Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Fix Bayonets! - Guest Appearance by Goya

I'm proud and delighted to be able to reproduce a note on the fraught topic of bayonet replacement, contributed by Count Goya, who first showed me the technique. Thank you very much, sir!

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.

Tools required:

Pin vice
Small drill bits - 0.45 to 0.6mm diameter
Flat pliers
Cutting pliers
Ruler or vernier
Craft knife
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.


  1. Very clever - that Goya is a genius!

  2. That is a very useful advice and looks like it will provide a robust solution. In fact probably more robust than the original LH bayonets.

  3. What a great idea! And I agree more robust than the current solutions. Will try this tonight.

  4. Not my scale or period but jolly inventive! I bet that'll allow you to get a few more troops out of the scrap box.

  5. I am agog with admiration! I might... able to do this in 54mm on a good day. My hat is off! (admittedly, now that I think of it, 30 years ago I might have been able to do it in 15mm, used to do a lot of delicate conversions on my 15mm French Revolution forces.)

  6. Now that appears to be a lot easier than trying to solder a pin on and melting the Musket 🤣

  7. I think I tried to comment on this already, but it didn't make it through.

    A very useful post. My one concern, being something of an archives specialist, is that the staples, being of mild steel, might be prone to rust. However, a good coat of paint and varnish may prevent this.

  8. Thanks to all for comments - I've been a bit pushed for time, but I believe that no comments came through for moderation beyond the ones here. I do check the Pending comments every day - some, I guess, just vanish into the mud.

    The point about rusting staples is well made, I think. Putting PVA or acrylic paint straight onto a steel staple might be tempting fate, but a coat of enamel, or even some metal primer, should fix that. In my collection, there are still a (very) few plastic lads from the 1970s, when I was keen enough to replace swords and ramrod shafts with steel pins, and there is no rust, though they were coated in Cryla Matt Medium (water-based) in the day.

    The point stands, however. Goya and I have also discussed the use of fuse-wire - a piece of heavyish fusewire of appropriate thckness, cut and bent like a piece of staple, would do the job as well, would have a round cross section and would have a useful amount of flexibility, to absorb knocks. I am hoping to have a bash with fusewire sometime next week.