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A Technique for Chip-less Plastics

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28 July 2001page first published

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Reader Mike Frang has found a way to protect soft plastic figures from losing their paint jobs, and has pictures to prove it! He writes:

"I'd been playing with 20mm lead figures, but lately I've noticed the growing availability of 1/72 plastic ancients being released. Of course, I was attracted by the 'cheap' and 'nice.'

But any interest was usually put off by the known 'chipping' effect of plastic figs - Why bother painting them if they are only going to chip?"

After some research on the internet, Mike decided to try the following technique:

  1. Wash in soapy water
  2. Prime with acrylic paints only
  3. Paint with acrylic paints only
  4. When done, coat with Elmer's Glue or Woodland Scenics Terrain Fixative. (Both are "white" glues that dry clear.)
  5. He also adds a coat of clear coat because he likes the sheen.
the painted figures

The Frang Test

How well does the technique work? Mike reports:

So after all this, I of course put them to the test! A 'Frang Test', much like the old gorilla with the baggage test.

Test One: Five drops from a height of 8 feet onto my kitchen floor.

(Just Imagine what this would do to your lead hoplites! Bye Bye, shield and Spear!)

Hmmm - no damage.

no damage

Test Two: Five times I threw the figures, with much force, against the kitchen walls. Finally, a minute flake of paint on the sword of the Gaul coated with Elmer's Glue.

a flake

Well now, I think they can survive a convention. Time to buy a few boxes!!