Tools and Materials for Miniature Sculpting

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Sculpting tools:

1 Blunt knife for cutting blobs of putty to mix and to sculpt with. Why blunt? Less chance of scratching and inadvertently marking the putty you’re trying to smooth.

1 Extremely sharp and possibly lethal knife for trimming miniatures, whittling swords and guns and slicing basing materials.

2 Basic sculpting tool.

3 Clay shapers! They are probably the most important tool and absolutely awesome. Get them, use them, laugh hysterically and wish you’d bought them the second you’d heard about them. These things were a total game changer for me, I cannot stress enough how useful they are.

4 Metal ball stylus. Not necessary but I use it occasionally.

5 Tooth pick. I use it for applying super glue and sometimes putty, especially the greenstuff/milliput hybrid which is quite sticky.

6 2x needle nosed pliers and 1x clippers used for bending and cutting the wire for the armatures. (The wire skeleton or a support structure for a sculpture.)

7 Pin vice (its a tiny drill) and pin vice bits. Besides their obvious use they’re also good for holding arms or heads when working on them separate from the main sculpt.

8 File for file’n stuff.

9 Sandpaper. When sculpting weapons its easier to apply more putty and then cut or sand the excess away.

10 Digital calipers. Useful for measuring arms and legs etc. Keeping the miniatures to scale.

I basically do 99% of my sculpting with the basic tool and 2 colour shapers. For a hobby it’s cheap in materials but expensive in time.

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Materials:

1 Green stuff. The classic, it’s really sticky to start with just let it sit 15-20 minutes and it becomes more manageable – roughly the consistency of chewing gum.

2 Brown stuff. It’s similar to the greenstuff except it cures much harder and is sand-able. It’s really good for armour and weapons.

3 Procreate. Specifically made for mini sculptors. From my experience it’s a very good putty, I flip back and fourth between it and greenstuff for most sculpts.

4 Milliput. It can be brittle, smooths with water, sand-able, a good bulk putty. I don’t use it by itself anymore except for basing or really big sculpts but..

4.5 Not pictured but milliput mixed with greenstuff makes “superstuff”. It’s awesome for weapons, to bulk up the armature or large surfaces. It’s great stuff becasue it’s got the strength of milliput but the flexibility of greenstuff.

5. Vaseline. I spent a couple years using water to try and stop green stuff or other putty’s from sticking to my tools and fingers. IT doesn’t work. Get Vaseline it changes everything and makes working with green stuff actually pleasant rather than an exercise in patience which miniature sculpting kinda is anyway. Just wash them with a little soap if you’re planning on painting them.

6. Corks. To hold the wire armatures.

7 Plastic. Superglue a piece to the top of the cork and poke some holes for the wire. It makes a nice smooth surface for sculpting on.

8 Different types of wire for the armatures – paper clips, freezer ties, and fuse wire.

9 Superglue.

10 War gaming bases.

I tend to jump around with which putty I use even on the same mini, which isn’t terribly professional but sometimes when I’m stuck on a figure changing putty helps (Something I’m trying to get better at.)

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And then there’s all this stuff in the random box – sometimes you just need something with a thicker edge or a square box bit and it can be nice to have it.

So there’s what I’m currently using. Maybe someone will find this interesting!

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