Sunday, August 25, 2013

Quick Tip - Get the Most Out of Your Plastic Sprues

Welcome to the Quick Tip series. Each article is a quick hit showing a quick tip to help improve your hobby skills, organisation, modelling, etc. In the first of this series, we look at one way to have less impact to your environment by reusing the plastic sprues that come with your Games Workshop models.

So, you have just finished building a kit for your Warhammer or Warhammer 40K army. You've clipped off all the extra bits and sorted and stored them away in your little bits organizer, or just dumped them into a bits box to rummage through when the need for inspiration strikes. But what do you do with all the extra sprue plastic?

While the sprue is made from recyclable plastic, most municipalities don’t want this type of plastic in their recycling system. Throwing them out is an option, but it is also less environmentally friendly than recycling as it ends up in land fill, and it’s actually a wasted opportunity. You might already just be hoarding them in a big box in your basement, either forgetting they are there and promising you'll deal with them or get rid of them, or whatever, later... and then they likely end up going to the trash because that box becomes too big to manage, and the task seems insurmountable.

Well, don't go throwing out your sprue just yet. You've already taken the time to salvage the bits and save them for later use. So while you’re at it, just spend a few more minutes and do the same with that sprue.
With a flat edged clipper, you can clip out all the cross pieces, then break down the perimeter piece into long beam like sections. You can more easily store these in your construction material bin and then use them later for a multitude of projects. The most effective use for sprues is as raw construction material. They make excellent reinforcing pieces and structure frames for large plastic structures, like buildings and Ork constructs. They make excellent girders and can be used to build structural walls, like wooden stud walls, or ceiling joists.

Chopping the sprue up, you can make effective looking sprue rubble, and bricks, which can be used to build ruined city terrain, or for detailing ruined city themed bases. Some people use old meat grinders to grind up sprue clippings into smaller chunks that look like broken bricks.

This flying base was made with sprue chopped up into broken bricks, and ground up into debris.

Or, you can leave them a bit longer and using them in conjunction with the round corner pieces you can make effective sidewalk curbs, and parking curbs.

Keep an eye out for sprues that have an internal grid like structure, or repeating patterns...

... as they can often be used to make window frames, or cut out the insides and they can make excellent door frames.

With a little imagination, your sprue can go a long way. Heck, there's even been an army built with sprue.
Just keep on top of clipping it down after every project so you don't feel overwhelmed! Make it part of your movie watching, or when you are listening to music, or podcasts, and before you know it, you’ll have plenty of clipped up sprue stored neatly away for your next project.

So, what can plastic sprue do for you? Post your ideas, links and pictures of your own projects in the comments section!

Until next time, happy hobbying!

Related Articles:
Getting Basic Part 1 - Building a Flying Stand
Getting Basic Part 2 - Painting a Flying Stand
Games Workshop

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