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What are the best tools to get started with?

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Wax carvers/dental tools. I got this set from amazon and love it.




My next tool is going to be a smoother, but those are as pricey as a good paint brush.

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Silicon Clay shapers.

Cannot recommend them enough.

Size: 0

Colour: Black (Firm)

Shape: Whatever you find useful, I got a round taper and a round cup


They are tiny little perfect parcels of non sticking, fine detailing, non sticking...

Did I mention non sticking?


That and get yourself a hobby knife (xacto or whatever they're called) you probably already have one but if not, definitely comes in useful.


If you don't go with the clay shapers at first, then I recommend buying a jar of vaseline to prevent sticking to tools. Be warned however that it can also cause issues with sticking putty on bits that have vaseline residues on them.

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Rubbing alcohol and a soft brush are key for getting that super smooth surface you'll often want. I find it's less harsh on the polymer than something like turpenoid and less smelly than mineral spirits (unless you get the odourless kind). It's also super-cheap.

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Buy a pack of doll needles at the craft store (about $3 USD). They're about 3" long, chromed (makes them very smooth and somewhat non-stick), and very versatile. Really useful for scribing lines (wood, hair, fur, etc.), folds in clothing, general smoothing, and whatever you feel like using the back for. I also recommend some cheap clay (one of the little palm-sized packs of plasticine would work) for testing out new tools and techniques without the time pressure or expense of epoxy.

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Patrick Keith (Bombshell Minis) was selling Sculpting Kits through the Reaper store at ReaperCon. I don't know if that was a con-only thing or if they're going to continue carrying them.


I bought one because it had a dental tool I've been looking for on the advice of the other sculptors, and color shapers that are hard to find.


Plus it came with a host of other good starter tools, a little ProCreate putty and some wire for armatures all in a little carry case. I think it was $40.


You might give the Reaper Store a call and see if they still have them. If not, I bet you could contact Patrick directly.

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Thank you all for the advice. I just received my shapers and am on my way to buy the metal tools and cheap clay to practice with (great idea). Also, I would have never thought of rubbing alcohol to smooth, thank you!



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