Help support TMP

"Replacing 6mm gun barrels with brass rod" Topic

18 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 WWII Discussion Message Board

Back to the Modern Discussion (1946 to 2007) Message Board

Back to the Pre-Paint Preparation Message Board

1,014 hits since 17 Jan 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

alan lockhart Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2017 4:11 a.m. PST

I was reading on another forum that a chap had replaced the gun barrels on his 6mm armour with brass rod.

Has anyone tried this and, if so, how was it done? I would dread having to try to drill a gun turret without absolutley ruining it. I don't see it possible to drill white metal with simply a hand held pin drill and would have thought that a power tool would be required.

I have some models where the barrels have broken or been bent and would certainly be interested in this repair system. Any idea of what diameter of rod would be appropriate?


Mako11 Inactive Member17 Jan 2017 4:22 a.m. PST

They can be bent too, though will be straighter than the lead/pewter ones, before that.

I'd go with nylon/plastic, toothbrush/broom bristles myself, if they're about the right diameter. More likely to tack a licking and keep on ticking.

Hand-held, pin vise drill – it can be done. Make a small mark with a sharp pin, or needle, before starting to drill, to aid proper placement.

TimeCast Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Jan 2017 4:50 a.m. PST

Mako11 said "Hand-held, pin vise drill it can be done. Make a small mark with a sharp pin, or needle, before starting to drill, to aid proper placement."

Quite right, also make sure you have a new SHARP drill bit. Worn out bits will be no use and you are more likely to slip and stab you fingers*


* Voice of Experience :-)

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2017 5:06 a.m. PST

Agree with Mako and Timecast. It can be done. I've done it. Clip off the existing barrel, make a mark with a sharp knife, and pin drill very carefully. Mind you, I only ever did it as a last resort, but it can be done.

Durban Gamer17 Jan 2017 5:28 a.m. PST

Not sure about the metal of GHQ, but I have over many years replaced more than 500 tank barrels on my Heroics and Ros and Scotia models. Wear thin gloves since tanks can heat. Work on several at a time, little by little. I go from .5, .8 to 1mm drill bits. I use different diameters of wire, depending on whether it is a 2pdr or 6pdr etc gun to replace. Use Unipin fine pigment pen to mark length of new barrel before cutting. Works great and the tanks look really nice with straight strong barrels! Don't have brass wire out here on the frontier, but I use what I can get, including office pins.

Grelber17 Jan 2017 5:45 a.m. PST

I used brass wire to replace the main gun on a 15mm M3 tank. My wire clippers left a pointy end, which went into the hole in the tank, and the flat, factory cut end of the wire is out where it can be seen.


Martin Rapier17 Jan 2017 6:11 a.m. PST

My pal Wing Commander Luddite does this for all his 6mm tanks, and also drills all the turrets of his 1/2400th scale ships and replaces the guns on those too.

A pin vice is fine for this, just get decent drill bits. You don't need to drill a very deep hole for the brass rod to glue in firmly.

John Armatys17 Jan 2017 6:45 a.m. PST

Wing Commander Luddite told me that one secret is to have a bit exactly the right size – he gets them from a specialist shop and doesn't buy from model shops.

Dynaman878917 Jan 2017 7:36 a.m. PST

I drill into GHQ with a pin vise with no problem. I do this for aircraft stands but same principle. You just need a good pin vise, a steady hand, and your set to go.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2017 8:01 a.m. PST

Pin vice is indeed your friend.
Do it all the time.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2017 9:04 a.m. PST

And with tiny bits, you'll want a supply of extras to replace breakage from time to time.

alan lockhart Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2017 11:49 a.m. PST

Many thanks for all the tips.

If I am ordering brass rod for tank barrels, what diameter should I get?


Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2017 11:58 a.m. PST

I use piano wire instead of brass rod.

Mark 117 Jan 2017 2:21 p.m. PST

I'd go with nylon/plastic, toothbrush/broom bristles myself, if they're about the right diameter. More likely to tack a licking and keep on ticking.

Like others I agree with Mako on the handheld pin vise drill. But I also agree on the nylon/plastic, too.

However, I use a different source than toothbrush/broom bristles. I have found good success using the nylon attachments often used for clothing labels. You buy any new item of clothing and it is likely to have 2 or 3 such bits holding the labels/price tag in place. You clip them and toss then away. Well, just keep them instead.

You'll find they come in a variety of diameters, and often have a thicker base with an obvious telescoping step-down. They are very useful for barrel sleeves or composite barrels.

I have collected perhaps 30 or 40 in a small box I keep with my hobby supplies. Just pick one that is about the right size, and clip to length. Cut off the barrel (or barrel stub) to be replaced as close to the mantlet as you can. Poke a small guide-indent with a pin, then go in for one or two turns with your pin vise drill. Check fit with your nylon barrel, add a droplet of super-glue, put it in place, and you're done.

Here is an example, pre-painting, of an old GHQ IS-2 I was refurbing that needed a broken barrel replaced. In this case there was a little splash of cyanocrylate around the base that was easily rubbed off before painting.

I often put a droplet of glue on the end of the barrel, to be formed just as it dries into a muzzle brake.

Here is the finished product of my refurb effort. Older GHQ IS-2 castings had too-thin barrels. The newer models (at far right in this pic) are gratifyingly thick. But I chose to replace the old barrel with a thickness to fit in with all the other older castings. Can you find it in the pack?

The difference, of course, is that it is now flexible. If bent it springs right back into shape, and it won't poke holes in soft materials like finger-tips.

Just an idea. Your mileage may vary.

(aka: Mk 1)

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2017 5:28 p.m. PST

.020 brass rod is my staple for thin barrelled thingies.

Personal logo doctorphalanx Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member17 Jan 2017 10:22 p.m. PST

I've also used piano wire to replace pikes and spears. It's indestructible, but do wear proper eye protection if cutting it.

alan lockhart Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2017 12:36 p.m. PST

Again, many thanks.

RudyNelson19 Jan 2017 4:08 p.m. PST

An old practice. Back in the 1970s, a lot of folks replaced barrels espefcially with companies with thin barrels even if it was out of scale.

We also did it a lot at the Simulation centers at Fort Hood and Fort Riley. I was signed for the Fort Riley Simulation center property. It was funny when I had to explain the invoices that I got for miniature toys to my bosses. LOL.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.