Friday, 6 August 2010

Soldering on

No, that is not a typing error in the tittle. Let me explain...

As mentioned in the previous post, I wanted to convert some SSM minitures as NCO's. As two model  soldiers of the Grenadiers de France, the unit currently being reconditioned, had damaged muskets, I decided to remove these (ooooh) and replace them with scratch build espontoons (aaaah).

Now this would prove to be the tricky bit. Armed with some 1mm diameter wire, cut to length I set about carving some sort of espontoon "head" to put on the wire staff. Whilst I was busy, I also tried to sculpt a head for the staff of the unit's colours. I was quite proud of the result. But then I just had to compare with the Minden Miniatures "flagpole / espontoon" castings. I must admit that the roaring laughter from those -even though they should know better- looking over my shoulder didn't help...

But then I remembered something which would prove very important in this venture: I had a nephew. Actually,  I never forget that, he's after all the only family I have left. But the point is: he's a very accomplished military modeller, winning prizes in modelling competitions, writing articles for modelling magazines and all that sort of thing. And I've seen him do some eyebrow raising stuff with some brass wire and a soldering iron. So I phoned him explaining my problem. A date was set and he would teach me how to solder.

-Left my first attempt (steel wire and carved plastic sprue), 
in the middle the Minden cast and on the right the soldered espontoon. I was bit impatient taking this picture, 
but a bit more filing should make a perfect spontoon for my SSM's.-

Yesterday I found a store that had all I needed to start soldering myself. For about 15 Euros I had everything I needed. I think the picture speaks for itself, doesn't it. This also means I will be replacing the Minden staffs with brass wire, but keeping the cast heads. I guess you can also do swords and spears and lots of other weapons and implements for toy soldiers.

Maybe it would be a good idea, when I produce the next batch of "Kurzgewehre" to try my hand at a small tutorial, if there is any interest out there. Maybe I'm the last person on earth that didn't know how to solder?

Happy gaming


  1. Great job, Pjotr! I for one would be interested in a how-to piece, even if I'm not planning any conversions of the kind for the moment.

  2. Yes sir, I would like to hear how, again. I've read 2 tutorials and tried several times with no success. 3rd time could be the charm.

    I did take a jewelry making course a few years ago and mastered soldier with an acetylene torch but I'd rather not have to go that far to join a few arms and bayonets!

    So well done and please do share how.

  3. Nice job!
    I've never had much success with soldering. Even with stuff that wasn't so small and fiddly, so my hat is off to you!

  4. Hello Pjotr

    Very nice stuff indeed. I always knew you had it in you :-).
    I'm happy you'd some hobby time...

    See you

    LCL Von Mundy

  5. I have tried soldering but found that you appear to need at least 3 hands and the ability to control where the solder goes by mindpower alone. So I stick to using araldite now.

  6. Thank you all very much for the feedback. I'll try and make a tutorial...but I think I'll have to twist LCL Von Mundy's arm for that.
    Andy, Although a third arm would make my wife very happy also, the solution is much simpler (involving sticky buddies, or blu tack or whatever it is called where you live).