Question about making a figure from scratch and sculpey III
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Question about making a figure from scratch and sculpey III

Posted in Custom Workstation

hey all,

I'm back with 2 questions, since I'm a complete noob in making an action figure lol :P. First of all, I really want to know how to make an action figure from scratch or how I can use body parts from other action figures to create my own figure, paint over it, add texture to the costume etc..Any help would be of great help. If people could mail me a tutorial covering this or list out the necessary points or link me to something which I can read from and work, It would be of GREAT help, since I haven't found any proper turotial for this

Secondly, I'd like to know the advantages and disadvantages of Sculpey III and its uses and what I can do with it

Posted by Shan
on Saturday, January 9, 2010
User Comments
Green Skin -
Sunday, January 17, 2010
No problem
Shan -
Sunday, January 17, 2010
awesome man thanks!
Green Skin -
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Don't know what else to tell ya dude. After you build the joints that you need, connect the joints to each other using armature wire. That's all there is to an armature. The biggest thing is determining the lengths of the arms, legs and torso. Bulking out the armature with some tin foil is a good idea since you won't have to use so much sculpting material.

You should have all the info that you need, time to get your hands dirty!
Shan -
Saturday, January 16, 2010
still waiting for greenskin :P
Shan -
Thursday, January 14, 2010
great dude!! and what about the rest of the armature?
Green Skin -
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Yeo it's okay to have the armature inside. Kiwus uses plastic balls in place of ball joints. He just does that to save time.

Ball joints aren't as hard as you'd imagine. If you look at a standard joint it is essentially 1 disc that fits into 2 outer discs. The only thing different in a ball joint is that the 2 outer discs are half spheres. So you could ether cut a ball down the middle and use the halves for your joint. Or build a standard disc joint and sculpt the semi spheres onto it.

Basically whatever works for you, feel free to get creative. My first time builing a ball joint I sliced rubber bouncy balls in half and used those. Now I build a disc joint and sculpt the half spheres onto the outer discs. An easy way to sculpt a half sphere is to press ball bearings into some Aves and when it dries you can use it as a press mold.
Shan -
Thursday, January 14, 2010
phew! great! any tips and ideas on effective armature building? steve kiwus had put some glass ball like things on the armature lol...any idea what those were? so it's ok to have a figure with the armature inside right?
Green Skin -
Thursday, January 14, 2010
If you build the joints into the armature you don't have to worry about it since the arms and everything are already attached and capable of moving. So if you build the joints into the armature and then do the sculpting, thats all you have to do. You won't have to worry about attaching anything, or hallowing anything out, you'd be done.
Shan -
Thursday, January 14, 2010
well in order to make it hollow for the arms to move...what do I need to do? only carve out the insides of the part where I'll be placing the arm?
Green Skin -
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Why would you need to carve out the inside of the torso? Good way to make holes is a drill. Don't really know how or when theses things are done at the factories. When your making a scratch figure you don't need to copy the factory procedures. The only skills you really need to make a figure from scratch are joint building, armature building, and sculpting.
Shan -
Thursday, January 14, 2010
@bobtheodd

great!

@greenskin

gotcha' man! now one more doubt..how do I carve out the inside of the torso and how do I make holes or slots for screws? how's that done in the factories? and when are these things to be performed?
Green Skin -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Airbrushes use acrylic paint too, the only difference is that it is thinned out. You can buy airbrushe paint, or just thin out whatever paint you have. Any paint you use in your airbrush should be as thin as milk. I've heard this over and over on different forums and it's always worked for me.

For the texture question. If you take any clay like material and press something into it you will get a texture. For example is you take a sanding cylinder from a dremel and roll it over clay you will get a texture that is like denim. I don't know what he used for that particular texture though. I'd say experiment with anything you can find and see what kind of textures you can get. A while ago I ripped a sqaure of plastic out of my monitor casing so I could use it to put texture into a custom. You could also use various grits of sandpaper, or brillot pads and stuff like that.


oh ok..din't know that..is an airbrush a good tool to start out with? wht are the benefits? coz I only have brushes lol..have u heard of winsor and newton paints? they're supposed to be good I heard..dunno till what extent though..any possible info on that man?

aaah...I gueesed so..I'll try out whatever possible! but tell me one thing..when is the right time to add the texture? and LOL @ the monitor thingy xDwhat custom was that btw? yeah sandpaper sounds interesting..also cloth!

The monitor piece was used for an Ozymandias custom to give him the rock like texture.

The texture is the last thing that I add. After I sculpt out the muscles and all that stuff I wait about 5-10 minutes for the Aves to firm up a little and then I press the texture in. You want it stiff enough that you won't ruin your sculpt, but soft enough that it takes the texture. After you work with a material a few times you'll get the hang of it. You could mix up a small bit of it just to practice, that way you'll learn how to put the texture in without the risk of ruining anything you've sculpted.

Never heard of Newton or Windsor, up here the craft stores sell Americana, Apple Barrel and Delta Creamcoat.
bobtheodd -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I just use cheap craft paints that you can pick up at Hobby Lobby, for $1-$2 for a 2 oz tube. Anita's, Folk Art and Americana mostly.
Green skin is right, if you have the money then invest in better paints. I think I have good results from what I use, but they may not be the best for you.
Shan -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
cool! what paints do u use bobtheodd? what are they called dude?
Shan -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Airbrushes use acrylic paint too, the only difference is that it is thinned out. You can buy airbrushe paint, or just thin out whatever paint you have. Any paint you use in your airbrush should be as thin as milk. I've heard this over and over on different forums and it's always worked for me.

For the texture question. If you take any clay like material and press something into it you will get a texture. For example is you take a sanding cylinder from a dremel and roll it over clay you will get a texture that is like denim. I don't know what he used for that particular texture though. I'd say experiment with anything you can find and see what kind of textures you can get. A while ago I ripped a sqaure of plastic out of my monitor casing so I could use it to put texture into a custom. You could also use various grits of sandpaper, or brillot pads and stuff like that.


oh ok..din't know that..is an airbrush a good tool to start out with? wht are the benefits? coz I only have brushes lol..have u heard of winsor and newton paints? they're supposed to be good I heard..dunno till what extent though..any possible info on that man?

aaah...I gueesed so..I'll try out whatever possible! but tell me one thing..when is the right time to add the texture? and LOL @ the monitor thingy xDwhat custom was that btw? yeah sandpaper sounds interesting..also cloth!
bobtheodd -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I have to disagree. I think it depends on what your doing. I use cheapo craft paints and I don't think my stuff looks cheap.
Your stuff looks good because your skill makes up for it. I think the majority of customizers would agree that paints like Citadel are much better than the craft paint. Let me ask you this, if they were available in the same size bottle, at the same store, for the same price would you still buy craft paint over Citadel or Tamiya?
I will give you that, if you could get better paints for the price of the cheapo, then yes I would work with better quality paints, but the cheapos do me just fine...and at half(or more) the price. Speaking of this I just picked up some Folk Art metallic aluminum and gunmetal. I looking forward to seeing how they turn out on my robots I'm working on.
Green Skin -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Airbrushes use acrylic paint too, the only difference is that it is thinned out. You can buy airbrushe paint, or just thin out whatever paint you have. Any paint you use in your airbrush should be as thin as milk. I've heard this over and over on different forums and it's always worked for me.

For the texture question. If you take any clay like material and press something into it you will get a texture. For example is you take a sanding cylinder from a dremel and roll it over clay you will get a texture that is like denim. I don't know what he used for that particular texture though. I'd say experiment with anything you can find and see what kind of textures you can get. A while ago I ripped a sqaure of plastic out of my monitor casing so I could use it to put texture into a custom. You could also use various grits of sandpaper, or brillot pads and stuff like that.
Shan -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
oh cool man..is there anything particular I HAVE to use? or any good acrylic sealer will do? also..what kinda paints do airbrushes require?
Shan -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
gonna try out magic sculpt and aves! and yes, one last question



im sure you're aware of doubledealer's work here...he'd mentioned about him replicating the costume's unique texture as can be seen below the cowl on the costume..how do u achieve that?:O
Green Skin -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
What that particular guy does is rough out the basic sculpt in clay. Then he molds the pieces and casts them in wax. The reason for this is that wax holds detail much better than clay. What he's making is a prototype, after he is done they make molds of it and cast it in plastic. The final plastic version is what gets sold in the stores.

Aves is very durable, it is essentially a clay that self hardens. The advantage of something like Aves is that it gets rock hard, you can sand it, drill it, and paint it. Where as wax and clay cannot be painted.

Not sure what kind of paint the toy companies use. I know some of them do there prototype painting in cell paint, but that stuff is a pain to work with. If you're looking for good paint here are a few. Vallejo, Citadel, Tamiya, and Model Masters are all great. Don't be tempted to use craft paint, sure it's super cheap but it also makes your customs look super cheap.


SWEET info but I can get any of them ordered tho..how's winsor and newton arcylics? I tried cheapo craft acryls and they seem to chip off after being scratched lol..is that normal? coz the factory paint dsnt scratch off right?


No you don't have to cast it in wax. Aves will work, so will Miliput or magic sculpt. Cheap craft paints can work, but they are much harder to get good results with and they chip easier. Now some people prefer craft paints, but most people find higher quality brands easier to work with, and get better results.
Green Skin -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I have to disagree. I think it depends on what your doing. I use cheapo craft paints and I don't think my stuff looks cheap.
Your stuff looks good because your skill makes up for it. I think the majority of customizers would agree that paints like Citadel are much better than the craft paint. Let me ask you this, if they were available in the same size bottle, at the same store, for the same price would you still buy craft paint over Citadel or Tamiya?
leafman343 -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
For areas that aren't subject to paint rub, putting a sealer coat over the paint will prevent most chipping and scratches in the paint. As far as what factories use, I think most of it is similar or the same as what is used in airbrushes since thats how they tend to paint stuff.
Shan -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
bobtheodd haha..ur customs are awesome looking for sure
Shan -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
What that particular guy does is rough out the basic sculpt in clay. Then he molds the pieces and casts them in wax. The reason for this is that wax holds detail much better than clay. What he's making is a prototype, after he is done they make molds of it and cast it in plastic. The final plastic version is what gets sold in the stores.

Aves is very durable, it is essentially a clay that self hardens. The advantage of something like Aves is that it gets rock hard, you can sand it, drill it, and paint it. Where as wax and clay cannot be painted.

Not sure what kind of paint the toy companies use. I know some of them do there prototype painting in cell paint, but that stuff is a pain to work with. If you're looking for good paint here are a few. Vallejo, Citadel, Tamiya, and Model Masters are all great. Don't be tempted to use craft paint, sure it's super cheap but it also makes your customs look super cheap.


SWEET info but I can get any of them ordered tho..how's winsor and newton arcylics? I tried cheapo craft acryls and they seem to chip off after being scratched lol..is that normal? coz the factory paint dsnt scratch off right?
bobtheodd -
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I have to disagree. I think it depends on what your doing. I use cheapo craft paints and I don't think my stuff looks cheap.
Green Skin -
Monday, January 11, 2010
What that particular guy does is rough out the basic sculpt in clay. Then he molds the pieces and casts them in wax. The reason for this is that wax holds detail much better than clay. What he's making is a prototype, after he is done they make molds of it and cast it in plastic. The final plastic version is what gets sold in the stores.

Aves is very durable, it is essentially a clay that self hardens. The advantage of something like Aves is that it gets rock hard, you can sand it, drill it, and paint it. Where as wax and clay cannot be painted.

Not sure what kind of paint the toy companies use. I know some of them do there prototype painting in cell paint, but that stuff is a pain to work with. If you're looking for good paint here are a few. Vallejo, Citadel, Tamiya, and Model Masters are all great. Don't be tempted to use craft paint, sure it's super cheap but it also makes your customs look super cheap.
Goldenwolf -
Monday, January 11, 2010
Thats Is Awesome I Gotta Get My Self A Copy !
Shan -
Monday, January 11, 2010
oh ok!
Green Skin -
Monday, January 11, 2010
Yep the brown stuff is clay, the grey stuff is wax, and the white stuff is plastic. (like the kind that scotch tape is spooled onto) No you don't need to use plastic to make a figure, you can use anything you want. When I've done them I use Aves Apoxie sculpt, for example.

Thats about all the useful pics in that book.
Shan -
Monday, January 11, 2010
wow these r awesome!! thanks!! any more useful pics? btw, whats the white material he's used? I mean..the brown's clay right? u don't have to use plastic to make a figure?
Green Skin -
Monday, January 11, 2010
Here ya go. I've got to post the links because when I post the image it cuts off about half of it.
Shan -
Monday, January 11, 2010
Sure! I should have some time to scan them in later tonight. There are 3 or 4 pics like that in there.


Thanks a ton buddy will wait for them!
Green Skin -
Monday, January 11, 2010
Sure! I should have some time to scan them in later tonight. There are 3 or 4 pics like that in there.
Shan -
Sunday, January 10, 2010
ohhh ok.....dude, if u don't mind, could u scan a high resolution image of the page u had included in ur previous post? coz I want to zoom in and check it out
Green Skin -
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Yes and no. For being a look at the toy industry from a sculptors point of view, yes. For learning techniques on figure building, no.
Shan -
Sunday, January 10, 2010
oh ok...hmm so not worth it eh?
Green Skin -
Sunday, January 10, 2010
It's pretty far from perfect. all but the last 15 pages are about the toy industry. Some of the last 15 pages are useful though and it''s got some cool pics.
bobtheodd -
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Cool, thanks.
Shan -
Sunday, January 10, 2010
greenskin!! u the man! thanks a million!! now I have to get this book!! is it a perfect action figure guide?
Green Skin -
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Here it is:
Green Skin -
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Babes, Beasts and Brawn

It's written by Steve Kiwus I believe. He's the guy that did the sculpt on Mecha Hulk. Its basically about his time in the toy industry and how he got there. THe last 15 pages are pretty sweet, the rest of the book is more entertaining than informative.
They should have it on Amazon.
bobtheodd -
Sunday, January 10, 2010
That's cool, did I miss something, what book is that?
Green Skin -
Sunday, January 10, 2010
My advice would be to make the joints onto the armature and then sculpt onto that. That way you can hash out any issues with joint motion as you go. Heres a pick from the book, this should give you a better idea of what I mean:



As you can see he makes the joints, then connects them into the armature and then sculpts it out.
Shan -
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Google is your friend, only takes a minute.
http://www.freemansupply.com/RenShapeModelingan.htm

Google is not my friend!

Tom is my friend... my only friend...


lmao xD nice one :P

@ greenskin

oh ok..sure thing..will do..now the problem is that, if I sculpt on an armature, I'll have a figure than includes the armature right? and will creaing joints on the armature sculpture be possible?
Punstarr -
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Google is your friend, only takes a minute.
http://www.freemansupply.com/RenShapeModelingan.htm

Google is not my friend!

Tom is my friend... my only friend...
Green Skin -
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Yeah Renshape is the name of a material.

Are you making multipes? If you are then yes you will have to mold it and cast copies, but if you are only making a single figure you don't need to do this What you sculpt with is really up to you, there is no right or wrong answer. If the material works for you, great! If not, then you can try a different one. I personally use Aves, but thats just my personal preference.
If super sculptey is what you have then give it a shot with that, I know some people that love it as well as some people that hate it. I would encourage playing around with as many different sculpting materials as you can.

**The book I have isn't a pdf, its from the bookstore. It's written by one of the guys that worked on the old X-Men/X-Force lines.
bobtheodd -
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Google is your friend, only takes a minute.
http://www.freemansupply.com/RenShapeModelingan.htm
Shan -
Saturday, January 9, 2010
oh ok I gotcha'! now one more question is, how do I make te actual figure? isn't it supposed to be made out of plastic? is the sculpture for creating moulds to make the figure with? and I should use super sculpey?
Green Skin -
Saturday, January 9, 2010
The first ones are plain old plastic, the reddish looking ones are Renshape.

Once your armature is built you can directly sculpt onto that if you like, but that eats up a lot of sculpting material. What I usually do is bulk out the mass on the armature with tin foil, and then sculpt over that. You save a bit of material that way and it makes it a little easier to sculpt since your basic shape is already there.

If it helps think of it this way: Your armature is like the bones, bulking it out with some foil is like the muscles, and the actually sculpting is like the skin.

As far as joints go it can be helpful to take apart a figure and look at the joints. All of them are basically sets of 3 discs. Even the ball joints are just 3 discs with the outer 2 discs shaped into half spheres.

Hope that helps.
Shan -
Saturday, January 9, 2010
thanks bobtheodd
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