This article should give you, the beginner,
the basic knowledge you will need to
construct your first figure. Please note that
this is very simplified and there are many
more points which can be addressed. You
will learn these on your own or by reading
other articles such as those found in Figure
International or by asking. Figure kits are
made from white metal or resin. Always
choose one from a good manufacturer.
by Neal K. Das (Sentinel Miniatures)
Andrea Miniatures, Pegaso Models, Romeo Models, Best Soldiers, Scale 75, Elite, F.M. Benieto and Masterclass are
some of the manufacturers who supply high quality metal figures. Michael Roberts, Ltd. supplies resin figures which are
very high quality. It's best to start with a simple straight forward kit such as the one shown in photo #1. Available kits are
54mm to about 120mm plus busts which are usually resin in 1/10th Scale (180mm) or 1/9th Scale (200mm). The Romeo
Models kit ahown is 75mm.
Photo # 3 shows some of the basic tools you will need, a
few files, rat tail and half round, pin vise, #1 X-Acto knife
handle and #11 blades, 400 and 600 wet or dry sandpaper,
instant glue and five minute epoxy. For some kits there
may be large gaps which cannot be corrected and you will
need body filler putty. You will also need primer to
complete the construction and have the figure ready to
paint. Any metal primer in gray or white can be used but
Model Master is one of the best. All are available from craft
stores or on line tool sellers. Photo # 2 shows the parts to
the kit laid out so they can be identified and test fitted to
see where the problem areas are going to be.
Begin by inspecting the parts for seam lines and flash. Seam lines generally run lengthwise on a part. They are on most
parts and are caused in the casting process. Kits today will have very light seam lines and can be removed by lightly
sanding with a file or sandpaper or dragging the #11 knife blade down the length of the seam. Do not dig tools in to the part.
Let the tool do the work. Flash is excess material that sticks to the part when it is removed from the mold. Again it is
easily removed with a knife blade or file. Flash can be seen in Photo # 5 on the tip of the spur. Mold and seam lines can be
seen in Photo # 4 and # 5. The are heavier and will require a file. In Photo # 2 on the helm you can see on the left a slight
seam line. This can be removed by carefully and lightly drag the knife blade in a downward motion. Repeat this until it is
gone. Do not dig the blade in. It can be finished off with some light 400 sandpaper. A brass bristle brush will clean and
polish the castings, so the imperfections are more visable. Be careful when cleaning and handling small and fine parts so
you do not break them, especially sword blades which will typically have a seam line on both edges of the blade. Use the
#11 knife blade to carefully drag down the sides.
After you have removed the seamlines and flash, test fit the parts. If the bottom torso on a kit like this doesn't fit, you will
have to remove material from the inside joints with a file and sandpaper. Kits today will require some adjustment, but not
much. Kits from Andrea Miniatures or Metal Models require little to no adjustment. Resin kits from Michael Roberts, Ltd.
require no adjustment. See Photo # 7.
Once everything fits properly, assembly can begin. Begin
by glueing the large parts together, the two lower torso
halves and attach the upper torso. The legs attach around
the extended metal on the upper torso. Small amounts of
5 Minute Epoxy should be used. Don't use too much or it
will come out the sides. Once you gain experience you
can use a pin vise drill to drill well holes in the hidden
metal parts to take up the excess epoxy. At this point you
can also attach the figure to the metal base supplied with
the kit. The large lugs on the feet should lock in and use
epoxy to attach them. Now you can start adding with
instan glue the arms, scabbard, and hands. Do not add the
shield or leather strap yet.
Always try to assemble as much of a figure as possible without inhibiting the painting process. If you were going to mount
this figure on a wooden display base, without using the supplied base, then it would be necessary to drill holes in the heel
of each foot with the pin vise to accept a pin. This pin could be made from brass rod or a large paper clip. It should go at
least 3/8ths of an inch deep in the heel and at least 3/4 of an inch deep in the base. Epoxy should be used to hold this in
place on the figure and on the base. Let the adhesives cure, then wash the figure in soapy water, rinse completely and let
dry. Inspect the assembled figure carefully for things you missed or imperfections that have to be filled. Small imperfections
can be filled with instant glue.
Once you are satisfied with your work, the figure can be primed. Lay the figure down on its back and spray lightly and
evenly accross the figure. You can do it several times, letting it dry before additional coates. This cover the hidden parts
and undercuts of the figure. Once dry, turn the figure ove and do the same on the back. Let dry and stand it up. Again with
light even coates, starting off the figure and ending off the figure, continue priming. Once this is done and after it has dryed
for several days, look for more imperfections and seamlines you missed and correct them and reprime. After suitable drying
time, three to four days, you are ready to start painting.
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This article and all photos belong to the author and the LIHMCS and cannot be reproduced or copied without permission (03-20-11)
Kit Cleaned and Assembled
Kit Assembled and Primed