Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Hello.  Hows your day going?  Mine was lousy.  I want to send it back to the manufacturer for a full refund.  Anyway...

Grenadier Orc... not its finest figure.

You know that one figure that lingers around your collection... not worth ebaying, but not really good for parts.  yeah, that one.  For me it was this Nick Lund Grenadier orc... to be fair, he probably knocked this one out really quickly to meet a deadline... I have produced some stinkers in my time under that ticking clock.  The studs are poked in with a tube, rather than raised, the weapons are little more than a square with the end cut off- nothing is finished or refined, the face has no character.  Perfectly acceptable for a mass army, but nothing to put it into a hall of fame like Ugezod's shaman, for example.
Anyway, off days in sculpting aside, I found myself experimenting with magic sculpt / green stuff mixes, and rather than risk a commission, decided to try the sculpt-ability out in a fun little sculpt along.

Grenadier Orc.  Somewhat converted.

So lets talk mixes.  This is a 1:3 magic sculpt : green stuff mix.  Make sure to mix the magic sculpt parts precisely 1:1 so that it sets, then mix it into the green stuff.  Magic sculpt tears raggedly when you bend it, but has the benefit of setting shore D hard (most resins set shore D for example).  Green stuff is shore A... rubbery.  Mixing the two means rather than tear, the putty bends.  The magic sculpt takes off a little of the stickiness of the green stuff, removes some of the memory and allows you to feather new pieces together without a noticeable seam.  You can further improve the mix with a tiny amount of super sculpey- which has a waxy texture that makes green stuff spongier and less sticky.
Mix up your putty, set it aside and go wash your hands.

Poke by poke putty poking
Start by shaving off the models face.  The key word is shave... only take off thin slivers of metal at a time using as little pressure as possible.  A rounded blade (see below) is best for shaving off metal, and it must be fresh and sharp- the blunter the blade, the more force you need to apply and therefore the more dangerous.  Only work with a fresh, absolutely sharp blade!  The usual disclaimers about being careful and cutting away from yourself and all the crap apply- look, if your too stupid to operate a scalpel you really should be in a different hobby.  Go sue your parents for giving you bad safety training, not me.

Rounded sculpting blade- stolen from another website for
illustration purposes, and you know, Winona Ryder style fun.

Okay, so the trick when first sculpting is to mass in, then refine.  In figure 1 I start with a blob, then use a little lube (I use KY, you can use vaseline, canola oil, spit, glycerine or whatever) applied with a finger onto the face.  I first pat the ball into the rough shape of a head, impressing in the jaw line, forehead, cheeks and so forth until it roughly resembles what I am after.
Once that is complete, I start suggesting the details lightly- if you squint at the subject your trying to copy, you will see the bigger details first- this is what you want to get in next.  The fine details sit ontop of that work, so don't worry about them yet.

For the mouth, I use the green stuff rubbery nature to best effect.  You can sculpt things bigger and then push and stretch them into position.  I started with making an open mouth, then press the lip up into position.

The eyes are really tricky to do and take practice, but don't loose hope.  It took me ages to get eyes happening.  For this guy I used a very simple technique.  Very, very gently, poke in the silhouette of the eye opening so that it appears faintly- about the depth of the eyelid.  Then stab a needle in either side, creating both the curvature of the eye, the tear duct and corner in one go. Again, this uses the rubbery nature of the green stuff to effect.

Easy eyes.  Gently poke outline, then stab twice.

For the nose I stab in a pin just above the lip, and pull up gently for each nostril.

Figure 10 shows how the teeth are shaped on the base before being picked up and placed using the back of the sculpting tool. Don't roll it on your skin.  Skin + epoxy = bad.  The teeth are then poked into holes I widened with a pin, once inserted I pushed the lip back into place.

Well, why not give it a go... and why not post pics :)  And why not send me money and miniatures.  Why not indeed?


  1. I'm a big fan of Lund's orcs (and trolls and ogres) and have quite a few. They have great style and presence. It's true, though, he cuts corners sometimes (often), and this one is probably not one of my favorites.

    Thanks for the tut--hope the sculpting turned around your day!

    That's a Chronicle hoggoblin, btw and not a Grenadier.

  2. I also have an unfathomable fondness for Lunds often crude and simple figures. Maybe its the fact that I look at his some of his sculpts and think "I could do that". Alternatively, maybe his chunky style just makes figures so tough they just outlast all the other figures at the bottom of the not-being-painted pile.

  3. This looks so easy when you do it he he. Great read as always.

    Any chance you'll post your thoughts on the new liquid green stuff thing from GW?