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Conctructing a Keeper, part 1

At times I tire of drawing and painting and just need something else to occupy me. Sculpting is one thing I like very much but don’t take the time do very often. I did start a smaller project a while ago with some air drying clay, but I didn’t like the consistency of it, it was too grainy and sticky and wasnt fun to work with so I never finished.

My latest flash of brilliance was to build a Keeper of Secrets out of Sculpey.
I got the idea since my local Warhammer supplyshop doesn’t sell the specific model I wanted (ForgeWorlds version of Warhammers Keeper of Secrets). It can be ordered online directly from ForgeWorld but it’s quite costly and so I thought why not just build one instead, for fun. That way I can have it look exactly the way I want it.

I’ve never worked with Sculpey before  so this will be a fun experiment. If all goes well I’ll go on to build more greater demons (I already have delicious plans for a greater unclean one of Nurgle, including dead stuff).

I was thinking this would be a series of blog posts covering the progress. To tell you the truth, I don’t really know what I’m doing, but that never stopped me.

So in the words of my childhood hero –  Indiana Jones – “I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go.


The Setup

To start with I bought two kinds of Sculpey, the Super Sculpey and the Super Sculpey Firm.
Super Sculpey is good for working with your hands, it’s easy to form. It reminds me of cernit clay though it is much softer to start with and doesn’t get too soft if you work too long on it like cernit does. And the surface is much smoother.
The Sculpey Firm is a bit hard to work only using your hands but is really good for working with tools and to making smaller details.

I got a scraper/needle tool as well, just this regular clay-working tool, I’ll get a pic later.  I’m not sure about buying tools, since I don’t know what I need until I need it.  This tool I’ve used when working in ceramic clay and I liked it so I thought it would be a good investment. Otherwise its easy to improvise some tools out of wire and stuff.

This is the model I extrapolated my current work from. Its based upon a standard 2×2 refractive awesomecore with a touch of mint.

Making a frame

Obviously I’ve never been one for moderation (which is why I get so well along with Slaanesh) so I thought if I’m building one myself, why no make it bigger? Maybe around 30 cm instead of 16? Sounds great!

I started out by rough modeling a skeleton just to have something to work with, I’ve used copper wire for this. Its more or less just a stick figure, the same base I use for drawings. It does help to have some sense of proportion otherwise it can be a good idea sketch out the scale on a piece of paper to have something to measure from. I did not. Which resulted in the figure turning out a tad bit bigger than I had planned.

So this skeleton when I was done constructing it turned out to be like 40cm high, so she will be around 45cm horns included I guess.
Well that’s fine, more room for endless detail!

Due to the size the entire thing wont fit into the oven, so I’m gonna have to make it in parts. I’m gonna build the “main piece” as big as I can. Luckily there was enough room for the legs so the legs and torso and eventually the head will all be in one piece, which is good for stability. The arms wont fit though so the plan is to make them separately and then fuse them together with the body using a little glue and a lot of green stuff.

I then used aluminum foil to bulk out the skeleton a bit, so I wouldn’t have to make it solid and save up on some clay. I could have used much more foil though, but I wasnt sure when I started out how thick it was going to be. Good to know though for future reference.

Adding Sculpey

Here is the first layer of clay on the skeleton. I started by roughly working out the shape of the torso and then baked it to have something more solid to work around.

The first round into the oven. A good thing about Scupey is that it can be baked several times. So you don’t have to finish the entire sculpt at once but can make it bit by bit and then bake it in between so you don’t muck up one part while working on another.

The clay does keep its form in the oven, though I used some foil for support so it wouldn’t lose its shape under its own weight during the first baking.
One thing to keep in mind to prevent this is to work on one side at the time so you always have a hard surface facing down. Of course, if you make a smaller sculpt that will fit into the oven standing up, you can always mount it to a wooden base and avoid this problem all together.

When continuing to sculpt, you can use Liquid Sculpey as a sort of “glue” to make sure the freshly added clay will stick to the already baked part. Just smear it on the area before you add more clay, it looks like and has the same consistency as regular glue and will bake in the oven.
I was thinking it might get messy but it worked just perfectly.

Around here I started to realize that I was running out of  Super Sculpey so I used some regular Sculpey (black parts) that I used to bulk out the legs.
This is also a good thing about Sculpey, you can use regular Sculpey (which is cheaper) to build up forms and then work the surface with Super Sculpey. I will definitely use that for the next sculpt.

I put a glass bowl underneath it this time so the unbaked legs would be held in the air and not bend by mistake.

Here is the result so far, the middle part of the torso is just about done, I need some more flesh on the legs and back. Then I will go on to work on the feet, head and shoulders.

The backside.

The half-finished Keeper got kind of heavy, I’m just hoping the legs can hold the weight once they’re finished, otherwise I might have to come up with some solution for extra support.
There is another kind of Sculpey called Sculpey Light that is supposedly lighter than the other kinds and can be used for the bulk of a sculpt so that it doesn’t end up being this heavy. It could be a good thing to consider if you’re building something solid. Foil works as well but if you, like me, don’t know how thick it’s going to be when you start out the Light version might be a good option.

Two of the arms will be those clawlike things and the other two are for weapons. I’m thinking a staff and a sword, kinda like Gandalf but much cooler.
A staff might give some extra support as well since the sculpt will be kinda heavy. So anything to put less strain on the legs is good.

Unfortunately 500g of Sculpey only covered about half a keeper so I’m gonna have to order some more to keep working on it. I hate running out of supplies when I’m in a flow. Though I do have the Firm clay left, so I can start working on some details like a necklace, the staff and sword.

~ by Ethelie on September 27, 2010 . Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

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