Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stock of the Trade - Micro Shaker Peg

Shaker pegs are shaped wooden dowels that you usually see used for towel racks. The picture on the left, below, shows the various ones available from the American Woodcrafters Supply Company. The micro shaker peg is the one to the far right. In the picture on the right, below, is the micro shaker peg from Woodworks, Ltd., called a Heart Peg.

Note that the two pegs , from different companies, have a slightly different shape, with the American Woodcrafters' peg having a flatter head. These are the style that I found at Michael's Crafts. Unfortunately, simply ordering like named parts does not result in exactly the same parts. As I tend to buy a pack or two from Michael's in order to experiment, then purchase in bulk from Woodworks, this can sometimes throw me a curve ball as the techniques I develop for one no longer work with the other.

In this case, however, I found the Woodworks heart plug rather interesting. The peg is 1 1/8" tall, making it right for a slender 28mm figure. The head is 7/16" diameter and the tenon 1/4" diameter.

The figure to the right shows you how you can turn this into a basic figure. I usually add a small piece of craft stick to the bottom to represent feet, and to give the figure more height in the leg area.

To make a rider, simply cut off the tenon (leg area) and affix the peg straight to the horse figure. I find it easy to drill a hole in the bottom of the peg and into the horse figure, then use a small dowel to pin the two together. I'll show that in a later blog entry.

The real problem with this figure is the head. If you treat the rounded top of the figure as the top of the head, you get a figure with a head all out of proportion. That is a really big head. This is the area that has to be trimmed the most. Without any modification your figures all start looking like the Toad, from Mario Kart!

The figure to the right shows some of the ways I have modified the heart plug. The figure on the left is the original shape.

The center figure is a side view  and the 'back' of the head is heavily sanded, as are the sides (which cannot be seen in this view), with the front sanded down on the top, to lessen the rounding. This produces a medieval knight's bascinet, or even a guy with a big nose (like a Mayan).

The figure on the right is what I typically do. I sand heavily on the front, to flatten out the 'face' area, and then either do the same on the sides and back, as shown in the figure, or slope the sides and back giving the shape of long hair. Also, by flattening the top of the head you can add a flat or round-headed plug for a hat or helmet.

As I am basing my 28mm DBA army on this core figure, I should be able to come up with some examples of variations soon. For now, back to painting!


  1. I'd say the sanding takes quite a while, how long does it take you to bang out a trooper?

  2. Sanding takes a matter of seconds, actually, because you do it with a Dremel rotary tool and a sanding disk. No more than 30 seconds per figure to get the head shape. But, the more you modify from the original shape the longer it takes. It all adds up.

    I am shooting for 12 DBA elements in 12 days, but I am behind schedule because i got sucked into a movie and two games this weekend.




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