Kate and Freddie

As mentioned previously, my current project is a small series of pop stars, predominantly in silly outfits. Of course, no one make these models, so I’ve been forced to sculpt (which, I will probably never get sick of saying, I hate). Now, obviously I can barely managed to tweak models with my own sculpting, so I’m rubbish at sculpting anatomy. Thankfully, there are a few ways around this.

As seen in the previous entries, Bowie was based on a print of Michelangelo’s David and Lady Gaga used a blank mannequin. For the next couple, I needed one to be relatively static (so I realistically just needed a naked person in a fairly plain standing pose) while the other needed much more flexibility.

The first of these is Freddie Mercury with a 1950s-era vintage hoover, a la “I want to break free”. For the base model, I used a mannequin from Friulmodel. I took a bit of a gamble on this one, as the website doesn’t show what the actual model looks like, but I figured for the price, it would be hard to go completely wrong. What actually arrived is actually quite a nice wee kit. The ‘visible’ anatomy (legs and arms) are well sculpted, and wouldn’t need too much extra work for more dynamic poses. For Freddie, who’s basically just standing mid-sweep with the hoover, it was simple matter of just bending the limbs into place, twisting the torso ever so slightly, then filling the gaps and adding the clothes:

(Apologies for the over exposure, but I find it difficult to get a clear picture of anything that’s just metal and grey putty. Hopefully it’ll all be clearer once there’s some paint on him.)

The toughest part of the sculpt was actually his moustache, because it’s so incredibly tiny. In the end, I gave up trying to use putty at all, and simply mixed some snow flock with PVA glue and painted it in place. This gave me much more control and saved an awful lot of swearing.

The next figure is Kate Bush from her iconic “Wuthering Heights” dance. I previously mentioned this sculpt as I used the other parts from the same kit that made Lady Gaga. Just as with Lady Gaga, I’ve had to make quite a few adjustments to those parts. The boobs and butt were, again, shaved down to more realistic proportions, and I’ve replaced both the head and hands with a Hornet head and Royal Model hands.

The design of the original kit’s hands is actually remarkably daft. The forearm parts aren’t long enough to reach the wrists, so you need to drill a pin hole into the hand in order to link up with the forearm… except that the hands are barely a millimetre thick and have no part of the wrist included, so you’d be drilling directly into the base of the palm. This might be feasible with a small enough drill bit, but you’re also contending with some of the most fragile fingers I’ve ever seen, so you can’t even get a decent grip on the hand in order to drill into it. I’m not sure it’s actually possible to use those hands.

Anyway, Kate is now mostly done – she just needs her hair and one shoe done, and probably some more tidying and extra folds on the skirt or something:

Oh, and I might bend her thumb up. It’s just a little bothersome.

Anyway, with all these nearing completion, I’ll soon be able to get back to the bit I really enjoy: painting.

However, it also means I’m now thinking ahead to my next project, and all of my options involve a lot of sculpting. As a result, I’m now looking into learning how to sculpt in 3D. I figure sculpting using a mouse or stylus can’t be more hateful than using putty, and I won’t have to wait for one part to set before working on the next. Blender seems to be a pretty decent bit of software, so I guess I’ll see how I get on with it.

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