Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Figures bulked out, primed and prepped

Rather then drag you, the reader, through every step of the build up, we'll skip ahead to where I had decided that I had hit the point of diminishing returns on the faces and bodies.....

I ended up baking these figures for a good time; the figures ended up a dark brown colour.


Definitely set though. Any more work needed on this would require carving, files and sandpaper.....

Gave them a coat in Vallejo grey primer, after washing the figures in soap and water.

Once the primer coat was dry, laid down some base coats. Blue for the jeans and denim skirt, flesh tones where needed, and Andrea grey for the jackets (part of their Black set)

Hands I was going to wait till final fitting to bike. Bens hands needed to grip the handles, while Mish had to grip Ben, and a bouquet of Cherry Blossoms.

I think this was taken very late one night, after a full day on the project.

Mish figure work up

OK, we can see where I have made an effort at capturing a likeness of Mish; challenging. After a few different efforts, I got one I was fairly happy with. Alas, took no photos, as I had to push hard to get this complete in time, and was so focused on making progress that I plain forgot to take much in the way of work in progress shots.....

Now, for you budding sculptors out there who wish to sculpt a female figure, here is something I am trying to keep things real, regarding breasts.

Mark a centreline from the hollow of the throat, down to the centreline of the hips. This gives the centreline of the figure. Next, at about 45 degrees, mark a pair of lines from the top of the throat, down to the base of the rib cage. Should look a bit like a triangle, or a three line sketch of a tree. I added in a line to make a triangle at this point so I could place some boundary lines around my Sisters in Laws anatomy.

Next, made up a ball of Sculpey, cut it in half to ensure some symmetry, then blended it in, so it resembled a teardrop shape.

This gives something resembling cleavage, and realistic breasts.

two often I see what looks like a pair of soccer balls attached in a rather optimistic way, with no appreciation of gravity, mass or massive back aches for such large....err.....sculpts....

Anyway, until I find a better way, this technique is giving me a start point.

Figure of Ben work up

Ok, here it can be seen where I revisited and then had to rework Ben. The top photo shows how I built up his body, and jacket, in sections. to keep layers even in thickness, I laid down two thin strips of plastic sheet, and then used a brass tube to flatten the Sculpey. Worked quite OK, and by doing it in sections, well, it was easy to manipulate around the figure.

Second photo, it can be seen where I cut a wedge from out of his belly, and a line across the small of his back; then I bent him forward, so his stance was more natural, and he didn't end up with arms down to his knees!

His arms at fixed at this point, but will be rotated up so he can grasp the handlebars.

Ground work near completion

now that looks good. really, it looks like a piece of ground with grass, and rocks, and stuff now. I did airbrush successive layers, then I added a thin layer of groundwork glue, then sprinkled the grass onto it. The grass is a bright shade of green; rather too bright, so I cut the green sheen with some green paint, airbrushed on.

Also, the bike is gaining extras, like rear shock absorbers, an exhaust, mudguards, and some piping and plumbing. Definitely a big part of the entire task was that bike scratch build.....

Monday, April 5, 2010

More work on the base

Ok, there has been more work on the figures, but I am going to refrain from posting, so the happy couple and their friends don't spoil the surprise!

Having said that, here is how I have worked on the base so far.

I made the decision to varnish the entire base, including the area that was going to be covered with the groundwork.

True, nice shiny varnish was never going to see the light of day ever again, the varnish will add a protective layer, so moisture from the plaster doesn't seep into the pine board, and warp it.

I followed this by hammering nails into the base, so the groundwor material will have something to grip. Another way of doing this is to score the base up with a knife in a cross hatch pattern, but doing that here would defeat the purpose of the varnish.

Then I worked on my groundwork materials.

Next pic is one of the materials, I have mixed all my dry materials together. Just plain old plaster of paris, with some stones and gritswept up from the end of the dirveway, as well as sourced from the neighborhood when walking faithful hound.

Followed by the wet mix. Plain water, with a lot of acrylic paint mixed in. Mostly dark earth, with some black added in. A bit too much black, and next time, I'd go for a lighter shade of ground, say Burnt Umber, for example.

I add the paint to the water, so I get the plaster of Paris tinted at the same time I mix in the water. This avoids the horrors of bright white plaster showing through the groundwork when the finished piece s set out for display......

because if the viewing public find one glaring error, they will start looking for others.....(insert smack forehead action here)

Mix together according to directions, I prefer it to be about the consistency of cake icing, or pancake batter. This enough to flow, thick enough to be pushed about by artists palette knives.

Then I added some texture to the ground, in this case, a pair of wheel ruts, formed by tapping a spare tyre from one of the motorcycle kits along the ground.

I followed this up by adding a thin layer of very fine grit, just to add visual texture, and locked it into place by covering it with a layer of Woodland Scenic Cement, which is like watery PVA glue, except dries nice and flat!

Set aside to dry, and the final photo shows it in it's raw state. Needs to be airbrushed, with some other details yet to be added, but is already far more intersting then a plain old polished piece of board.......

back to it now!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Display Base Preparations

OK, now for something completely unexciting, and yet without it, any finished figure (or scale model, trophy, etc) looks like something is missing -

that's right, the base!

Scrounged up some pine planking form the local hardware store (just an offcuts) as well as some edging material, also in Pine.

There is a Acrylic display case in the pictures as well, I will move onto that shortly.....

Marked up my dimensions, cut the base down to size, then added putty to end grains to try and get a smooth finish.

Let dry overnight, sand back the next day, and soon, I will be adding a stain/ varnish, a nice warm red tone.

Before that though, I measured up and then mitered down the edging, to act as a visual lock, help secure the case, and act as a retaining wall for the groundwork.

Now, at the wedding itself, plus travel, plus trying to keep dust off it in the newly weds place, a protective case made sense.

Afer a few phone calls, the team at East Coast Plastics were willing to do a 'small' job.

Made to spec, and on schedule (time is running out, and Easter is here, clogging up delivery times with public holidays) and for a decent price too!

They are also willing to do mail order, and are a fairly switched on bunch.

I am happy to recommend them, and here are the details if you want to ask them for it. they are based in eastern Victoria, do keep that in mind....

East Coast Plastics
625 Prices Highway
Vic 3875.

Ph (03) 5152 6061


I spoke mostly with Anthony, although Claire answered the initial call, both friendly and helpful.