Insider 5-26-2011

For this week’s blog, I thought I’d show you how I make scrollwork, like the kind that shows up on Protectorate Warjacks and armor.

The first step is to draw your design on the model itself. You could sculpt the scrollwork freehand, but drawing the design directly on the model keeps the detail consistent.

Next, roll out some putty into a thin tapered string, and then trim it to the correct length. If it’s a bit too long, that’s fine. Taper the other end by rolling it.

Use your sculpting tool to pick up the putty string by the end and place it on the model, then press the end of the putty down to “anchor” it to the surface. Make sure you lubricate the sculpting tool or the putty will stick to the tool and not the model!

Use the sculpting tool to move the string to follow your design. Lightly press the string onto the surface when you have it in place. Try not to flatten the string; you want to keep it somewhat rounded.

To get the ends to curl, push the tip of the string and the putty will start to curl. You just have to guide it in the proper direction. Then, press the tip of the string onto the surface to anchor the end. To make the end curl more, you can use a round clay shaper and press the tip into the curl to smooth out the edges.

At this point, you want to let the putty cure for a bit so you don’t ruin the work you just finished when adding the other vines. The vines are made the same way but with smaller strings of putty. Attach them to the larger vine and smooth out the joint.

When you are finished and the putty has cured, smooth out the joins with more putty, and you’re done!
You can find a lot of good reference designs in old clip-art and armor books.