Polymer Clay Viking: Polymer Clay Ideas (Part 3)
A Scandinavian Viking is a great subject for polymer clay sculpture. The first human warrior I ever created was a Viking and he’s my favorite of the human-based warriors up until now. I went with a very traditional look and did research before sculpting began. I introduce to you, Ivar Brun.
Research the subject of your polymer clay sculpture
Whenever you attempt to sculpt a polymer clay figure inspired by history it makes sense to do research and see what they wear for clothing. This includes capes, helmets, and the like. It’s also a good idea to see what kind of weapons were used by your subject during the time period of when they lived. Vikings vary quite a bit so you have different directions to go. In fact, you can base an entire series on Vikings exclusively if it’s a great I interest to you. There’s also a great potential for creating a toy-line with a story to go along with the series.
Polymer clay Viking: Ivar Brun
A Viking was one of my first choices when I came up with the idea of creating medieval human warriors for my story The Quest for Kimel Drago. To be perfectly honest, I prefer creating monsters and mythical creatures over humans but thought they would be a great addition to what I was doing. I was very inspired when I created my polymer clay Viking.
It was my first go at making a human and I also read a lot of Norse mythology when growing up. So, with inspiration flowing, I managed to create the best human warrior I created up until now. I really need to get busy and make something that surpasses him.
It’s important to note that there’s a certain amount of fantasy that goes along with this. Not all Scandinavians are tall and heavily built. Nonetheless, this is how most Vikings are often portrayed in entertainment facets including movies, cartoons, books, and so on. Outside of myths and legends, there is a distinct possibility that the Vikings were the first Europeans to land on the east coast of what eventually became the United States of America. Unfortunately, we were also taught in school that Christopher Columbus discovered America when he actually ended up in the Caribbean islands only.
Creating a polymer clay Viking
Ivar Brun the polymer clay Viking is a heavy-bodied character. He’s very thick, as you’d expect a Viking to be. He needed a strong craft wire skeleton with lots of tightly wrapped tinfoil. Even though I used a lot of tinfoil he still needed quite a bit of polymer clay. The only mistake I made with the skeleton was his left arm is a bit shorter than his right one. It’s not a big deal since it’s hardly noticeable but it was unintentional. While Ivar could stand on his own two feet without the aid of a prop to hold him up, I chose to give him a battle-ax that reaches down to the floor. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book to keep an action figure prototype standing on its own so when in doubt, add a prop. Besides a weapon such as an ax, walking sticks also work well in certain situations.
I decided to go all out with my polymer clay Viking so I also gave him a cape and a removable helmet. Keep in mind that the more detail and props you add, the longer the project will take to complete. It’s important that you don’t rush since simple errors become unavoidable. For the cape, I placed a paper-thin layer over a single sheet of tinfoil and baked it along with the rest of the figure. The helmet was a little more tricky since it had to fit my polymer clay Viking’s head correctly. I did this by waiting until after Ivar Brun was finally baked and I was completely satisfied with the way he came out. I then took a small sheet of tinfoil and folded it over a few times. When I had the tinfoil about the size of Ivar’s head, I took my thumb and bent the tinfoil in until it fits snugly. After that, I added the polymer clay and added details such as elk horns and other small tweaks. When I was fully satisfied with the helmet, I placed it in the oven and baked it along with the next figurine I created. It came out as close to perfect as I could hope for.
Tips for creating a Viking from polymer clay
Here are some basic tips for creating a polymer clay Viking that applies to other polymer clay figurines.
Also, check out these detailed tutorials for creating polymer clay figurines.
- Make sure the figurine can stand on its own two feet before baking him in the oven. You can use a prop such as a walking stick or an ax to help balance the figure. While this is a viable option, I recommend something else. When you’re finished creating the figurine and it’s ready for the oven, place it between to expendable ceramic coffee mugs to keep it upright and steady. This is a great time to add some more polymer clay around the feet. Make sure that the heels and soles are correctly built up enough so that when baking is complete and you remove the coffee mugs, it will stand up on its own.
- Do not over or undercook the polymer clay figurine. Check the packaging of your polymer clay for the exact temperature and time since they can vary. I use the same brand so for myself, it’s fifteen minutes per quarter-inch of clack thickness at 275 °F. The figurine will still be soft after it comes out of the oven. Allow at least two hours for it to cool. During this time the figurine will harden. If the allotted amount of time has passed and your figurine is still soft yet completely cool it wasn’t baked correctly.
- Make the face separately before adding it to the figure. I never design a polymer clay face while it’s on the figurine. After I’m satisfied with all the details of the face, I then carefully place it on the figurine. This can sometimes be tricky for those new to polymer clay sculpture.
- Remember that children must always be supervised by an adult when working with polymer clay. This goes for working with any polymer clay tools which are sometimes sharp as well as working with the oven. Polymer clay sculpture is fun for kids but they need constant supervision by a responsible adult.
- Take your time and don’t rush. Be well rested when attempting polymer clay sculpture. Take a break when tired and put it away for the day when you start feeling drained. This is when mistakes are often made and our polymer clay creations don’t come out as well as they should have.
Creating human based characters out of polymer clay is more challenging than creating monstrous mythical beings because the rules of human anatomy apply. This means there’s less room for error when it comes to facial features. When I created my polymer clay Viking, I breezed right through it because I was truly inspired. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as inspired when I created other human-based polymer clay warriors. Sometimes it helps to have a drawing or picture as a guide while sculpting the figurine. I do this a lot and it often saves me some time. The best of luck with all your polymer clay sculpting projects.