Friday, August 30, 2013

On My Painting Table - Dwarf Gyrocopter - Intital Assembly

Looking through my Lead Pile, I have finally decided to tackle the neglected Dwarf Gyrocopter. This is the metal model, but not the original design.
I had purchased this model a few years ago, and it had been roughly stripped of its bad paintjob. It has since sat my lead pile unloved until now. I did manage to find all the pieces, except for the pilot, and started piecing this model together. I tested all the joins, and quickly realised that this model has got some serious problems. There are pieces that need to joined, that simply will not “glue” together, as there is not enough surface area. This was mainly the rotor blades, but also the landing skids and the vertical stabilizer (the thing at the back which swings from left-to-right).
After staring at the rotor blades for a while, and trying to figure out, how I was going to attach them to each other. I found myself with no real answers. They were too thin to pin, there wasn’t enough surface area to just glue them. I did consider creating some sort of custom support structure that sits under each blade and attaches to the rotor shaft, but that seemed way too difficult and time consuming. So I did what I always do, when I need some helpful tips. I turned to the internet, and did a Google search on “Dwarf Gyrocopter Rotor Blades”. I wanted to see how other people tackled the problem of attaching the Gyrocopter rotor blades. This is a summary of what I found:
  • Method 1. Use a small 8mm washer, under the rotor blades. Glue the rotor blades to the washer. The washer is naturally visible, but when painted it looks acceptable.
  • Method 2. It is possible to pin the rotor blades together but, you need to be very careful. Using superglue and green-stuff really helps to keep it all together.
  • Method 3. Soldering the rotor blades together is do-able, but you really have to be careful, because the heat can really damage/destroy the actual blades.
  • Method 4. Use a product called JB Weld. It can be purchased from any auto supply store. It is used for small body repairs. The problem is that it takes a while to fully dry. You need to let it set for a couple of days before it is fully dry.
  • Method 5. Don’t use the rotor blades on your Gyrocopter. Instead, get some clear plastic like the stuff used on food packaging and cut out a circular disc, the same diameter as the completed rotor assembly. Use a black marker to draw 3 fuzzy lines on the circular disc. Attach this to the Gyro, and now it looks like the rotor blades are spinning, and truly flying.
  • Method 6. Don’t use the Gyrocopter model at all. Simply make your own proxy model, with something else.
It was really interesting to see how different people tackled this problem. I was initially interested in soldering my rotor blades together, but I wasn’t really concerned, that if it went wrong, it would be disastrous, and I would have some real damage on my hands. So finally I decided to try and use the pinning method. I did have some reservations, regarding drilling into such thin parts, but carefully and slowly I did manage to pin my model together. Once I did the rotor blades, I then proceeded to use the pinning technique on ALL the parts which needed to be joined. I have taken photos of the process.
I used the standard Citadel pin vice, and ordinary paper clips. One paper clip provided all the pinning power I needed.
Here are the photos.
Here is proof that it is possible to drill a hole and glue a paper clip pin, into the thin rotor blades of this model. You can also see the pins used in the other parts of the model.
The pins have been passed all the way through the metal. I did this for extra stability. Once everything was dry, the pins were clipped very close to the model, and they are no longer visible.
Here is another view of the pins passing through the horizontal stabilizer.
The three rotor blades have been 'dry' fitted, but they have not been glued yet. I will probably use some green stuff as part of this process to make sure it really secure.
This is the model so far. I still need to attach the rotor assembly to the rotor shaft. I am thinking of using magnets for this joint. This may help when the model is transported or accidentally dropped. 


  1. I think the pinning is the obvious way forward and with a superglue+green stuff joint it should be strong enough.

    I agree that a magnet join for the rotors/main rotorhead is probably the best way forward.

    Good luck.


  2. Is this the new model from Citadel Warhammer Dwarf? So awesome. Really like the way you explain things on your blog. I recently started painting Warhammer again, so much fun. Thanks for sharing!