Jump to content
MamaGeek

sculpting armatures

Recommended Posts

What kind of wire do you use for sculpting armatures?  Do you solder them, or can you just cut and twist them together?  Is there any other material that is used besides wire?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use brass rod, for now (I bought a lot and have a lot to use up before switching).  Most others use silver coated copper wire available in the beading section at places like Michaels..  I used to solder everything, but lately I have switched to using a 1:1 blend of GS and Apoxie sculpt to hold my joints together; it is a lot stronger than GS alone.  For people, I twist the torso and leave the arms and legs as the ends of the twist.  The head I do separately, either attached with a bit of Apoxie/GS or sculpted separately and added to the finished torso later.

 

You can see this in the following pictures:

 

post-140-0-03483100-1400719039.jpg post-140-0-80816100-1400719039.jpg

 

 

The last ones I soldered were your Visitation sculpts.   I'd do them differently now.  I think the only reason I'd solder these days is if I wanted a lot of strength like for a dragon or something very large.

 

post-140-0-06783100-1388976343.jpg

 

 

 

Andy

Edited by TaleSpinner
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is also a really great armature scale chart you can download from Patrick Keith's website for armatures. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is also a really great armature scale chart you can download from Patrick Keith's website for armatures. 

 

Yep, that is a good one.  Just be sure to check the body to leg proportions and adjust them to your liking, Patrick sculpts fairly curvy, long legged women and his armatures reflect that.  It is always best to start with a guide like Patrick's and then adjust as needed to suit your tastes and style.  I find that I need to adjust the hip and leg lengths to get them to work for me, but I do always start with his guide (in fact I keep a copy of it in my sculpting kit; I should really get that laminated).  The armature above was made using Patrick's chart.

 

Here is a link to Patrick's Site with the chart.

 

I should also note that I do use Reaper's Advanced Dollies when I can, but they only work if you are sculpting a mini that will be 32 mm to the top of the head:

 

75002_w_1.jpg

Edited by TaleSpinner
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I almost forgot, there are some pretty decent videos on YouTube about making armatures also. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool, thanks!  I probably won't be sculpting people anytime soon, but I'd like to try small diorama additions.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dabbled in sculpting back in the day. I picked up some of the Reaper Advanced Dollies and liked them, but I wanted to go for a slightly taller scale (mostly because it was just easier for a beginner). I also made my own armatures as TaleSpinner describes, and they worked pretty well, also. I used a soft wire for mine, and it needed a coat of putty to make the whole thing sturdy enough to keep from bending further.

 

I scuplted my current D&D party, twice. There was a marked improvement from the first set to the second, but that was a few years ago and I haven't tried again. I plan to try again soon. One of these days, I'll post 'em up here.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm mostly sculpting terrain pieces accessories but, even with these, armatures are a must!  It really makes a huge difference in what you can accomplish with the right "backbone"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 What gauge and material you use is largely a matter or personal preference or the needs of the project.

(As mentioned above, 21 or 22 gauge wire or similar-sized brass rod is a common material, although I have a small collection of various bits of wire, thin rods, paperclips, etc., that I use for both pinning and making armatures.)

 

 Basically, for human-sized sculpts you just need something stiff enough that it won't bend out of shape while you apply your first layer of greenstuff/putty to it, or if you bump part of it while working on some other section. Once you have a thin layer of putty around the skeleton, it will hold it's shape pretty well while you bulk it up.

 

If your sculpt is going to have any weight to it, though, you may want to use a thicker and stiffer wire to support it. You might even end up using more than one type of wire on the same armature - if you look up some of the earlier pics of the "Tianot" five-headed dragon that Julie Guthrie is sculpting for the latest Kickstarter, you can see several places where how she constructed the armature is still apparent.

Edited by Mad Jack
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use 22 ga galvanized steel because it's cheap. I suppose there is the chance of it rusting eventually, but it works for me so far.

 

For thinner figures like elves and women, I go with 24 ga. Noticeable less stiffer, but the smaller diameter is more forgiving of armature mistakes.

 

Weapons and other "props", I use 28 ga. Too big otherwise, unless the armature is actually forming part of the sculpt (like for gun barrels and the like).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom Mason has a bunch of videos on YouTube showing a lot of his process, including 2 just on setting up the armature. He uses one wire for the legs, torso, neck, and head, and another for the arms. It's pretty straight-forward, all things considered. I've made a couple armatures following his steps and they seem to be working just fine.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×