Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Sculpting trick- Power cables!

Ok, we've all been there- a really sweet conversion idea for some space marine- but alas, those dang expandable cable/hose bitz are missing and leave the guy looking half done!

But- worry not lads- Ive figured out a pretty simple method to make your own hoses! It takes just a few minutes of practice, and next thing you know youre looking for models to start slapping even more of those cables onto lol

First off- I made a simple little tool for this. What do you do with your old exacto hobby blades? If you said 'I save them to make my ork and chaos conversions uber 'Ardcore!!' go take your meds and get a tetanus shot.

If you answered 'I wisely save them because you never know when they might come in handy...' you are wise! Because now you need them!

What you're looking at there- is some left over blades, lined up side by side and glued together with some nifty CA glue. The more of them you have- the wider your tool will be(hence a bit faster).

Now- I dont have a way to take pics without both hands, so I cant yet get pics of the items in use. But its pretty simple.

Roll out some putty, green, grey, whatever stuff you have. Im using sculpey for this tutorial because its easy and Im lazy.

Roll it out into cylinders/rods that are just a bit bigger around than the cable you wish to make.

Now, for small cables you use the exacto-tool, the blades are closer together and make the ribbing on the cable smaller. My cam doesnt have a macro setting so this is the best pic I could get of the quick results:

I might hit that with a quick wash so the detail is more apparent- but for now thats what you get ;)

For the bigger cables, like dreadnaught sized, I use the tool I made out of old razor blades. The wider spacing on the blades works really well for this.

Now- the technique is pretty simple, and works best if you have let the putty settle in a bit so its a bit firm. Then you just gently press down with whichever tool you're using, and roll it across the putty cable. Pushing hard enough to press into the putty, but not enough to flatten the cylinder shape so it wont roll under the tool. If you want to make the ribs a bit more noticeable, after you have the grooves set into the cable, make a second roll and just pressure a bit to the side when rolling the tool.

So, the duller the blades are, the better this will work since the ridges will be more pronounced. Now, get out there and save those blades, make your cables, and show that you have the power to cable up your troops gear!

This is the first of my Saturday Sculpting tricks, it wont be the last, and I'll try to get one out every week or two. And if youre lucky maybe even weekly ^_^

Let me know what you think- or if you have an easier/cheaper way to make these cables!


  1. Not a bad idea at all! And I'm one of those old exacto blade saving nuts to boot. I've used the old guitar string trick before, but I'll have to try this one out too. Thanks for the post!

  2. Amusingly, Ive already found a better way to do this! Guess I had it on the brain last night after I put up the tutorial lol So I'll have to update this soon.

  3. Would the sculpey have to be cooked to harden it or not? I have a box of it here I was going to build tiny houses with but never used it. This pack says 'oven-bake.' I guess I could read the instructions..