Friday, 6 June 2014

More tips on working with miniatures

So you have finished prepping and assembling your miniature (either the resin of metal variety), and are raring to start work on it. But hold on a minute, there is still an additional (optional but recommended) step you should take before you prime and paint your miniature. But before I go into that (it involves epoxy putty if you must know), the following is a more detailed explanation on using a super glue-pure baking soda combo, something which was touched on briefly in the earlier guides.

Knight Models Spider-Man comprises both resin and metal parts; a perfect example for this guide

When pure baking soda (otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate) is used with cyanoacrylate glues (in this case Shellys Supa Glue), the result is a very fast bonding time (almost instantaneous) and a very strong bond between the parts being glued together. Such characteristics make it ideal for gluing very small miniature parts together as well as to ensure the parts do not come apart easily.

Pure baking soda makes gluing small parts easier and also ensures stronger bonds
Super glue to be used with pure baking soda ... in small amounts as the mixture releases heat

It is important that you use pure baking soda and not those that have been mixed with flour. You can easily get a hold of pure baking soda either from your local supermarket or hardware store. As to the actual gluing process, one way to go about it is by using the following steps:

1. Place a small drop of super glue on the figure/model kit;
2. Dip the tiny part into the pure baking soda so that some sticks to the end that you want to glue;
3. Attach the tiny part to the figure/model kit and hold carefully in place for about 2 to 3 seconds.

Warning: Always read the instructions of the chemicals you are using and maintain a safety first policy. The steps above prevent your fingers from coming into direct contact with the mixture which releases heat when reacting with each other. Keep in mind that the larger the mixture, the more heat is released so use very small amounts.

And there you have it. An effective way to glue tiny parts on to your miniature figure or model kit as well as to have very strong bonds formed between two parts.

Gluing small parts such as the side-view mirror and door handle with a super glue-pure baking soda combo
Pure baking soda-super glue can also be used to make joints glue on stronger

There are times when you might notice some gaps in between the joints of your freshly assembled miniature. This is where epoxy putty comes in. Now this step is purely optional as you can still proceed to painting the miniature without filling in those gaps, especially when you are just starting out in the hobby. But it's always beneficial to get a good habit going so that it becomes second nature to prepare a best possible surface for your primer paint to attach to. Not only will the subsequent paint layers you apply look smoother, but the overall look of the miniature will be of better quality. 

Games Workshop Citadel's version of the epoxy putty - the Green Stuff
Another epoxy putty widely used by miniature hobbyists - milliput

Epoxy putty can be obtained either from your local hobby, art shop or even online. So how do you use them? Basically you will have to mix the two separate parts (green and yellow) together until the colours become uniform before applying it to the gaps to fill them. For a more detailed how-to, you can check out various online resources like the one from milliput.

Filling in some gaps in between the miniatures glued joints with epoxy putty

Finally, prior to actual painting you will need to spray on a primer coat for the subsequent acrylic paints to adhere to. In this guide, two separate primers were used - Citadel Chaos Black (for the taxi) and Tamiya Light Grey Fine Surface Primer (for Spider-Man). If you are a hobbyist in Malaysia, the former is available in your local hobby shops as well as bookstores while the latter can be purchased from a Tamiya retailer.

Black and Light Grey primer spray cans from Citadel (left) and Tamiya (right)
Spider-Man and the taxi after getting a coat of primer paint

Always make sure you spray the primer paints in a well ventilated area. Distance from spray can to the miniature is roughly about 20cmm or 8 inches. When spraying, move the spray can from left to right in quick motions across the miniature so that paint is applied in even coats. With the primer coat is done, your miniature is now ready for painting! For some miniature painting projects, please check out the personal blog and facebook of Shire Work's resident painter -

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