Roast Mutton – Designing Sclupting and Casting a Halfling Scale Sheep

As part of the preparation for Knavecon 2014 we ended up going for a Mordheim participation scenario which calls for livestock.  Last Saturday I attempted to buy some cheap plastic animals to be said livestock.  I was looking for the kind of plastic pigs, cows and sheep that we had as small kids.  This proved to be a tall order as I could not find a single diminutive creature to fit the bill.  Seeing as I had already spent half the day going around the city I figured that it would be a better use of my time to just sculpt some tiny critters and cast ’em up using Gildeo Siligum to create the mould and Prince August Model Metal lead/tin/bismuth alloy.

The finished Knavecon Sheep sculpt

The finished Knavecon Sheep sculpt

After getting to this stage I had some issues with the moulding process as the legs were a little too long to get a good 1 piece casting what with the hard to ventilate air pockets.  When I feck things up I just chalk it up to experience and move forward, such is the way of learning the ins and outs of casting.  Like all things the more experience you get fecking things up the less you feck it up in the future.

 

First "failed" casting effort

First “failed” casting efforts

in order to get a decent casting I ended up chopping off the legs and creating two moulds, one for the torso and one for the 4 legs.  The legs are simple and generic in design so that it matters little which side of the body they attach to – I basically cast as many as I could and put them in a big pile ready for cleaning and sticking to the sheep torsos.  Sticking the legs on is a little tedious, this would not be a desirable feature of a full production model!

First quick test paint job with the rest of the flock beginning to take shape

First quick test paint job with the rest of the flock beginning to take shape

So the end result is pretty good given the short time frame for execution of the idea.  As sculpts go it’s a little bit rough in places (although still way better than many so called professional sculpts I have come across over the years) but as I am under pressure to churn them out quickly they are perfectly fine for the job.  If I ever make some production animals I can obsess over the minute details then!

In terms of design she is specifically tailored for the vertically challenged races such as Halflings.  Obviously I favor caricature and slight anthropomorphic feel to my creatures over realism.  It makes more sense to me for animals for a fantasy game to be more like kids toys or TV shows than to be realistic looking.

I like to spend as much of my time wargaming in side splitting laughter as possible and cute characterful models really help.  If this kind of sculpt is not bringing a smile and a chuckle to the audience then I am not doing it right!

All in all how could I not be happy with how this one turned out?  Now to get busy making a flock of them for Saturday!

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16 Responses to “Roast Mutton – Designing Sclupting and Casting a Halfling Scale Sheep”

  1. Very cute! It’s a fine sculpt and a full flock of these will look very nice indeed. Do you have a halfling equipped with a crook to keep them in check?

    • Thanks Axiom! I woulda’ lovin’ to do a “little beau peep” halfling female and sheepdog to accompany this lot – will have to develop my skillz with the green stuff a little more before I tackle that one though. It is extremely likely that I will convert up some GrimDark sheep for the Halflings of the 41st millenium next, such is the nature of my as Asslessman put’s it “pathetic mania” ;).

  2. Well, you know what they say: “Necessity is the mother of sculpting/moulding/mould debugging/factory line casting/factory line painting” 😉

    The sheep does look good, anthropomorphic or otherwise. At tabletop distance it will look like a sheep one way or another and it is a cute and appealing sculpt. What isnt immediately apparent that (and made me warm to the project far more) is the fact they are tiny sheep, sheep appropriate for hobbits. Im looking forward to seeing a photo or two of these ladies alongside some more familiar models, once your schedule calms down a bit that is.

    Grox next, right? Shetland Grox maybe 🙂

    • Ohhh, Shetland Grox is a great concept! I have a pig to finish at some stage and I would like to add some chickens, but cyberdisation of the sheep will likely happen next while I have the urge.

  3. asslessman Says:

    And you even get time to blog about it. You sure have nerves of steel. I can see this must be a pain to rush on things this way but details count and this will be the little touch that make sthe whole thing brilliant.
    Slow claps to you and partners in crime.

    • Thanks JB!

      Nerves of Lead anyway with the amount of it that must have made it’s way into my system by now. The blogging is technically on work time so no worries there ;), the joys of being the IT man in a museum of military history 🙂

      I often find that deadlines and constraints are very useful things for my workflow. The endorphin payoff for this project will be seeing a flock of them being fought over on the weekend!

  4. mrsaturdays Says:

    I am really more excited than a man should be to see these sheep. I hope to see fimm running for the hills with one under each arm on Saturday. The mental image is hilarious. Bravo sir, bravo.

  5. Very cool concept and execution. If you have some old GW Halflings the sheep will match the style perfectly. Oh, and yes, the sheep made me laugh. It is just too cute and ostensibly well tempered given its smile.

  6. Wow. very impressive. Sculpting, casting. The works! I can barely get my stuff painted at the best of times. You’re making your own models!

    • Thanks Azazel. It has taken a long time for the latent sculpting ability to get some attention. Unfortunately it tends to be either painting or sculpting what with time constraints, and painting models to play games has usually been more important to me. Deciding on what to spend time on is a tough one for any wargames hobbyist and you truly don’t have a good idea of what you are best at until you give lots of things a good go with the correct tools and good tutorials. In this hobby I believe that no matter how good some person is at Xs, there is always some other Ys that they would like to improve and Zs that is an unknown skill that they are good at that they haven’t discovered yet. It’s good (and fun) learning to experiment with the whole process of making models.

  7. […] of old school WHFB stuff, with Fimir, Slann and an entire village of hobbits – complete with custom sculpted and home cast halfling scaled miniature sheep thanks to theottovonbismark – and it ran very well, with plenty of players wanting to take […]

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