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.