A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Thursday, 23 June 2016

New 1/72 Portuguese from Foy Figures - and a sticky question

The new "Foy Figures" Portuguese - here are the officer, standard bearer, two fusiliers
 and the mounted colonel. I intend to produce some rather more glamorous pictures
of painted figures in due course. I hadn't glued together the drummer or the grenadier
when this rather rushed photo was taken
This week I have received the first production castings of the new Foy Figures Portuguese line infantry I commissioned from Hagen Miniatures. I'm very pleased with them, and am surprised that they are already available, and have joined last year's Spanish cavalry in Hagen's online shop.

I had intended to get some of the figures painted up before showing them here, but subsequently I thought it might be best just to get a picture out there, since they are for sale now, apparently, and the photos on the Hagen site seem to be of the masters. These are, as you see, Peninsular War Portuguese from about 1811, with the later shako. From my personal point of view, they are intended to fill the gap left by the much-missed NapoleoN figures, and they are an excellent size match for the OOP NapoleoNs and the 1/72 plastic sets available - they are slightly taller than Kenningtons, but could appear on the same tabletop with no problems. I have a conspicuous hole in my Anglo-Portuguese army - I have the Portuguese brigades attached to the Third and Sixth Divisions, but the NapoleoN team went bust before I got to the Seventh Division, so that is the immediate target of these new chaps.

Two packs are available from Hagen, a Command set (containing a standard bearer, a drummer, an officer on foot in a greatcoat and a mounted colonel) and a set comprising three marching soldiers (two fusiliers and a grenadier). I am also in the process of commissioning some Cacadores to go with these (which will contain some skirmishing poses), and I hope these will be available in a small number of weeks. Hagen also have plans to produce Portuguese cavalry and artillery from the same period - I hope these will all prove to be useful to Peninsular War disciples of this scale.

As is increasingly common these days (Art Miniaturen, Perry etc) some of these little figures require some assembly - separate arms for the officers and the grenadier, and a separate drum and arms for the drummer. Everything goes together without much grief, but this brings me nicely to Subject Two, which is the small matter of modelling glues (again).

Subject Two

As I get older, I have found that a number of things are not what they used to be. Bananas don't taste the same, flowers don't smell as sweet, and so on; in my wargaming activities, I have found that rulebooks are much longer than they used to be, that 20mm soldiers are smaller, and that Superglue is a feeble imitation of the stuff I loved and used in the 1970s (good grief - that is a long time ago).

Polymerisation of methyl-2-cyanoacrylate (well, naturally)
I'm quite happy to carry out figure conversions, sticking on new heads and other bits, but it is less straightforward than it was. Apart from the mysterious coarsening of my fingertips and the need for brighter lights and optical aids, I have problems holding grafts together long enough for them to stick securely. I have been known to build complex clamps and supporting cradles from BluTak and suchlike, but the fundamental difficulty appears to be that superglue is not what it was. Sometime in 1974 or so I stuck a complete regiment's-worth of fusewire bayonets on a French unit of 20mm Garrisons - a few seconds each and they stuck tight, and they are still firmly in place to this day. Couldn't do it now - not just because I am shakier, but because the glue sets too slowly.

I only think about this occasionally - I keep buying in tubes of Loctite glues of various types from my local hardware store (because they have a short shelf life, and always run out on a Sunday in the middle of a job), and I keep coming back to the same basic problem. Using the methods I have learned over some 40 years of hacking and tacking, I now have a lot of trouble getting heads, arms, drums, flagpoles and whatnot to keep still long enough to make a decent job - and I am keen enough to file joints to a mirror finish and put little wire dowels in and all that. It's just the glue, Your Honour.

I have heard that they (who?) have deliberately reduced the spec of off-the-shelf superglue, so that users do not stick their fingers together - to make it - that's right - safer. There are rather depressing threads on modelling fora where some chap will say, "Ah - but the secret is Gorilla Glue - I use Gorilla Glue and my models stick instantly, so why don't you use it and be ubercool as well?", and some other chap will dismiss this as nonsense, claiming that anyone with any idea at all uses something different.

Uwe makes positive claims for a product called Bondic, which I have not used (though you may well have) - this is a liquid plastic which hardens when exposed to a UV LED lamp, which comes as part of the kit. There is a similar product called Blufixx, apparently, which also gets good reviews, but I am concerned that fastening a flat-ground arm to a flat-ground shoulder on a little soldier produces the sort of joint which would not readily allow you to shine in UV light - I mean, it's dark in there, man - which might make the Bondic kit just another of my collection of expensive modelling white elephants.

I have read vague references to the fact that you can still buy "unaltered" superglue which works like the original, but this gets confused by advertising and by inter-forum squabbles.

Yes it does, no it doesn't, Gorilla is the thing, no it isn't, you need 2-part epoxy, you are an idiot, etc.

I am confident that few people can be as ignorant in this area as I am - any enthusiastic users/endorsers of a product which will change my life? I have used what seems like a wide range of products, but there are still many out there of which I have never heard, and the subject is complicated by the fact that some of these are available only in the US. What I need is a one-tube, convenient, non-toxic glue which sets in a few seconds. Oh, and available in the UK, without breaking the bank.

Any suggestions?



  1. Not really though my local Home Hardware brand gel is better than most and I still use 1 minute, 2 part epoxy for important jobs. I'm just surprised that superglue is that old. If I ever used it back then I cannot remember doing so.

    Of course in my experience, try as I might to avoid it, one of the main uses of superglue seems to be to secure the cap to the tube.

    btw Nice looking Portugese.

    1. Ross! Quite right about securing the cap to the tube! I suspect that is the glues Number ! job!

    2. In a pathetic way, I have developed some habits which help prolong the usability of the tubes - wiping the nozzle each time, and tapping the bottom of the little bottle on the desk to empty the dispensing tube both help a lot, but the stuff just doesn't work like it used to, and I fear it has been tinkered with to make it less effective/hazardous. The runny Loctite sets more quickly, but is messy to use and doesn't fill and gaps at all - the gel type Loctite has a few advantages, but it makes a feature of giving you plenty of time to move the join before it sets - this is not what I'm looking for. I can place it accurately, I just can't hold it completely still for 20 minutes - especially when the item is about 1.5mm across...

  2. Nice figures! As for a bonding agent suggest, my thoughts are of little help since I am in the States. However, that will not prevent me from offering a suggestion. For bonding metal on metal, nothing works as well as two-part epoxy. When pikes are affixed with epoxy, the steel pikes make a satisfying "twang" when struck and do not break off. Superglue has little tensile strength and tends to shear away easily.

    1. If you have an epoxy glue which will set in under a minute then yu have my full attention. The UV-cured stuff sounds like it should be just the thing, until you ponder the difficulty of getting UV inside a tiny joint. Anyway, my dentist is using adhesive like this at the moment, and that's not a helpful image.

  3. Tony, those new figures look very nice indeed. As for the Superglue it's one of the big frustrations of my life! Only this morning I was cursing the stuff (LOctite) whilst attempting to stick together another resin and metal model, as you say it bonds your fingers with consummate ease while the damned parts just will not stick together, I usually end up in a rage filing the hardened cr*p off of my fingertips as it's the only way I can get it to come off. I too have resorted to tiny blobs of blue tac to aid adhesion while the stuff hardens, as you say, it's not what it was. I find two or three uses and the lid is stuck solid so it's in the bin or I need to cut the tube which usually results in more mess, what a great marketing ploy!

    1. Too right, mate. The slow curing time actually makes the mess worse, since it spreads around the place during repeated efforts to hold it in the right place.

      Although there are better pics on the Hagen site, I thought it was an idea to put a photo up here - it is of the production castings, and it might raise awareness a bit - I live with the (probable) delusion that there should be some genuine interest in these.

      I also put up the photo as a courtesy to anyone who never got round to looking (or couldn't bring themselves to look) at the advance promo pics. I have a new interest in courtesy, which I think is an important thing! - less courtesy, fewer friends, as my grandmother used to say - or maybe it was someone else's grandmother - it's hard to remember sometimes...

      I'm hiding in a sensory deprivation tank today, to avoid any exposure to the breathless, relentless reporting on the You-Know-What. I'll be resting in a cold glass of something foreign if anyone wants me.

      Cheers - Tony

  4. I have increasingly turned to my uncontrollable hot glue gun for those parts that will be hidden from view, such as getting track units onto a tank body. I cannot get it to do the fine things - but that is the nature of the thing.

    1. That's interesting - I have no experience of hot glue guns - does the glue harden quickly as it cools? The uncontrollable bit sounds ominous - I have been known to stick a new head on a 20mm soldier, and by the time it sticks properly his face has disappeared under the glue smears. That sort of thing is disappointing.

  5. I got a very helpful note from GOYA, about the availability of superglue activators, or accelerators. Now this is an interesting branch of the research, but, again, there is a lot of argument among the practitioners, which suggests that, like teenage sex, there are more people talking about it than doing it (apologies - unnecessarily coarse analogy).

    There are certainly (rather expensive) spray packs you can purchase which will certainly speed up the cure time of most known tyes of cyanoacrilate glue - you put glue in your join, press the parts together and spray the join with the activator. Wait 15 seconds, they say, and Bob is now your uncle. The bad news is that they are a spray, which is not ideal for small job, requires three hands and also contaminates the surrounding area so that any further application of superglue will harden as you apply it. Also the stuff is dear, and only a proportion of it is doing any good. Hmmm. One of the better-reviewed such sprays is by The Army Painter, and a lot of people seem to like it (though I was very disappointed with the same company's tartan paint).

    Some of the cooler dudes on one US forum reckon that using the activator direct from the bottle - dripping a small amount on the join with a cocktail stick or similar - is more satisfactory, and this sounds promising, though I haven't yet found a product which is marketed in this form - someone said he buys a pump-action spray (not an aerosol), removes the spray attachment and uses it straight from the bottle.

    This is all very interesting - I've been looking for useful how-tos on YouTube, but most of the examples I've seen there are big pieces of work like a radiator repair. Still looking.

    There is also a lot of support for using powdered bicarbonate of soda as a filler/mixer with the superglue, which accelerates setting by giving lots of particle surface for the glue to harden on - again, the bad news seems to be that this can give a rough finish, requiring smoothing, and it looks like a dodgy prospect for a novice.

    Every day, there must be millions of guys supergluing bits onto little soldiers - surely at least some of us must know whet we are doing?

  6. I'mm not sure there's an actuall definitive answer to the adhesive problem. I generally use cheap 'Wilko' superglue, though I also have a bottle of Gorilla on the go, bought for me by my daughter on a B&Q raid. I also use Araldite and I have several mounted figures held securely on their horses by 'No More Nails' - it was an emergency, what can I say?

    One technique with superglue I've found that works is to glue the item to the figure as normal with a dot of SG as advised and then follow this up shortly after by 'floating' more SG into the joint which seals and strengthens it use a pin tip or coctail stick full, not the nozzle. Can't remember any problems wit this, but there must've been some as I know how cack handed I am.

    1. After some further reading, I've ordered some of the Army Painter activator - as far as i can see, the spray pump screws off the bottle, and you can dribble the stuff on with a cocktail stick, so that looks like a reasonable way ahead.

      I currently use your method, of spot-sticking and flooding in more adhesive once it's set (and using the corner of a kitchen towel to soak up the excess) - it works, but it doesn't always look too brilliant, I think.