News and random musings from the Sculptdude.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Numenera Sculpts

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to accept a project to produce several of the sculpts for the licensed Numenera figures. You can read all about the official announcement over on Monte Cook's site.

Here are the specific sculpts I made for the set. Brett Amundson and Kevin Williams also provided pieces.

The set should be available at GenCon where Monte Cook Games will be selling the Numenera books at the DriveThruRPG booth # 1201. Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sculpting Linna - Boots

Here I will be detailing the boots for the Linna Babe™ for Bombshell Miniatures.
Ordinarily I use the same method for each mini I sculpt. They may be shaped differently but it is essentially the same process.

The first part of the boot is formed as part of blocking out the basic anatomy when the legs are shaped. That is detailed under the section  Sculpting Linna - Anatomy.

After the basic form of the foot and leg has cures I will add details. The putty is a 1:1 mix of straight ProCreate. No Fimo is added to this mix.

I begin by flattening it under a plastic sheet.

The plastic sheet keeps the putty from sticking to the block. I quickly peel the plastic off in a ripping motion.

The flattened putty is then cut into wedges.

These wedges are then wrapped across the front of the foot to represent cuffs. This process is repeated around the tops of the calves just below the knee to represent the boot cuff at the top. These are blended into the legs and then creases and wrinkles are added.

Smaller straps are cut from flattened putty.

These straps are added to the sides of the ankles.

A small notch is cut to form a buckle at the front of the strap.

The raised square area of the buckle is then cut to trim the inside area of the buckle.

All of this is cured before moving on to the drapery next.

You can  check out that process in Sculpting Linna - Drapery.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sculpt Jam 2

September 21 & 22, 2013
A weekend workshop for sculpting miniature figures for the tabletop gaming hobby.

Only 10 spots are available so book early!

  • Bring your projects and work along
  • Learn TIPS and TRICKS for better results
  • See what TOOLS work best
  • Understand the differences in SCULPTING MATERIALS


Michael Brower - freelance sculptor, makeup effects and prosthetics fabricator

Patrick Keith - freelance sculptor for Reaper, Privateer, Press, Dark Sword and founder of Bombshell Miniatures

Kevin Williams - staff sculptor for Reaper, master mold maker



Doubletree Hilton in Richardson, TX
1981 North Central Expressway
Richardson, Texas,USA, 75080


You may book rooms for overnight if you are visiting from out of town at the link above.
We will have space in the Pecan Room with chairs, tables and electricity.

You will need to bring all of your own sculpting materials, tools, supplies, and lighting.
A selection of sculpting tools and materials will be available for sale.

As of now the itinerary is an open format but should we schedule specific topics they will be listed here:


  • 9:00am - 12:00pm - Open Format
  • 12:00pm - 1:00pm - Lunch
  • 1:00 - 6:00pm - Open Format
  • 6:00pm - Dinner at the Fox & Hound Pub
  • 10:00pm - Pecan Room closes


  • 9:00am - 12:00pm - Open Format
  • 12:00pm - 1:00pm - Lunch
  • 1:00 - 6:00pm - Open Format
  • 6:00pm - Pecan Room closes

If you have questions about the event check our discussion in the message forums here:


or contact Patrick at

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sculpting Linna - Anatomy

Here I will be sculpting the basic anatomy for the Linna Babe™ for Bombshell Miniatures.
Ordinarily I use the same method for each figure I sculpt. They may be shaped differently but it is essentially the same process.

I start by making an armature if I don't already have one handy. Usually when I have several assignments I make up a whole batch of armatures at the same time. These are usually posed, attached to corks and sit on the top shelf of my workbench as I work through the batch.

To learn more about how I make armatures, see that section on the site - Armatures

This is what I refer to as a "blocked out" armature. I sculpt the faces separately on a wire and then cut them off to attach them to the armature neck wire which gives me more opportunity to pose the head so that it's positioned naturally. This is the stage where I will photograph the piece to send to clients to approve the pose before moving forward to the next stage.

Unfortunately I didn't snap pics of sculpting the face for this one, but I may make a separate guide for faces in the future.

I pretty much sculpt with ProCreate exclusively as my preferred material of choice. It handles much better for me than the traditional "greenstuff", although all of the methods I will be showing here are applicable to sculpting with greenstuff.

The ProCreate is mixed with only a tiny amount more of the white part than the hardener. This gives the final material a firmer cure. Throughout the process of blocking out the anatomy, these are the two tools I use the most. This is a #64 Scraper and a #0 firm chisel tipped clay shaper.

At times, like when sculpting anatomy or even drapery, I will add a tiny amount of Fimo to the mix of the putty. Usually it is only 10% or less. This does two important things. The first is, it reduces the "memory" of the putty and makes the material less elastic, so you can blend seams easily. Second, it extends the cure time by around an hour or so, giving you more time to finesse the sculpt before it cures.

Wedges are cut from the blob of mixed putty for the feet, calves and thighs. I usually work on large sections of a model at a time. If you are a beginning sculptor, you may only want to work on smaller sections, and thus smaller mixes of putty, at a time. For example, you may only want to mix up enough to work on just the feet and the lower leg and allow that to cure before moving on to another section.

I like to work on a sculpt from the feet up. So starting with the first wedge, I divide that to make equal amounts of putty for the feet.

All of the wedges are positioned on the armature simulating muscle groups they are to represent. It helps to know your subject and the internet is the best resource you have for reference material. It is always more convincing to work from something that the object actually looks like rather than what you may think it looks like.

The masses are formed around the armature and the seams are blended together using the clay shaper. You may find it easier to work with a different tool to do this and it is recommend you experiment to find what works best for you.

After the legs are generally blended I add more material for the hips and pelvis working further up the figure.

Sometime I have to move the arms out of the way to work. I this case I eventually broke both arms off the armature repositioning them. No worries as they can be puttied back on with no problem.

The mass for the glutes are added and also blended in.

Continuing on, I add a mass to the front of the torso.

Another mass is added to the back of the torso.

This is all blended and shaped to resemble a leather breastplate, so I left a little ridge along the waist.

The back is also smoothed out. Continue to turn your model around as you work on it and check the contours to make sure the shapes are all cohesive.

Once all of the surface is smoothed out, I begin on the boots by cutting the edge of the boot soles with the scraper tool. Here I am using the smooth edge of the Spoon Shaped Putty Knife to add folds and creases to the boots. You can also use a large needle tool or some other tool with a smooth rounded form.

After cutting the straps into the leather breastplate, this is as far as the first anatomy session will go. By this time the putty I have mixed is now very firm allowing for the seams, folds and other details to be cleanly worked into the areas where they are needed.

I have reattached the arm and this is now ready to go into the "putty oven". To read more about the various sculpting materials, their properties and cure times, see the section on Sculpting Putty.

You can discuss the process or ask questions in the Workbench Forums here.

For the next session see Sculpting Linna - Drapery

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sculpting Linna - Sword - Session 2

In Session 1 I created the blank for shaping the blade for Linna's sword. After the putty has cured, it is now shaped and detailed out.

I trim down the blade and roughly carve out the shape. In this case, Linna's blade is curved, so I try to cut sections of it to block it out.

Here I check the blade agains the figure again to make sure it is the right size.

Next, I clamp the wire for the blade in a pin vise and using a 180 grit sanding board, file the edges of the blade. Here is where I will refine the silhouette of the blade and shape all the curves to make sure they are even.

This is the basic shape to the blade I'm looking for.

I hold the sanding board at an angle to bevel a keen edge to the blade.

I check all angles of the blade to make sure they are symmetrical where necessary. If anything is out of balance, I sand a little more on it until it looks right. You have to be careful not to sand off too much material. If you do, you have to add more putty to the area, cure it, and reshape.

After all the basic sanding is done I scrape down the surfaces with a fresh knife blade. This is done with smooth even strokes very lightly. You only want to remove enough material just to smooth out the surface where it was roughed up from the general sanding.

The size and shape of the blade are checked again. If it is too large or not balanced it is back to sanding and scraping.

Next, I add the hilt and any crossbar or decoration.

For this sword, there is only a bit of decoration around the hilt. If this were another blade with a crossbar, I would form the crossbar by adding a couple of "sticks" of putty off each side of the blade as an armature, cure that, and then sculpt the crossbar detail over that.

Here is Linna's completed sword. Next I move on to sculpting Linna's Anatomy.

You can discuss the process or ask questions in the Workbench Forums here.

To read more about the various sculpting materials, their properties and cure times, see the section on Sculpting Putty.

Sculpting Linna - Sword - Session 1

Here I will be making a single-edged blade for the Linna Babe™ for Bombshell Miniatures.
Ordinarily I use the same method for each sword I sculpt. They may be shaped differently but it is essentially the same process.

I usually will make the weapons first before actually sculpting anything on the figure it will be attached to. Making weapons is one of my less favorite things, so I usually try to get that out of the way first.

I start by making an armature for the sword. I will either use thin brass rod or in this case 24 gauge silver-plated beading wire. I usually cut a section about 1/2" longer than I need to give me something to handle while working on it. I pound this flat against a hard surface with  a small hammer.

Flattening the wire lowers the profile of the blade and helps keep the wire from coming through whenever filing the blade down later. This will still happen sometimes and is unavoidable.

Once the wire is flattened, I shape the tip to a tapered point so that it will allow for a point on the sword.

I use two kinds of material for sword blades. It is a 50/50 mix of ProCreate and Aves Apoxie. You can get similar results by mixing equal parts of greenstuff (or Duro) and brownstuff, or mixing greenstuff with milliput.

I also like to keep the mixed putty on these plastic dividers that come in Plano storage boxes. You can also use scraps cut from plastic milk jugs just as well.

The benefit if mixing the two types of putties gives the blade material the most desirable properties of each kind of putty. The Aves give the blade strength and rigidity since it is a hard-surface you are trying to replicate. This allows for precise filing and scraping giving sharp edges. However, with the ProCreate, there is still an element of flexibility to it that makes it less likely to crack or crumble while being shaped after curing.

The putty is then rolled to length. I like to use the clear lid of a small plastic box so I can see how thick the rod is and to make sure it is rolled out evenly.

This rod of putty is then wrapped around the flattened portion of the wire.

I make sure to leave a little putty extending beyond the end of the wire in order to shape the tip of the weapon.

Here I check the proportions and length of the blade to make sure it is the right size. If I am working on weapons without the benefit of the actual armature it will be attached to, i will size it up next to a comparable figure for reference.

To smooth out the blade, I roll the part under the plastic lid again.

Here, the blade is placed between two pieces of plastic. These are cut from 4 mil plastic bags, but you can use freezer bags, comic bags, or other thick plastic sheeting as long as it is flexible. This will keep the putty from sticking to the surfaces it will be pressed against.

The sandwiched plastic and blade are pressed under the lid.

With a quick ripping motion, the plastic is peeled away from each side of the blade.

You can see it is flattened but not pressed all the way down to the wire. Sword blades should be at least 1mm thick in order for them to properly cast into a production mold.

The blank for the sword blade is placed in the "putty oven" for curing. This is basically a 1 gallon aluminum paint can with a lamp attached to the top. With a 60 watt light bulb, the temperature gets up around 200° F. This is enough to cure the putty fully in 15 to 20 minutes rather than 2 - 4 hours.

This ends Session 1 for making the blade. Next it will be shaped and detailed in Session 2.

To read more about the various sculpting materials, their properties and cure times, see the section on Sculpting Putty.

You can discuss the process or ask questions in the Workbench Forums here.