Monday, 6 December 2010

Working with miniatures - a warning

Before I post any of the modelling I've been doing, it seems a good idea to post a warning. Not everyone has built a model from a plastic kit, let alone tried converting. Working with miniatures is not always easy, and can be dangerous. I wouldn't want the keen among you to try replicating or improving on what I produce before you're ready.

I'm unlikely to be doing anything groundbreaking or even especially difficult for many hobbyists. But difficulty is a question also of knowledge and experience. I started working with miniatures when I was quite young and feel very comfortable building and converting, especially using a modelling knife. I know my limits and we all need to. You too. By all means extend these - of course - but first prepare well, concentrate fully, work at a reasonable speed, be patient, learn from what you see and feel and most of all work safely at all times. Your safety is more important than a model, or a piece of a model. If you damage the model, you can repair it or start again. If you damage yourself, repair may take time and you may not be able to start again.

If you know little or nothing about modelling tools, you could do worse than read through this primer article at Bell of Lost Souls. A second on glue is outstanding. If you're choosing a knife, this list will probably be helpful, and maybe this illustrated overview. For various modelling queries there's a list of links you might try at the Cool Mini or Not forums - the second section is especially relevant here, most notably 'Basics, cleanup & equipment'. This guide ought to help with removing mould lines from models. If conversion is an unfamiliar concept, this Wikipedia entry should give you a reasonable overview. If you're thinking of using greenstuff, there's a great tutorial at From the Warp.

I can't vouch for the advice at any of the links, but in my opinion it is worth reading. Don't forget to read any instructions on the packaging of models and tools too.

In closing, I'll stress the key points, that when working with miniatures you should only do what your knowledge and experience allows and that safety must come first. You certainly shouldn't be using a modelling knife only unless you are extremely experienced. Remember guys, knives are sharp. They can cause pain, lead to blood loss and bring infection, and accidents really do happen.

And on that note I leave you to your reading.


Anonymous said...

Mate, aside from the obvious safety point there about knives being sharp, I think the most important point you have touched on is to 'work at a reasonable pace'.

I have found I start speeding up the closer to the end of a project I get and that is when slip ups happen and I damage a model, or take a chunk out of my thumb. I know Khorne is all 'Blood for the Blood God' and that, but my missus does not like the cpnstant call for band aids.

So top tips for young players - Safety first, planning, preparation, and pacing.


Porky said...

That plaster always seems to go in the most impractical place for continued work. Even if we get off lightly, it's irritating to have progress stopped while the wound heals. But another good reason to take it easier in the first place.

Papa JJ said...

Excellent advice, thank you for these helpful reminders. I've gotten into the bad habit of trying to work too long after I notice I'm getting tired. Since becoming a father I don't have the opportunities like I used to for lengthy painting or gaming sessions, so when I do have time to work on miniatures I push myself longer than I should. I need to remember that once I can no longer focus my eyes properly in order to paint, it's time to rest!

Best wishes on your conversion work, Porky... take care!

Porky said...

Thanks. I agree with your point - at times we can push ourselves too hard when for health and quality it might be better just to stop. That takes self-control, especially when the work is going well or there's a deadline to meet.

Reading the post through again now, I realise it comes across as rather strict. That said, while I don't want creativity to suffer, there does need to be control over tools and that control has to be learnt. It is still better to be safe than sorry. The best things come to those who wait.