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We've covered glue, and primer and sealer. This is a bit more advanced.


I'm just getting into pinning, and I must say it works very well for the dragons I've been assembling (currently working on Deathsleet right now).


Deathsleet is the second mini I've pinned, and I'm curious what everyone's techniques are, what kind of wire they use for the pin, and what everyone uses to drill. Are the key places to keep in mind while drilling? How deep should you go? Do you pin minis to the new base when you remove the old one? What size drillbit do you use?


Do you prime and paint, then pin and assemble and seal as a last or do you assemble first and then prime, paint, and seal in order? Does the complexity of the model make any difference (like Deathsleet - fairly simple and straightforward in comparison to WoTC's Black Dragon - which has ten or more pieces)?


Do you pin small pieces, like when a figure's arms are seperate, or even just the hand, like in the case of Lola?


Currently I have a handheld pin vice that I got at Hobbytown, and a small container of mini-bits that I use, depending on the size of the model and wire I use. I have been using a very bendy, tiny gauge wire, but am thinking I should go to a larger gauge. To match up the holes, I snip a small piece of wire that barely pokes through the hole, put a dab of paint at the end, then dry fit the piece into the location. The paint will leave a mark where to drill. It's a little difficult to get the marking pin out, but I haven't failed so far (knocks on wood).


So speak out on what your techniques are.

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Depth, work order, type of wire and just about everything else depends on the subject. There are small parts which require pinning, large parts that don't, and everything in between... it's all so dependant on everything. For general purpose pinning, though, I've got 1 mm steel wire, usually applied in 10 to 20 mm lengths with epoxy glue. I don't trust motorized tools in modeling (for armourcrafting they're nice, though, and for building furniture, or houses), and hand-powered tools always offer much, much, much more control and feedback, so my trusty pin vise gets quite a lot of use (and incidentally, it's useful in armourcrafting and making furniture as well).


*Sigh*... all this reminds me once again of those two nasty Chronopia minis I've got in my closet: Ophidian and Soulflayer. Both have lots of large, heavy, soft (lead-based alloy, whee!) parts and large load-bearing joints with very shallow guidance tabs. I'm going to need some real heavy-duty wire in 40 to 50 mm lengths for those nasties...

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I've been thinking of grabbing a pin vice, but haven't yet.  I just don't see how they are suppused to work.  You hold it in hand, and then what?  Spin it round while applying pressure?  How long and hard is it to drill?  I've used my power drill in the past, and while a bit cumbersome and tricky (the drill bit loves to "slide" off the mini) I haven't drilled my finger (yet.)
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I've been choppin' & pinning mini's for a while & I think you should experiment with some different techniques on a not particularly valued mini. As was previously stated above each project has its own particular needs so there's no right answer.

By the way I use my wifes dressmaking pins for pinning minis (try bending a 1/2 cm length!).Makes for a very strong bond.

I have a great deal of interest in this topic, thanks for bringing it up...........

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I've been thinking of grabbing a pin vice, but haven't yet.  I just don't see how they are suppused to work.

You hold the butt end against your palm, press and spin it with your fingers. The butt is mounted so that it spins freely and thus stays fixed against the palm as the shaft rotates. The "bite" is easily adjusted by varying the pressure on the thing and is perfectly adequate for pewters, lead alloys, wood, plastic... I think I even drilled a guidance hole for a larger drill bit into a copper pipe with standard "hobby" drill bits in my sucky GW pin vise. (Which, BTW, has a very poor butt end: a larger ball-shaped one would be much better - but the nearest hobby shop even remotely possibly carrying good ones is 300 klicks away. And that's almost in the next block as far as Finnish distances go. I hate this miserable excuse for a country.)

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I always use a sewing needle or pin to mark a small indentation where I want to drill before I use the pin vice. This prevents the drill bit from slipping.


I have an inexpensive one that you can apply pressure via finger or palm. The palm tends to work better as I can apply more pressure while spinning, but sometimes it's too much and the bit will get caught in the metal and stop moving.


I don't use electric drills because lead and pewter is a very soft metal and has a low melting point. The higher speed of electric drills can cause the metal of the mini to heat up and I worry about causing damage.


Another thing I notice is while filing flash off minis the metal gets melted onto my small files. I need to figure out how to get those bits off without ruining the file. Seems a waste to toss 'em and get new ones.

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Great topic!  My motto is pin everything!  I use a small hand pin vice and I pin pieces together every chance I get.  It is fun, easy, and best of all makes assembly much less stressful.  


I have three different gauges of pin width, but mostly use a .071 drill bit size.


None of my stuff ever sees a gaming table, but it's still nice to know they won't break apart if someone picks one up to look at it (like my three year old!).  It's also nice to have models pinned because when I paint something for someone else or give a mini as a gift I know that it will stay in one piece.


I really learned to pin things when I was building/painting a lot of 40k stuff, but more recently the Warlord models really require that you pin them together.



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I use a pin-vice and modelling wire, which is tough as you like and chips bits out of ordinary pliers; i cut it with a light bolt-cutter. Possibly like those dressmakers pins, you can't bend a 1-2cm length. You don't have to spin the pin-vice all the way around, you can give it back-and-forth quarter turns as the situation demands. In the past I've used this in conjunction with CA+ glue, and filled excess gaps with epoxy putty for extra bond strength, but I think I'll be using epoxy glue from now on for big jobs and CA+ on lghter stuff.
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I pin everything that will accept a pin.


I power drill every hole.

Use high quality carbon twist bits.

Used in electronic circuit board manufacturing.

The worn bits are used as pins.

Note hole and pin size always match.

I never use flexible wire.

The carbon twist bits are never cut to length. They break nicely.

I drill one hole, both pieces (or more) same time. No alignment problems.

The fluting on the bits (pin) allow excellent epoxy adhesion.

The surface entry is repaired with modeling epoxy.


If you use headed pins on ball and socket  joints articulation is possible.


My last highly pinned project was a wooden ship the WASA.(Estimate 800hrs)

The planking on the hull required 3000 + pins.

The reason I no longer hand drill.


Every project has unique variables.

Plan, Test, Practise, Implement.


Good Modeling


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did my first attempt at pinning this evening. And I must say it was a sucess! I added an axe to a figure and used the pinning method to secure it. I used my little hand drill to drill all the way through the minis hand, then cut the axe in two, drilled holes in each piece. Cut a straight pin and glues it into the top piece, then slipped it throught the hole in the hand and then pinned the pommel back on. Came out nice Now to make sure it doesn't need filled and re-prime the mini. When it's done I will post it!

Lady Tam

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Aryanun, I like the paint-dab method for marking the spots to drill. Good one.


I use an X-Acto pin vice with the small bit it comes with. For wire, I actually use pins. No kidding. The previous owner of my house did a lot of tailoring and sewing, so the basement carpet was riddled with pins. I pulled them out, and now I clip the point and head off and use pieces clipped to size with my Leatherman Wave to pin my models.


I pin both plastic and metals, especially when connecting one to the other! I pin mostly large pieces. For example, I have been making up a lot of Warhammer Empire Militia and Empire Soldiers (mixed together, too) to make some generic soldiers for my RPG campaign. I pin the upper body to the lower body, but I do not bother pinning the head or arms - too much trouble, and the pin would be a bit shallow to offer real support. On complicated models, or ones that require support of a lot of weight (a Hundred Kingdom Giant Gor, or pretty much any wings like the Reaper demons), I will use pins on all pieces I can possible get to accept them.


If a small piece is especially vulnerable (weapons being a classic example) I will pin them no matter how difficult the pinning will be. I sheared off the sword from a Reaper Black Orc and added a mace instead, but it refused to stay until I pinned it. Since that was my first pinning job, I learned to pin all weapons all of the time.

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