Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Army in miniature: IR.10 " von Klingenbach " pt.3

"Donors" pre-op.
Last night it occurred to me that the process of swapping a awkwardly positioned head may not be something with which all my readers are familiar.  Just in case, here is a step by step guide as to how I effected the transplant.

The first thing to do is select figures to provide the components.  "Obvious!" I hear you cry but this is not as easy as it appears.  There are a lot of different sculpting styles in the 28mm bracket and many are blatantly incompatible.

I wanted a head wearing a "Mirliton" so my choices were limited.  The venerable Dixons Chasseur (FNC5) is easy to decapitate and leaves a perfectly usable body once this is done - ideal for cheapskates like myself.  In terms of size he is a fairly good match for the Crusader Fusilier (RFH009) Additionally, he is of a similar sculpting style showing a roughly equal level of detail.

The Chasseur's head was removed with a simple horizontal cut.  Once cleaned up, it was hand-drilled (pin-vise) to take a neck-pin (wire or cocktail stick)  As discussed yesterday, the plume was removed to ensure that the hat sits properly against the musket.  A replacement will be built from epoxy putty.

He looks apprehensive and who can blame him.
The Fusilier is a different story, his hat is cast butting against the musket and thus the head cannot be saved intact.

I made the vertical razor-saw cut first, carefully avoiding the musket.   Then the horizontal slice was performed to enable the head to be removed.  A good deal of mess is left to clean up but this is sadly unavoidable.  Annoyingly, I dented the barrel slightly when my toddler bashed the workbench at the critical moment - this is now repaired.

The collar was removed entirely and the neck drilled out (motor tool) to provide a "female" in which to insert the neck pin.  Remember to ensure that the figure has a realistically scaled neck - it is a very easy thing to overlook.

At this stage my method departs from the norm as I like to create an oversize socket that gives me some "play" when positioning the transplanted head.  This socket is filled with epoxy putty (Kneadatite & Milliput blend) and the head is inserted.

Epoxy putty is used to hold the head to the barrel.
This results in the putty being squeezed upwards and suction tends to hold the pin in place.  After a bit of judicious wiggling (Michael Douglas style) I had  the attitude I wanted.

The last part of the preliminary is to carefully remove the soft excess putty whilst leaving enough to support the new head.  I do this with cocktail sticks and/or Dental probes and smooth with a wet paintbrush.  At this stage you do not have to be too fussy as the details added in the finishing stages will obscure the finish.

Leave the little fella overnight (somewhere warm) or put him under a lamp to accelerate curing.  That's one down, five more to do before I can get them to the next stage:

The real sculpting work...


  1. Interesting and instructive -without sounding too 'deterring'/ thanks!

  2. I agree, very useful. Thanks!!!

  3. I am glad that it isn't thought of as ploughing old ground!

    I will continue apace!

    Today's priority is getting the potted Regimental profiles up to date. A little silly having IR.10 being built but not having any back-story.