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Author Topic: Wing Armature - help please!  (Read 6208 times)

specston

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Wing Armature - help please!
« on: June 05, 2014, 04:41:26 AM »
Hey guys, I'm currently sculpting a full figurine of Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon, and I have  run into a problem... Well, i was basing my figuring loosely on the techniques from this online tutorial (http://www.thebroodingtom.com/3-headed-dragon).. All was going well until I started work on the wings.

so based on the tutorial, he used a fine wire mesh as armature for the wings. but problem is, I cannot get my hands on any wire mesh at all, so now i'm look for alternatives... anyone knows what can be done? can i use things like alumninium foil or something? or do i really need a sheet armature?

(i'm using sculpey III and the wing is going to be about 15cm by 8cm with 2 ribs/bones/finger in between)

Carrie

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2014, 09:11:09 PM »
Hi  :)

I have never sculpted, but l know you can use foil as an armature, but in the case of this large dragon, it does look as if you need something stronger.
Could you perhaps open out a drink can, flatten it and use that?  You can easily cut them with kitchen scissors.  Making it larger than the wire structure as suggested in the tutorial is a good idea, so you can fold in the sharp edges.  Otherwise, you can buy flexible sheet metal in a few gauges - it is sold for embossing.

I have bought mesh in the past, similar to the stuff in the tute, in an ordinary craft shop, here in the UK.  It was folded into an A5 pack....not sure now what it was sold for, but l did buy it to use for an armature for some project l have now forgotten about!

In the tute he says that thin parts might scorch....you can avoid this happening by protecting the sculpture in the oven with a sheet of foil or inside a tin.    It will all need to be cured at the full baking temperature preferably for longer than the pack suggests - up to an hour for a final baking wouldn't hurt.  You can bake multiple times which will help a lot when you come to complete the wings as you can bake the body first. 

You might need to use some tacky white glue - even a glue stick works - to help your polymer clay stick to the metal.  The metal will be completely covered by clay so there'll be no need to use liquid polymer clay to bond them.

Hope this will help.

Please introduce yourself in the appropriate section  :)



« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 09:17:12 PM by Carrie »

specston

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2014, 06:20:06 PM »
Hey Carrie!

Thanks for the wonderful tips! I've never thought of using drink cans... hmm I shall give it a try! Well I'm not from the UK but from Singapore, and Art and Craft items here are over priced. The only mesh available freely here are all made of plastic (as if there was some ban on metal mesh that I am unaware of)... i did find a metal one though, it was from the local craft supply chain that is known for being expensive - 7 bucks for a small 20cm by 30 cm piece! i wanted to try my luck with other alternatives so i here I am, asking the forum for its expertise and i guess you came to my rescue!  ;D

and thanks for the great tips on baking and sticking the clay on to the metal! especially the foil and the wings! I would never have thought of that! thanks Carrie!

I'll try to post a pic up here of the final product! :)


Carrie

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2014, 09:31:06 PM »
I hope it works out - we'll love to see your pics.  You aren't the only dragon addict here, you know  ;D

specston

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 09:49:03 AM »
Alright! Dragon lovers of the world unite! haha!

Quick update.. i tried using the flattened drink can but the problem i faced was that it was too stiff to hold the shape i wanted. also, the folding of the edges to make a "latch" to hook on to the wire armature was not feasible with a drink can since the folded metal can breaks away upon unfolding. not that you'd need to unfold it, but if anyone reading this for reference is also going to experiment like me, you'd probably be playing an awful lot around with it..

so anyway i took a risk and tried using aluminium foil instead since my wing structure is fairly small... took your advice to put something sticky before adding the clay. its holding up so far... and i'm still crossing my fingers... :)

here's a sneak peak of the wings so far!


Carrie

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2014, 02:19:10 PM »
Hmm - l didn't think about shaping the cut-up can  ;D
It looks as though the foil will work then!  Did you bake the wings flat?  Looking good so far :)

Karolina.S

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2014, 03:15:33 PM »
When i use foil as an armature i dress the armature in some sculpey original and make the surface smooth with my fingers.

Maybe that is just stupid of me or maybe not ;)
Timrċ in the north of Sweden. Always with my polymer clay eyes open.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/77424684@N04/ http://www.facebook.com/Hobbyrian

specston

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2014, 10:18:13 AM »
Carrie,

the armature of the wings were secured directly on to the body... so i couldnt bake the wings separate... should I have done so instead? the foil is holding up but i have to keep bearing in mind that it is very fragile...


karolina:

hej nah that sounds right! haha! only thing is i can't seem to be able to smooth the clay enough!

Karolina.S

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2014, 10:21:49 AM »
Tjat is why i use the sculpey original it is easy to smooth but then after that i bakek the original Sculpey and coat my sculpture with Premo
Timrċ in the north of Sweden. Always with my polymer clay eyes open.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/77424684@N04/ http://www.facebook.com/Hobbyrian

specston

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2014, 05:08:25 AM »
oooo... okay.. nice.. but i can't do that here.. cos i can only get Sculpey III in my country... the other alternative is this sculpey bake shop thing... which is imho a lousier quality for clay modelling.

anyway, i'm in a fix now. This is the current state of my sculpture, pre-baked, as you can see below, and it is far from smooth... I have thought of sanding it down after baking, but... 1) i have no experience in sanding, and 2) i would have a problem sanding with the fins on the spine and tail protruding out  (i intended to secure the fins with wire inserts so they would have to be added pre-baked, not sure if that is necessary though). using this method, i will not be able to sand as well.

the other way would be to bake the sculpture now without the tail fins, then sand it down, then add the tail fins after that. but the tail fins would just be sitting on the dragon's back with TLC... not so secure...

so which way should i go?


and one more thing question, the wings are not as smooth as i'd like them to be, so i might consider sanding it down, but it has a very thin layer of clay (2 postcards thick on each side of the foil armature) and i'm afraid theres a possibility of breaking it. so i would also like to ask you sages of the polymer clay world, if such cases, is sanding feasible?

   

      

MelMcG

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2014, 08:11:44 PM »
I think it's fabulous with the slight texture to it.  I wouldn't sand it, but that doesn't mean you can't.  You'd have to work very slowly and carefully so not to go through to the wire.

Mel  :)

Billski

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2014, 07:24:42 AM »
Great work, I wouldnt sand, the wings have a leatherer look to them which I really like

specston

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2014, 07:49:40 PM »
Hey guys, thanks for your comments! Well i guess in that old picture it looked nice with the light reflecting off it and all, but after baking, it looked horrendous and uneven and some parts were in serious need of filling up.. so i did, took some clay tried to fill it in but it wouldnt stick. so i added TLS to the clay to make it more slurry-ish. now when i have baked it a second time, the TLS seems to have added a lighter tone of grey to the clay. and its now just one ugly patch sticking out. okay maybe more than one...

not sure how to move on. i can sand the rest of the sculpture and neaten it up, but the texture will be gone. still wont help the color unless i paint it. also, double baking the sculpture seems to have introduced cracks. bummer. what can I do?

Also, i like the matte look with the slight reflection of the light of the baked clay. but i tested a satin glaze on a test piece and it looked too shiny. anyone knows if matte glaze produces the effect? (i used FolkArt by Plaid Satin Varnish)

MelMcG

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Re: Wing Armature - help please!
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2014, 12:09:29 PM »
I don't really do sculpture so I'm not sure how useful this will be, but it's a thought....  You could try covering the wings with a thin coat (a patchy coating) of Fimo Deco Gel (let it sit for 15 mins before you do anything else, that way it becomes stickier and isn't slippery), then cover with a thin layer of black clay.  Use untextured gloves and dip you finger into water to lightly smooth away any unwanted texture.  Don't use too much water and work slowly.

Mel  :)