Help support TMP

"Fixing soft poly figures to horses and bases?" Topic

37 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the ACW Discussion Message Board

Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board

Back to the Napoleonic Painting Guides Message Board

Areas of Interest

American Civil War

Featured Hobby News Article

2,437 hits since 1 Jun 2011
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

4th Cuirassier02 Jun 2011 1:43 p.m. PST

How do people attach riders to horses and horses to bases? I have some old Airfix Napoleonic cavalry I fancy painting for old times' sake and I have just remembered how hard it is to keep them upright and on horseback. What do people on TMP do about this? Apart from avoiding Airfix of course.

quidveritas02 Jun 2011 1:55 p.m. PST

One of my buddies used a couple methods.

Pin the figure to the horse.

Hot glue gun.

Both worked pretty well. The Glue gun stuff separated when the figs were stored at -30 Fahrenheit for a couple months.

4th Cuirassier02 Jun 2011 1:59 p.m. PST

Does that work for fixing the horses' feet into their bases?

quidveritas02 Jun 2011 2:05 p.m. PST

You can pin the horse to the base (put the pin in the center of the horses chest) but it looks like a carousel horse to me -- not recommended.

That's what my buddy did.

Hopefully others will have a better recommendation for you.


Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2011 2:05 p.m. PST

Poly-Zap glue from the makers of Zap-A-Gap. Magic stuff.

Timbo W02 Jun 2011 3:03 p.m. PST

For horses and bases, and those Revell ski-ing Russians, I started with clear UHU. Now sometimes this holds, sometimes it doesn't but what it does is act as a filler because its thick and gloopy.

If it doesn't hold then I re-glue with superglue. This generally works as the parts are now a perfect fit since the UHU has filled any gaps. I find superglue on its own is not so good if there is a poor fit because its thin and doesn't fill gaps.

Another trick for bases where the lugs go right through from one side to the other is to melt the surfaces together from the underside. A big pin or bit of wire through a cork heated over a candle works well, but be careful as if its too hot you can melt too much.

Oh, and before starting anything make sure to wash the figures etc in washing up liquid, rinse and dry, and undercoat in 50% PVA white glue.

EagleFarm02 Jun 2011 6:59 p.m. PST

There is a range of plastic glues designed for the odd soft plastic that manufacturers use (Polyethylene or Polypropylene or Polysomethingene?).

Works well. But it is a bit costly (at least for those used to 1/72 prices) and it is also oddly good for gluing fingers together.

Down under I use a Selley's product:


forwardmarchstudios02 Jun 2011 7:29 p.m. PST

Try using 2-part epoxy. That's what I use to glue metal horses to riders, weapons to hands, etc. It's almost indestructible. When gluing the bases just make sure to get some of the stuff over the lip and across the base, preferably to the other side. Re-basing will be rather hard if not impossible though…

MajorB03 Jun 2011 1:31 a.m. PST

UHU works fine. Been using it for years.

Skeptic03 Jun 2011 4:24 a.m. PST

To stick horses' hooves to the plastic bases that come with soft plastic cavalry, I used to use a pyrogravure (like a low temp. soldering iron, but for decorative wood-burning). Just push the locating pins into the appropriate holes in the base, and melt them from below.

Pyrogravures are also useful for melting off any flash, smoothening the facets that result from slicing with a knife, and enhancing or restoring textures such as horse manes and tails.

Marc the plastics fan03 Jun 2011 7:37 a.m. PST

two part super glue – ie the type that comes with a primer.

or heat – for the horse to base connection, I heat up a dressmaking pin – not the point, but the flat "pushy" end, and then from the bottom push that into the base while the horse peg is in the hole. It melts the two pieces together and they are not coming apart again. the flat end produces a good area for the plastic to melt around the horse leg peg.

But these days the two part super glue does it most times for me

Marc the plastics fan03 Jun 2011 7:41 a.m. PST

Sorry, what I should have added. Although you talkj of "old times' sake", I personally would recommend a newer set to paint.

The Zvezda french cuirassiers is a fantastic box to replace the old Airfix (and the Esci) etc

The Esci hussars/light dragoons is more detailed than the Airfix hussars, but I like the horse furniture with the Airfix, so why not mix and match a few sets. If you just fancy painting hussars, I would recommend either the Italeri French set, or the new Zvezda Russian set.

And the newer sets tend to have the horse and base as one, so no fiddly joints :-)

4th Cuirassier03 Jun 2011 8:52 a.m. PST

These are the Airfix hussars, which I think are not bad.

Of the 12 you get in a box, you have to discard the bloke with the dead horse, the kettledrummer, and the guy who's apparently nicked the pin off a hole on the nearby golf course.

The catch is, because they're in busbies, they can probably only be used for one or two Waterloo hussar regiments.

Two boxes gives 18 usable figures, which is correct for, oh, the 15th Hussars on a GdB ratio. As is the busby. Others might work for the KGL I think.

Agree the Airfix cuirassiers suck. They always did. According to PSR, the molds are now so knackered that the holes for the horses' feet are too big for the horses' feet!

RockyRusso03 Jun 2011 9:53 a.m. PST


I have figs that have stayed mounted and painted from my college days over 40 years ago. A friend, an organic chemist suggested the idea back then and it worked.

I soaked the figs in ammonia for a week. The surface of the plastic is slightly chemically different, slightly acidic and the ammonia removes the "sheen" leaving a matt surface that holds both paint and glue.


4th Cuirassier03 Jun 2011 12:32 p.m. PST

Some really useful leads there – thanks all.

1815Guy03 Jun 2011 12:52 p.m. PST

I found a blow torch makes the most effective join with soft plastics.

Of course, you do lose some of the surface detail on the figure…..

jowady03 Jun 2011 3:35 p.m. PST

Man I loved the Hussar set (and the RHA). My Dad took me to see Young Dr Frankenstein in the theater and the Mall Hobby Shop had the Hussars. In the old days the horses stayed on the bases fairly well, is that no longer the case?

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2011 7:05 p.m. PST

I will try the ammonia idea. I use stick pins. You drive the pin into the body of the horse, snip it about 1/3 to 1/2 inch above the saddle and then add some glue and jam the rider on the pin.

Do the same for at least two of each horse's hooves. Jam the pin trough the hoof into the base, then snip it off flush with the hoof and the bottom of the base.


4th Cuirassier04 Jun 2011 12:57 a.m. PST

The hussars and the RHA are by far the best. The French line infantry look like one battalion of the Young Guard. Old Guard not bad but too small.

Widowson04 Jun 2011 1:59 p.m. PST

I recommend you epoxy the horse directly to the move stand. Why glue it twice? I've done it. You have to brace the horse in the upright position until the epoxy sets, but it's the best connection there is. I always use the 5-minute epoxy. The loss of strength is not significant in this application.

Bosworth04 Jun 2011 2:39 p.m. PST

4th, what have you tried ? Try zapping them with superglue or Zap-A-Gap and if it doesn't work, then let the board know.

4th Cuirassier05 Jun 2011 3:58 a.m. PST

I have tried conventional superglue, which doesn't work because it is actually quite brittle. I have also tried the Soft Plastic glue you can get which again doesn't really work because you need a lot of it, to the point where you can see it.

bgbboogie05 Jun 2011 5:53 a.m. PST

I used to use, UHU all purpose, then when set paint Acryllic paint over the base to give extra hold, then just finish them off.

Captain Carter24 Sep 2018 10:42 p.m. PST

The only Airfix soldiers I keep these days are Robin Hood and Sheriffs of Nottingham sets. I have 7 sets of each and the castle. I keep them for old times sake. But long have wondered why Airfix went with these separate bases for their horses. Later when newer manufacturers produced one piece castings for their horses it was like a breath of fresh air. However I to have wondered how to a fix those bases. Very handy thread thanks guys

Glencairn25 Sep 2018 1:44 a.m. PST

After 30 years of fiddling with these figures, I found that plain vynil glue worked best. It also stays invisible in cases where you dont use too much.

Jeffers25 Sep 2018 11:12 a.m. PST

I'll second Marc. I use Loctitite Super Plastyx (or something like that…) that comes with an Activator. That is the useful bit as it works with any superglue, not just the tube that comes with it (which tends to run out quickly, anyway). I've converted loads of Airfix Indians to make mounted bowmen a la Terry Wise and its damned difficult to prise them apart.

Oddly, one of the five sets of my childhood figures I've kept are the Airfix French Cuirassiers. They featured in many battles in different guises, including Polish cavalry after watching Taras Bulba.

Rusty Gold09 Nov 2018 3:46 p.m. PST

Ive been using Testors Plastic cement with the needle point dispenser for building Perry and Victrix figures . Also HELMAR450 quick dry adhesive for basing the horses onto MDF . Its tacky stringy consistency but sticks well enough until you want to rebase them .

Lord Hill10 Nov 2018 5:34 a.m. PST

I use Revell Contacta auction

I highly doubt there's an easier, more reliable way of gluing plastics.

dantheman Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2018 1:22 p.m. PST

Wow. I just use Elmer's white glue in a blob. Dries clear and never had a problem. I guess I am just lucky.

Captain Carter27 May 2019 8:27 a.m. PST

Its beyond my why on Earth Airfix designed their horses this way. I didnt work, but they kept on doing anyway. Why not a moulded on base like every later company did

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2019 10:18 a.m. PST

How Airfix did anything is a mystery to us all, yet they thrived for years. We had no choice. We had Cuirassiers that were miniscule and lacking any detail or kit. We had French that combined Bardin tops with earlier legs. We had RHA and Hussars that were well detailed, even if some poses were incredibly stupid. But then the French Artillery were almost an insult.

Did anyone ever try hot spot welding? I did. The smell got me stoned more than once. The idea was to use a soldering tool to fuse the pin into the base hole, approaching from beneath.

No, it did not work most times………Happy days though

C M DODSON27 May 2019 10:22 a.m. PST

Yes, I have done that.

Thankfully, most bases are integral these days.


Lambert Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2019 11:24 a.m. PST

I always had trouble getting the US cavalry horses to stand up, just couldn't get the pins to stay in the holes. Trying to replay the Little Bighorn and half the troopers were down before the Indians appeared on the scene. But as you say, happy days.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2019 4:08 p.m. PST

Run a pin/wire up the horses' legs [up to the hock through the hoof[s] It helps if you heat it somewhat. And then if you have them, pin it through the plastic base and into the stand [if it is wood]

You can get varying diameters of wire from most hobby stores. If you use glue, it will need to be piled up around the hoof to reasonably hold the horse.

This is what I have done with my 54mm and 72nd-sized horses. Pinning the rider to the horse is the same method.

4th Cuirassier29 May 2019 11:50 a.m. PST

I am actually not sure there is any reason to use the plastic bases at all. Rather than pin the horse to the base and the base to the stand, why not just pin the horse to the stand, I wonder.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2019 2:46 p.m. PST

4th C. Sure, why not. I simply stick the pin through the horse, through the base and into the stand. part of it has to do with what kind of stand you use. Metal stands won't work. grin

Widowson30 May 2019 12:20 p.m. PST

You don't even need the pin. Just epoxy the horse's hooves directly to the base. Done.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.