Jump to content

Recommended Posts

After becoming a master miniatures painter within a few months (heavy sarcasm) I've set my sights on attempting miniatures sculpting.  My local game store had a set of army painter sculpting tools for ten bucks so I bought it seeing as it was convenient and I didn't have any dental picks on hand.


So, I'm curious, what do you more experienced sculptors use when sculpting?  Dental picks? Some custom tool? I'm curious, because I'm looking at all these lovely details and am trying to reverse engineer the sculpting process.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've made custom tools from everything from popsicle sticks to a piece of dowel with a brass rod inserted into it. Other than that I recommend some clay shapers in size 0 with the grey tips. The process varies at least a bit for everyone. I've seen some people sculpt everything with a blunted X-Acto blade.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha - I just answered an extremely similar question!


I was using whatever I had around me (not to sculpt, but to match fur, fill gaps, etc.) and a clay shaper made it go from tedious to actually fun. I picked one up for less than $5 at a local (Austin, TX) Jerry's Artarama. Night and day difference, at least for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 I do at least half of my work with a hobby knife, but I also use a couple of dental picks, one of the sculpting tools (with the two different blades on the ends) and a couple of clay and color shapers.


I also have a bunch of different found and made objects for specific jobs - several different mechanical pencil ends in various sizes for making studs, rivets or buttons. random bits of metal whose edges make interesting and useful shapes, and some toothpicks and wires I've filed/carved the ends of to make a series of stamps with various useful shapes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The tools I use for 99% of my sculpting:
A Clay Shaper (extra firm, size 0, chisel point), a Wax carver No.5, (also known as an SG Dental, or Zahle), a scalpel blade which has been dulled on sandpaper and stuck to a lolly stick, an old paintbrush with the bristles removed and a piece of bent wire filed to a point inserted. (I usually use this one for sculpting chainmail, but it's useful for anytime you just need a small hole.) 






  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Size 0 extra firm clay shapers (black tips). I had an angled chisel point from when I experimenting with it with paint, and it quickly became my most used sculpting tool, so I bought a set.


Next most used tool would be what's essentially a tapered steel nail, from P3. It's actually pretty poor quality, and bent on me quickly... I had to sharpen and polish it myself. I use it for detail work like carving eyelids. Dental picks probably do the same thing.


After that... craft knife I guess. Nice flat side for flattening things. Also for shaving things down and resculpting.


Oh right, can't forget about fingers. They can do quite a bit more than you think.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator

Here are the tools I use for 95% of what I sculpt (this is actually a photo of my board after a typical sculpting session):




Top to bottom:


- Scalpel

- Leaf-bladed dental spatula (used for most of my rough shaping)

- Pointed clay-shaper

- Fine spear-bladed tool I forged (my main detail tool)

- Cupped clay shaper (also use a flat chisel clay shaper too)

- Needle tool (good for fending off rambunctious boys who get too close to my uncured sculpts...JK)

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By MoonglowMinis
      So i've got that trio of spiders from nolzur's.

      They do not come with sculpted bases - unlike most of the nolzur's line.  This isn't a huge issue, except that these suckers have a bunch of tiny spindly legs.  I am worried about getting a good hold.
      So I have a few questions:
      1: how to fasten these guys to a base?  Just glue the legs and hope, or pin them through the body like a flightstand?
      2: how to sculpt/or assemble, suitable bases to compliment their spindly nature and ensure a better hold.
      3: how to attach the spider in a way that I can paint underneath it OR should I find a way to glue it down after both parts are painted?
      So the webbed victim shown in the photo above I have decided to leave out as a piece of scatter.  There is a stone base (not pictured) that I have already glued to a reaper base for one of the spiders.  Each of the spiders has a slightly different pose with their legs - which is made worse by them being bent out of shape.  I'm hoping to use this as an advantage though, and pose each spider differently.  One is rearing back with front legs up (this one I plan to glue to the supplied rocky base with the abdomen glued to the ground for extra support.
      Another spider has one side of legs kind of bent under a bit.  I'm thinking this would look good mounted sideways, crawling up the side of a fallen log (not sure if I should try to sculpt this, or find a twig to glue to the base).
      The last spider is pretty neutral, but I was thinking of posing it climbing down something just for variety.
      Any advice about sculpting the bases vs gluing organic material or mounting something with narrow points of contact would be tremendously helpful.  My indecision has lead to two weeks of no painting.
    • By knarthex
      So at Reapercon 2018, I scored the Duskwarden poster of Thregan Helmsplitter for my work at the auction, and of course, being the Duskwarden*, I have a couple of the minis as well.
      So I was thinking of using him as my next PC, but as I have hair, I wanted my mini to also...
      While working on another project with GS, as usual, I made to much, and decided to bite the bullet and do his hair...
      What do you think?

      Comments appreciated!
      Doesn't Jacob Knochengard look like me???
    • By BLZeebub
      Couple reaper samurai I used for a commissioned diorama.  Rock is pine bark, tree is a wire armiture covered with plumber's epoxy putty and paper towel and super glue (for the skinnier parts), foliage is bleached, dyed, and preserved reindeer moss.

    • By Rat13
      Having just started a 45 figure batch paint of guardsmen, I decided a side project may be in order. Just a little something I could fiddle with off and on to disrupt the monotony and I knew just the project. 
      About a year ago, after I finished my first commissar,  I thought it would be a good idea to paint all my commissars differently. That way I could tell all of my HQs or elites apart, but wouldn't you know it after a couple games I realized it was completely unnecessary. Having already started down that path however I decided to press on.
      Within about the first week of pondering different color schemes I had a great idea. Unfortunately I lacked the skills and hobby confidence to attempt it. This past year I've managed to learn quite a bit though, especially about sculpting/working with greenstuff. So I think it's time to attempt a Hulk Hogan commissar.
      First up was locating a good reference photo for both his moustache and boa (see above).
      As the moustache was the trickier of the two I decided to start there. In a twist of fate getting a good texture was the easy part, but getting the proper size wasn't. After some back and forth I finally got the size correct. Then it was just a simple matter of using a pin and a toothpick to achieve a hair like texture. 
      This is what you get zooming in, but at a regular viewing distance I think it looks good. 
      Next came the boa. Try as I might I couldn't get a good feathery texture going. I could get a good amorphous blob/coral like texture though. Much like the moustache it'll fail upon close inspection but I think with a good paintjob it'll hold up just fine.  

      See I told you that moustache is passable with some distance.

      Now it's just a matter of letting everything dry before priming. I guess it's a good thing we have holiday commitments for the next couple days.
      As with any greenstuff project you always end up with some leftovers. After adding a skull to the Hulkster's base I thought I'd share the wealth with a few random models from my desk.

    • By rintintin
      Thought I would create my own topic so I can share the models I create. Crits and comments welcome.
      This is my latest mini. Created just for fun. I think it should be called " The summoning" though I am open to ideas :)

      Got a few pictures of the 3d print of this guy. Not the best photos but you get the idea.

  • Who's Online   25 Members, 0 Anonymous, 40 Guests (See full list)

  • Create New...