One of the things I like most about GenCon last summer was a cool little table that Reaper Miniatures set up right outside the exhibition hall.

At the table were seated Bobby Jackson, Patrick Keith, Gene Van Horne, Drew Williams and other professional sculptors.  The reason that I liked this booth so much is that all of these guys were extremely nice folks who didn’t mind at all that I was picking their brains for sculpting advice.

One of the things I noticed was that not one of them used the sculpting tools that you get from Games Workshop or Gale Force Nine.  Almost all of them had a set of tools that they had made themselves.

– The exception was Patrick Keith, who uses a Wax 5 primarily.  When I asked him why, he told me that he did it so that he could recommend a tool that people can just buy.

One of the jewels that I got in all of that brain picking was that making sculpting tools is actually fairly cheap and simple- so long as you already have a Dremel Tool.  I did, so that wasn’t an issue.  I did have to buy a blow torch and jewelery anvil, but neither of those were expensive at all.

Bobby Jackson pointed me in the direction of the Clubhouse forum and  this tutorial– and it is quite the gem.  The sizes are all in metric, so if you’re living state-side you’ll have to convert them a little.  But it is a very helpful tutorial, and with it, I made these:

Most of these tools are similar to the ones you can buy, but they’re all smaller and finer.  In fact, the one I use the most is essentially a smaller version of a Wax 5.  Overall, the details that were hard to sculpt before have become much easier, and I feel like my overall skill level has gone up.

I’m sure I’m getting a +2 circumstance bonus.