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  • Miniature Preparation


    Before you
    should even start to think about actually painting your miniatures, some
    care in the 'preparation' should be used. A few things need to be looked
    at when cleaning up your models, especially if they are multi part kits.

    <a href="#P">Plastics

    <a href="#M">Metal

    <a href="#MP">Multi
    part Kits</a>

    <a NAME="P"></a>Plastic

    <a href="#PR">Removal</a>

    <a href="#PC">Cleaning</a>

    <a NAME="PR"></a>Removal:
    have come to realize how easy it is to damage plastic miniatures when removing
    them from their sprue from my early days of modeling. Since then I attack
    a sprue with a modeling knife in a particular fashion. Firstly I look at
    the miniature to be removed and find where I need to make the cuts. By
    this I mean what cuts should I make first. The solution is simple. The
    first cuts should be at places where important parts of the figure meet
    the sprue. Such places maybe the top of a head, a weapon, or something
    that I know I want to be a clean cut. The reason that you should do this
    is because the miniature will remain stable as possible while you cut these
    parts, but as you get to the last few, the miniature is almost free of
    the sprue and can become unstable. So by this stage the last cuts to be
    made should be the least important area of the miniature, such as the bottom
    of the tab (the bit that slides into the base). If I cut too much off by
    accident, it doesn't really matter, as this part of the miniature people
    won't see.
    The utmost care should be taken when removing miniatures from a sprue.
    A sharp hobby knife is a must, so that the plastic is actually cut, and
    not torn. The sprue should be placed on a level, flat surface, with some
    type of protection, such as a wad of newspaper. All cuts should be made
    in a downward motion, away from the body. Fingers should remain clear from
    the blade. Do not force the knife in one hard motion, but push gently.
    You will find that the plastic will cut like butter in this way, and the
    risk of breaking miniatures is eliminated.
    <a NAME="PC"></a>Cleaning:
    prefer to keep using the hobby knife for this job, rather than needle files,
    but either will do. The only thing that you will need to clean from plastic
    miniatures is the mold line. Mold lines are thin lines of plastic that
    are left behind when the miniatures are made. They are quite easily found.
    If your miniature has a mould line, you will see it running the outside
    perimeter. It will usually start from the outside of one foot, continue
    over the top of the figure, and down to the other foot. If the model is
    in a pose with it's legs apart, there maybe a mould line around the inside
    perimeter of this also.
    So how
    do I clean plastic mould lines? Easy. By using my trusty modeling knife,
    I drag the blade along the line, lightly, so as to scratch it off. You
    will need a sharp knife for this also, so make sure you scrape away from
    your fingers and body. After several passes, depending on the thickness
    of the line, the area will now become flat, and smooth. Voila, your plastic
    miniature is now ready to put in it's base.
    Here is
    what mold line can look like. This Skaven has a line running the length
    of it's head.

    <a href="#top">Top</a>

    <a NAME="M"></a>Metal

    <a href="#MC">Cleaning</a>

    <a NAME="MC"></a>Cleaning:
    little bit more attention needs to be paid to metal miniatures. They may
    still have mould lines, like plastics do, but to remove them I would suggest
    Needle Files. As they come in different shapes and sizes, there is no part
    of any miniature that they won't be able to clean up. The most important
    thing with files, is to be watching what you are filing. This may sound
    a bit silly, but I have seen modelers take off more than what they were
    supposed to.
    As well
    as mould lines, metal miniatures may also have 'Flash' on them. Flash is
    the name given to small pieces of metal that have escaped the moulding
    process (due to high pressure), and are barely clinging to the model. The
    most common place to find these are on the front and back of the feet and
    any other appendages or weapons that end at a small area, like a marine
    raising a sword, there could very well be flash on the tip of the sword.
    This Bolt Pistol shows that unwanted flash must be removed.

    To remove flash
    all you need to do is trim it off with your hobby knife. Again, common
    sense should prevail. Place the miniature on a flat, level surface and
    cut in a downward motion, away from the body, keeping your fingers out
    of the way. You may feel uncomfortable cutting so close to the miniature,
    so just cut off most of it, and remove the rest with a needle file.

    <a href="#top">Top</a>

    <a NAME="MP"></a>Multi-part

    <a href="#MKC">Cleaning</a>

    <a href="#MKA">Assembly</a>

    <a NAME="MKC"></a>Cleaning:
    Multi part kits form the excitement when it comes to war game modeling.
    GW bring out a huge range of MP Kits, and their contents greatly vary.
    They range from your typical trooper with multi posable arms right up to
    the Imperial Basilisk and Eldar Grav Tank. The only common thing between
    them all is that they are either made from plastic, metal or some of both.
    The cleaning methods for plastic and metal miniatures above can be applied
    to what you will get in your kit. But the main emphasis is on mould lines.
    You will need to look at each individual piece to find where the mold line
    will most probably be. If they are left behind, they will not give the
    justice that your finished figure should deserve.
    <a NAME="MKA"></a>Assembly:
    Once your kit has been cleaned to your satisfaction, there are a few more
    steps that you should follow. The first one has to do with plastics. The
    first thing I do with my large plastic parts is wash then in luke warm
    water with a very small amount of detergent, and then rinse in clean water.
    This will wash away any chemical films that are left behind from the pressurized
    injection process, and let your paint retain a smooth finish when it is
    applied. If they are left unwashed, and are painted, blemishes can appear
    in the paint work, making it look slightly unattractive (mind you, any
    Chaos players may like to leave this effect?)
    So now
    all your pieces are ready for assembly. But before gluing anything, I would
    recommend that you prepare yourself for a couple of steps. Two things need
    to be looked at. Gaps and Pinning. Firstly you should determine whether
    any of the pieces will need pinning for extra strength. Sometimes the glue
    alone isn't strong enough to take the weight of larger pieces. To do this
    you will need two things. A Pin Vice with small drill bits and some sturdy
    wire, like the stuff coat hangers are made of. If you want to pin two pieces
    of a model together you will need to drill a hole into each of them, making
    sure that they line up together, with the model's pieces in the right position.
    Then cut a piece of wire ever so slightly smaller in diameter than the
    holes (you want a snug but not impossible fit). It should be the length
    of the two holes combined. Take the wire and glue it into one of the holes.
    You should have about half the length of the wire sticking out. When this
    is dry, glue the rest of the pin into the other hole, making sure that
    you have glue on the surface of the pieces that will come together. Hold
    it together so both pieces are in the right position and wait for it to
    dry. Voila, one pinned model. It isn't as difficult as it may seem. The
    tricky part is getting everything to line up properly. Holes, pin and model.
    thing that you will need to be aware of is that all the pieces fit snuggly
    together. Some MP kits have problems coming together neatly, and parts
    can have gaping holes where it should be shut tight. The large vehicle
    kits, like tanks and bikes, should fit together without to much of a problem,
    and your standard troopers shouldn't either. But the kits that I find cause
    the most problems are large metal ones, such as The Avatar, The GUCO and
    Orion. When assembling these particular type kits, first see if the pieces
    fit together, without leaving any gaps. If they do fit, no worries, but
    if they don't you might like to consider a brand of filler. Such things
    as air drying modeling clay and two part epoxy fillers are quite a common
    tool for this type of work. It's just a matter of gluing your pieces together,
    following the instructions of the filler and filling the gaps. You don't
    need to be a sculptor to do this, just patient. The gaps shouldn't be too
    big (hopefully), and they will just require some smoothing over when they
    are full.
    So as you
    can see, gap filling and pinnig are an important task with some MP kits.
    But just be aware that you will need to consider both at the same time,
    while you are checking your kit over.

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