Thursday, May 05, 2011

How To: Mount Metal Figures on Resin Bases

Joining metal to metal on wargames miniatures has usually involved superglue and pinning vulnerable parts, but where attaching them to a base is concerned, this mainly fell into two categories; gluing the integral base to the surface of your choice or gluing the metal tag into some form of slottabase.

When working on a scenic base though, usually of resin, it is necessary to cut the model free of its pedestrian shackles!  This normally means pinning the model, but this can generate a weak join.  Drilling out the base of a model's foot, into the ankle join, can be risky indeed.  My Anima tactics models are blessed with just such joints, but I have developed a solution that minimises the damage.

Rather than cut the tag off entirely, I keep the part connected to the foot as the pin.  The way to do this is as follows...

First with a sharp craft knife score then cut through the centre of the tag.  Then score and cut the spare tag away, leaving a squarish sectioned peg underneath the foot.  The advantage of these is that they are part of the model, and so the strongest bond you are likely to get.

Next you can begin to prepare you resin base for fitting to the model.

To line up the pegs I have a simple trick, I dab the base of the pegs in paint and then (once I've decided approximately where the model is to stand) place them in the position on the base I want the model to stand.  You should find two paint marks there to guide your drill.

Use a miniature pin vice to do the actual drilling.  I use a bit of around 2mm to make the initial hole.

These holes are enlarged with a needle file, which saves using lots of sizes of drill bit.  From this stage you need to be dry fitting the base to the model.  As well as expanding the holes in the base, the pegs can be filed to shape.  You are aiming for a snug, not to say tight fit, as the less glue used to join the two media, the stronger the join will be, due to it containing more of a surface to surface join.

Once you are satisfied with the fit, apply a little superglue to the holes and slot the model in.

And that's it done.  No wonky bits of wire, no weak, drilled out joints.  A minimum of mess and faff.

Now you can get the paint brushes out!


  1. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

    How do you find pure resin bases? They've always seemed to brittle to me, especially a couple of years down the line.

    Nice tutorial.

  2. It's the first time I've used them, these ones are PG Scenics, I've found them to be well cast and pretty sturdy.

    They are easy to drill and carve, but have not proved brittle. Which given the fine detail on some of the cogs, had been a concern. For what worked out to 20 pence each they were great value.

    Resin is one of the most responsive materials for superglue, so the bonding has not been an issue, overall I'd rate them a 9 outof 10, just losing a point for some minor air bubbles near the rim of the base.

  3. Thanks for the sage advice. I usually do a similar thing to mount my minis on plastic bases that have no guide holes, but it is nice to see it can be done with resin too. I have been considering some resin bases for a while but the points you raised have made me err upon the side of caution; until now.
    Little Odo