Sunday, March 25, 2012

How to Sculpt a Miniature Figurine Using Wax

The master for every figurine is first painstakingly sculpted out of wax. I like to use carving wax because it holds excellent detail, builds up nice and can be melted fast. I use a process of building up the wax with a hot tool and then sculpting out the design. The wax is good for building up and allows the sculpture to have a bit of flexibility without breaking when carved. Even still, you must be careful and only apply delicate pressure because the wax is very soft. The thing I love about wax is the great detail that can be achieved. Below is a basic "rough-in" master sculpture of a figurine. This has a few hours of sculpting time but the real time is in the details.

Some sculptors use the hard Sculpey clay or a two part epoxy called “green stuff” to sculpt miniatures. These are fine and serve a purpose. For me, using wax is perfect because the wax builds real nice, hardens almost instantly, and the finished master can be cast into metal using Lost Wax Casting if you wanted. When the wax is warm, there are a few seconds that it can be shaped like clay. This is a technique that requires some time to master.

This is the hot tool I use to sculpt the wax. The tool has settings to control the temperature but I like the foot control. This way I can use both hands and have complete control over the temperature using my foot. That is the real trick, controlling the temperature. The tool I use is made by Kerr and is called an Ultra-Waxer.

I use a red wax like this to sculpt with. I also blend my own waxes that have different properties and colors. This allows me to see areas of the sculpture better and maybe use a harder wax on the faces where I need more detail or a softer wax for a frame.

My tools are basically the same carving tools used in the jewelry market. I have taken them and filed each one to fit my needs but a basic set like this will work great. I always mount the master on a stick when working it so I never touch it as this can cause detail loss. There are also products that smooth the wax but just a simple can of lighter fluid works great.

A master sculpture can take anywhere from 50 to 200 hours to sculpt depending on the complexity. Once finished I make a mold. That will be covered in the next segment on molding. I purchase a lot of my supplies at if your looking to give it a try.

Randall Zadar

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Youtube Video - Christmas Set - Miniature Bronze Collectible

Hi, I just posted a new video of the very popular Christmas Collector Set on YouTube. This is a seven-piece collector set that has a custom designed base. Cast in bronze and hand-painted. Limited Edition of 75 pieces and is now retired. The height of the piece is 1 inch. The tiny angel on top of the tree was cast separate and then soldered onto the tree. This was the only way for it to cast as the tiny wings and arms never would have come out complete in bronze.
The set includes, Santa holding a gift and placing a bell on the tree. Next is a tiny dollhouse with three dolls. A train set, three toy cars, a Christmas tree, and a custom base with key slots so pieces can only fit in one way.

The video shows the piece rotating around. This is the best way to see all the detail in this fun piece. Some of the pieces were sold individually to collectors so there are not many complete sets like this one. This is an extremely rare piece and a very interesting concept in miniature.

This is the first video I put on YouTube. I am adding more because it is a great way to showcase the pieces. There is always so much detail in the back of the pieces and one picture can't show it all like a video can. Check back often, as I will have more videos posted soon. This is the place I will comment on the videos and share insight into the pieces, why I made them, history, inspiration and so on. Thanks for listening.

Randall Zadar