Of Ninja, Genocidal Children and the Healing Properties of Blu Tack…


Now anyone who has small children and also likes to paint minis will know that the two don’t mix.  My seven year old nephew, like most boys of his age, has a total fascination with (what he sees as) toy soldiers – namely, my minis collection.

Toy Soldiers (silhouette) by Kyle May on Flickr

He likes nothing more than to come round, look at (with his hands!), play with, and ultimately annihilate the miniatures I have spent weeks of my life slavishly painting.  Over the years he has achieved this with an almost maniacal genocidal fury; entire armies of skeletons have been decapitated, my 60mm Cyclops has lost his horn, Judge Dredd has had to hang up his lawgiver on account of losing both his legs, and last month – the final straw – my favourite Ninja mini had his right hand cruelly lopped off, lost, never to be seen again.

This was no ordinary Ninja, this was a special Ninja taken from the classic boardgame Dungeonquest (anyone remember it?).  That cheesey boardgame from the late 80s where the dungeon is made up of a random mosaic of tiles each time you play.  This was no other than Tori-Jima, the infamous Ninja, who had evaded so many random hazard tiles in the past, and had now finally come a cropper to the bludgeoning mits of my nephew…

Anyway, enough of my ranting, and back to the purpose of this article: how do you repair a mini that has been heartlessly dismembered in some way? Producing a prosthetic limb for a 25mm Ninja mini, with all the intricate details of gloves, fingers, an appropriate ninja weapon, etc, is clearly a task that requires sourcing the right materials and a surgeon-like dexterity to perform the tricky operation of re-attaching the hand.

Which is why I decided on using a clump of Blu Tack that had been festering on my shelf for months…

Now, I don’t want to alienate the professional painters amongst us with my naïveté here, and I don’t doubt that there are many other tried and tested methods of recreating lost body parts for minis, but the Blu Tack method did work reasonably well.  It was malleable, so I could fashion it into the shape of a bespoke hand without too much trouble.  The fingers were created by a few simple strokes of a craft knife, and as for a Ninja weapon, I took a cog that looked like a shuriken from a Citadel Warhammer 40,000 Basing Kit.  As soon as I had affixed the ‘shuriken’ into the newly fashioned hand I then had to make sure the hand would not get squished and easily come off again.  I achieved this by covering the hand made from Blu Tack with liberal amounts of super glue, which encased the soft pudgy Blu Tack in a harder and more durable shell.  And then, of course, the whole effect was masked by a spattering of paint and varnish.

Okay, it’s not ideal and I suppose the real moral of this posting is not to let small children near your treasured minis, but if you are intent on some Dr Frankenstein-type patchwork to surgically revitalise the corpse of a dismembered mini, it’s an option!

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