Sunday 29 May 2011

Figure mounting and work holding

Someone asked me about the thingies I use to hold my figures while I’m painting them, and how I mount mini’s for painting, so I thought I’d devote a couple of lines on how I do it.

The figure holders are made from pieces of pre-perforated plastic board. I got them from my work, where they come as packaging for some sort of laboratory consumables. I don’t know exactly what – it isn’t something I use, but seeing them being thrown away I thought they were too good to miss and rescued them.
The green ones are better, in my opinion, as the holes are smaller, and so support the mini’s more securely. The sheets are pre-perforated and the holes therefore line up perfectly. All I do is open up the four corner holes to take an M5 bolt. Spacing otherwise is provided by the M5 nuts, and I use two sheets in each layer for rigidity. In the picture, there are thirteen figures on the holder, and it’s by no means crowded – twenty 28mm foot or a dozen horses is comfortably do-able.
To mount minis to paint, I use roofing felt tacks (for foot and horses) or pop rivets (for mounted), with hot melt glue, as here.

For foot figures, like the Reiver artilleryman on the left, simply apply hot melt glue to the tack, push on the figure and away you go. I don’t painted mounted minis on the horses, but mounting the riders this way doesn’t work for me. I drill a hole through the seat, 4-5 mm deep, of the same diameter as a pop rivet shaft, then glue the riders on as per the Warlord figure above.

Demounting is simple: heat just the tip of the tack or rivet gently, then carefully pull away using tweezers / pliers / forceps.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

An update! Artillery

Just because I haven’t posted any updates doesn’t mean I’ve been totally idle! Every army needs artillery, so I’ve built up mine considerably, and here it is.
The new guns are Reiver Castings items, from the 17th/18th century range. I got these at a show from Under The Bed Enterprises, who were a couple of all round good chaps, very friendly and helpful. I bought two battalion guns (catalogue number AP7) and 12-24lb field gun (AP3). The kits are sold in the usual neat and natty little plastic bags, as shown here.

Each is a four piece model (carriage, two wheels and a barrel), cleanly moulded in fairly soft metal. Mould lines are prevalent, but there was no flash on either example, and cleanup was quick and easy. Reiver have made no attempt to cast wood grain into the carriage, which is no bad thing. Scaled up, most kit wood grain would make a railway sleeper look well-finished. The wheels are narrow and delicate, and benefit careful handling. The kit goes together with minimal additional fettling. I reamed out the wheel centres a little, and squared up the axle shafts, to try to keep everything square during assembly.

Assembling the things was a bit of a grunt. Everything fitted well enough after preparation, but it’s by no means simple to keep everything square and true while the glue sets (I used Araldite). I got around it by using small offcuts of wood of the correct width as jigs to support the wheels, whilst clamping the whole thing in a plastic drill vice. This is one of the battalion guns undergoing the process.

They look right based on illustrations. I wouldn’t care to speculate on their precise dimensional accuracy, given these come from a time when all artillery was bespoke, the concept is probably meaningless anyway. Colourwise, yellow, red and black appear to have been popular, although whether based on preference or availability is perhaps open to conjecture. Here’s one assembled next to a Warlord infantry ensign for comparison.