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Cleaning/trimming minis


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Hey all,

 

My local mini/RPG shops has just started carrying Reaper figs and I've picked up about 20 or so. My experience with minis isn't in-depth, I tried it a bit as a kid and have only recently started again.

 

Anyways, I've noticed on a few of the minis some metal chunks and so forth, I assume left over from the molds (like some errant metal behind a Templar's shield that obviously shouldn't be there), and I was curious what tools I should look into to properly remove such things without damaging the mini or myself.

 

And if this is in the wrong area, please move it as necessary.

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Others, more expert, will probably chime in, but here's my take.

Files, particularly diamond files. Maybe fine sandpaper, for a really smooth finish, but that's less important. 'Bead reamers' may be useful for getting into awkward areas. Side clippers for removing large chunks. A jeweller's saw is handy for cutting large things apart, or a figure off its broccoli base. Some swear by their dremels.

You can find more info in past threads.

 

You can find the basic tools in hobby shops, the better stuff online. Past threads will provide links.

 

Ishil

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i would say get yourself a pair of flat snips i am not really sure what its true name is but if you are desprate GW made a pair but there is probally better out there and than get yourself like a set of 6 files to file down the mold lines, and a hobby knife with extra blades.

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First and most essential tool - a good quality X-Acto type knife. Avoid the ones that have a plastic blade holder...while it doesn't happen too often, eventually the plastic can become brittle and break while in use - that is bad. When it comes to cleaning up a miniature, it is irreplaceable - while there are several tools that do some things better...there are very few things that the knife can't do. Anywho - you will want to use the knife for things like cleaning up flashing and removing bits of metal that are left from the vents carved in the mold. For the flashing, you will generally want to back scrape in order to prevent gouging the mini or your hand. With care you can use an x-acto knife to cut through some really thick metal bits - though for that, I recommend other tools.

 

After getting a good x-acto knife, take a look at sprue cutters. They are similar in many ways to diagonal cutters used for cutting wire and what not...but more precise. These come in handy when cutting larger chunks of metal from minis as well as removing parts from sprue. They are designed to cut flush or close to flush on one side in order to get really close to the mini itself. Once that is done, you can clean up the marks left over with your knife.

 

From there you get into various files, burrs and rasps. These tools are very useful when you have more than just a little metal to remove or when you need to refine some details from a poor casting. You have dozens of choices in terms of sizes, shapes and grades - so I would recommend searching for discussions on the specific items in question.

 

That will be enough to handle 99% of the various clean up tasks. However, some people like to include a rotary tool in the mix as well. When using these, be careful since a little pressure will remove a lot of metal. Rubberized polishing points make this less of a concern, but still - practice with it before you get into things too far.

 

Another handy tool is a razor saw. These can be handy if you want to remove a head, arm or base for whatever reason.

 

Consider having a big wad of silly putty too. This comes in handy since you can press the mini into it and work without having to deal with the strain of holding a tiny object while you try to grind away a detail.

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Remember that you can't "cut" metal. I have been using the same exacto blade for over 20 years. Of course its not sharp anymore! I don't want it to be sharp. It is a very small scale _chisel_. It scrapes.

 

I also have a "student grade" scalpel. Its one piece of metal with a blade that's very thick, meant to be resharpened on a stone. Dunno if you can get them anymore, I'd like to find another one. I do heavier scraping & prying with it.

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I'd highly recommend sharp blades for your hobby knife; I prefer curved ones personally. When you're shaving small pieces of pewter off sharp blades take less force to make the cuts, giving you less risk of the blade skipping and damaging another part of the mini (or yourself). Curved blades help to avoid the chiseled grooves and allow for more natural shaping of lines and edges.

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