October 10, 2015 - Arran Slee-Smith

Sculpting a model Dragon

Once again I have been overcome with the urge to model something, not one to deny my urges I obliged and one of my most ambitious builds to date is the result. Standing about 8 inches high and 12 inches across I have sculpted a massive (compared to my usual 15mm and 28mm minis) dragon from wire and tin, Milliput and green-stuff.

The build took about 2 months from concept art to its current state, painted but not based working a few hours when ever the fancy took me.

Step 1 Reference

Using my previous Dragon artwork for reference I had a pretty good idea how I wanted my dragon to look.

I sketched out the basic pose from a few angles and a rough scale for the miniature.

Step 2 The Head

I started with the head, as this would be the focal point for the miniature I wanted to make sure I got it right before committing to anything else, it would also decide the ultimate scale of the miniature as I would build up from here. Using green stuff for its ability to handle fine detail, though saving the really delicate details for later, knowing that I would have handle the head significantly later and they would likely get knocked off or bent.

Step 3 The body

Once happy with the basic form of the head I started on the armature and the core of the body. Using a thick armature wire I created an ‘S’ shape roughly matching my sketch. I then blocked out the core of the body using milliput.

Milliput is great at handling large volumes when sculpting. It can be sanded and filed much easier then green stuff. Its also much cheaper, a decent sized pack for a few quid. Milliput also dries hard like concrete making a great base to work off.

Step 4 The wings

The wings proved to be a challenge, I wanted them open, spread wide as-if hovering, the wings would need to be large, green stuff would be difficult to make info large sheets and Milliput would be inflexible. After much contemplation I decided to purchase some sheets of thick foil that could be cut, engraved and sculpted into wings.

Step 5 Fine details

Once thebasic shape was blocked out the final step was the fine details. I moved back to green stuff to finish off the final details, adding plates, spines and scales.

Step 6 Painting

I elected to go with a frost dragon paint scheme, a base of white with cold blues, greens and purples could look stunning and would look unique, just like my sculpt. I also elected to try out my airbrush for the first time in years, having given up on it previously, however the task of hand painting those wings seemed far more daunting then learning how to airbrush.

Step 6 Again

Okay so that didn’t work. I quite liked the head but couldn’t find a way to make the wings work, so I decided to scrap the white paint scheme and start again. Electing to go with a more traditional red and black dragon paint scheme. Much easier to paint and I have the right washes to pull it off.