Sunday 30 November 2014

54mm Terminator (Part One)

I have always wanted to try and make a model from "scratch" though I have found the standard Warhammer 40,000 size difficult to sculpt without losing detail when compared to similar scaled miniatures. I tried making a few armatures earlier this year but never returned to complete the actual sculpting, and my armature tool had sat unused in the cupboard along with the small wire frames on equally small corks. Recently I have seen sculptors and painters using much larger wooden blocks to grasp their model, so I set out to replicate these blocks. One thing led to another and I found myself measuring an old terminator, twisting some wire and breaking out some Sculpey!

I purchased a cheap table leg at a hardware store, found the (new to me) area where they let customers at a handsaw with no supervision, scanned the barcode at the self-serve checkout and piled the whole lot into the bag before any questions were asked. None of the available dowel sizes were correct, and balsa wood was way too expensive and felt too light in the hand. I also picked up some thinner wire and set about making an armature, hastily covering it in green stuff before snapping any pics.

While the green stuff cured I set about measuring the size for a terminator, debating and researching as to whether Games Workshop sizes their models at 28mm or 32mm (opting for 28mm so the terminator would seem even larger and in proportion if placed against any other 54mm models) and scratched a few notes along with some basic measurements to follow while sculpting. The armature had a lot more mobility than I had initially planned, so the first application of Sculpey all over every limb was quickly abandoned for a section-by-section method, baking for slightly less time so as to not overcook the model and cause cracking.

If you look closely in the photos you might be able to tell which piece of artwork I am working with, but as the model is very early in the creative process it bears little resemblence so far. The eagle chest plate is not fitted to the model, so I created a series of plugs using felt tip pens and various items from the bits box to vary the surface textures. As I have found in the past it is difficult to paint in details when you have none to work with on the model itself!

I am very pleased with how the armature supports the Scupley, as you can see a previous test piece above (which used 32mm base measurements) has been pinned together and has no way of holding the sections together rigidly. It became quite brittle after too much handling and was difficult to glue together without the green stuff holding the metal to the Sculpey. With the torso on the new version finished (and correctly proportioned) it will be much easier to work in the rest of the model, and I look forward to fitting some sculpting in around the holiday season this year.


  1. This is really a next level piece. I'm always impressed when people are not only going through all the steps of building, converting, and painting...but also sculpting from scratch? Just wow. Looking forward to your progress!

  2. What?! I didn't know you were working on this. This looks really cool!

  3. Thanks guys! It's hiding in the cupboard until the silly season is over, looking forward to sharing more updates with you in the new year!