This new armature is made of both wire and hard plastic. What's particularly neat about it is it's made up of a number of individual pieces which can be detached and re attached. When I want to work more closely on the head I can detach it and move the head to a separate stand where I can work on it more easily. Then simply re attach it again. It's the same for the arms and legs. Since all the joints articulate its very easy to adjust the position of the piece at any time. I chose the 24 inch armature for the Riel piece since the piece will have a lot of detail. This type of armature comes in 15", 18", 24", and 36".
It was rather spooky having the armature sitting up on the work bench like a skeleton, so, I took a couple of days to try it out with a rough first-pass of Riel. The new armature worked extremely well. It was faster and more flexible than I had expected; and, took less clay. Anatomically I need to make some small corrections, but I had to do that when I made my own armatures.
Having the rough figure is very helpful. I can try on the weaponry, which I will sculpt separately, directly on the figure and not have to worry about messing up any finished work. So, in the next few weeks I will work on the belt, pistol hostler and pistol, knife and knife sheath, and rifle; trying them on the figure as I go...should be fun. The figure will be a little worse for ware, but once I'm happy with the accessories I will repair the damage inflicted, put in some serious time on adding more volume to the figure itself (as I texture the buffalo fur coat, winter pants and leggings), attach the accessories, and continue to develop the entire piece from that point. I won't do much on the facial likeness, hair, and hands until then.