Tuesday 4 February 2014

Basic Sculpting Armatures MkII

(This post follows on from my previous attempts at creating armatures back in 2012)

The view from my painting desk. Where is the Canadian winter?
With two days up my sleeve this week thanks to a shift change I naturally did what any hobby enthusiast would have done, given the unseasonably warm weather, and stayed indoors making models. Naturally, not before a trip to the local craft store with some new and unusual tools.

The two blue handled pliers were a gift from my work tool box, while the pink handle "three in one" tool as well as the rotary bead tool were new additions to the ever expanding "non-painting" tool kit. The brass wire was an old purchase for pinning (brass can be filed easily using hobby files) and will hopefully be strong enough for creating sculpting armatures. The critical failure of my previous attempts to make armatures using brass has been the soft nature of the metal breaking easily when grasped with the standard pliers. Not so with the new pink handled beading tool, its rounded prongs can easily manipulate the soft wire, while the centre flat section straightens any waves, and the clipping section cuts through brass like butter.

Additionally I found what I can only describe as a "rotary beading tool" in the bargain bin, which I think is designed to mix different colours of twine for creating necklaces and friendship bracelets? What I saw was the perfect way to add strength and speed to the armature creation process. You basically attach the lengths of wire to the tool, twist the end and attach to a solid object and rotate the handle until the desired "twist" is created. Simple stuff, hopefully the pictures do a better job of explaining.

What is not so obvious in the danger to eyes and fingers during the process, with thin sharp wire flicking every which way and best kept at arms length. In the end, with all the tension release I cut sections of the wire ready for twisting and setting in the desired shape. This basically involved holding the torso in one set of pliers while unwinding and twisting with the other set of pliers (not to mention a bit of swearing as the whole thing began to unravel). I tried in vain to dab some superglue to prevent too much movement once the third twist of wire was cut short, but in the end made a concession to the use of some green stuff to hold everything together before positioning the limbs.

So where to from now? I have recently been inspired by a lot of Space Marine fan art, but there's minimal fun to be had sculpting such flat armour when you have a whole parts bin full of marine bits, and I don't want to dive in too deep and lose interest. I mentioned during the introduction of my Winter Painting Project (Necrons) that I had been playing a lot of Day of Defeat recently and the character models'aesthetic appealed to me, so I took my own advice and made a few armatures based on the poses from the game menu.

Hopefully you can see the resemblance (As with all my posts, you can click for a larger picture). Admittedly not all of the scales match, some arms/legs are out of proportion, and while the shoulder height is roughly the same the bases are definitely not level! Such is the fate of modelling mid-day with the beckoning sun streaming through the window. I did get out of the house eventually and grabbed a coffee while the green stuff set, and also tried out a little Sculpey on a different armature which I will be sharing with you soon. So many projects! Nothing seems to be getting finished, but the enthusiasm is staying with me.

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