Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Figure Sculpting: Resources

I have been sculpting miniatures in a semi-professional way for around 15 years now, although the past few years have been less productive due to my family commitments.

28mm Scale Knoll sculpted by David Drage. Master lost by client!
When I started out there was very little, if any reference material for budding sculptors to refer too, and even the staple sculpting material, Greenstuff (more correctly known as Kneadatite Blue/Yellow) was somewhat mythical and a supplier took quite a bit of tracking down, I actually bought my stock from the manufacturer in the US for sometime!

Over the years all of that has changed, there are no end of places to find advice about anatomy, sculpting, use of armatures, tools and materials; readily available online. Greenstuff and other sculpting putties are easliy found at many figure selling websites and even in your local Games Workshop store (if you are prepared to pay the price they charge).

Before I start posting regularly on figure sculpting I thought it would be worth putting up a list of the sites and resources that I have found useful.

Web Forums

Luthor Arkright, 150mm figure sculpted by David Drage. Project abandoned!
There are several forums that cover some aspect of sculpting, but the two that I frequent the most are:-

Frother Unite - Be warned, the language and general attitude on Frothers can be difficult to get used to - there is something of a "boys club" atmosphere on there that can be quite off putting, but there is no denying that the Frothers love their figures and, in amongst the venomous and purile comments, there is usually some very constructive advice.

Mini Sculpture - This is a relatively new community that has been created exclusively for figure sculptors to discuss their work, exchange information and critique miniatures, both in progress and finished.


There are quite a few blogs that are of interest to figure sculptors. Most are simple the blogs of experienced sculptor, passing on their thoughts and experiences, however some are more specifically focused:-

Make Your Own Sculpting Tools - This blog features some very good advice and instruction on making your own tools. Most sculptors end up making or altering their tools themselves that this blog goes in to some depth on making the more popular tools.

28mm SF Marine figure sculpted by David Drage.
The World According To Tom - The blog of veteran sculptor Tom Meier. As well as showcasing some of Tom's work (as he produces it) it also includes some wonderful insights into anatomy and proportion with regards to miniatures. I find this blog essential reading and Tom's explanations anatomy and sculpting technique are very enlightening.

Green Stuff Sculpting - Mainly based around the more advanced conversion of figures than out and out sculpting this site does offer some interesting ideas and is well worth checking out.

Massive Voodoo - Although primarily a first class figure painting blog, it does offer fairly regular articles on sculpting as well. To be honest the level of painting and and quality of photography alone make this blog worth following by anyone interested in collecting, sculpting or painting miniatures.

Last but not least...

I must mention 1ListSculpting, the Yahoo Group for figure sculptors. This sight has been an important place for anyone interested in figure sculpting to find information for many years. It is well worth signing up, even if it is just to download the FAQ, which is a treasure trove of information for starting sculptors.

Royal Marines and Navy c.1850, sculpted by David Drage for Scheltrum Miniatures. Painted by Mike Schraner.

Over the coming months, I am planning on doing more articles on figure sculpture, both looking at the development of my own figures and also possibly doing some tutorials on different aspects of sculpting miniatures.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Toy Soldiers: Going 15mm!

I have recently been caught up in the growing trend for science fiction wargamers to move from the traditional 28mm size figures down to the smaller size of 15mm.

This has been inspired by several things, firstly 15mm figures are cheaper, I can get a pack of 6 or 8 premium 15mm figures for the same price as 1, or possibly 2, 28mm figures. Secondly, there are a whole new selection of companies that are injecting new life in to the 15mm Science Fiction market. Critical Mass Games, Khaursan Miniatures and Rebel Minis for example. There are also the longer running companies like Ground Zero Games and Alternative Armies that have large selections of popular figures and vehicles.

Personally, I have been putting together a force of Critical Mass Games ARC Fleet miniatures. These armoured figures are your basic sci-fi humans, much in the "Halo" or literary "Starship Trooper" style. The vehicles are little works of art, produced in a combination of resin and pewter parts.

I have also been putting together a small force of Ground Zero Games Kra'Vak, which share some similarities to the movie "Predators"!

The Kra'Vak figure sculpts have been around for a good few years now, probably don't equal the modern figures that are around, but with a lick of paint they still come out really well. Also their vehicle are suitably different in design to my Arc Fleet force that they are easy to tell apart.

My gamer buddies and I have not settled on a good set of rules to use yet, as again there are a whole selection of new rules floating around to choose from. I am probably going to base my ARC Fleet figures to the size set out in the beta rules for Critical Mass Games own rule set, but we have been looking at several other sets that are out there too. These include Grunts, FUBAR and a few others that don't spring to mind at the moment.

Grunts certainly seems to be generating a good bit of interest at the moment though...

For anyone interested in watching the developments in the current 15mm science fiction gaming field, a couple of blogs certainly bare watching:-


In future I will prefix any wargaming article with the title Toy Soldiers:, this will hopefully make it easier to identify the wargaming articles!
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