When I whittle a Civil War Soldier, I use only my pocket knife and a V tool. The V tool is used only to texture the beard and the hair. I have used 1/2 x 1/2 inch Basswood, but you can use any size that you have. I carve on the corner, and start at the top of the piece of Basswood. By starting at the top, I can adjust the sizes to fit the head. The style that I end up with is probably some where between flat plane and regular carving.
I have started this slide series with the soldiers head with his cap. I will continue with the body in the next few days. You have probably already noticed that there are only some small changes in the process of carving a Wizard, a Santa, and a Civil War soldier.
Sorry i waz dragging today...thomp