I promised in the previous post that I would make a special step-by-step post about hands on cotton-covered wire armature. Here it is. The hands on the pictures are for a doll in 1/6 scale (11.5″, 29 cm), but this method can be used for any size.
Tools and materials used:
– cotton-covered wire
– brass tubing 1/8″
– tubing cutter
– polymer clay
– Translucent Liquid Sculpey
– polymer oil
– convection oven Deni 10400
– oven thermometer
– clay cutter
– “That’s the One” tool
– fine point dental rubber tool
– X-Acto knife
– pointed spatula
– flat clay smoothing brush
– fine point clay smoothing brush
– ball-point stylus tools in different sizes
– miniature fingernail tool set
– long-nose pliers
– wire cutters
– fine abrasive sanding mesh 180 grit
This is a group photo of all the tools that I used.
This is a photo of cotton-covered wire 30 ga.
It is very soft, but holds the shape nicely. The clay sticks to the cotton very well, so that the clay does not slide off the wire (rather maddening experience when you are dealing with a 10 millimeter finger.
I cut 5 pieces of wire and a piece of 1/8″ brass tube (hand module) with a wire cutter.
While working on fingers, had an idea on how to make it easier: How about:
1) making the phalanges of the fingers (little sausages)
2) baking the sausages
3) positioning the fingers as needed
4) covering up the joints.
Tried it. That idea has definitely lots of potential. Only not three phalanges, but two, because I need the clay on the fingertips unbaked for final detailing, for example fingernails.
Baked third time.
Nice to be able to pose the hands without ruining all the work I have just done, as it happens with the unbaked clay fingers. The sausages give a very good idea of how the hand should look, unlike wire.
After the hands are posed – I sculpted the fingers as usual. “As usual” means adding one tiny bit of clay at a time, smoothing it, shaping it with tools, one finger after another – long and tedious work. But this time the task was much easier – all that was needed is covering the joints and sculpting fingertips.
Here comes the 3-piece fingernail set by Alex Mergold. Perfect for 1/6 scale. 2 mm tool for thumb, 1.5 mm tool for index, middle and ring fingers, 1 mm tool for pinky. Yes, we sell it – see the link above.
A good consideration point from Bev and some additional brainstorming:
Bev Gelfand: Neat – I’ve been working on a similar format, but the separate phalanges for posing is a great idea. How many more times do you think you can bake these past four? I mean, if you’re baking them four times before even adding them to the rest of the sculpt, that means a minimum of two more bakes – do you feel they’ll put up with it, or begin to become brittle/crumbly) or discolor (problems I’ve noted from baking too many times)?
Natasha Nazarova: Good point. Don’t count the first bake – it is only translucent liquid sculpey. Three bakes. Also these three bakes do not have to be real bakes, perhaps less time, less temperature – to go easy on them. Also, these are for the scenario when the hands are added at the last time – for the last two bakes (“everything together” bake and “skin” bake). That is my thinking – I will try it and let you know.
Natasha Nazarova: Another idea – the palm and the phalanges-sausages can be done together for one bake. That cuts it down to 2 bakes.
Bev Gelfand Ah, that’s good. Up to the 2nd bake, add it to the figure, seam the arm and finesse the hands, third bake (presuming you do this at the same time as adding the feet/legs, so they’re in on the third bake). That leaves one final bake for corrections or TLS layer. *nods* yeah, that should work. Now if only I could figure out how to get a true non-shine matte finish. My TLS leaves a slight sheen, makes them look like oiled down/sweaty beach bodies. Maybe it’s just too old and I need fresh.