Here are soem of the methods I've come across when scratchbuilding and converting models.
To use a bottle cap as a connector you will need the cap from a plastic bottle plus the threaded end of the bottle itself, a short length of plastic rod and two metal pins.
The threaded bottle end should be affixed to one of the parts of the model.
The bottle top needs a small circular hole drilling through it, as does the other part of the model. Also drill a hole through the plastic rod and thread one of the metal pins through it before gluing it in place. Thread the rod through the hole in the bottle cap and then through the model.
Mark the rod where it emerges through the model and remove it.
Drill another hole through the rod were it is marked and then insert it back through the hole in the model.
Finally insert the second pin and glue it in place also.
The bottle cap should now be able to turn freely and screw onto the threaded bottle end on the other part of the model to join them together.
Sometimes you may have an idea you want to try, but are reluctant to risk using up valuable plasticard. I have often found it useful to first construct a rough prototype from thin cardboard.
This not only gives me an idea of what a model will look like and if it needs altering, but also provide useful templates if needed.
This method can also be used for individual pieces of a model, making a card template to ensure that the plastic piece will fit properly.
The problem with relying on pipes and plastic rod for cylinders is that you are limited to what diameters you can source. Alternatively you can make cylinders from flat plasticard.
You will need some 1mm/0.040” and 0.25mm/0.010” thick plasticard.
Cones and flat-topped cones can be made in a similar way. Simply make ends plates of the correct sizes and taper the supporting frame to match.
The strip of plasticard to be wrapped around the frame will need to be an arc shape.
Thin plasticard may be cut with scissor and any thickness is easily cut with a craft knife. Score along the path you wish to cut using a metal ruler as a guide and then snap it. It is better to score the plasticard several times lightly than to attempt a single heavy cut. The thicker the sheets the deeper the score will need to be.
Cutting curves is slightly more complicated. I typically cut a straighter path outside the path of the curve before scoring the curve itself. Then I use cutters to cut from the edge to the scored curve to turn the single piece that needs to be broken off into many smaller pieces that are easily removed by hand or with pliers.
For an internal curve, unless you have a specialised hole cutter of the correct size you will need to keep cutting until your knife has cut through the plasticard completely. I have yet to find a quicker ort easier way.
After cutting plasticard can be filed and sanded for a better fit or finish, especially for curved edges.
This is a simple method of strengthening a join between two parts of a model. Drill a small hole in one piece where you want the join to be, and then drill a matching hole in the other piece. Insert a short piece of wire into one hole and glue it in place. Then apply glue to the exposed length of wire and the area around it before placing the other piece of the model so that the exposed wire fits inside the second hole.
The model is now held together not only by the glue directly between the two pieces, but also the glue along the length of the wire, making it much stronger.
Coating flat plasticard with tissue paper can make an irregular, organic looking surface.
Coat the plasticard surface with watered down PVA glue and apply pieces of tissue paper until it is entirely covered. When this dries the surface will have a irregular textured appearance to it.
A drinking straw can easily be strengthened to either allow it bear weight, or prevent damage if it is intended to protrude from a model, such as being used to form a chimney.
Simply take more lengths of straw the same size as the first and slice them open along their entire length. This allows them to be compressed slightly and inserted into the original straw to thicken it as required. They can then be glued in place if needed.
Sometimes you may wish to construct an irregular shape where distances and angles between adjacent corners are not easily measured. This occurs when copying an existing shape or wishing to fill in a gap. I find that a pair of compasses is very effective for achieving this as follows:
Background image miniature design copyright Game Workshop Ltd
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