Since my last update I've been making some of the accoutrements for this figure. Because I want this to a completely original sculpt I will need to make everything from scratch, including a British Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle which is going to be yet another fresh challenge.
Over the last few months I've been routinely putting myself in a position where I have to tackle things I haven't done before to try and become a better sculptor. Many things I'm having to do a lot of reworking on as part of that process. At times it can be totally demoralising but after persevering to get things right it can be very uplifting.
For the straw hat, I first made the basic shape of the crown and brim, then inscribed the surface using the point of a scalpel blade. It was a fiddly and painstaking process, that's for sure! Plus I had to do the underside twice as the first time the brim became too thin. I still need to add the 'US' on the brass plate of the cartride box but will do that at the same time I have to do it on the waist belt buckle.
I've made a little more progress with the 16th New York figure since my last update. Not as much as I would have liked but I'm treating this as a learning exercise and trying to make the figure in a way that would allow me to have castings done. I'm also learning about incorporating locating and positioning elements between separated parts. Trying to work out all these things must get easier with practce but some of it has made my head spin a bit at times!
After removing the head I established the collar and fit for the head before going onto the jacket. Working out how to acheve folds and creases that are natural and pleasing to the eye on an item of clothing that has various straps across it can be quite tricky. But it isn't just the position of the straps and belt that inform the folds and creases, the motion of the figure and position of the limbs and any twist in the torso also have a definite influence.
So I decided to resolve the parts above the waistbelt first, then add the lower part after that had fully cured. After the initial application of putty had cured I decided that the jacket looks too chunky in places and reshaped this with some scraping and carving with a scalpel blade. The area under the left arm was carved away and resculpted altogether. The indentations allowed for the straps can also make this sort of reworking in isolated areas easier to achieve and blend in the those areas not being carved away.
Whilst I added the basic lower part of the jacket, I'm conscious that there will be some accoutrements to make allowance for later and once the precise position and fits of those has been dealt with I'll consider further enhancement and movement within the jacket below the belt.
I decided to deal with the opening at the front of the jacket after all the straps work has been finalised.
Here, after adding the waist belt and the sling for the cartridge box the fitting of the cartridge box has been worked out. I wanted it to sit naturally and for the fitting at the rear not to be visible. Adding more to the lower jacket in that area helped to conceal the fit in a way that looks natural.
The next stage will be adding the haversack and making allowance for the the canteen and it's strap. I've figured out how I think I can make the fitment work but I still have to actually do it!
I've now had to put this sculpt aside for a few weeks while I paint the box art for a couple of forthcoming bust releases in November. Naturally, pictures of those will have to be kept under wraps for the time being so my next workbench update will probably be around mid-November.