Thursday, 18 January 2018

CLIII. Tutorial: Sculpting Chainmail

Got another request for a tutorial weeks ago, now I finally sat down to make it. Rebecca of Greenstuff Gretchin wanted to know how I sculpt chainmail on my conversions. Well, here it is:

Tools used. Clay shaper, wax carver, metal ball stylus. The tin contains hand cream, with which I lubricate my tools so putty doesn't stick to them.

For this task I mixed green stuff with Milliput 1:1. The resulting material allows for sharper edges than green stuff does. I do this by first mixing each putty from its components separately, and then mix them together like in the above photo.

I'll demonstrate on this spare Liberator. First I filed down the existing scale mail to prepare the surface for sculpting.

Using my clay shaper and wax carver tools, I defined and smoothed out the cloth and future chainmail surface. It's best to give the putty 10-15 minutes to start curing a little bit, so it becomes less soft and easier to work with (holds detail better).

This is the important bit. I sculpt chainmail in alternating vertical lines of holes. Start from the bottom and poke holes one above the other, pulling each slightly downward before moving onto the next. This is how links of the chainmail are formed. Metal ball stylus is what I used here, but even a toothpick can do this job if you don't have sculpting tools around.

When you get to the top, start the next line in the opposite direction: from top to bottom, holes one below the other, each pulled slightly upwards.

When the whole surface is thus rendered, let it rest for some 15 minutes for the putty to cure a bit more.  

Then it's time to tidy it all up and fix mistakes. Go back through the mail and try to make all the links as similar in size and shape as you can. The links on the bottom need special attention, defining the line where chainmail stops.

So, this is the principle. It takes practice to get good at it (I myself am not yet satisfied with my result half the time).


  1. Top-notch tutorial! Many thanks, Ana! <3

  2. Wonderful, thanks for the tutorial!

  3. This is great, thanks, I’ve been meaning to try out some chain mail sculpting on my converted pestigors

  4. Excellent write-up on that. The alternating columns seems like a key point that I haven't seen in any other chainmail sculpting tutorial or guide.

  5. Great, thank you for tutorial! :)