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On my WIP thread I am using a piece of plied wire to represent a chain on a character who weilds one. I offered to post a tutorial on the technique, so here we are. Plied wire is a technique used by the Vikings to create jewlery - typically they took four wires of silver or gold and created a bracelet or ring. However, the end result is very chain-like, so I thought it could be useful in miniatures for making a chain. Here are a few examples of the wire: It isn't exactly a chain, but it does read like one. In order to properly do this tutorial, however, I need to start be explaining the difference between an "S" and a "Z" spin. Whenever you twist two strands together, when you look at it vertically the spin will go in one direction or the other - Upper left to bottom right, or bottom left to upper right. Even if you flip the cord, the spin will be in the same direction. I've illustrated the spins here: I've drawn over the wire in red, the first is an "S" spin, the second a "Z" spin. This is important as basic process is to twist two sets of two wires together in the same spin, then twist those two sets with each other in the opposite spin. Here is a step by step explanation: First you will need wire. This example is 22 gauge steel wire, which was actually slightly large for what I needed it for. 24 or 26 gauge wire is good for wire for the mini to hold, but I have used this technique with as large as 14 gauge wire. You can obtain many sorts of wire from the hardware store - check the "Picture hanging" and "Wiring" section. Steel wire will create a fairly rigid result which is still pliable enough to shape, but copper will be easier to work with in general. Start with two strands - each of these strands should be over twice your desired final length (we will cut the result in half, and twisting will reduce the length.) Remember, you can always cut down the final result, but you can't add to it. I used two pairs of locking pliers, but you can also use one pair and a clamp. I also used leather to hold the wire, but this isn't necessary if the wire is strong enough - it will mark the ends but you won't use the ends anwyay: In my experience you will need the leather for 24 gauge copper as it can shear from the pliers, otherwise you will probably find it more of a hindrance as the wires will pull out. Twist the wire in one direction, keep backward pressure on the plier(s) so that the wire does not bunch up while you twist it. When it is fairly tight, unclasp it and cut the wire in half. A normal pair of wire cutters might do it at this piont, I used a pair of 10" end snips, there are of course other options. Now, note the spin: I have a Z spin here. Clamp down both ends between your pliers and twist in the opposite direction - so in this case I want to see the wire going over the other top left to bottom right Again, keep backward pressure on your plier to prevent it from bunching. You'll note here I stopped using the leather, as it kept pulling out. Keep twisting until you have reached your desired look. Then unclamp it and cut off the ends - you may need a better cutting tool for this, as at this point you're cutting through four wires. The end result is still flexible, but holds its shape very well. You can use pliers to make tight bends
This is another tabletop playing piece for my RPG group. It again came about from my parts box. I had a tiny metal alter and some plastic pillars, so I decided to build this (Sacrificial Alter Of Rama Kas - Evil Cultist). The piece is 10" x 6" and the base is ceiling tile cut to size & shape...I cast the stone walls & rock steps myself out of plaster...all woodwork is scale lumber...bolts are railroad bolts. The vegetation is an assortment of items that I thought would look good and fit the piece.