Making Your Own Figures

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by modelmaker9, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. modelmaker9

    modelmaker9 New Member

    Has anyone made there own figures out of clay??? They are just so expensive, you could also make a model and use resin? anyone done this
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I remember a thread on here a few years ago about Shamus making figures, known on the Gauge as lpbs (little plastic beings). I did a search and could not find it. It may have been on an old server before we got hacked a couple of years ago. By the way, if you don't mind painting undecorated figures, Preiser has set of I think 100 udecorated figures available for @ $20.00.
  3. hminky

    hminky Member

  4. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    Following up on what Russ said, Preiser has at least 6 different sets of 100-120 unpainted figures in the $20 range. There's a thread under product reviews in the technical Q & A section from earlier this year that goes into some detail.
  5. tverskaya

    tverskaya Member

    Making them out of clay will be too much work (most types of clay are not suitable for such fine work)

    If you intend to make figures from scratch in order to duplicate them by making resin or pewter castings, you should use two part epoxy such as milliput or kneadadite as that is both very sculptable with very fine detail an will withstand the heat and pressure if you decide to use a vulcanized mould. Generally, RTV silicone rubber and two part moulds should be sufficient for casting simple figures.
  6. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :wave: welcome to the gauge. unless you are in a large scale unpainted Preiser is the way to go.
  7. tverskaya

    tverskaya Member

    Oh, and a little addition - sculpting a dozen figures, preparing a mould and casting them costs money and lots of time and patience and requires some talent and skills. If you have some experience sculpting kneadadite you could sculpt a figure in one hour (assuming you're working with batches of a dozen or so). The mould takes about a day or two to make, three if making a two part mould. Casting depends on the amount of figures per mould and the time it takes to pour the resin. As the resin has a very short work time, you probably cannot pour more than one mould per time of maybe the aforementioned twelve figures. From previous experience I estimate about three casting cycles per hour per mould. You might be able to double this when setting up a production line. So after one week of sculpting and mould making you could start producing figures at a rate of 36 per hour. Material costs must not be forgotten - for a small amount of resin and silicone rubber you'll probably have to spend $50-$100, which fortunately will last for a while if you're not going to make any large castings.

    Taking into account all these factors, you might realize why many people rather just buy Preiser figures.

    Cost might be a little bit less when making very large quantities but you'll need much more Skill, Talent and Time.
  8. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Have to agree with everyone else on the Preiser figs. Buying a box of unpainted ones saves a LOT of money, and as tverskaya pointed out, works out to be actually cheaper than making your own. :D

  9. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I buy Prieser, Model Power, old Plasticville and Bachmann unpainted figures, then modify about 1/3 of them to avoid repeated poses. I move or change limbs from one figure to another and heads get turned from one side to another. Hats are cut off of limbless carcasses :eek: and modified to be held by others. Torsos are cut to bend them in a variety of ways. Some figures are cobbled from several different figures---the girl is made from 3 and the embracing couple 7. I make a putty from the sprues of each figure set dissolved in liquid styrene cement, place it where I want it, let it harden then carve to desired shape---see Red Betty's chest (started life as a Plasticville brakeman), Bubba's beard and the girl's hair and figure. Modifying figures allows me to bring some artistic still lifes into my work that just can't be purchased.

    Attached Files:

  10. Jac's Lines

    Jac's Lines Member

    Scupting figures is actually really popular among metal miniature wargaming hobbiests (e.g. Warhammer). I don't wargame, but 7 or 8 years ago I looked into making a 1/64 scale castle scene just for the heck of it and stumbled on to this hobby. Basically, you can build up a figure in two part epoxy putty (e.g. Miliput, sold through Micromark) or a polymer clay (Fimo or Supersculpy, both available at most craft store, Wally world, etc.). They can be worked on some kind of a metal substructure -- either fabricated from wire but there are some manufacturers who do white metal versions. This yahoo group is useful:

    The late, great John Allen also had several articles in Model Railroader demonstrating how he fabricated HO scale figures using a wire substructre and mortician's wax. I've seen these articles scanned online somewhere, but can't find the link right now (it may be on one of the Gorre and Daphetid yahoo groups).

    As others have said, it's a total pain in the you know what to sculpt your own figures. In 1/64, which is bigger than HO scale, I never succeeded in producing anything better than green globs. I do, however, still use two part epoxy all the time on figure modifications and other model railroad stuff. But, scupting can be done and the yahoo group is a good place to get started.


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