Molding and Casting Continued

Once the first part of the mold had cured, the other side was removed. This consisted of the bottom of the mold box and the clay that was used as a barrier. The master and the sprues remain in place in the first part of the mold.

I use Vaseline as a separating agent between the two mold parts. RTV silicone will stick to itself really well, so a barrier cream is vital, at least on the rubber itself (most other materials are fine with silicone). I had some really old silicone that I was diluting with some silicone thinner, so these were definitely not ideal mold-making situations. Hopefully at some point in the future I can offer some examples of a more professional approach.

This picture shows the other component of the Ambull, the legs and back of the upper body. Same concepts applied: LEGO box, clay wall around the master, sprues cut from wood (found the dowels to be a bit better than the square stock). The little divots in the clay were pressed in with the back of a paintbrush. Once the rubber is poured in, they will serve as pegs to register the front and back parts of the mold.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Even More... Sculpting an Ambull

First half of the mold is poured. I do not yet have access to vacuum and pressure chambers, so it does make molding and casting a little difficult. I've done larger things before, but certainly nothing this detailed. In a case like this I simply drizzle a thin layer over the most crucial part of the mold and let it settle a little, doing as best a job to make sure the bubbles are gone. This is allowed to cure, whereupon subsequent layers can be added without too much concern for bubbles (as these would simply fill out the bulk of the mold).


Drippy - This was allowed to cure before more rubber went on top:


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Still More... Sculpting an Ambull

Top of the creature is sculpted, with respect to where the break of the two parts will be. I did have to slightly incise the Green Stuff a bit at the top to get it to separate but the join worked out well. Pink line indicates the break:

When I was sure I could not do any more damage to the sculpt, I began to clay-it-in for mold-making (it was my intention from the outset to try to cast a few in resin to make a little 'herd'). I began with a LEGO wall box, using a plasticine type clay to occupy form the barrier for the first half of the mold. Sprues and channels were made out of bits of wood.

The triangular part at the top is a pouring funnel built into the mold.

Monday, July 18, 2011

More Sculpting an Ambull

Forehead details were fun. I was really getting the hang of Green Stuff at this point, still sticking to the wooden tools I had carved initially, and more comfortable with the amount of water involved to properly lubricate and sometimes soften the material. Green Stuff sculpting must be done with a jar at hand.

Sculpting details on the Ambull's 'forehead' was fun, I redid the biomechanical tubes and meshed the mottled texture into the tubes. All the while I was thinking about how paint-able I wanted it to be, lots of recesses and lots of little raised bits to catch a nice drybrushing.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sculpting an Ambull... More Progress

I had been avoiding it, but it came time to start describing the texture for the back of the creature. This area would be very prominent on the final model and I want to make it enjoyable to paint. I started slowly, but soon found a style that worked and went with it. Bear in mind that past the basic form I wasn't too interested in trying to duplicate the Citadel mini, but to make my own variation.

Back texture, what I thought of as 'scales:'

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sculpting an Ambull... Continued

At a certain point it became important to consider how the two halves would fit together on the final model. They had a decent join with a little pin-and-hollow style registration but the detail would need to match up pretty seamlessly. I rubber-banded the front and back together to see how it could be done.

Around the same time I was adding some texture and bulk to the abdomen area, nothing planned, just kept adding little blobs to see where it would go. I worked the veins on the arms more.

Something I learned while working on the arms that I tried to avoid when doing the legs: I worked on one arm at a time, and because it was early days yet for my sculpting abilities, each one has a fairly different look, a different style of texture, in spite of the attempt to make it similar. Had I done a little on each arm per session, there would have been a more uniform appearance.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sculpting an Ambull Continued

As I moved forward on the project I became more accustomed to the tendencies of Green Stuff, including the time sensitivity: when first mixed it acts a certain way, but after about 30 minutes it starts to cure and toughen. This can be troublesome at first but with more use one can use these attributes to an advantage.

Here are some additional images from the progress:

And a basic four-shot sequence of a typical application of a detail: Get a lump of Green Stuff in the area, push it in to get decent adhesion, I then blended it into its substrate and finally applied the necessary texture. Again, this is the first scale mini I've sculpted, so the detail and the form are rather crude.

More soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sculpting an Ambull Continued

I did the eyes first, because I figured if I could not get the eyes down, the whole fig wouldn't read right. Next was the fangs, or pincers. I inserted some tiny brass rods to support the fangs, and did a few layers of Green Stuff to get the shape right.

I serrated the pincers by adding tiny bits of putty at appropriately spaced intervals, but did not stress shaping them until they were cured, whereupon I was able to slice excess material off, sand them flush with the face of the pincer and shape up the spaces between with a thin file. Also shown here is some arm detail and the start of the details on the back.

I learned the hard way not to try to add too much in one sculpting session: I would get a nice area completed on one side and start on another, only to find a few minutes later that a forgetful finger had marred the first area. Nice thing about Green Stuff is: if you like what you've done - put it down and let the stuff cure. I see now why the pros have multiple figs going at once. Work on a little at a time.

Claws went through a few stages: bent brass rods served as supports, drilled and inserted into the ends of the arms, a few layers of Green Stuff shaped it up and made a decent pair of graspers.

Looking back at this project I should have made the ribbed inner-arms more uniform, wrapped wire or something, to give it a more alien Giger-like look, but it wasn't so bad freehand, and does lend it that early Citadel junky-punky style. More details soon - thanks for tuning in.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sculpting an Ambull in Green Stuff

I wanted an Ambull. I thought they were cute and goofy looking, and would probably provide a decent painting experience.
But I could not get one, the original Citadel minis were proving very hard to find - so I decided to make one.

Ambulls are nasties from the old Rogue Trader 40k book. Citadel did a two pack blister (I believe) with two poses, each fig came in two parts.

This is an abbreviated series of progress pictures project from last year. I posted a lot more over on before I started Ghola Scale, this is simply an abridged report on that project. Previous attempts at sculpting scale minis did not go so well, but I got some Green Stuff and discovered how versatile and easy to work with it was. I have no real sculpting experience at all, so it was a real jump into the unknown. Overall the project was very inspiring and only time and space has stayed my hand from further sculpts.

It started with wire
Aluminum wire (I had yet to discover copper wire's superior pliability) was used to rough out the skeleton, which was then covered in Green Stuff.

This was the first time I had used a two part epoxy putty, and I discovered quickly that water lubricates tools against the stickiness.

I at first used very crude wooden tools carved from popsicle sticks, which seemed well enough but in retrospect I probably could have afforded a little more detail had I used some pointed metal tools.

Basic form came together quickly, but as I discovered the devil was in the details (pics coming next post)

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Hobby Workshop

In my county there was a hobby shop in a strange old-style mall. The mall was The Bazaar, the store was called The Hobby Workshop. It closed when I was really young, but memories of the place are etched deep. They had an impressive variety, from plastic kits, radio control, to a huge wall of Matchbox cars and a lot of fantasy-minis. This was the early 1980s. I remember they had a display case with all kinds of minis in there, some may have been painted but I remember the unpainted silver ones more keenly. Particularly the walking brain (which I later learned was an intellect devourer). I went along with my father and brother when they went, there was so much to look at, to stumble upon in the way of imagination and creativity. If I could only travel back in time to browse again...

The other day I drove by the last hobby store in my county, a decrepit invalid hold-out called 3B Hobbies. It was in an awkward tiny brick building in the middle of a neighborhood that had outgrown it decades ago. It stood like a homeless woman passed out in a pile of garbage on a corner of a main drag. It had been closed every time I've checked in the past few years, but the other day it was empty - BUILDING FOR SALE. The last hobby store, which could barely be called such, finally dead. I wonder what they had in their basement. Shrink wrapped boxed sets of Heritage and Grenadier minis? Cardboard boxes full of blisters untouched for twenty years? Who knows, all gone. Dead and buried.