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Paperclips for Structure Under Epoxy

Hello and happy summer! I chose not to go to Breyerfest this year, so I’m home working on more custom minis for my show string and sales list. I’ve got a variety of models in progress and they all need a little structure for one reason or another: a forelock that will be free from the face, new ears, tailbones, tail swaps, a mane swap, a peg for a base, and my least favorite—repairing a leg. For these situations, I’m using paper clips!
Paperclip for a forelock

New ears and tail

Mane swap

Tail swap with two pins

fixing a broken leg

Paperclip and small drill bit
First, I found a drill bit that was the same size as the small-sized paperclips. I’m using a Drexel tool, but keep in mind that a drill or hand-drill would also work. The big thing here is to hold/secure your models in a safe way so you don’t drill your fingers (ouch!). Wrapping the model in a towel and placing it in a small vice is a good choice.

Second I drilled the holes, often cleaning the plastic off the drill bit in between. To do this I heated the plastic with my embossing tool/heat gun and then eased it off with an Exacto knife. (Careful not to touch hot things like the drill bit and to work pointing away from myself.)
Plastic melted onto drill bit needs to be cleaned up.
Third, I tested all the holes and the way the pieces of mane or tail fit together. With a pair of wire cutters or needlenose pliers, I cut the clips to size. Safety glasses are great for this step in case bits of wire fly away. For a tailbone or ears, I save the exact sizing/trimming for later.

Then broke out my super glue. I’m using the gel kind because I am a bit clumsy with drips. The gel doesn’t drip like the liquid. I apply it to the hole and to one end of the paperclip. I like to use the pliers here to keep my fingers out of the glue. Sometimes I need them to force the clip into the hole.

When using gel superglue, I hold the wire with pliers.

Lastly, I’ve attached all the pieces. I like to let them sit for an hour or more before touching them. Superglue fingers are not fun. When they dry they’ll be ready for epoxy.


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