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Sculpting the insaniak way: Chains

A tutorial by insaniak


Handy for draping over models, or for securing stowage onto vehicles, chains can take a little practice to turn out neatly, but the basic technique is really very simple.

First off, tools... You'll need some putty, a hobby knife, a sculpting tool, a pair of tweezers, and a spike of some kind (the one I have pictured here with the yellow handle is from a cheap set of soldering tools). You will also want some water for dipping your tools as you work. A little water on the tool helps to stop it from sticking to the putty.

You will also obviously need something to sculpt the chain onto. You can sculpt it directly onto your miniature, or do it on a flat surface like a tile or spare base and glue it onto the miniature when it is set.

Step 1:

Roll out a thin sausage of putty between your fingers. Try to get the sausage a fairly even thickness, although it's not a big deal if you don't, as it can be trimmed down as you go. Press this sausage into place on your miniature or work surface.

Step 2:

Flatten the sausage of putty down using your sculpting tool, to the thickness that you want the chain.

Step 3:

If your flattened sausage is a little too wide, you can trim it down to size with a knife. The width is really up to you... it all just comes down to how you want the chain to look. I would recommend trying a few different thicknesses and widths for practice, just to see how they turn out.

Step 4:

Take the tweezers and pinch the putty in regular intervals along the length of the sausage. This forms the upright links of the chain.

Step 5:

Using your spike, press a hole into the putty in between each of the raised links you have just created.

Step 6:

Now you need to define the links a little better. Take your knife and cut a small line into the putty along the edge of each of the raised links. This line should run from the centre of the indent in the side of the chain to the side of the hole you made with the spike, on each side and both ends of the raised link.

Step 7:

Now, take your spike and press an indent into each side of the raised links. You can push the spike right through if you like, although that can be tricky to do without seriously warping your links, and is generally not necessary on smaller chains. Shading in the indents when you paint it will be sufficient to look the part.

If any of your links are a little deformed, you can touch them up with the sculpting tool at this point. If the raised links are sitting a little too flat, you can lift them up a little with the spike when you make the indents by just pulling gently upwards.

And there you have it: one chain.

There's a pretty much infinite amount of variety you can give to the look of it by just changing the thickness and width of the initial putty sausage, altering the length of the links, and tinkering with the final shape of the links, making them square or more rounded.

This article taken from my tutorial thread here.

Some more examples in the wild:


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