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I tried my hand at making a few crew members for my up coming build LEE.  I used thin copper wire to make the armatures.


Never having done this and thinks my expierence as a wood carver would make this no challenge.


However I was very wrong. The sulpy would not cooperate at all. It would fall off. Slip and slide around till I had one crew member who looked like Shrek and another like the Elephant man without pants.


Just about to give up I noticed a spool of my rigging thread.  So I used the thread to wrap the armature. I made two passes, and secured the bitter end with CA.


Now the sculpy works great. The thread provides more surface area and a tooth for the clay to adhere. I managed to wrap it tight enough that the raw black thread Is now my little mate's shoes.


I feel that once you have an armature and wrap it you will begin to see how the body is shaped and start sculpting.  If I can do it you can too.  I had some pictures but butterfingers here somehow managed to delete them.


Take Care Shipmates!


Going Deep!

Author of the Submarine Thrillers


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Hi Chief. I was wondering if you could help me with a couple words you bring up. What is 'suply' and 'armature' as it relates to carving?

I assume that armature is the support frame that holds a clay molded figure together. 

Is suply the clay?



Current build Cross Section USS Constitution  http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/10120-cross-section-forward-area-of-the-uss-constitution/

Finished USS Constitution:  http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/103-uss-constitution-by-modeler12/


'A picture is worth a  . . . . .'      More is better . . . .

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My understanding is that the "armature" is kind of a backbone/skeleton/stick figure that you can bend to shape.


I think Don is referring to "Sculpey", a polymer clay.


I've been thinking about trying my hand at this too.


Hope that helps,





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I've been tinkering with the same thing - figures for my ships in bottles. My current project, at 1/96, is unusually large compared to my norm but may work well at more normal ship modeling scales. At this scale my figures will be in the range of .65 in. to .72 in.


The technique starts with an armature, but instead of covering it with clay it's built up with acrylic gesso. This artist's material is thicker than Model Expo paints and it dries and builds up quickly applied with a brush, 30 to 45 minutes between coats. Perhaps much less, I applied the coats interspersed with working on other items on my current build. Here's photos of my first try after three coats, it needs one or two more. I chose this process over clay on an armature precisely because I anticipated the problem with Sculpey adhering to an armature as mentioned. From this little bit of experience with the gesso I get the impression that much of the detail can be worked in the gesso during application of the final coat and fine tuned with bits of fine sandpaper.






I wrote more about the process on my Ogallala build, last post on page four.  






Current Builds:  ESMERALDA Chilean Navy School Ship, 1/640 in a bottle

insanity Dan Clapp's hard water race boat in a bottle

Completed Build:  Prairie Schooner OGALLALA 1/96 in a bottle

Research Project:  Cruizer-class Brig-Sloops



"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin

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