During the various phases of construction of any model, we very often come across the need to change or add small items like handles, various types of rings, buckles for tie down straps and so on. In this article I will suggest some easy ways to make these items.
The most suitable material is copper wire, of which, an endless variety of diameters can be found. We will be choosing the appropriate diameter according to scale and the kind of object being replaced.
We will then use a brass rod [those used for ailerons and control levers in flying models are ideal in that they come in various shapes and sizes] with the most suitable profile for the reproduction of the links, rings or handles. Round or oval in the case of the links of a chain and square or rectangular in the case of handles for AFVs or buckles for figurines or external equipment tie-down straps on vehicles.
The copper wire is wound around the rod in successive spirals as tightly and compactly as possible. We can now place both on a cutting mat and with a cutter, exert pressure on the copper wire, lengthwise along the rod. This way, we can cut the various spirals of our coils at the same place, forming our rings, buckles, etc, once removed from the rod.
To obtain ‘C’ handles, all that’s needed is to cut again the resultant buckles at the required spot, bearing in mind the necessary measurements for insertion into the chosen spot.
To make the various brackets that were welded to the superstructure of all kinds of vehicles and were used as anchor points for hooked straps, it is possible to twist the wire against the rod with the use of a pair of forceps. All that’s left is to cut away the loose ends to the required length, thus obtaining an endless series of very fine, identical metal brackets.
These are my suggestions for making a series of identical, perfectly folded elements to replace those small handles or brackets found on armoured or soft skin vehicles and also on modern trucks and commercial vehicles and which are used to secure straps or external loads. It is also possible create a small chain or even – for those with loads of patience – a chainmail to detail large busts.