Today we're going to cover how to make fur cloaks and pelts. We're actually going to look at how you can sculpt some fur, mold it and then be able to use casts of that mold repeatedly. No more trying to sculpt the fur directly on the figure.
This is not a new trick, there's a tool already out there that does this very thing. Micro Art Studios makes a rubber mold you can buy. I remember seeing one of these a long time ago and thought it was an excellent idea for making fur. Combine that idea with my use of BluStuff, I figured I could make my own.
I'll say that the model here is a test model. He's got some mistakes and I could have done it better. The real trick was seeing if it could be done in the first place. And it most certainly can.
What you're going to need to do this
Greenstuff and sculpting tools (I only used the GW one)
BluStuff Modeling Putty
A sizable piece of plasticard to work on
Start by sculpting your fur
The first thing we need to do is sculpt the fur. This is easy enough to do. I did this on top of a piece of plasticard. Make sure to leave enough room around the edges so you can make your mold using BluStuff once you're done.
I sculpted my fur by spreading out my greenstuff (50/50mix) into a area making sure I had the same thickness all the way across. This test piece is small and if I were to do it again, I'd make it much bigger so I could cut any kind of shape out of my casts later on. This small size limits me to small sized pelts.
I used the regular GW sculpting tool for this too. Working from the bottom up, I repeatedly make small indentations into the greenstuff at a slight angle. A few to the left, a few to the right and so on and so on... Keep repeating the angled strokes all the way up the layer of greenstuff. Sometimes I'll twist the tool slightly as I press it into the greenstuff to give the fur a slight curve and not all the strands look straight.
Here's the finished piece of fur compared to a model. You can decide to make your fur strands long or short, straight or wavy and so on. Once you've got it sculpted, leave it to cure overnight.
Making the fur mold
Now we make it super easy to make lots of fur pelts from here on out. Using BluStuff, make a simple, one-piece press mold of your fur. You want your mold slightly thick and flat on the top (the side facing up and away from the fur). You want the top flat so that you can flip it over when done and it will lie flat on your desk without any issues.
Give the BluStuff plenty of time to cure (it doesn't take long actually) and you're all set to start making casts of your fur.
To make a cast, it's as simple as mixing up your greenstuff, pressing it into the mold making sure it gets into all the tiny fur strands and leaving it for about 45 minutes. I used a 50/50 mix again for my test. In this one though I only waited about a half hour and I wish I'd given it a few more minutes to harden so I didn't lose my detail so much when I removed it from the mold. Lesson learned.
Remove your greenstuff from your mold carefully and set it down on a piece of plasticard. Make sure the plasticard is lubricated with something so your greenstuff doesn't stick to it!
Take your X-Acto knife and cut out the shape of the fur you want. Very similar to making a cloak like we did in the previous post. Take your cut out piece of fur, place it on your model and set it in position. When you're cutting your fur pelt out, you'll have a top edge and a bottom edge. The top is generally a smooth line and the bottom will be a bit rougher or varied.
The picture above shows you what I mean. The shape is different, but the idea is important. The fur you sculpted hangs in one direction. You have a top and a bottom. The top is where the fur "starts" and the bottom is where it "ends." In this picture, I cut out what would be an animal arm. I could attach this to the body portion of my pelt by hanging this over the model where i wanted it. I would need to clean up the red line areas, blending the blue line are with the other portion of the pelt and then make sure the purple lined area has enough variety and a rough edge to simulate the fur strands hanging down.
For this model, since I have a small mold, I only cut out a small crescent shape pelt. The inside clean edge was to be the top (around his head) and the outside rough edge was to be the bottom (the part hanging over his shoulders).
The few things you need to make sure you do are:
1. Clean up the leading edge. You can do this by pressing your tool into the leading edge to remove the cut line and make it look like the fur comes all the way over the edge. Very easy to do.
2. Create additional texture. Just like the cloak, the greenstuff pelt will fall into place and develop some minor folds in the process. You can use your tool to exaggerate those folds and add additional recessed areas until you have the look you want.
3. Vary the bottom edge. You want to have some variety as natural fur would have. Anything to smooth or clean here and it won't look right.
Going the next step
This is only the beginning. You could take multiple pelts and piece them together for a bigger one. You could cut out different fur shapes like a leg and such to drape over shoulders. You could even layer the pelts to build up some depth and really bulk up a model. I'm sure if one pelt is good for a Space Wolf, two must be better.
Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
How to sculpt a greenstuff half tabard
How to sculpt a greenstuff cloak