In an earlier update I mentioned that a challenge I would have to face with my current figure sculpt would be to make an Enfield rifle musket from scratch. I have to say I found the prospect quite daunting and it was something I had to really get 'psyched up' for beforehand. In this and another update next week I'll be showing the process I used.
As with making anything from scratch the first step was to gather some suitable reference images and try to establish some dimension as far as possible. After being able to find some good visual references online plus certain dimensions I was then able to determine the proportionate dimensions for various other aspects of the rifle. I marked these dimensions in millimetres (adjusted down to 1/32 scale) on a printed image of the rifle as shown below.
The next steps were to establish a basic framework and, upon this, establish the basic shapes for the stock and butt of the rifle. I decided that by using the brass rod I intended for the barrel and ram-rod I could establish the slightly tapered depth (i.e. from the front to the rear of the barrel and stock) from the top of the barrel to bottom of the ram-rod as well as the barrel length and overall length of the rifle.
I fixed the rods together with some green stuff and speed cured in the oven. For the rest of the work I used my usual putty, a combination of pre-mixed magic sculpt (70%) and green stuff (30%).
After cutting away the surplus green stuff squeezed out from between the rods when fixing in place, I applied some more putty to establish the basic shape of the stock, After speed curing in the oven I then scraped and sanded this to the correct shape and size.
A quick note on speed curing in the oven. I heat to around 70/80 degrees (celcius) then turn off the oven and place the piece to be cured in the oven. With the oven door kept closed the residual heat in the oven is sufficient to speed cure within 30 minutes. I turn off the oven primarily to avoid wasting electricity but it also removes any possibility of temperature fluctuations and any consequent overheating of the putty if there was an issue with the termostat.
I next added a basic oversized shape of putty for the butt of the rifle. Once cured I used the same process of carving and scraping with a scalpel and sanding with wet and dry paper to achieve an accurate shape. This was quite time consuming work with constant measuring and cross-referencing my reference images and dimensions. After this stage I was starting to feel very optimistic that I'd be able to achieve a decent Enfield rifle.
The photos below show these stages in the process. I hope you've found this interesting? I'll do another update next week to show the second half of the process.
After establishing the basic shapes of the rifle as shown in Update #39, I felt that most of the detailing work should be fairly straightforward as long I approached it methodically, there were just a couple of parts that would be fiddly to get right. For the most part, I worked from the end of the barrel backwards with the idea of adding as late as possible those more fragile parts that might get damaged from handling.
For most elements of the detailing I employed careful sanding with small pieces of 1000 grade wet and dry paper and scraping with new flat and rounded scalpel blades. This enabled me to achieve nice clean edges and thinness which can be difficult to achieve from just applying the putty. Click on any image to see enlarged version.
In my next update I'll post some pics of the finished 16th New York figure.