Craft Section

So, You Want to Remove Your Bases?

by Todd Hanson
aka Redhandstudios


  • A jewelers saw (top center)
  • A set of needle files (dollar store)
  • Either a razor knife or another thin sharp blade that you are comfortable using.
  • Paper towels.
  • A mini.
  • (Dremel-style tool is optional.)

For this tutorial I am using DHL mini #2786 Mash, half Ogre. I left his arm off during the modifications and wrapped him in a paper towel to avoid mangling the pewter or gouging my work surface to badly.

Here is a cut being made along the edge of the figure's boot, just a scant millimeter under the base. You see the red foam pad on my table? That is there to keep me from gouging the maple or sawing into it. An ounce of prevention and all that.

I cut in at a few different angles, again staying just a saw blade width under the boot on the mini, this allows me to remove larger pieces by bending them back and forth a few times and letting them snap off.

These shots show some of the metal that has been popped off his tootsies. Elapsed time at this point in the project is around 8-10 minutes. So yes, a motorized tool might be faster, but I like using a saw...I feel like I have a bit more control with the saw for cutting. The draw back to the saw is not twisting it at all or forcing the blade, you will snap these babies quick if you do. It is also handy to have a bar of soap handy to "lube" the saw blade every few hundred strokes. The soap cuts down friction and helps clean out the metal from the teeth.
At this point I have completely undercut one foot. I bent the metal away with my paring knife to emphasize it a bit more. Try not to bend to much as the other foot, and specifically the flimsy ankle, are still attached to the base.

Here I am using my paring blade to remove excess material, this is actually part of a rock that was sculpted onto the base. It is important to be careful at this not cut yourself with your hobby knife...I do not wish to be sued. Use a razor or an x-acto or whatever makes you most comfortable. Some might file it off or use the saw, I feel the knife is the quickest option. (Who said you can't whittle metal?)

Here he is with the base off and the excess trimmed away. I am eventually going to mount him on this handy dandy wooden plaque thingy, so I am not incredibly worried about the bottoms of his feet yet, only that I need to do some pinning work.

Now you dig out your moto tool (Cheap Dremel knock off from the local craft store, $10) or a pin vice drill. Also figure out what you are going to use for your pinning material, I chose a medium paperclip.
Then I took my knife and placed a pilot hole in each foot. For those of you who don't drill into metal very often with a high speed need this hole. Trust me. It gives your drill bit a place to seat itself, otherwise you just chatter all over the work area and eventually drill through your thumbnail. Pilot the Todd on this.

I drilled my holes out about twice the size of the paperclip rods. I did this for only one good reason. I lost the smaller drill bit! Hah! Can't win them all.
This is some wicked epoxy type void filling glue called liquid nails. It is toxic, caustic, smelly, sticky, gross, and above all absolutely indispensable in my hobby box. You can bond metal, concrete, wood, small puppy, and large meteors with this stuff. It is slightly sculptable and very sandable once cured.

I putty the holes in the mini's feet and jab the rods in. In a few minutes it is set up enough that I am not worried about the rods falling out. In a few hours, I am not worried about a mule team pulling them out.

Next I break out my handy dandy paint pen. You could use a paint brush and some paint, but come on...a handy dandy paint pen is just cool! I get the paint flowing and press the tip on a hard surface that is not going to be ruined by the this case it is a shuriken. (I have dozens of them around the house and tend to use them for coasters more than implements of death.) I then dip Mash's pegs in the paint and transfer those dots onto his new temporary home.

The lid to an old laundry detergent container. This will be my base for painting and assembling the rest of this dude.

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