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Wren

Bones: Preparation (Glues, Putties, Mould Lines, Etc.)

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Wren - thanks as always for a fantastic article. I love the amount of time you've put into researching so many different options for Bones and then presenting us with the results and photos to compare. Reaper is lucky to have you.

 

A quick note on using CA (superglue) to bond to wood, particularly as it relates to your tests adhering Bones to bases. CA bonds excellently with wood IF the wood is sealed first. CA is so viscous, even the thicker versions, that it will soak into the pores of the wood before it fully hardens and bonds. Even the 5 second stuff will. I am a woodworker and make and sell a variety of wooden gaming accessories and use CA occasionally on pieces that are difficult to clamp or that I just want to set up quick (otherwise I use normal yellow PVA wood glue). I use it regularly on dice towers to attach veneers around the top of the tower (side grain on veneer to end grain on top of tower) and to attach the baffles inside the tower (end grain on baffle to side grain on tower).

 

The secret I've found to using CA with wood, especially when trying to glue to end grain, is to put a little CA over the areas I want to adhere to and let it soak in for a few seconds, long enough for it to harden. Usually I'll do this before I prep the piece I want to attach. Then I apply CA to the piece to be attached and stick it on to the areas that have been sealed with CA. In this case it will give a bond as strong as the glue is capable of producing with any material. The wood will tear away before the glue bond breaks. It might be tough to do when attaching a mini to a base as it would be tough to gauge exactly where you wanted to seal. If you plan to paint over the wood on the base then it's not an issue as you can paint over the areas sealed with CA just fine. If you are painting over end grain you'll need to seal it all with something anyway to keep the grain from showing through your paint.

 

A further interesting point on CA that is probably covered elsewhere in these awesome forums - there are two types of CA - methyl or ethyl. One is the very brittle stuff we are all used to. The other is apparently less brittle and favored by modelers. Both adhere equally well (I think) but I believe it's the ethyl that is more brittle. I don't know which brands are which. I have found that some of the more premium brands will list it somewhere on tube or bottle in super fine print. Most often it's sold under a trade name or simply as CA glue without clarifying which type it is.

 

A bit of googling should clarify the methyl vs. ethyl CA issue for anyone interested in learning more. There could be additional types I'm not aware of. For woodworking I usually use the super cheap, generic stuff from Harbor Freight as those little tubes are easy to use in the shop and just trash when they clog up. For modelling I typically use the quick set HobbyTown store brand and Zap It gap filling CA. I also will use an aerosol accelerator but only in areas that won't be visible and can stand up to the solvents in the accelerator.

 

 

And a follow up to my previous post - if you are using any engineered wood products like MDF (most common) you won't have any wood grain to contend with. In this case treat the entire piece as though it is end grain as it will absorb anything you put on it fairly quickly - glue, paint, primer, etc. These products are typically made of sawdust or wood bits compressed and glued together. MDF and others made of very fine sawdust are a great option as they provide a much more homogeneous surface to work with than natural wood. They are also a bit more environmentally friendly, at least to trees, as they are made of recycled wood rather than fresh cut stuff. I think they typically collect it from shops that produce wood stuff like doors, windows, cabinets, etc.

 

The downside to MDF and other engineered wood products are few but significant. For me there are two big drawbacks. First is that it won't hold a screw well at all, shouldn't be a major issue for modelers. The second is that the adhesive they use to make the stuff gets launched into the air along with the other sawdust so has the potential to be more toxic than good old fashioned sawdust. Again, maybe not a big issue for modelers unless you are using any power tools that throw epic amounts of sawdust into the air. And MDF glues very well with PVA glue but if gluing with a very thin glue like CA I would recommend sealing glue surfaces first.

Edited by ladystorm
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I have a question, and I didn't want to start a new topic.

I exchanged some minis and got a highly deformed looking Hyrekia as a bonus. I have other bones minis, but they look ok, some slight bandig issues that could be corrected easily.

Hyrekia though looks extremly tall, as if she was in some way streched (also she has some cracks on the back). I was wondering what to do with her. Maybe strech her arms too after dipping in boiling water to match her body size? Than she'll be a really tall and slim elf... :)

Any ideas are welcome.

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 Sounds like that copy of her probably didn't pop out of the mold nice and easy like it should have... Just how "stretched" is she? If it's that deformed, I'd cut it up for bits. (You can't really "stretch" the arms in any sort of constructive way - getting the material hot enough to stretch would also mean it's hot enough that handling it would destroy all details that hadn't already turned to goop.)

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You can nudge Bones back to their intended shape with hot water, but you can't really reshape them that way. It's a memory plastic, so it'll either drift back to original placement over time, or bounce back next time it gets at all warm. The only reliable way to make permanent changes to a Bones figure is to cut it up and glue it back together in a different way. (Which may not work with the particular mini you're mentioning, though I guess you could cut the arms, insert a piece of metail like a paperclip in the middle and sculpt around it to match the longer arm length?)

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She is only wierdly tall, no other deformations.

Cutting her in pieces doesn't seem feasible for me, but cutting off the arms and elongating them by resculpting sounds like a good idea :) Thank you for the answers!

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I tried out a different glue on Bones, just to see if it would work: vinyl repair glue!

 

The brand I tried was Instant Vinyl, available at the local sewing shop. It's designed for mending tears in "vinyl, leather and fabric", according to the label.

 

The test was a larger figure, Agramon the Pit Fiend. I glued him entirely with the vinyl glue, a piece at a time, with a day between each piece. Here's a summary of the results:

 

Pros:

* It dries clear with a flexible joint, not brittle like super glue.

* It is gap-filling, of course -- always a plus.

* The bond is nearly as strong as the Bones material itself. It's not coming apart without damage!

 

Cons:

* It has an strong solvent (MEK), so it smells. (Ventilation is essential!)

* The solvent will attack the surface of the model -- but not immediately, so you can wipe small amounts away if you're quick.

* It takes time to dry, so it has to be firmly clamped for an extended time.

* When dry, the vinyl is still a bit more stretchy than Bones, so the painted surface over joins might still crack if bent or pulled too hard.

 

After this experiment, I think it would be a good choice of glue for large Bones joints; but for attaching smaller pieces I'd stick to super glue. I'll be trying it on some more minis later.

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I've noticed there's a new filler putty on the market, Perfect Plastic Putty by Deluxe Materials. I'm thinking it would be great with Bones, as it's water based, and you can buy syringe-type applicators for putting it precisely where you want it. Anyone tried it yet?

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I found an additional tool to put in the Bones mold line removal arsenal -- a stiff-bristled toothbrush.

 

You know those little bits of flash that hand on by a thread in some recess when you use an X-Acto knife or scalpel to trim off the mold lines? The ones you can never seem to get out with the knife or tweezers? A quick scrub with the stiff-bristled toothbrush will pull them right out, without any harm to the mini.

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Has anyone tried using Tamiya white putty for gap filling on bones?  It's designed for plastic models, but I'm concerned that the lacquer base of the putty might melt the bones plastic into some toxic cloud.

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If it uses the same solvent base as the Tamiya Clear colours there shouldn't be a problem, I think...

(I've used the clears once for jewels on Bones and it's still standing... Small jewels, though, so... test on the underside of a broccoli base if you're uncertain.)

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Has anyone tried using Tamiya white putty for gap filling on bones? It's designed for plastic models, but I'm concerned that the lacquer base of the putty might melt the bones plastic into some toxic cloud.

Look for Vallejo plastic putty. Comes in the same size as a normal size Vallejo bottle. Great stuff.

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Has anyone tried using Tamiya white putty for gap filling on bones?  It's designed for plastic models, but I'm concerned that the lacquer base of the putty might melt the bones plastic into some toxic cloud.

 

I took a spare gramma bone minis for this experiment.  Tamiya white putty doesn't seem to have any bad reactions with the bones material, but it doesn't adhere well.  Light pressure with a fingernail is sufficient to remove the cured product from bones.  Bones' flexibility is also enough that it's not hard for the cured product to pop out of the gap you were trying to fill. 

 

I don't recommend tamiya white putty for bones.

 

[edited for clarity]

Edited by mikem91
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I would like to add that January 6 2017 we are releasing Bones Super Glue. Works on Metal and Plastic (Bones) and, because it's cyanoacrylate super glue, works on other things too, just like any super glue you'd buy would.

 

The cap includes a pin to prevent/reduce clogging at the aperture, and it's a nice large .7 oz (20g) bottle so it'll work on hundreds of models.

 

It has a near-instant cure on Bones material, slightly longer for metal models, and (I learned the hard way) adheres models to skin painfully easily.

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