DIY Plastic Surgery, or: How I make my own figures

  • Thread starter Clive Tucker
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Clive Tucker

Clive Tucker

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Hi all,

As I mentioned on my SCGR Resurrection thread, I have been able to create a fair few customised figures, mostly using Preiser figured as a base. I thought it might be worth posting the actual steps involved, in the hope that it will inspire someone to have a go for themselves. Not the only way of course, and might not even be the best way, but it works for me. Anyway, here it is:

The background to this is, some years ago I needed a driver figure for a 'crane tank' loco. Rather than the LGB bog-standard 'bloke just standing there holding a shovel' or similar, I wanted a driver casually leaning out of the side of the cab, looking out at what was going on up ahead, as it were.

The starting point for this little project was a Preiser figure - one of the G-scale unpainted 'German track-worker' set.

I love Preiser figures for this sort of thing because the moulding detail, especially the faces, is invariably superb.

Here's how he started out...



Let the hacking commence! Nurse, the screens please.... The limbs are cut at the appropriate places (ie joints) and holes drilled to take short lengths of 1mm or 1.5mm copper wire. These act as joints to allow the figure to be posed as we see fit:



OK, let's see how he takes to his new role...



Right, now to fill the gaps with Milliput. As you may already be aware, it's a 2-part epoxy putty that hardens to rock solid after about 24 hours of mixing. It comes in several variants; I like the 'terra cotta' stuff as the colour contrast with white plastic is very useful for those with the visual acuity of a sloth - ie, me:



... and back into position to check that the limbs are positioned where they should be.... (note I have not yet put a hand on the end of the arm, as it is likely to be knocked off during sanding down:



A bit of filing, sanding etc to smooth it all down...



Next, a quick going over with spray primer (I prefer grey, but obviously there are other options here e.g. black, white). This has 2 purposes: to prepare the figure for painting proper, and also to highlight any ragged areas where the sanding or filing was not completely wonderful:



Attach a hand to the visible arm, and a quick photo-opportunity in situ...



I wanted the driver to be wearing some sort of baseball cap type of thing, so I cut the existing hat moulding away. I also added some hitherto-missing 'rolled up sleeve' detail to the right arm, and replaced the moulded waistcoat detail with some more flappy layers. All of this was done with another 2-part epoxy putty, called 'Green Stuff'. This is slightly different to Milliput in that it remains slightly flexible even when cured, so lends itself very much to creating thin layers of clothing without the risk of snapping off:



For a laugh, I thought seeing as he looked a bit too sensible of facial expression, I would make him look a bit more 'manic' by giving him a bit of a handle-bar 'tache, a beard and, just for good measure, a neckerchief:



So, to painting. I deliberately painted the whole body, so that I could have the option to pose the figure against some suitable structure, such as an oil drum or wall or a paint pot...



The excellent detail of the face and hands is enhanced by applying a dark flesh-tone wash; Games Workshop have this sort of thing in abundance.

Finally, our man is out and about doing his job - driving the crane tank:



So that's all there is to it! Why not give it a go? :)
 
Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
16,794
189
North Essex
I never knew that W.G. Grace was an engine driver. when he wasn't on the Cricket pitch.....? ;)

Seriously, a really execllent conversion job! :):clap:

Jon.
 
No72

No72

Registered
21 Dec 2014
221
0
Melobourne Australia
Hi all,

As I mentioned on my SCGR Resurrection thread, I have been able to create a fair few customised figures, mostly using Preiser figured as a base. I thought it might be worth posting the actual steps involved, in the hope that it will inspire someone to have a go for themselves. Not the only way of course, and might not even be the best way, but it works for me. Anyway, here it is:

The background to this is, some years ago I needed a driver figure for a 'crane tank' loco. Rather than the LGB bog-standard 'bloke just standing there holding a shovel' or similar, I wanted a driver casually leaning out of the side of the cab, looking out at what was going on up ahead, as it were.

The starting point for this little project was a Preiser figure - one of the G-scale unpainted 'German track-worker' set.

I love Preiser figures for this sort of thing because the moulding detail, especially the faces, is invariably superb.

Here's how he started out...



Let the hacking commence! Nurse, the screens please.... The limbs are cut at the appropriate places (ie joints) and holes drilled to take short lengths of 1mm or 1.5mm copper wire. These act as joints to allow the figure to be posed as we see fit:



OK, let's see how he takes to his new role...



Right, now to fill the gaps with Milliput. As you may already be aware, it's a 2-part epoxy putty that hardens to rock solid after about 24 hours of mixing. It comes in several variants; I like the 'terra cotta' stuff as the colour contrast with white plastic is very useful for those with the visual acuity of a sloth - ie, me:



... and back into position to check that the limbs are positioned where they should be.... (note I have not yet put a hand on the end of the arm, as it is likely to be knocked off during sanding down:



A bit of filing, sanding etc to smooth it all down...



Next, a quick going over with spray primer (I prefer grey, but obviously there are other options here e.g. black, white). This has 2 purposes: to prepare the figure for painting proper, and also to highlight any ragged areas where the sanding or filing was not completely wonderful:



Attach a hand to the visible arm, and a quick photo-opportunity in situ...



I wanted the driver to be wearing some sort of baseball cap type of thing, so I cut the existing hat moulding away. I also added some hitherto-missing 'rolled up sleeve' detail to the right arm, and replaced the moulded waistcoat detail with some more flappy layers. All of this was done with another 2-part epoxy putty, called 'Green Stuff'. This is slightly different to Milliput in that it remains slightly flexible even when cured, so lends itself very much to creating thin layers of clothing without the risk of snapping off:



For a laugh, I thought seeing as he looked a bit too sensible of facial expression, I would make him look a bit more 'manic' by giving him a bit of a handle-bar 'tache, a beard and, just for good measure, a neckerchief:



So, to painting. I deliberately painted the whole body, so that I could have the option to pose the figure against some suitable structure, such as an oil drum or wall or a paint pot...



The excellent detail of the face and hands is enhanced by applying a dark flesh-tone wash; Games Workshop have this sort of thing in abundance.

Finally, our man is out and about doing his job - driving the crane tank:



So that's all there is to it! Why not give it a go? :)
Great stuff. I need a few more tram passengers so ill give this mod is operandi a go.
 
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3Valve

3Valve

Railways; Air cooled VW's; Soul Music
24 Oct 2009
15,383
16
Shropshire
www.shlr.org.uk
Great work.

Initially misread the thread title. Thought it said "How I make my own fingers" :D
 
Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
16,794
189
North Essex
Great work.

Initially misread the thread title. Thought it said "How I make my own fingers" :D
Sounds fishy to me....... ;)

Jon.
 
S

Sarah Winfield

Registered
20 Jun 2016
1,012
1
75
Dorset
Excellent, nice to see other peoples aptitude for cut and carve.

SW
 
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Gizzy

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
32,564
291
Cambridgeshire
www.gscalecentral.net
Interesting 'surgery' there!

But do I spy a Stainz loco converted to a crane loco, using the parts from a LGB Matra crane Clive?

That's more my kind of 'surgery'....
 
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Clive Tucker

Clive Tucker

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Interesting 'surgery' there!

But do I spy a Stainz loco converted to a crane loco, using the parts from a LGB Matra crane Clive?

That's more my kind of 'surgery'....
Very astute observation sir, yes indeed it is exactly that.

One thread on that very subject coming to a forum near you soon! ;)
 
Capt. Jack

Capt. Jack

Registered
12 Mar 2017
563
14
Florida
Excellent. Great job. Turned out great. Thanks for sharing this.
 
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PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
23,632
535
Tamworth, Staffs.
I keep mis-reading the second part of the thread title as..........

...or how I make my own fingers. :oops::eek::tmi:

I think Mr Duffy needs that thread sometimes?
:rofl::rofl::rofl:
 
Riograndad

Riograndad

Model Railroading, boats and oil painting,
6 Jul 2013
1,645
276
65
Northampton UK
Interesting,just might try this,like the idea of the copper wire as I need a figure with folded arms for a future project,thanks for the post;)
 
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Clive Tucker

Clive Tucker

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Interesting,just might try this,like the idea of the copper wire as I need a figure with folded arms for a future project,thanks for the post;)
Yes, that's as good a way of doing it as any - in fact it's exactly the method I used to produce this fella some years back:

 
ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,628
195
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
Brilliant! I've done a few minor mods to figures, but not re-posed them like this. Very natural and realistic. Must give it a go.

Rik
 
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korm kormsen

korm kormsen

Registered
24 Oct 2009
2,458
28
i would hate to cut up expensive figures.
so i am testing various ways to copy figures - and cut up the copies!
(making molds and copies of epoxy-putty; or molds and resin castings; or scanning and 3D-printing)