As promised, a visual step through guide (labor excluded) of what goes into making one the many Horde Orcs, or any other miniature I’ve been carving.
Step 1: Make a Nipple. Get your Super Sculpey out and tear a piece off! I found about an inch of three strips is enough for most guys, for this particular one, it was more like an inch and a half. Remember, most Mini’s are about 25 to 35mm tall from the base to the top of the head (high point, could be an arm.) I don’t include weapons in this measurement.
Step 2: Begin Gesture. After a good massaging of the clay, I set it on the table and start loosely exploring what the character wants to be doing. Don’t worryabout getting in too much info, just get the feel of the action. The final pose is formed from this initial suggestion. I placed these two together for scaling (want him to be another big fella.)
Step 3: Bake. Oven at temp at 275F. Depending on thickness, its about fifteen to twenty for these. Put them on a solid something, I like a tray with aluminum foil over it. You don’t want the bases to bendy warp or they won’t stand right.
(*This is a good time before they go in to think about magnet imprinting on the bottom. Simply get the magnet you want and press the base onto it. When it’s hardened, it should fit right in and you can glue it securely.)
Once done, remove but be careful!! They are friggin hot. Let them cool down then grab your Exacto.
Step 4: Carving. Now here is the fun part, finding the figure inside the gesture. Think about it like your freeing someone who was buried in a mudslide, or an avalanche if you like snow better. You want to carve chunks out of where empty space is and get more careful as you get closer to the person stuck inside. (Don’t waste your time trying to slowly scratch away the giant space between the legs, crave a pie wedge to get the majority of it out then scrape it more carefully as it looks right.) Also, remember your guy is standing on a base! Eye out where the feet will land, keeping this in mind will prevent your Mini from being torso only. It’s also important to follow to suggestion (if it makes sense) of the gesture, don’t fight it.
Step 5: Arms. This should be a separate post. There’s a lot of info on just this topic. But for the sake of this post, I’ll talk about my specific character’s weapon. Because of his pose, a one handed weapon seemed lie the right choice. I wanted an axe, something mean looking, so I made one. A BIG one. Too big for my tastes, I am trying to avoid comical scaling here. As strong as this guy looks, that axe probably weighs as much as his own body.
So new axe and a shield to boot! I made the shield from a wine bottle cork. I always save them, some have different properties then others, I chose this cork because it has a real rough graininess to it. Once, the weapon is to scale and looking good, I super glue it into place. With a weapon in one hand sometimes its necessary to remove the end, stick it through fresh/soft clay then throw it back in the oven for ten minutes. This way you have a full wrap around the hilt/grip. I get away with just carefully carving a trench where the grip goes and glueing the weapon into that.
Step 6: Base Coat. I Like to prime my guys with a thin base layer of paint before attaching armor and the like. This way I can get into all the nooks and crannies that are hard to get to. This step can also be taken before the armaments are added, but it’s your choice.
Step 7: Armor. So with the Orcs I’ve been using mostly thin copper sheeting. With some embossing work put into it, you get some great textures and shapes happening. All armor is cut to shape and scale on model, so make it count. There’s a lot of labor lost if you screw this part up.
Step 8: Final Color! Thats right, but this is probably another post all together.
Well thats the skinny, I encourage all of our team to try their hands at it. If carving a man seems daunting, start with set props we will need during the campaign. Chests, and barrels and whatnot.