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RPG Superstar 2015

Modifying Plastic Miniatures


Miniatures

Liberty's Edge

I've never done any kind of miniature modification before, but I'd like to try my hand at it for the first time with a D&D prepainted plastic mini. Specifially, I want to change a dawrf's weapon from his current pick to a war ace.

What is the best glue to use so that the axe I add stays on really well?

Thanks!!!

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

You know, Mark, I've been doing a lot of mods and mini-fixin' lately, and this isn't something I've ever really done before or researched properly, but I've had good result regardless.

I picked up a pin vice this past weekend (tiny little finger-use mini drill for miniatures), and with that and a tube of regular superglue, I've done some super-strong, cool conversions. The thing is, I haven't had any luck with the plastic glue you're supposed to use on these things. It just hasn't worked and I tried a few types. So I turned to superglue, which most won't recommend because it doesn't work in that "instant bond" way on plastic minis like it does on your fingertips, so you have to have a light, careful touch to get everything where you want it and allow the glue more time than you expect to set properly. When you combine it with the use of the pin vice to really join the two pieces together, it gives you some working room to release and set down on a sturdy base to hold it in place until dry. I've yet to find a stronger bond than what you're supposed to get with the accepted adhesives.

Give it a shot on some cheap ones and let me know if it works out for you!

Sovereign Court

For a quick fix, just use gap filling super glue. Standard plastic glue sold in hobby stores won't work with the type of plastic WOTC uses (afaik) - its for use with the hard polystyrene that GW uses. In order to get plastic cement that welds the soft plastic the prepaints use you have to delve into toxic and smelly stuff sold by plastruct. Not worth it.

However, super glue has a problem with shearing - it is very weak as far as side to side movement goes. If you want something stronger, or you are planning on modifying more than one mini and want practice here's what you should do:

1) Buy a pin vice and some itty bitty drill bits.
2) Buy some plumbers kneadatite (green stuff).
3) Gap filling super glue.

Drill a small hole in the hand holding the axe. Drill a small hole in the base of the axe. If the axe is thick enough, insert a bit of paper clip and some super glue. This will pin the axe in place and stop side to side movement from shearing the axe off.

If it isn't thick enough to have a hole wide enough for a paper clip, use a very thin ribbon of green stuff, insert it into the hole and then use some super glue (green stuff takes a few hours to set up normally, but sets almost immediately when in contact with super glue).

Sovereign Court

Ninja-ed :)

One further note: It is a sad fact of life that your local FLGS is probably a terrible place to purchase modeling supplies. It is common practice for some companies (GW) to charge a massive mark up for tools, glue, and putties. Always price check online at hardware stores / check at your local hardware store prior to purchasing.

Sovereign Court

edit - if the handle of your axe is long enough you can also just drill out the hand and insert the handle in there and glue it.

Liberty's Edge

Interesting!

First question ... Brandon, did you use Gap filling super glue or regular super glue?

Next question ... what exactly IS Gap filling super glue and how do I tell it from normal filling super glue? Is there a specific brand? Where can I get it - hobby store, model-building shop, craft store like Michael's?

Thanks!!!

Sovereign Court

Gap filling super glue is just thicker than 'thin' super glue. It will say 'gap filling' on the bottle, or it will say 'gel'. It takes longer to set, and the bond isn't quite as strong as the thin stuff. Because it is thicker - you have more control over where it goes (on the mini not running off the mini onto your skin :) ) and it will fill in where you have drilled a little better.

Brands to look for: Locktite Gel, Zap a Gap, Gorilla Super Glue (make sure it is the super glue not the regular glue, the normal gorilla glue expands when it dries which you don't want) etc...

You should be able to buy super glue anywhere (here in canada, walmart, home depot, shoppers drug mart, home hardware, hobby stores, michaels).

Buy the small bottle - they dry out fast, even when sealed.

Sovereign Court

I use Insta-Cure+ which I think Paizo sells rebranded by Gale Force 9:
http://paizo.com/products/btpy89eq?Hobby-Glue.

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

Great minds and all that, right? =-)

I use regular superglue -I buy the twin packs for a buck each at the dollar store (and get a few because they can dry out, freeze up, etc), and it isn't gel-like, though I've used it on stuff before. Robert has me convinced to try out the gap-filling stuff again, though, so I'm sold!

And, like we both say -the real trick here is the pin vice and supports. It is just plain fun to use, and it solves the lateral breakage issue of otherwise brittle superglued joints. In the last couple of weeks, I've found myself modifying one mini after the other just because it is fun...not necessarily because I had plans to modify them before it became entertaining to do so. =-)

I also second Robert's warning on FLGS purchases. Though I try to keep my money local, I find some of the mini tools and hardware offered by the main companies half the quality and double the price than you might find at Home Depot.

Star Voter 2013

I cannot emphasis the need for pinning that Brandon mentions enough. Super glue on it's own, even the gel, simply will not do the job. I admit, the models I do tend to have...unusual levels of wear and tear (either being used in Warhammer games or being assaulted by small children) but pinning is a real boon. I dropped a converted model out of a second floor window once (don't ask) and it simply bounced. It'll save you a lot of grief, not to mention excess super glue on the model, to pin it first.

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