When I use plasticard in a conversion, I find myself being particularly cautious.  The visual impact of the model can easily become unbalanced, as the highly detailed and sculpted GW components, are seen next to plain flat plasticard.  One way to hide this material in a conversion while adding detail, is to add rivets.  In reviewing the work I have done on my Skaven “Reaver Jetbikes” for my Kabal of the Fursaken project, I decided that the plasticard components looked a bit plain.  While I had already added Skaven icons and a second layer of plasticard for visual effect, the flat surface of the nose was far too different than the rear 2/3 of the vehicle.  Take a look:

As you can see in the picture, the front “nose cone” of the bike is made of plasticard, and looks fairly bland and out of visual balance with the rear of the model.  I asked around, and heard several ways to add rivet work to a figure.  According to the Forge World master class book, the “best” rivets come from drilling a tiny indentation in the model, then gluing a miniscule plastic bead into the indentation.  These beads can be found in Brita water filters, and honestly, are almost too small to work with.  Using tweezers to hold the bead, I envisioned squeezing a zap-a-gap covered orb of plastic, and having it shoot out of my grasp and directly into my eye.  Another friend suggested using tiny drops of wood glue, almost the way a dessert chef might use icing to make a row of “dots” on a cake.  This approach sounded pretty weak, as the “Hershey’s Kiss” of glue would not be nearly as pronounced or defined as an actual rivet.  I tested this to be sure, and was pretty unimpressed with the results.

Jay Powell from The Gamer’s Lounge gave me the best advice, and suggested using the clipped heads of pins.  While this suggestion still left me with some questions (how do I handle the pin-heads?  how do I cut the pin and keep the components from firing across the room?), it sounded the most plausible.  After getting a shipment of pins from my sewing-happy mother, I went to work.

First, I drilled three holes per side on each nose-cone.  While it would have been easy to go overboard with these rivets, I felt that some restraint would be needed to keep this addition from taking-over the model.

Here is the clipper I used, and a pin for scale.  Not a very large pin to work with!  Especially considering that the step of this process that worried me the most, involved removing the pin-head from the pin, while keeping both parts from flying around my studio.  Naturally, getting a pin stuck in my foot was not something I desired, and neither was the prospect of scouring my floor for the component I needed.  With this in mind, I chose to use two blobs of blue-tac to help keep the pin in place during the clipping:

As you can see in photo, I made sure to look at the pin-head itself, and visually mark where on the pin to clip.  I wanted the head to have a bit of pin attached, to make it easier to glue into the drilled hole.  I then moved the blue tac onto the head, so it would have a firm grasp on both components.

I then brought in the clipper, and slowly cut through the pin.  I noticed that the pins liked to turn quite a bit while being clipped, so it was important to keep each part firmly grasped in the blue-tac.  After carefully removing my desired component from the tac, and disposing of the sharp end, I had the tiny rivet that I was after:

Using a tweezer to hold the rivet, I dipped the very end into a small puddle of zap-a-gap, then directed it into one of the holes I had drilled earlier:

While this rivet will eventually be primed and painted, the raw metal makes the rivet really stand out in this photo.  After successfully riveting this first model, I then drilled six rivet holes in each of my 8 remaining Reaver jetbikes, and clipped 48 more rivet-heads.  This took some time.

The spacing of the 3 rivets provides a utilitarian explanation for the addition of such detail, while balancing the aesthetic of the model as a whole.  Paint really helps unify the addition:

Plasticard is becoming more and more prevalent in army conversions, and one way to hide this material is to add rivets.  Now that I know how to do it, I am tempted to go back to my renegade IG and add some detail to the plasticard sections of my vehicles…  Regardless, while I am sure there are better ways to add rivets to your work, this is the method that has worked for me.  While it certainly is a labor intensive process, I would think that such a level of conversion honestly should demand some discipline and effort.


If anyone finds this handy, thank Jay Powell.