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Welcome to our part one of our new series of articles and videos, Back to Basics. This series aims to guide newbies to the world of the Wargaming hobby. Over the course of the series will be showing you how to work with different materials, how to base your miniatures, basic painting techniques and more. In our first installment of Back to Basics we will be showing you how to work with plastic miniatures and sprues

Tools

In order prepare and assemble your plastic miniatures we recommend the following tools:
  • Hobby Knife
  • Clippers (Side Cutters)
  • Hobby Files
  • Plastic Glue
I personally make use of the Army Painters range of tools and glues as they are of a good quality and a fair price. You can pick up most of tools required for this tutorial in their Plastic Assembly Kit

Video

Step 1 – Removing components

Most plastic kits come on a frame known as a sprue. These sprues contain the components of the model that you will be building and they will need to be removed from their frame. For this job you will need to use your clippers.

Side clippers have a flat and tapered side to them allowing you to more easily get into the joins between the components and the frame. You shouldn't require much force with the clippers in order to cut through the plastic as the plastic is usually fairly soft. However be careful not to accidentally cut the through the component itself. Larger pieces will have more than one connection to the sprue which should be cut, do not be tempted to twist components off instead.

Step 2 – Cleaning components

Once your pieces is free from the sprue you may notice a few areas where the sprue was completely removed. These areas will need to be removed in order to have the best finish and to do this we will need the hobby knife.

Now before I go any further be EXTREMELY careful when using this craft knives. They a very sharp and can easily leave you with deep, painful cuts if handled incorrectly. Truest me, I have the scars to prove it. When cutting always cut AWAY from yourself and preferably on a good solid surface. You shouldn't need to apply too much force and if you are then you should probably be using the clippers instead.

On some miniatures you may find mold lines. These are thin ridges running around the circumference of the model caused by the two halves of the mold not forming a perfect seal. While annoying they are mostly inevitable and should be removed before painting. This can be done with either a hobby knife or files. Using the sharp edge of the blade run it perpendicular to the mold line in a scraping action. This should lift the line off with obscuring the detail beneath. While files can be used it is recommended that these are reserved for larger, flatter areas as they can inadvertently file down detailing.

Step 3 – Gluing components

While you can use Super Glue for plastic miniatures it is, unsurprisingly, recommended that Plastic Glue is used instead. This is because plastic glue works by melting the surfaces of the plastic that are being glued together. This melted plastic then mixes together to effectively weld the two surfaces together once hardened. This allows you to create an extremely strong bond without accidentally gluing your fingers together.

To glue together two components simply ad a small bead of glue to one of the surfaces that you will be gluing and press the other component into it. It is important not to use too much glue as this can actually result in a weaker bond forming. You should hold the two pieces together firmly for a few seconds in order for the glue to begin drying. When you let go to two pieces should be joined together however you should avoid any stress on the join as the glue will take a few minutes to fully harden.

When using plastic glue be careful to not get it on any surface that you do not wish to glue as it can melt some of the detail or at least damage the surface. Also be sure to use plastic glue in a well ventilated area due to the strong fumes it creates.


Summary

By following this guide you should have your first few plastic Wargaming miniatures assembled in no time. However, this was just a generic guide. Ensure that you follow any specific instructions that may come with your miniatures regarding assembly.
If you enjoyed this tutorial or found it useful let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for part two where we show you how to work with resin.

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