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"Sculpting weapons in-hand?" Topic

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Action Log

07 Jun 2021 10:37 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Sculpting weapons in hand?" to "Sculpting weapons in-hand?"
  • Changed starttime from
    07 Jun 2021 7:35 a.m. PST
    07 Jun 2021 7:36 a.m. PST

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Comments or corrections?

setsuko07 Jun 2021 7:35 a.m. PST


I'm new to sculpting, as I picked it up at the start of the year. I wanted to do something more than painting miniatures, and I'm having a blast learning the basics.

Now, I'm starting to approach a level where I don't just see them as test sculpts, but might try to shop around for someone interested in casting them. But when I'm making some of the larger weapons, I'm not sure what is best from a casting perspective. For example, I'm making a duck adventurer that I'm planning to give a big bill (of course) in one of its hands. Would it in general be better to sculpt the weapon in hand, or with an "open" hand and separate weapon? The reason I'm not sure is that I've seen both when I buy minis, and I've never thought about if one way or the other is more casting friendly, so to speak.

Is there anything else you'd recommend to keep in mind as you work from completely free-form test sculpting to sculpting with casting in mind? Like avoiding underhang, etc.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Jun 2021 11:28 a.m. PST

If the figure is holding the weapon with one hand then cast the weapon separately and drill the hand. The open hand cupping the weapon is not very durable and looks false to my eyes.
This is also much easier for a caster/mould maker to get right

If the figure is holding the weapon with both hands then probably best to sculpt the weapon onto the figure. Otherwise the figure will not be gripping the weapon with any "conviction".

Don't forget that a weapon needs to be robust when cast . Otherwise it might break off too easily with handling. Consider a "web", no pun intended.

Figures will cast more easily if the finer parts are pointing up. The metal likes to travel outwards in a mould.

Good luck with your new found direction.


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2021 12:09 p.m. PST

Personally, I like cast on weapons.

setsuko07 Jun 2021 1:38 p.m. PST

Thanks for the input! Yeah I'm making the weapon a bit on the bulky side. I first thought would make it look unbalanced but I also think it will be easier to cast.

Striker07 Jun 2021 5:14 p.m. PST

Prefer cast on weapons unless pole arms then I like hands drilled out.

Personal logo Unlucky General Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2021 6:08 p.m. PST

Okay, here goes …

I think it largely depends on the metal the figures are cast from. Softer white metal figures are no problem when it comes to fixing separate weapons in open hands which I fix with two part epoxy Araldite and then pinch the hand closed over the weapon to get a tight fix.

Softer metals also make drilling holes in hands easier for fixing steel wire spears or brass rods – I've done all with no particular preference. When it comes to spears or flag poles I always try to fix at two points – in the hand at drilled into the base or in both hands.

If the metal is more rigid like a pewter base alloy then fixed weapons are an option. I personally loath bent and wobbly spears, swords and bayonets.If it's a soft alloy I rarely use the original weapon. Open hands and drilling is much harder on hard alloys (obviously)and if not well cast, open hands require a lot of filing to cup them properly to receive weapons. I have to say whilst I adore their sculpts and have many of them, Gripping Beast are a 'Beast' when if comes to this.

BTW, I have fairly large armies with lots of figures so do all of the above a fair bit.

Hope this helps.

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