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"New sculptor question" Topic

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820 hits since 18 Nov 2021
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AnimalBones18 Nov 2021 11:30 a.m. PST

Hi, I would like to try my hand at sculpting at 15 mm scale. I will be making one offs in green stuff (?epoxy) or clay so am not making casts. I know I will need to get wire for the armatures. I would like advice on the tools and pliers I will need to get started.

I saw this set


Is this sufficient? Can anyone recommend what pliers I would need and any other indispensable tools. I will start simple with basic clothed figures.

I think the advice on a basic starting set up would help, and then I can go from there as I discover what more I need if I take to it.

Thank you

Sho Boki Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Nov 2021 12:03 p.m. PST

All industrial tools you can buy are way too big for 15mm.
You have to make your own tools. You need only two of them – hook and spatula.
Both you may make from small sewing needle.

45thdiv18 Nov 2021 12:29 p.m. PST

I found these. Very nice, comfortable in your hands.


clibinarium18 Nov 2021 12:32 p.m. PST

I agree; those tools will be way too big for 15mm. Similarly, I'd say you should make your own tools- a blade/spatula and a hook/loop. A needle and a cutting blade like an xacto knife too.
What was a game-changer for me was getting s few colour-shapers; they have enough give in them to make smoother impressions than hard tools do. You only really need a pointed one and a chisel-shaped one.
I really struggled as a beginner with Greenstuff, I find Procreate more "biddable", but that's personal preference.

AnimalBones18 Nov 2021 12:49 p.m. PST

Great advice, thank you. I have a bunch of tiny needles and drill bits that I use for making pinhole cameras so I'll take a look at them. Needles are ten a penny so I can just bend them until I get one I like.

What sized colour shapers do you recommend, a 0 and a 2 maybe? I've only got big sizes for ceramic work

45thdiv-those tools look nice. However, I think I'll start by making some at first- a lot cheaper!

AnimalBones18 Nov 2021 12:55 p.m. PST

Is it possible to buy suitable needle nose pliers for making armatures at this scale (assuming people make armatures at 15 mm, of course)?

evilgong18 Nov 2021 1:50 p.m. PST

Any reasonably small set of pliers, or those coming to a fine point should be good for armature work.

As per some posts above, a needle / pin device is useful. You can make them up by simply sticking a needle / pin into a dead paint brush and crimping / gluing it into place. Make up a super-fine and a larger one.

If you have any brass rod or tubes, such as get sold in model kit places, these can also be fashioned into tools.

Some art supply shops sell fine sculpting tools, a ball-end thingy can be useful.

David F Brown

Zephyr118 Nov 2021 2:51 p.m. PST

I use sharp-pointed (i.e. newish) and blunt/worn hobby knife blades for most of my sculpting, works for most shaping, etc. (For one of my 'specialty' tools, I have two thin wires set into a toothpick that I use to poke in nostrils under noses. ;-)
I would suggest practicing on soft modeling clay to experiment with what you are trying to do before commencing the actual sculpting. This gives you a 'feel' for your tools to see what works & doesn't. It's also great for making faces, and, you can always mush up your mistakes and start over.
Oh, and get a good pair of glasses/magnifiers… ;-)

5thlancer18 Nov 2021 5:24 p.m. PST

You could also ask your dentist or Hygienist if they can give you any old or broken dental tool. Many of those shown in the pictures are actually used by dental labs and dentists in dental school. You just have to be able to grind metal since only a few are bendable.

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