Latest sculpt: Bug from Micronauts

Here’s the latest work-in-progress 1/6 sculpt I’ve been playing with: Bug from Micronauts. Micronauts was this crazy comic from the 80s, based on line of toys from Japan. Refresh yourself on the whole universe over at Micro Outpost or Wikipeida.


Bug was (is) my favorite character from Micronauts and I’ve always wanted a toy of Bug as a kid. So naturally, he was always at the front of my mind as a personal project.

I wanted him in a very dynamic pose over his species’ natural predator, the Reptos, but as you can see, the Reptos’s armored version of his head, in both color and shape, aren’t that interesting to me as a sculpt.


I tried to scratch-build a broken-up armored version of a Reptos, but I don’t know if I like it much. Plus, when I go to paint these up, Bug and Reptos’ colors are very similar. So I think I might just put Bug on a Hornetroid, which is black and red (which I probably  lean towards purple), as this combination will make Bug’s green colors pop. I’m such a geek, I also bought the Hornetroid toy just for reference 🙂

Hornetroid untouched copy

On a side note, please go look at Ken Kelly‘s distinctive artwork for the toy boxes. They are truly unique.

I still need to do a lot of work on Bug, but I am taking my time, slowly working the main body up from baked sculpey. The head and hands are going to be finished in wax. The head of the Reptos was from baked sculpey, then styrene and bits of sci-fi kits and circuitry.

I may also add in the distinctive gliders that some of the characters wear, as Bug sported them a few times throughout the comic. Might be too much though. Thoughts?





Unburied: Adding real clothing and sculpted a new base



Here is how I made the Unburied tattered clothing.

I cut/rip up an old t-shirt to fit, then transferred the cloth to cardboard and cut out a pattern to make cutting future pieces faster. I put on some rubber gloves, made a grungy base color in a bowl with some craft paints, and rubbed the t-shirt in the bowl until all the fabric was painted. I then laid out the t-shirt flat on a piece of cardboard to dry. I finished up the paint job with some blood splatters and black nasty splatter using an old toothbrush.I take the x-acto knive, and cut holes or fray edges too.

The fabric dries fairly stiff, and I glue it to the painted sculpture. After I get some creases/folds in the place I like them, I hit the fabric with some fabric stiffener. I take the hairdryer to it to dry it almost instantly, and BAM, perfect clothing. I’m thinking of including the fabric with the kit, it’s so much more fun than just gluing and painting up 4 pieces of resin that make up his shorts.


The new base has been molded and cast up. It fits his feet better and is a bit more dynamic. The rocks look like they are giving way under his immense weight.


Here is the body, it is in 5 parts, and already anchored together by epoxy. This shot does not include the parts of the head or side mouth, but you get the idea.




“Diablo III: Fallen Shaman” sneak peek

Yes, another upcoming Diablo III character. I swear, I’ll stop after this one.

This is the Shaman Fallen, read more about him here. I’m pretty much doing this exact pose.

fallen, diablo III

So here is his head and horns. I’ll save the rest for another day.




“Diablo III: Unburied” sculpture wins an award!

How crazy is this, I entered the “Diablo III: Unburied” in the Marin County Fair this year and I won first place! Now, this isn’t your regular fair. Oh no… the Creature and Model competition is judged by the guys who formed Industrial Light and Magic (now known as Kerner Optical)!!

I’m completely floored.

Getting this thing to a state where it was showable was a crazy adventure in itself. I didn’t even have time to cast up the tattered clothes he wears. I had to make a base from scratch. Leading up to the submission day, I had bought and studied the ModelMania DVDs to learn airbrushing.I spent 3 hours airbrushing this thing (the first thing I ever painted) the night before I had to submit it. Then, at 3:30 am, I go to put a wash on the guy to bring out all the painting I had done and I STAINED THE WHOLE THING. I just sat and looked at it, realized I had not put a coat of Dullcoate on it at all, and realized I had to keep going. It totally sucked, but there was nothing to do but keep going.

Anyway, here are some pics of  the piece. I will be casting another version, after I make molds of the new base I sculpted, that will have real cloth for the tunic. But I am also scuplting clothes that can be molded and cast, and added to the sculpture, since fabric is another step some might not want to deal with. I want to redo the entire paint job too, add mottling, make his mouth shiny like it is wet, etc.

I want to thank everyone at the Clubhouse and the Shiflett Brothers forum for giving me so much information, and to Rey Hernandez, who is one of the nicest guys I’ve been able to meet from the boards.

I’ll update pics of the new base and a version of the sculpt with real clothing that I’ve made grungy.






Wax sculpting tutorial PDF for download


I made this tutorial awhile back and posted on my site and on various forums. However, I coordinated with Gary Overman (owner of  Willow Products and maker of the wonderful wax I use) to package this up and allow people to download. I happily obliged because I want to get the word out on his wax (my favorite is FUSE), and there are not a lot of tutorials out there showing how to work with wax.

You can read Gary’s post here, and download the PDF tutorial right here!




Unburied update: casting parts, making a base

Here is another update to the Unburied.

Full shot

Ok, so here’s our zombie dude, sporting some clothes. The white leg is a actually the resin cast of the leg. The perspective is off, the guy is really 9″ tall



Hand detail

To save some time, I am going to make a mold of  the left arm, make a cast in wax, cut off the spikey ball, flip it 180 degrees and reattach to the bicep. Maybe it will save time. Maybe not.


Give me a kiss

Here is the wax tongue on top, and a cast.


Spinal column

His back in the process of being detailed.


Right-Side skull


Left-side skull

This skull has a little helmet, I need to add another skull to the right yet… here you can also see how the  mouth piece is cast separately and fits inside.

Right Leg detail


Left leg details



How the head is assembled


Mouth Castings

So, the interesting thing that I discovered along the way was how to make the teeth sturdy. I sculpted the original teeth with ends of party toothpicks. When I went to cast, the teeth would break out almost all the time when I pulled the resin out of the mold. Then it hit me… put toothpicks into the silicone mold before I pour the resin. BAM! Perfect casts, and when you paint the teeth, you don’t have to worry about breaking them off. Oh, and they stay nice and pointy too, unlike the resin counterparts.


Experimenting with a base

I am making a simple stone base, with two big slabs from a ruins, and a two-piece skull. These pieces are cast separately so each diorama can be custom built. The ornate piece is actually molding I found at a craft store, more for dollhouses I think, that I just added to the clay slab.


Things I need to improve upon

  • Skull anatomy
  • More dynamic pose
  • Dynamic clothing folds
  • Feet




Sculpting skin textures with wax

So, as I mentioned, I am using wax to build up a model. My problem is wax is getting it to look organic (wavy lines, folds of the skin, etc). Here is my meager attempt at doing so, using Gary Overman’s Zen Wax.

1. Planning the “cuticle” around this claw-thing


I take a warm piece of wax, roll it up and make a snake. I press it where I want the bulk of the cuticle, or fold, to be. (more…)




Diablo III sculpture: Unburied


I roughed this guy out last night… he’s a bad guy from the upcoming video game, Diablo III. Called “The Unburied”…”Being born out of pits of human misery, these beings feed on human suffering. Wherever bodies are dumped together unceremoniously, the unburied may rise.”

This hulking brute is done with Fuse, right from the start. I think I am going to start my sculpts with clay or sculpey from now on, then switch to wax with wastemolds. I am having a hard time getting organic shapes, like folds, etc right from wax, so I need to practice more, especially before Diablo 3 comes out.

I’ll put in a lot more details as I go, refine, fix the skull sizes and shapes, etc.




Switching my workflow

I think, after seeing how other sculptors work, that I will begin my sculpts, rough them up, in SuperSculpy or clay, create some wastemolds, pour wax in and finish off.

The reason I want to do this is that I cannot get the organic folds and lines I want, if I start in wax. I’m not saying that wax won’t allow me to get organic folds, I can’t manipulate wax to do it for me yet.

And that is OK. I still get amazing results when I start in wax, but it’s easier to sculpt, say, wavy lines like hair, in Sculpey, I can push it around, reconfigure a curve, while wax hardens to fast for me. See below:


If you haven’t joined the Clubhouse, or seen Erick Sosa’s site and his Mutant Chelonian, PLEASE GO THERE NOW.

Look specifically at the folds in the neck. He did that in SuperSculpey first, baked it and then transferred to wax.

That’s what I’m talking about.




Tutorial: Sculpting a Wing, Part 1

Some people have asked how I sculpt the wings. The first time I made the wing, it was to get a feel for how to do it. Since I wanted to redo the wings to make them not only consistent but also more dynamic, I figured I’d take a few photographs along the way. I’m open for suggestions on how to do this better, so please comment.

Keying up the wings

1. Keying up the wings

1. First, I drilled a hole into the back of Illidan. The wing is going to be heavy, so I wanted there to be enough mass of the wing that gets inserted into the back of Illidan to support the weight. I filled the holes with Magic Sculpt (I found Magic Sculpt to be a lot cheaper than aves, but they are very similar products). I then inserted a brass rod, and then inserted wire I twisted into that brass rod. I let that sit overnight to harden. The red dots you see are where all the elbows and joints of the wing “fingers” will be.

2. Adding rest of wing joints and "fingers"

2. Adding rest of wing joints and "fingers"

2. Here you see I added the rest of the wing “fingers”, all pre-measured for both wings. They are connected by quick curing plumbers epoxy, to speed up time. I then wrapped floral wire around each finger for the wire mesh and clay to stick to later. Repeat for second wing.

3. Adding bendable mesh to wings

3. Adding bendable mesh to wings

3. Because the wings are so massive, I decided to add mesh as the base of the membranes. I think smaller pieces would be fine with thin layer of Magic Sculpt, but the size of the wings would have caused the sheet of Magic Sculpt to droop. I highlighted in red holes I made where each elbow of the finger would be. I think threaded the wire through those holes to help keep the mesh more secure.

4. Adding glue and "pinching" the mesh

4. Adding glue and "pinching" the mesh

4. After I threaded. I “pinch” the mesh around the wire fingers, so that the mesh sort of falls in the half-way point of the finger. This is so that when I add Magic Sculpt, the membrane will look more realistic, like the membrane is really attached to the middle bone like a bat. I also run a little superglue along the finger, kick it with some Zip Kicker to cure instantly, to hold the mesh in place for the next step.

5. Adding Magic Sculpt to the mesh

5. Adding Magic Sculpt to the mesh

5. The last part of preparing the wing for clay/sculpey/wax is to further strengthen the membrane. Here I have pressed bits of Magic Sculpt into the wire, as thin as possible, to create the membrane foundation. I used disposable vinyl gloves for this, and dip my fingers in water, sometimes dipping the chunks of Magic Sculpt into the water directly. This softens it, almost like a slurry, and helps spread it out a bit more easily.

I will let this all harden overnight, and begin adding super sculpey or wax (I still don’t know what I’ll use, I have to see if I have enough wax left to do this.

I’ll add more pics in the next week of the detailing process.

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