Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DIY Miniatures

Last week I was going through one of those drawers that has a ton of odd items in it - markers, tape, batteries, computer cables… For some reason there was a small package of Sculpey in there. I immediately began to think of easy monsters I could sculpt with it. Oozes, puddings, jellies, elementals, modrons, shriekers, piercers, and giant snakes all sprung quickly sprung to mind.

Then I remembered Rusty’s old Beer Ooze creature, which David helped me dig up again. So I sculpted this little terror, put it in the oven to bake, and after it finished and I turned off the oven, I left it in there to slowly cool down. Then I went to a work appointment, thinking I’d be back well before dinner. Big mistake. My wife came home and set the oven to pre-heat to 425 degrees, eventually smelling my burning sculpture in there. She got it out but it was petty messed up (pictured above). I still kind of like it, but it's no beer ooze.

I was a little attached to that first bugger, but I started from scratch, and made another one which this time survived. My monster is much bigger than Rusty’s write-up, or maybe it’s the mother of all beer oozes. I need to take another stab at the paint job, but what I was going for was the beer sort of rising up and getting ready to strike with a frothy white head of goodness. I mean evilness.

All this ridiculousness lead me to google how to go about making one’s own D&D miniatures - surely, I thought, someone out there took this a little more seriously than me. So here’s a little link dump of my quick findings…

Robertson Games has at least a couple of posts about sculpting minis with polymer clay.

StormtheCastle has a very comprehensive DIY guide to sculpting fantasy miniatures, complete with video tutorials to accompany the text.

MiniatureWargaming.com has a number of good links on the subject.

The Sculpting Tools blog will help seriously interested readers create their own modeling tools.

Finally, NewbieDM has an article about using plastic 3d printers to sculpt miniature parts. It's not really in the realm of frugal with 3d printers running in the thousands of dollars, but maybe one day that’ll come down like the cost of computers has over the years - an interesting glimpse into a possible future of do-it-yourself gaming miniatures.

12 comments:

squidman said...

that's a totally badass monster!

David said...

I agree with squidman, it's definitely badass! Also, while it's not a beer ooze, it could definitely be an ochre jelly.

Chris Lowrance said...

Dude, you're gonna wanna see some of the stuff I'll be posting on my blog. I've been messing around with making minis from super sculpey myself. (ironically, I'm also teaching my wife to play DnD!)

The critter above - I'm not sure what a beer ooze should look like, but if the dark spots are what concern you don't worry. Super Sculpey is harder the darker it gets - this always happens to the thinnest parts of my work.

Stuart said...

The best tip I learned about making minis with Sculpey/Fimo/Polymer Clay is that you can bake them *multiple times* so you can make your rough figure, cook it, then do all your detail work on top of a solid figure and cook it again. That will make it a lot easier than trying to model without squishing all the stuff you've already done.

Roger the GS said...

Congratulations! You now have the life-level-draining Black Foam subrace of the Beer Ooze.

Chris Lowrance said...

I just learned that one working on a Fungi from Yuggoth, Stuart. It is a good trick. I built a wire armature and used some clay to hold the joints together, then baked them. Save me the trouble of soldering. Then I worked on top of that - it was like wrapping flesh onto bones.

ze bulette said...

thanks for the comments all. I only just realized that the little sculpey creation here is the Black & Tan version of a beer ooze monster. :)

Telecanter said...

I've been watching that 3D printer scene. The resolution isn't really there yet. But just wait, a year or two and we'll be sharing 3D miniature models.

1d30 said...

Nobody mentioned paper standup miniatures, like for boardgames, with plastic tabs on the bottom so they stand up.

Or, do what I do for monsters: a ton of d6. There are just so many reasons to use them instead.

But for PCs, definitely go with some kind of good miniature.

Jon Hendry said...

Re: 3D printing

Check out Shapeways.com

You can upload 3D models and have them printed, in a variety of materials, including stainless steel. You can also make your models available to other people, and I believe you get a cut of the price.

A little pricey, but much better than having to buy the machine. I recently ordered three D20s from them, for about $25. They're about 1.5" in diameter, made of a material they call "alumide", a grey plastic with metallic particles.

mikemonaco said...

Awesome slime monster! How did you get that translucent effect? Is there a clear Scuply?!?

ze bulette said...

@mikemonaco: It was actually Sculpey branded as translucent. It naturally turned an amber in the oven (perhaps due to overbaking). I helped bring the effect out in the photo by backlighting it with sunlight.

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