How to sculpt crab legs and pincers

Another little tutorial for my Tyranids, this time we will concentrate on How to sculpt crab legs and pincers that can be very valuable for different projects, from crustaceans to insect segmented legs or just a nasty chaos mutation.

Step 1: Things I need

  • Modeling putty (green stuff)
  • Water
  • Hobby knife (cutter)
  • Pin vice
  • Clay shaper brush
  • Sculpting tool
  • Paper clips
  • Toothpick
  • Flat surface

Photo: How to sculpt crab legs and pincers - Tutorial

Step 2: Structure

Photo: How to sculpt crab legs and pincers - Tutorial

For starting with a strong internal structure I opened a paper clip and bended it to the desired shape.

Mixed a bit of green stuff and apply it directly on to the wire, with no precautions concerning smooth or clean green stuff surface, since it is just a skeleton sketch of the final crab leg.

Step 3: Smooth shapes

After green stuff is cured its time to start building the final shape, so I mix a bit of the paste and apply it to the structure. It’s better to work on one side of the structure and let it dry before going for the other half, so we start with the left side of the crab leg.

Photo: How to sculpt crab legs and pincers - Tutorial

Use the clay shaper brush dipped in water and start smoothing the edges of the green stuff, take your time here and use always lots of water.

Photo: How to sculpt crab legs and pincers - Tutorial

So, when left side is sculpted and smoothed let it dry and only then, go for the right side of the crab leg. You can sculpt the shape you wish just avoid it to be to uniform since it’s a crab leg irregular shapes work best. You should now have something like this.

Photo: How to sculpt crab legs and pincers - Tutorial

Step 4: Spikes and final contour

Photo: How to sculpt crab legs and pincers - Tutorial

And the fun begins, while the stress of waiting for curing times is growing on you we can use one of those endless curing breaks to sculpt some little spikes for our crab legs, do some random sizes and shapes. And for those that say crabs don’t have spikes on legs I say: Who cares it looks great. 😉

I hope everyone knows how to sculpt spikes but for the more hesitant sculptors here is how I do them. Do one little ball of green stuff and put it on a flat surface, then dip fingers on water and start pressing green stuff against surface with vertical movements, just let it dry. Piece of cake.

Now, with all stuff cured, choose one cool spike and mix a ball of green stuff, to use its sticky properties, for “gluing” the spike to the leg.

Photo: How to sculpt crab legs and pincers - Tutorial

For better blending the spike to the crab leg lay a layer of green stuff over the junction

Photo: How to sculpt crab legs and pincers - Tutorial

Its time for the final claw spike and this time we will use the paper clip extremity for a stronger merge. First with a cutter do a cut on another spike and then use a pin vice to do a small hole in it. Mix a bit of green stuff and squeeze the spike against it passing the hole on to the paper clip. This should make a stronger bond, but before you finish you need to smooth the paste with clay shaper dipped in water.

Photo: How to sculpt crab legs and pincers - Tutorial

Step 5: Texture

With all shapes finished its time for texturing those legs. I started by putting some spikes on the legs, since you already sculpted several spikes just cut them to the desired size and use green stuff for gluing them to the leg. In this process I use mainly sculpting tool and toothpick dipped in water to sculpt the junction of spike to leg. You could also use pins but since the spikes are small there’s no need for that.

Photo: How to sculpt crab legs and pincers - Tutorial

Finally I will try to do those micro organisms and corals that usually we see on crustaceans. Simply cut several random sized small balls of green stuff and again with the help of a toothpick and sculpting tool stick them randomly on the crab leg, also try to shape the balls on the leg with interesting forms.

Photo: How to sculpt crab legs and pincers - Tutorial

Conclusion

Photo: How to sculpt crab legs and pincers - Tutorial

Well that’s it, you now can sculpt crab legs for your projects, if you noticed you can do different shapes on legs or even more segmented ones, funny thing I noticed is that the smaller legs look like scorpions tails’ hope you enjoyed it.

— Pedro Navarro

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