Replacing bayonets October 2018
The aim of this note is to describe how to replace a broken off bayonet with a staple. A hole is drilled at the end of the musket and the corner of a staple cut to size is glued in place. This gives a much stronger bond than gluing to a flat surface. Bear in mind that by this period, a socket bayonet is parallel to the musket’s barrel and not an extension of it.
Small drill bits - 0.45 to 0.6mm diameter
Ruler or vernier
Craft (PVA) Glue
Pin or pair of dividers
24/6 staples (0.65mm broad)
You can find substitutes for most of the above tools except the pin vice and drill bits.
1: Measure length and width of bayonet and width of musket at the point of attachment. In this case, a Les Higgins British Light Infantryman with a 1mm width bayonet 6.5mm long. The width of the musket is 2mm. The full figure is on the left and the broken on the right.
2. File flat the metal at the point of attachment and make a small indentation with the point of the dividers at the middle point of the width. This will ensure that your drilled hole for the staple is centred and the figure is not ruined. If you can, cut a slot along the tip of the musket for the staple to lie in and give a bit more area for the glue.
3. Slowly drill the hole with a slightly smaller bit.
4: Once the hole is drilled, file both sides lightly to clean off any swarf and gently push the staple through. Measure the lengths required and take the staple out and cut. Cut these as accurately as possible as otherwise you will have to trim when glued to the figure which is more likely to break. File the sharp end.
5. Straighten the musket as it may have been bent by the drilling.
6. Glue the staple in place making sure that it is straight and leave to dry (figure on the right is the repair).
7. File off any excess glue. If you have cut the angled end too long and it sticks out, file it off gently or use side cutters to get in close.
8: I coat the finished bayonet with PVA glue to strengthen it and provide a base for paint. You can add as many layers as you want for the right thickness.
9: I have used the same approach to replace broken plumes. I glue in a wire and build up the required thickness with putty.
10: On Minifigs S range, the bayonet is attached below the musket so flatten the end and drill from the bottom upwards. The metal is soft enough that it can be reshaped afterwards. Sometimes there is enough metal to drill straight into the remaining part of the attachment.