Thursday, April 26, 2007

Making Kagura part 1: Materials

Welcome to the first part of Midztoyz's figure making mini-tutorial.

Let's get this tutorial started! The first thing you need to know about making a figure is the material used. This is the stuff that our figure will be made of. There are many to choose, from the common automotive putty to the more expensive professional sculpting clay. It really depends on what you have access to. The materials I used are the ones that I can get my hands on. I live in Jakarta, Indonesia, and this is the stuff that I can get locally, unless noted. I will also try to provide alternatives for these materials if there are any. Let's get down to bussiness.

Oil Clay

Also known as plasticine. This is probably the easiest clay to find. It oil-based so it wont dry out. You want a firm texture with high elasticity. My current favourite is a local brand called 'Raja Ketawa'. It has great elasticity, easy to work with and have a nice scent. I find that the black colored clay is firmer than the other colors. Yellow is the softest. I this clay it to make the basic shapes and rough sculpt for molding. It's also good for practicing sculpting technique. If the clay is getting to soft, just pop it in the fridge for a minute to make it firm. You can then carve and add details.

Polyester Putty

This is polyester putty (poly putty for short). This is my main workhorse putty for making my figures. You might know it as automotive putty, the one used to patch up dents and body repair. It comes with a small bottle of hardener. You mix the putty and hardener with a ratio of 100:2 until you have an even uniform color. The putty itself cannot be worked at until it's cured. It takes about 20 minutes to cure. You can also manipulate the time and hardness of the mix by manipulating the ratio of hardener. More hardener will give you harder and faster curing mix, and vice versa. Keep in mind, if you add to little hardener, the mix will not cure at all and are left with a gooey mess. You can also thin this putty using laquer thinner. It's readily available almost anywhare, and come in tin of 250 g, 1 Kg, and 4 Kg. Be sure to wear proper protection though. The fumes from it is toxic and it stinks!

Epoxy Putty

You mix and equal amount of resin and hardener. Knead it until it's uniform and this putty is ready for use. It'll cure rock hard, you can sand, drillm and tool it. Before it's cured, the texture of this putty is sticky, much like chewed bubble gum. It stick to almost anything. I usually sit a mix for 5-10 minutes before using it. Do keep you hand and tools wet to keep them from sticking to the putty. I mostly used this putty for detail work.

Air-Dry Clay

These are air-dry clay. You use it like oil clay, but it'll cure if you leave it in the air. After curing, the clay can be sand and tooled, but do be careful since this material is brittle. The white one is paper clay. It's a mixture of paper fiber, starch, and clay powder. I love this stuff. It has a high learning curve, and need some getting used to. You can make a mess of yourself if you're not careful, but it's easily cleaned by using water. The brown one use clay powder only, just like those pottery clay. These stuff might be hard to come by. You need to look in speciality and craft shops to find it. I got my paper clay from, the Keramiplast was purchased from a local bookstore.

Polymer Clay

Poly clay for short. This is my newest acquisition. Thanks to Elise from Claygeek for hooking me up with this stuff. Polymer clay is similar to oil clay, the difference is that poly clay will cure when it is baked. I haven't had the chance to work with it much, let alone make a figure out of it. I'll have to get back on this later.

That's the first part of the tutorial. In the next part we will start to make the figure.

So stay tuned!


Zhimet cardozo said...

Nice!!... Cant wait to see more... :)

firman widyasmara said...

wah... asik nih... belajar dong pak! at least aku coba liat dulu deh di blognya, cari bahan2nya.. nanti kalo aku bingung2 mohon dibantu ya :))


aiman said...

what is the best modelling clay for action figure? the most sturdy?

MidZ said...

That really depends on what you got readily available. If you can get chavant clay in your area, get those.

I myself mix my own modeling wax. For action figures with all the movable parts I recommend something like polymer clay or polyester putty.
Good luck!

christoff burnham said...

hi i am philippines and i want to buy san polac polyester putty. wat will i do?

Edsa Abdurahman said...

@christoff burnham
Try your local paint/auto body shop. It usually sold as auto body filler. The brand name might be different in your area. Just check the can for polyester putty/filler and you're good to go.
Good luck!