Modelling

1/72 base bodies for sculpting figures

Posted by Phersu on 29 Apr 2017, 00:01

I just had a new idea that could be a solution to an old problem, and make easier the sculping of figures, at least in some cases... or at least save most of the work and time necessary to prepare a metal wire skeleton and build a base body on it. :winky:

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I called them Touchy and Fishy... because I can't get out of my mind the latest funny GIF about cats :mrgreen:
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It's nothing really new, it works and is not unusual in bigger scales, but (at least for what I know from my own experience and what I hear from other sculptors) apparently it never worked properly on figures below 35 mm... :(
There are some 28 mm, some 1/72 and even 15 mm base skeletons and articulate bodies available casted in metal, but their thin joints tend to break too easily and this is a big problem for the sculpting.

So I thought that perhaps... an articulate resin body with an internal metal wire as support could works much better! ;-)
The metal wire sure allow to bend the joints dozens times with no risk of breaks... and it gives strength to the thin resin parts keeping them straight as they should (another usual problem of the metal base skeletons available)

This is the first version...
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And the second also with articulate hands and feet! :shock:
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Perhaps too delicate and fragile parts to allow much work on them, at least for many but not for who's used to work with 1772 resin figures! ;-)
Besides, we are talking about 1/72 figures, so even in other ways, such fragility is something to deal with anyway.

The first step of sculpting: put in position and block the joints with a drop of superglue and a bit of epoxy putty.
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Another interesting feature allowed by the internal metal supports... is that with a little care is possible to cut one part off, or even pull it off completely, while the metal supports remains, this allow to replace heads or any othe part of the figure... just find the replacement and drill a little hole, like the hand in this case for example.
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But as in most things there are pros and cons, this in some cases can be a problem, hands and feet can be pulled away by mistake unless not handled with care or fixed with glue.

Of course it's a challenge with the small size, I can forget a "button on their backs" to make the karate punch! :xd:

Another good thing is that the arms or legs can be used separatly on other figures too... it can be useful for sculpting, and help for the basic conversions when we can't find an arm or a leg in the right position! ;-)

Of course it's a new thing that need to be tested and improved to get the best out of it, and discover all the pros and cons, when and where is worth and convenient, and eventual further possible developments.
I already noticed that probably along the backbone is better a 0,5 mm thicker iron wire, while in arms and legs is better a thinner and softer 0,3 mm wire.
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One of the limits is casting such base bodies... before to cast them, the metal support have to be done for first, it should be precise to be placed at the right place in the mold before the casting... something not so easy, it takes a much longer time compared to normal resin castings... and during casting, further than usual eventual problems sometimes the support may also moves out from the right place. :eh:

However is something which may help especially for special tasks, such as very difficult poses... despite in most cases is probably more practical and sure much cheaper to use the other usual traditional ways.

I will update with some more test of sculpture when ready... and I'm already working to make an articulate base horse body in the same way... that's another thing which we often need, and a bit easier ! ;-)
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Phersu  Italy
 
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Posted by Wiking on 29 Apr 2017, 04:01

Nice idea!

Oh, that sound not unknown to my ears!
How to do it ?
Great idea !
Make a theoretical plan.
Start working with enthusiasm.
All is fine till ...
... the theory will be hit the first time with the reality.
:eh:

How to do that every metal support is the same, fit into the center of both molding halves ?

I like the cat movie. :-D
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Wiking  Germany
 
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Posted by Sho on 29 Apr 2017, 05:27

Phersu wrote:It's nothing really new, it works and is not unusual in bigger scales, but (at least for what I know from my own experience and what I hear from other sculptors) apparently it never worked properly on figures below 35 mm... :(


Really?!?!? ;-)

1:100 (15mm)
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1:200 (8mm)
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Sho  Estonia
 
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 29 Apr 2017, 09:36

Thanks for posting Phersu!
Nice subject, very interesting.
And yes, I did remember Sho using the same technique in 15mm scale last year.

I have so many questions: where to start?
Do you plan to sell these?
Did you fix the metal wire joints by soldering?
Can you add a body limb to a resin figure without an iron wire inside.
Do you drill two little holes to add wire when your figure has no wire frame inside and you swop limbs?

Inspired by you I bought a lot of different silicone kit tubes to make cheap moulds. I tried all of them but none of it worked proper.
The main problem is the acid in the silicone eats away my parting agents like oil and vaseline so I can't open the mold anymore after casting the second halve.
Is there any silicone kit tubes with no acid inside?

Wiking wrote:How to do that every metal support is the same, fit into the center of both molding halves ?

Yes Wiking usually that is a problem when I try to strengthen resin objects with an iron wire inside. After its cured, the wire is at the outside of the object, not in the middle. But here, as far as I can see and imagine, the metal wire is kept in place by the very tight body joints in the silicone mold.
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Posted by Kostis Ornerakis on 29 Apr 2017, 10:13

The idea of Sho and Phersu is precious!
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Kostis Ornerakis  Greece
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Posted by Phersu on 29 Apr 2017, 14:45

Thank you my friends!

And these are the firt castings I've made, i played a while trying to place them in some random positions!

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I didn't mean that is impossible to sculpt figures on existing metal skeletons and bodies and in fact someone does... independently from the outcome and personal skills, I sculpted some figures out from 1/72 skeletons too, and in some cases perhaps they probably are the best option, but not always.
In fact, and that's what I meant, like most of the sculptors I know I tried but I gave up base skeletons and bodies for different ways for the problems I mentioned.
After all such bodeis and skeletons are strictly necessary just for difficult poses, which can be achieve anyway with a little more work, unless solved some problems... and solving one problems often makes a new one, resin parts have their pros and cons too! ;-)

This thing is new for me and I still have to test and improve it, but is already satisfying despite the unavoidable mistakes of the fistr experiments.
For the simple poses more or less all the ways are the same and all the techniques works good enough, but for the difficult poses... at least for me...
these new bodies prevent the main problem that I had using metal castes skeletons and make the whole sculpting much quicker and easier.

Some nice features will come out answering to the questions of Mr. Cyrns... as well as some problems and limits.

- Do you plan to sell these?
Yes, but home made castings are already expensive, and the internal metal support will increase the cost furthermore...
And I can't provide many anyway, otherwise I don't have time to sculpt new figures.
I already thinking some tricks to make the casting easier, but it remain a difficult task.
I'll try to ask to the casting workshops but I doubt such work can be done in series or at cheap prices.

- Did you fix the metal wire joints by soldering?
No, at the moment just a tiny dot of superglue

- Can you add a body limb to a resin figure without an iron wire inside.
Do you drill two little holes to add wire when your figure has no wire frame inside and you swop limbs?

On resin I can glue parts without support wires, but for long thin and protruding parts drilling a little hole and place a support wire is often better, it takes few minutes and makes everything easier.
Most times I cast parts directly with the support inside, but sometimes (like for Fishy) I drilled holes and put the wire later.

Inspired by you I bought a lot of different silicone kit tubes to make cheap moulds. I tried all of them but none of it worked proper.
The main problem is the acid in the silicone eats away my parting agents like oil and vaseline so I can't open the mold anymore after casting the second halve.
Is there any silicone kit tubes with no acid inside?

At the beginning I had such problem only using random waxings like vaseline floor washings and even shoe wax! :eh: which are different from professional liquid waxing properly made as releasing agent for molds, they are lelatively cheap and I never had nanymore problems since I use them.
I used Prochima liquid wax for yeas and I was fully satisfied, but then I changed after few bad quality bottles and a lack of assistence, and I don't know what to suggest, because now I buy 5 liters can from a professional factory (despite one can is enugh for years).

Wiking wrote:How to do that every metal support is the same, fit into the center of both molding halves ?

Yes Wiking usually that is a problem when I try to strengthen resin objects with an iron wire inside. After its cured, the wire is at the outside of the object, not in the middle. But here, as far as I can see and imagine, the metal wire is kept in place by the very tight body joints in the silicone mold.[/quote]

That's right, I see I'm not the first to deal with it! ;-)
And a big problem... but I already noticed some mistakes that I will not repeat the next molds: starting from arms and legs that should be perfectly straight!
This make things a bit easier, and a harder silicon for the molds (at least these figures are flat which also simplify the casting) will help to hold better the metal support in its place. ;-)

I I was even thinking to cast body and head separately from legs and arms... this would make the casting much easier and cheaper... and sure arms and legs are useful on their own too... reassembly eventually the mannequin would be a little difficult... but there would be the wire as pole to be glued in the tiny hole, after all is something that a figure maker (sculptor or converted) can do with more or less difficulties! ;-)

Let's see how this thing works and how and if it can develope and improve... it is already a nice curios pretty thingy, and sure can work fine to make some particular figures... maybe this internal metal support trick transferred to the metal castings could work differently and perhaps better at least for some aspects, metal would be better welded to the support and more bendy while still resistant, despite it don't allow easy filing-cutting-engravings and fine refinishing like resin and putty.
Last edited by Paul on 29 Apr 2017, 14:47, edited 1 time in total.
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Posted by Ben90 on 29 Apr 2017, 17:09

Great work from both of you! Looks very interesting and highly usable!
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Posted by Peter on 01 May 2017, 20:02

I like the video with the cat! :mrgreen:
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Posted by Phersu on 12 May 2017, 23:26

Thank you my friends! ;-)
And here is the first figure done, the Etruscan King Porsenna... and is easy to imagine the next figures which will go along with him to complete the scene!

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Well actually is the third test I made with these new mannequins, but I finished it before the other two I started first... and there are some others in progress! :thumbup:

However, the first step was to place the mannequin in the right pose to sit on one of my stalls, and block the legs in the right position with a drop of glue and a bit of putty.
I resculpted the missing knees and ankles joints... which compared to other skeletons, having already a rough anatomic shape is much easier than sculpt the whole leg!

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The second step was the sculpting of legs and skirt details... once dried I blocked the arms and went ahead with the sculpting step to step.

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Till to refinish and complete the last details and add the cloack at the end.

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This is a "Mark 3" base body, I'm making several different tests with different supports to see what works better.
I already learned two main ways, single wire or twisted threads of more thinner wires, which work differently and have pros and cons.

I casted this body with a twisted brass thread instead than soft iron support of the first tests.
The sigle thin wire bends very easy and is good in some situations but quite annoying in others, like the body segments which can twist around on the wire support, and hands and heads may be pulled off too easily... it just take a mini drop og glue to prevent it, and it can be useful for swapping parts as previously explained!

The twisted threads instead keep the segments steady, the resin weld on their irregular surface, instead it have less grip on the smooth wire surface.
It still relatively easy to bend but much stadier, despite perhaps a bit too thick and hard for the thin hands joints... and it doesn't allow easy pulling off and replacing.

If I have time I'll take a photo of the different kind of supports... preparing such skeletons take quite a while, is actually most part of the casting time, also to place them in the molds (I must try a harder silicon)

The next fgures I will also show some other features and problems I disovered... However, despite the obvious limits and few problems (mostly expected and unavoidable, especially for the casting), these mannequins seem to work quite well since the first test!
Of course they are more convenient for particular poses, while for the most usual figures and easy poses is not probably the quickest or the cheapest way. ;-)
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Posted by Phersu on 13 May 2017, 19:41

These are the two different kind of internal support skeletons...
the backbone of both is a thicker 0,5 mm iron wire, the arms and legs of the first are 0,3 metal wire, the second instead are made with a twisted 0,25 mm brass thread.

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And here the steps of the second figure making... this is a kind of unusual strange (and non so easy) poses in which these mannequins are very useful!

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The making is described better and with higher resolution images in the "Work in progress" thread "Is this Sparta?" ;-) :

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=20556
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Posted by zulu`s 1000`s of em on 14 May 2017, 21:24

Something similar is commercially available, from 25mm up , ebay item number : 843655436555
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 18 May 2017, 12:01

Dear Phersu,

Thanks for your new pictures.
And for sharing your experiment and your expertise with us.

King Porsenna has very long arms compared to the rest of his body. This is mainly because of his lower arms. Some minor adjustment is needed I think.
The This Is Sparta guy is facing similar proportions: the arms look as long as the legs.
This is probably why Alex suggested to us to wait with sculpting arms and hands until body, head and legs are finished. Well, thats out of the question here because you have prefab skeletton. Shorten the arms a little bit will be the best solution.
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Posted by Phersu on 18 May 2017, 20:16

Mr. Cryns wrote:Dear Phersu,

Thanks for your new pictures.
And for sharing your experiment and your expertise with us.

King Porsenna has very long arms compared to the rest of his body. This is mainly because of his lower arms. Some minor adjustment is needed I think.
The This Is Sparta guy is facing similar proportions: the arms look as long as the legs.
This is probably why Alex suggested to us to wait with sculpting arms and hands until body, head and legs are finished. Well, thats out of the question here because you have prefab skeletton. Shorten the arms a little bit will be the best solution.


You welcome, and thanks to you too!
In case of experiments the critics and avdice are one of the best ways to improve and solve the problems! :thumbup:

Indeed I must act practice in this new way of sculpting,.. and pay more attention to the arms length... which seem I don't notice enough by myself, like I did with elbows and knees until someone suggested such simple improvement! (thanks Massimo! :thumbup: )

As you guessed, the mannequins suppose to don't allow much variations in the arms and legs length... but the sections can be moved a bit up or down the internal support (at least where is a single thread as skeleton)...
I think my mistake was making the wrists too long (I swapped the hands with others instead than keeping the original or resculpt them)... otherwise the other mannequin proportions are right.
By the other side the bended body enhanced the wrong effect of my mistake in both cases... :eh:
Porsenna is bended ahead in the act of stoppong Mutius Scaevola (other character revealed! ;-) ) and it makes him look much shorter and fatter and the arms longer.
Even more "on Sparta-Cus" torso, which is bended and compressed by one side and stretched long by the other... such dynamic poses in some images seem to look ok, in others may look very strange and wrong... vesides in the versions with cloack and/or shield the arms will probably look slightly shorter for simple visual effect. ;-)

zulu`s 1000`s of em on Sun May 14, 2017 8:24 pm
Something similar is commercially available, from 25mm up , ebay item number : 843655436555


Where??? I can't find it...
is someone get to produce something like this in series at a reasonable price, or something similar that works in the same way... I'd be pleased to buy them instead than do all the difficult and long work to make such mannequins! ;-)
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Phersu  Italy
 
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 20 May 2017, 10:20

Phersu wrote:In case of experiments the critics and avdice are one of the best ways to improve and solve the problems!


My dear Phersu I am glad to hear this from you.
For myself it works like that too: during a creative process I loose overview.
When I am finished, I can't judge my own product properly anymore.
I focussed too much on the difficult small details, and loosing an objective view to the overall creation. I need the other people for that.

Phersu wrote:like I did with elbows and knees until someone suggested such simple improvement! (thanks Massimo! )


A typical example, yes indeed. Very recognizable. :-D

My experience with copper wire skeletton frames: as soon as the figure is bended into an extreme position, like kneeling or laying with the spine bended, the proportions of the frame get lost and don't work anymore like they did like with a standing figure in a simple position.
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Posted by Phersu on 11 Jun 2017, 09:37

Thank you MrCyrns!!! ;-)
I feel exactly the same, we have a very similar approach, in fact it seems almost that you can read in my mind pointing exactly the problems I discover and the similar possible solutions!

I must apologize, in the hurry I forgot to menton and thank also Alex... who teached me how to sculpt hands and feet!
And all the others that helped and shared experience and skills, through quite some years, since when I was just an enthusiast but a bit rough clumsy beginner! :thumbup:

And here is Porsenna with corrected shortened arms, just less than a millimeter shorter wrists was enough to give a better look.

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I did the same correction on Sparta-Cus figure, which is now in the mold and will be ready next week, for the next step transformation into Leonida from 300! ;-)
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