This article is reprinted with permission from "From The Warp". It is a part of the author's Black Dragon Space Marines series.
Ok, so here's the latest on my attempt to sculpt out a Black Dragon icon for squad shoulder pads.
I sat down the other night an sculpted a single dragon head on a piece of plastic. Once is was cured, I grabbed a small chunk of Sculpey and made the mold. I threw that in the oven at baked it until it was set.
Then, I took a small blob of greenstuff and pressed it into the mold. I used water the first time because I had a good grip on the greenstuff and could pull it out. It worked. I set it aside and let it cure (far left image).
Once it cured, I sat down and cut away the excess from the cast. This took a little while to do because the icon is fragile and I wanted to maintain the same thickness across the whole piece. Once I had it cut out, I superglued it to a shoulderpad I had. There weren't any problems getting it to bend to the curve of the pad because the icon was so small and thin. There were some small gaps along the edges that I went back in and filled with more greenstuff. This was because I did not cut the icon the same thickness all the way across the back and it's real hard to get superglue right up to the edges of the icon without creating a huge blob of a mess (middle image).
Lastly, I painted it up real quick to see what it might look like (far right image).
What did I learn:
1. Sculpting something at scale, or 100% of its actual size is very difficult... especially when the object is no bigger then 1/4 of an inch.
2. Second generation casts lose some detail, no matter how hard you try. I can look at the original sculpt and then at the cast and I can tell the difference. It's not much but it really depends on how precise you are looking to be.
3. I am trying a thinner cast where there is not so much excess to cut off the back of the icon. I think this might help it sit on the shoulderpad far better. That and the thinner icon profile might look better on the shoulderpad too.
4. If your trying to do a number of models (say two or three squads) then this is the way to go. The effect is more than believeable and I think would work nicely on a force... especially once painted. If you're trying to do one or two key models, I would sculpt the icon directly onto the individual models. The detail is a little better and you have a little more control.
Once again, visit "From The Warp" for more of this author's work.