One of the major parts of our hobby is that the models we use require assembly, this is of course providing you are not using a whole load of Green Army Men to represent your horde of Skaven or Chapter of Elite Cheese Marines. The plastic we use need to be cut off sprues and have mould lines cleaned up, metal models also require those pesky mould lines to be removed and generally come with a lot more flash than plastic. I have no doubt that all of us have tales of woe when certain models have been horiffically miscast, metal models tend to have some sharp edges every now and again too. We use clippers to remove parts from sprues and knives to clean parts and score edges to better accept glue. We use pin vices to drill components for pinning and we use various oddly shaped tools when working with green stuff to fill gaps sculpt parts and this doesn’t even bring into account the ubiquitous superglue that is applied liberally to very small parts in the hope that, this time, when we sit there holding things together for an hour we haven’t overspilled some to our finger and glued those to the model rather than said small part.
So, it is with this in mind that I thought I’d take a nice look at one of the aspects of our hobby that is ever-present and yet is not often thought about. The main reason that this came up is that last night I was trying to open one of the Sherrif’s finest modular movement tray packs. They are comprised of a plastic casing that is suspiciously resistant to scissors so I resorted to my knife, you will notice that my tool of choice is now a lot sharper and a lot more dangerous, hence me sitting here this morning with a stab wound on the tip of my middle finger on my left hand. It was definitely one of those “Oh $%^£” moments as the blade cleaved through the plastic and slipped into something that offered a lot less resistance, the pale flesh of my pinky in this case. Cue that moment of realising you’ve just pushed a blade half an inch into your finger and staring at it before the blood starts pumping out of it in a never-ending flood. Grab first aid kit, apply plaster, job done, carry on carving up movement trays.
With the veritable butcher’s shop of tools and the average gamer’s disposal I am sure my tale of harrowing personal injury is not unfamiliar to the majority of us. Fingers are normally the first thing to get sliced apart but no less common are tales of model components being attached to various body parts, it’s a dangerous hobby, especially if you choose a Chaos army due to all those spikes! It’s also a good job that I wear glasses as the amount of time a particularly stubborn metal component has decided to launch itself skyward on the application of clippers is astronomical.
In honour of the scars that have been earned over long years of gaming I thought I would therefore present a 6 Inch Move Top Tips for Avoiding Personal Injury. Please feel free to ignore as many of these as seem fit;
- Always cut away from yourself! – As tempting as it is to pull that knife towards your torso to apply extra force, performing an impromptu appendectomy on yourself won’t go down well with your wife, mother, significant other. We do the research so you don’t have to.
- Apply protective covers to your tools when not in use – most of what we use is sharp, toxic or both! If you have a work area (a.k.a. dining room table) like I have, make sure everything is made safe to avoid the wrath of errant wives, cats etc… that might accidentally end up as mangled as we are.
- Tidy things away. Especially if you have kids. Miniatures are not toys (despite what Mrs ZombiePirate says) and grasping fingers on little hands WILL find the most dangerous of your tools to play with, so lock things away if you have to. Safety first!
- Glue will glue things – it may seem obvious but superglue is very sticky and will literally stick anything to anything, so use it sparingly, a trip to A&E is not fun, the hot nurse will not be impressed with that stealth suit glued to your crotch!
- Open a window – this isn’t just the province of Servitob’s favourite sweaty neckbeards sitting in the dungeon. Some glues have some pretty potent fumes, so spare yourself the literal headache and get some ventilation going on.
- Put something on the table/desk – sharp knives will carve through quite a lot of stuff, especially your wife’s lovely mahogany dining table. Spare yourself some nights in the doghouse by using appropriate coverings/mats.
- Do not apply too much pressure – knives and pin vices will very easily puncture skin, I say this from harsh experience. Show patience when working with these tools, things may go slower but you suffer from far less of a risk from shoving something through a digit
Hopefully these few tips are fairly obvious of themselves but it is very easy to just ignore your own personal safety and mangle a finger.