Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hot Glue

Generally speaking, I stay away from Hot Glue and Hot Glue Guns. I inevitably burn my fingertips by smooshing it into the molten glue at some point. More importantly, I end up covered in thin glue threads. (If you have used hot glue, you know exactly what I am talking about.) All that said, hot glue does have its uses.

First off, it sets very quickly. It is not unreasonable to expect it to be fixed in place within 30 seconds. It also has a pretty good grip, and parts that do not take shearing stress will stay stuck. It is also fairly water-resistant, unlike white glue. If you ever do need to remove something glued with hot glue, however, an X-Acto knife will go through it quite easily.

Hot glue also has one other interesting property: it can easily and quickly create or modify shapes. Need a nose added to a sphere? A dot of hot glue will do, plus it can be roughly shaped about 15 seconds after application (note the 'burnt fingertips' statement at the start, however) and can be carefully carved with an X-Acto knife after it has set. Do not use a rotary sander, like a Dremel, unless you absolutely want to throw away that sanding drum, however. Hot glue will gum up sandpaper, sanding blocks, and sanding drums in a heartbeat.

When I went to Cold Wars 2012 it was to participate in Matt Kirkhart's and John Acar's recreation of the Battle of Zama using Matt's rules Arrayed for Battle! and Matt's and John's 25mm ancients craftee armies, shown below.

Seeing their armies online inspired me to create my own army, for DBA, in the same scale and style.

Note that these figures are 25mm, whereas most of my other figures are 40mm, as they are based off of the wooden "Boy" game piece. I started thinking about building a companion Seleucid DBA army for the Early Armenian army pictured above, so I went to the workbench and looked at the wooden shapes that I have on hand and started experimenting.

Mushroom Button    Spool        Disc                      Toothpick
Helmet and HeadBodyShieldPike

Note that the above pictures are not to scale.

The button-and-spool build is pretty standard. In fact, John Acar was a guest blogger here and showed us how he made his figures for Zama, and he used those same shapes. I like the look of the figure, but what I was trying to avoid was cutting out all of those arms (usually from plastic tile spacers).

The first step I took was to hot glue the plug to the spool to make the basic body. From there I used hot glue to attach the toothpick to the spool, where the butt end would not touch the 'ground', and about where a person might grip a pike. I used a little extra hot glue to make the shape of a right arm and hand.

Next I used hot glue to attach the shield to the pike and to the spool. Where it connected to the pike, I added a dot of hot glue to represent the left hand. Where it attached to the spool, I put a blob of hot glue to represent the left arm. I was going for a look like below; a smaller shield on the left arm where the hand protrudes, so it can grip the pike.

Here is what the unpainted model looks like.

The glue is not very easy to see, so here is the painted model. From the right side and rear you can see the hot glue used to create the shape of the hands and right arm.

Two other views, allowing you to see the left hand and arm.

As you can see in the last picture, I am continuing with my new style for painting faces. By using a darker flesh color you can give the impression of 'five 'o'clock shadow' beards rather well. Something I have not really been able to achieve before. Maybe a painting tutorial on that, if there is any interest.

The shield design is a shield transfer scanned, shrunk down, and printed onto paper, then glued onto the wooden shield. (I did not do the scanning, however, as I found the design on the Hät website.)

All in all I think the figure looks pretty good. The figure also takes significantly less time to make and paint than the 40mm figures I normally do. Time to think about starting the entire army…

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