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clive_t

A figure (almost!) from scratch (1:32) - *As complete as it will ever be *

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HI all, it's been pretty slow on the modelling front for me this Christmas. My Airfix QF 17-pounder is patiently waiting for a suitable diorama base to be sourced - it also awaits the gun crew from the kit to be assembled and painted. However, one additional figure I need for the diorama is a civilian - specifically, a Dutch teenager as portrayed in the reference photo shown in the WIP thread (here). I can't find any suitable figures to fit the bill. So, I have decided to make my own using a technique I have used before for garden railway figures, albeit in a larger scale (1:22.5). It involves the formation of a wire armature for the basic 'skeleton', which is then plied with a suitable putty (you may already know I have a preference for Milliput, but of course there are others) and then shaped to form the finished figure.

 

Before I launch into my progress on this, I thought I would share the details of a book I have found very useful when considering customising figures:

 

27654068899_7200e2a36f_b.jpg

 

Published by Osprey Publishing:  ISBN-10 : 1-90257-923-2, ISBN-13 : 978-1-90257-923-8

 

Usual disclaimers apply, I am not an agent or employee of Osprey, etc etc - just a happy customer in respect of this book!

 

One of the concepts it attempts to clarify is that of the 'rule of eighths'. In simple terms, this is the notion that an adult human will typically be proportioned such that the overall height of the figure is 8x the height of the head. Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule, but it serves as a rough guide. Using this idea of 8ths, it follows that the bottom of :

The first 8th is at the bottom of the chin

The second 8th is in line with the nipples

The third 8th is at the waist line

The fourth 8th is at the pelvis and groin

The fifth 8th is half way down the thighs

The sixth 8th is at the bottom of the kneecaps

The seventh 8th is half way down the shins

The last 8th is at the soles of the feet

 

In the past I have made templates for a given height of figure at a desired scale by marking out these 8ths, and the positions of the principal joints (shoulders, hips, knees, ankles), on an ice-lolly stick, annotated with the intended figure height and scale. In this case, I am looking to produce an individual 5 feet tall in 1:32 scale:

 

27595063129_eb977c6c0e_b.jpg

 

Given that my 1:32 scale teenager is not quite a fully grown adult, I intend using my left-over 1:35 scale Hornet head that didn't make the cut for the M3 Grant crew. When offered up to my template, the head height coincides almost perfectly :)

 

So, the armature... The best material to use for this is soft wire. In the larger scales of my past experience, aluminium florists' wire is ideal, but it's a bit on the thick side for this smaller scale. However, I found that the kind of coated wire that one finds in the packaging in kids' toys these days is great. So, blessed with an abundance of that from Christmas, that's what I used - in any event, a length of wire about 2 and a half times the length of the lolly stick should be plenty:

 

39371782321_e21db4317e_b.jpg

 

To make the armature, I wrapped the wire loosely around my fourth finger and twisted the two ends together for a length from just below the first 8th, down to the fourth 8th. The key word here is 'loosely' - you need to be able to get the loop of wire off your finger at the end! This twisted length obviously represents the spine:

 

38494328015_f02fac8227_b.jpg

 

I then bent the legs at the hips to better form the legs in their correct alignment, and with a marker pen I marked the positions of the knees:

 

39342173122_dda552556e_b.jpg

 

I then made a start on fleshing out the skeleton, but only roughly, using blobs of Milliput to represent the thorax, the abdomen, the thighs and the lower legs. This gives a measure of stability to the twisted wire, but at the same time allows me to arrange the pose (standing straight, sitting etc) as the occasion requires:

 

38494322205_ab28d66227_b.jpg

 

Once the Milliput had set, it was safe to cut the loop (about half way round) to form the arms:

 

38721132464_b03ea405db_b.jpg

 

That's as far as I have got with it. Next up I need to decide on the pose, and make it permanent by coating the rest of the wire in Milliput.

 

Thanks for watching :)

 

Oh, and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cheers Jim, all the best to yourself sir.

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Bit of a set-back on this figure - it appears that I failed to mix the putty thoroughly, as it didn't set even after several days. Not only that, but the various leg bits just spun around their metal axis.

 

So, deep breath, off with the old failed putty, and go again - this time, I prepared the 'legs' by wrapping them with some thread held with a dab of CA glue:

 

38829185574_d3ab56beb0_b.jpg

 

Not wishing to rush things again, I left the legs and instead mixed up - more thoroughly, this time - a small blob of Milliput, which I divided in two and applied to the thorax and abdomen as before:

 

24670289727_77604018bc_b.jpg

 

I then parked the thing on a radiator to accelerate the curing process.

 

I won't say it too loudly, but right now it's looking a whole lot better.

 

Thanks for watching :thumbsup2:

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Interesting build! Having never seen any one make a figure from scratch i'll certainly be watching!

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7 hours ago, bangle said:

Interesting build! Having never seen any one make a figure from scratch i'll certainly be watching!

 

4 hours ago, Mancunian airman said:

Intrigued

 

I shall keep looking in

Thanks both, for your interest. Some faltering steps today, but the good news is that the chest and hip bits have cured properly. Just a small amount of Milliput for the thighs, this will be further developed once I have sorted out the final pose:

 

27803496889_93b638f006_b.jpg

 

A bit fiddly to get it to stick to the thread, but it certainly held more firmly than with just wire. Hopefully more progress soon, thanks for watching! B)

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Ok, I'm in! :drink: and :popcorn: at the ready.

 

Christian, exiled to africa

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Cool, nice to see someone else sculpting on here! And hats off to you for giving it a go Clive

 

I know you favour milliput but I would highly recommend  using Super Sculpey as its an oven bake polymer clay (like fimo) and so you get longer work time and its not at all sticky so a bit easier to work with, just my two pence worth.

 

Your armature looks great, thread is a really good idea for small scale figures to give the clay something to stick too, I'm working in a larger scale so I use thin gauge wire to wrap mine.  I'll be watching with interest :)

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On 08/01/2018 at 6:21 PM, wyverns4 said:

Ok, I'm in! :drink: and :popcorn: at the ready.

 

Christian, exiled to africa

Thanks for your interest Christian... have you been filling up on stout and popcorn whist waiting??? :blink: Can't see that ending well!

4 hours ago, Hunter Rose said:

Cool, nice to see someone else sculpting on here! And hats off to you for giving it a go Clive

 

I know you favour milliput but I would highly recommend  using Super Sculpey as its an oven bake polymer clay (like fimo) and so you get longer work time and its not at all sticky so a bit easier to work with, just my two pence worth.

 

Your armature looks great, thread is a really good idea for small scale figures to give the clay something to stick too, I'm working in a larger scale so I use thin gauge wire to wrap mine.  I'll be watching with interest :)

Thanks Mr Rose, I am hoping to avoid the absolute embarrassment of attempting to sculpt the face, by using a spare 1:35 Hornet head. Having snuck a peek at your Flickr albums, I can see I am in some very distinguished company!

 

I've used Fimo before now, and I've heard of Sculpey, and something called 'Sculpey III', but so far I've not got round to trying it. I've yet to find an actual shop that stocks it round here, and every time I go to somewhere like Amazon, I forget it's on my list of things to get for the future! I will do so though.

 

Some further progress today, but not much. The lower legs now have some Milliput applied, for a blessing it went on reasonably well:

 

39650158591_3700a0cff8_b.jpg

 

I've ordered some items for the dio base, so once I have those I can start looking at bending the limbs to suit the desired pose.

 

Thanks everyone for your interest :)

 

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On 13/01/2018 at 4:01 PM, Anthony Kesterton said:

Very entertaining and informative watching you build the figure.  I am definitely taking notes as you go along.

 

anthony

Thanks Anthony, much appreciated.

 

It's been a while since any progress here, however some progress on the diorama has meant I have been able to do a bit today. I was able to decide on a pose, for the legs at least:

 

39911440871_416e484558_b.jpg

 

I figured that rather than just try and sculpt shoes, which would more than likely suffer damage, I would use small pieces of thick styrene sheet to act as a more solid base, around which I could hopefully fashion some footwear:

 

28131224249_0dec4fbf5c_b.jpg

 

Finally for today at least, I was able to start fixing the thorax, hips and knee positions with a small amount of Milliput:

 

39878702492_8a03b66850_b.jpg

 

I should be able to start building that up to a better shape soon.

 

Thanks for watching! :)

 

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A bit more build-up on the legs and the body, as well as prepping the arms to receive the first Milliput covering - hopefully tomorrow:

 

40010999572_d2bfe9a55e_b.jpg

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First covering of Milliput on the arms:

 

40028754172_096a077ed6_b.jpg

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Nice to see he is putting on some weight.Can I ask Clive? if you have to re-position(like bending his arm/leg after it dried)would the milliput crack,I guess it would but I have never worked with this product. Cheers.

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56 minutes ago, Jim Wasley said:

Nice to see he is putting on some weight.Can I ask Clive? if you have to re-position(like bending his arm/leg after it dried)would the milliput crack,I guess it would but I have never worked with this product. Cheers.

Thanks Jim, much appreciated.

 

Yes, Milliput is a 2-part epoxy putty, which stays workable for about 30 minutes after mixing, and sets hard after about 12 hours ( less if placed on a warm surface). If you were to try repositioning a leg or an arm after that, it would very likely splinter or crack. Having said that, you could theoretically minimise the damage by cutting away the Milliput at the joint, with a sharp scalpel or similar, then repositioning and of course re-applying new putty.

 

I have today taken delivery of an amount of Super Sculpey, which is 'oven bake', so at last I will get a chance to try this alternative out at some opportune moment.

 

 

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6 hours ago, clive_t said:

Thanks Jim, much appreciated.

 

Yes, Milliput is a 2-part epoxy putty, which stays workable for about 30 minutes after mixing, and sets hard after about 12 hours ( less if placed on a warm surface). If you were to try repositioning a leg or an arm after that, it would very likely splinter or crack. Having said that, you could theoretically minimise the damage by cutting away the Milliput at the joint, with a sharp scalpel or similar, then repositioning and of course re-applying new putty.

 

I have today taken delivery of an amount of Super Sculpey, which is 'oven bake', so at last I will get a chance to try this alternative out at some opportune moment.

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to reply and that ifno.Cheers.

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On 04/02/2018 at 11:32 AM, Hunter Rose said:

Nice to see him taking shape clive!

Thanks Nick, much appreciated. It's been a while since the last update, I admit; however most of my modelling time recently has been taken up with completing the diorama on which this figure will eventually 'live'. Little bits of progress on it here and there, but not really enough to warrant pictures. Until today. I've managed to gradually build up the body and the legs - and indeed the feet - with small blobs of Milliput. I need to get it to a point where the head (a Hornet head that didn't make the cut for my Alam Halfa dio)  is not ridiculously over-sized for it. Today I also admitted to myself that sculpting some hands in this scale is beyond my meagre capabilities, and so I found some 1:35 scale MiniArt hands going spare, which seemed to suit my purpose. These were drilled and glued on to the protruding armature wire with a small bead of CA. A bit of Milliput was then added to the arms where the wrists started. I then drilled and pinned the head to the upper body. The result of all this:

 

25569175287_35cc8cd4e8_b.jpg

 

The amount of additional padding needed now becomes painfully obvious! :)

 

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Getting near to the painting stage, now - I've built up the body some more, and filled in the neck area, and generally sanded down to bring the body shape back to where I want it. Now the fun part - building up the clothing layers with 2-ply tissue soaked with dilute PVA. Thus far only one half of the shirt, and the socks, have been done:

 

26649714298_a30d5cc2ec_b.jpg

 

Yet another painstaking process as I have to let the layers dry and harden before applying the next over them. But, it's taking shape now! :)

 

Thanks for looking!

 

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More clothing layers painstakingly applied with tissue paper and dilute PVA. The shorts, and one half of the blazer are now in place:

 

39679867535_d83b58bba5_b.jpg

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Over the weekend I completed the rest of the blazer, including sleeves. Not much to show really, however this evening I carefully air-brushed some grey primer on, just to see how it looks as well as of course to provide a basis for the painting stage:

 

26766688598_012866f0eb_b.jpg

 

Looks like the neck area needs a bit of a tidy up, but other than that I am quite pleased with how it's turning out

 

Thanks for watching :)

 

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Ha, seems I wasn't quite as careful with the grey primer as I first thought - looks like I've given the poor lad a 5-o-clock shadow :D

 

A bit more progress this evening - basic painting:

 

40640950561_8ea5edc16c_b.jpg

 

Notwithstanding that carelessness on my part, I had already decided to try and re-do the face, as I had originally given it a 'suntanned' look to fit in with the desert scenario for which it was originally intended. Hopefully I can get it to look a bit paler.

 

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Calling this done now:

 

25839313217_1a8ee7e023_b.jpg

 

Not because I am especially proud of it, but rather it's a case of 'cutting my losses' - I have been attempting to get a decent look on the face, and I seem to be making it progressively worse with every attempt! :(

 

I think, too, that I relied too much on the natural wrinkling tendency of the wet tissue paper to provide prototypical folds for the clothing.

 

Ah well, lessons learned and all that eh!

 

I will be putting together an RFI for the whole diorama in due course, but in the meantime thanks for following along, your comments etc, all very much appreciated.

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Great work on this figure,I would be proud of it,even if I could get near enough at your quality:yes:,a challenge that you have mastered all to well.Cheers.

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