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"Top Tips for Assembling Plastic Figures?" Topic

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Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2022 9:52 a.m. PST

I just did 56 Victrix Napoleonic Austrians, and am starting a box of 40+ Perry Prussians. Took three multihour sessions to complete and I tried to streamline the process. Just glued to base for now, so still have to level the bases with a ground cover before priming. Lots of work honestly.

What would you advise new folks to do to make the process simpler, to encourage them to continue, to get very good satisfaction after completion?

Small file or flexible sand sticks? Which one when?
Wash or simply rinse them after? Or neither? Filing generates a fair amount of plastic dust. Some has magnetic qualities and is sticking to blades and files.
Backpacks first? So you know exactly how much you can position arms and heads?
Seam/mould lines can become pretty pronounced if you do a lot of wash/Contrast style painting less so with layered styles. Take seams seriously or leave 'em?

Some things I discovered:

A) Do like figures in a group to get a flow doing instead of flitting about from firing guy to marching to charging guy.
B) Do the hard ones first, the ones with the most parts, to leave nothing but the easy stuff for the end.
C) Use plastic model cement, (instead of super glue) it's flexible for a small window but allows one to adjust.

ccmatty Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2022 10:55 a.m. PST

Buy metal!

Seriously, though, I have found Victrix models to be very intensive for assembly. For me, I have to remove the mold lines. It is a personal nit. I agree with your discoveries. An assembly line process is totally necessary. Plastic cement is, in my opinion, the best way to go because it "melts" the plastic parts together (superglue, from what I understand) does not do this – which makes it more brittle and prone to snapping.

Building so many figures is an undertaking and requires planning. I like the way you have outlined it for yourself. Ultimately, it is personal process as the project is personal to each hobbiest.

Would love to see pictures of your finished product – even before painting.


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2022 11:01 a.m. PST

D)Read the instructions prior to breaking out the cutter.
E) Count the parts, and probably allocate them before any assembly begins, lest you run out of suitable right arms.

And yes, I believe one time or another, I've broken all five rules so far. Certainly four of the five.

FilsduPoitou18 Jan 2022 12:27 p.m. PST

Personally, I concur with ccmatty.
I started out in this hobby not too long ago with 40k Imperial Guard to get a feel for it and it was not a fun experience. Fighting with superglue and trying to cut off molding lines, ugh! If I only knew of plastic cement and WASHING the bits before assembly!

I found that mold lines typically are a lot less of an issue with metals and a lot of manufacturers make model variants so there's no real need to kitbash to avoid an army of clones.

The only downside is the cost, but I prefer the heft and timelessness of metal. Reminds me of my Britians and King and Country figures when I was a kid. If you only care about using them in games and not collecting/display, then I'd say go with plastics.

Also, if Victrix Napoleonics are anything like their ancients, you can expect Perry plastic sets to be a LOT easier.

Martin Rapier18 Jan 2022 12:29 p.m. PST

I lose the will to live trying to stick plastic figures together, so my main tip is to avoid buying them unless absolutely necessary.

Otherwise, it is just standard production line stuff – whatever batch size and organisational method works for you. You do get better at it the more you do.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2022 12:54 p.m. PST

Personally, I am a gamer -- not a model builder, so I avoid plastics unless it is just a few figures. Unless you enjoy building plastic figures, I would encourage you to go to metal figures. Victrix are also notoriously fiddly from what I have read. That said, I'd build them in bite-sized portions, which means to me, 3 to 6 figures at a time. I'd build, prime, and paint a couple of sticks worth (I mount them on craft sticks), then move on to another lot.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2022 1:51 p.m. PST

On mould lines on single cast metal miniatures, there is a single line around the whole figure. Once and done.

In plastics, there's the same mould line around EVERY piece of the model: two arms, a backpack/scabbard assembly, body, and head means scraping away at five pieces for each finished figure, many of which are very tiny.

After my initial foray into HO scale plastics in the 70s, I was a quick convert to the rising metal miniatures market. First with Essex, soon after dwarfed by Old Glory.

X) Come to the assembly project with the right mindset.

I've been fine with plastics for Warhammer, Frostgrave, Mordheim, etc but doing regimented figures is new for me.

advocate18 Jan 2022 3:13 p.m. PST

I've found Perry (Napoleonic and AWI) to have far fewer parts and go together more easily than other manufacturers, and are a joy to paint. The downside is less of a range of poses, but I'm OK with that. Never needed to wash them (or Warlord or Victrix, to be fair).

Archon6419 Jan 2022 8:44 p.m. PST

Games Workshop's mould-line cleaner is an excellent product for its stated purpose. A small (6") metal ruler is also good. Otherwise a sharp hobby knife.

Jeffers20 Jan 2022 6:49 a.m. PST

1. Good pair of sprue cutters – don't go cheap, they're a good investment.
2. Scalpel – use a new blade per box. Don't bother with an expensive modelling knife.
3. Liquid poly cement – I use Humbrol.
4. Wash in detergent.
5. Work on one sprue at a time.
6. Cut pieces off as close to the part as possible to save cleaning.
7. Use the scalpel to scrape any visible mould lines. I find the plastics have far less of this than metals. Don't be anal, either – just do what you can see at arm's length.
8. Glue together and mount on suitable stick for handling (no more than 6 per stick for me).
9. Spray primer of your preference & paint how you wish.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2022 9:24 a.m. PST

Fascinating. Ten posts, and five of them tell you to abandon the project. If you posted for advise on Napoleonic gaming, would they tell you to try ACW instead?

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2022 3:21 p.m. PST

+1 robert.


Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP21 Jan 2022 11:03 a.m. PST

Ha! Robert – so true.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2022 6:10 a.m. PST

How long do they stay cemented together for? Every plastic model I have ever made has eventually fallen apart, often within a year or so, whether handled or not. I assume that plastic figures, however assembled, will do the same?

Jeffers24 Jan 2022 10:16 a.m. PST

Never had that problem. I've got models my dad made for me in 1970 that are still going strong.

What cement are you using? Blue Circle?

dapeters25 Jan 2022 1:25 p.m. PST

I am kind of surprise that folks use super glue for plastic models, I can see it for metal and soft plastic.

advocate26 Jan 2022 2:59 p.m. PST

Polystyrene cement is what you need. Never had a figure or a model fall apart.

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