Sculpting Faces in 15mm
By Neldoreth
June 16th, 2009

Introduction

Here is a quick guide on how to sculpt faces in 15mm. This method (and so, this guide) was developed based on the plethora of *How to sculpt 28mm faces* articles out there. Like mose articles on this site, I write them for me as a reminder of how I did it so that I don't have to relearn how I did it when I get back to it six months later :) I hope that others might find it useful as well.

The other thing that I should point out is that most articles are written by the very same people that need them: beginners. This article is no exception. I have sculpted about 20 of these 15mm figs. That's nothing compared to most professional sculpters who have sculpted thousands of 15mm figs. Keep that in mind when you read this article!

The step by step view is almost self explanatory, but I will detail the steps below for the sake of completeness. It is worth noting at this point that you should be sculpting the head onto a little cured ball of putty. Or, at least something that will not deform when you push on the face; you want to be able to shape the face on a platform where you won't have to worry about haveing to reshape the head afterward. Once you have that base, you are ready to sculpt your face:

  1. Start off with the general shapr of the face. It's an oval that tapers toward the bottom and has a vague ridge along the centre.
  2. Using a appropriately sized too make a depression for the eye socket. Keep in mind that the eye should be in the center (top to bottom) of the head. The brow line doesn't have to be in the centre, but the eye should. Any minor issue with the position can be fixed later by adding putty or hair to the top of the head.
  3. Make a depression for the second eye in the appropriate position. For me, this was a single press with my eye socket too. Failing to find a perfect tool for making eye sockets, I ended up making one myself. Mine is made from an arachnid leg that was left over from a Starship Troopers miniature. I filed the tip down into the perfect size and shape, and then pinned it on to the end of an old paint brush (after removing the tattered bristles).
  4. Use a small sculpting tool to define the nose by pressing on either side of it. If done properly, you can shape the cheek bone at the same time. Alternatively, you can use tweezers to pinch the nose as well, but I find that tweezers promote a round nose, and not a scooped nose. I also find that shaping noses in 15mm is difficult...
  5. Use an exacto knife to define the bottom of the nose by pressing it where the end of the nose should be an pushing up slightly. Once that's done, use the knife to define the mouth half way between the nose and the bottom of the face. Note that after defining the nose there will be a protrusion below it. Press the mouth into that, don't flatten it, it is a good shape for the lips. If you want an open mouth, put the knife into the mouth and pull down gently.
  6. Now it's time to shape the face a bit better. Define the nostrils with a pin, pushing lightly where they should be on the edges of the nose. Also, define the creases that go from the nostrils to the edge of the mouth with the exacto knife by pressing very lightly. Finally, try to further define the cheeks as well. Note that it is as this point that I usually screw everything up and start over ;)
  7. With the front of the face more or less in the right shape, it's time to shape the sides of the face. First, pull the eye sockets back at the outer edges to smooth that part of the face and make the profile look a bit better. When that's done, try to tease out the lips slightly with the exacto blade.
  8. A picture of the profile of the face, not terrible. Using a small tool you can define the eyerbrows of the figure at this point. Once that is done, let the face cure over night and then add tiny little balls into the eye sockets for eyes. Then you're done!

The finished head on the figure. In 15mm it's a bit more difficult to do excellent faces (or even half decent ones). It's too easy to screw everything up and too hard ot fix it easily. Practice is of course the best way to get good at doing faces!