Keeping my hand in the hobby

For a change of pace today, I decided to focus on my sculpting some more.  Yes, I already did some painting, but I haven’t sculpted an entire figure in about 8 years and my skills are very rusty.

Now, that said, I decided to practice the two areas that I always found the hardest: hands and faces.  I tried sculpting faces cold…and wow are they terrible.  Just plain bad.  What I used to do was build a basic ball and let it cure.  Once it was dry I added the face in one shot.  Today I tried sculpting them on a flat surface.  Not fun.  Not good results either.

A while ago I came across a new way to sculpt faces called the “ninja mask technique”.  Essentially the sculptor starts with a crude shape similar to a ninja mask.  Once fully cured, eyes are added in, then nose, cheeks, lips, eye-lids…well you get the idea.  Instead of pulling details up they are added on.  So after my terrible faces (I did 4 and decided I wasn’t getting any good practice on a flat surface) I made up a whole row of ninja mask forms to go onto my next stage.

I also did hands with a bit more success.  I did one hand and realized how bad my scale was so went back to basic ratio principles and used the natural measurements (crease of palm, thumb, lengths and widths of fingers).  Tough to explain but think of all the ratios of body parts and it gets simpler.  Anyhow, I did two hands before I had to put the girls to bed and the rest of the putty was too cured to fine detail hand work.

Hands, hands, fingers thumb.

Hands, hands, fingers thumb.

Dum-ditty, dum-ditty, dum-dum-dum

Dum-ditty, dum-ditty, dum-dum-dum


Ivan Vanko from Iron Man 2.  Image used without permission.

Ivan Vanko from Iron Man 2. Image used without permission.

What I also did was start work on one of the villains.  I will admit upfront I have never finished watching Iron Man 2.  I watched it on a flight and kept dozing off.  But, Ivan Vanko is a pretty memorable villain.  To replicate him, I thought Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures would be good.

When he arrived I realized he is a bit big.  I wasn’t sure if he would still work or not.  Maybe I could make him into a Deathlok or other cyborg.  Maybe a Dr. Doom creation.

But I didn’t want to write-off Whiplash.  So I did my research.  I never read a lot of Iron Man comics but I knew there was always somebody who got the suit or technology (or so my casual reading seemed to indicate).  I thought that was all he was.  Then I realized he was a combination of two villains.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures.  Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures. Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures.  Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures. Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Still not sure what it meant, I watched the scene from the movie depicted above.  If you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend this scene if nothing else.  Pretty cool.  It also reminded me that Mickey Rourke plays the villain, not a small guy.  So I decided that him being big (compared to Deano he is likely 8-9 feet tall fully upright) wasn’t a major hurdle.  Instead, I wanted to make him an up-armoured version of the scene above.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures.  Start of Arc Reactor.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures. Start of Arc Reactor.

So since I have some semi-rigid greenstuff (good consistency for harder edges) I decided I would start the Arc Reactor on his chest.  I intend to add the straps with wires coming down from his shoulders and wires going down to his belt.  Not shown is the rear of the figure where he has cyber-implanted reactors and power devices that are wired to his belt.

I have done the edges and connectors to the straps up and wires down.  The edges are marked by various wires and ridges to replicate the rather crude design shown above.

The obvious next stages will be his reactor, his whip(s), and belts.  But I did miss a step – I forgot to deal with his mold-lines first.  I can still fix that, but I need to let the greenstuff cure first.

Two updates in one day, so hopefully twice as inspirational.  If nothing else, I hope to encourage you to try developing your sculpting skills.  Although difficult, like any skill it can be learned.  It also causes crossed-eyes too if you focus too much for too long, you’ve been warned.



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