The Joy of Glue Dots

Isn’t miniature gaming a wonderful hobby? I’m always amazed at the wonderful things I learn whether it’s from a great read or another gamer. There’s always a trade secret, a new painting technique or a new game store or a new set of rules. And gamers are great at sharing stuff too. I’ve never heard another gamer unwilling to share the way they do stuff, whether it’s mixing paint, or how to do the dip technique, or what material they use to make their bases.

So I’m going to offer something to the group. Glue dots.

You know how figuring out how to paint your figures without holding them in your hand is always a mystery. I know everyone has a magic way that works for them, but I’m going to offer glue dots as a suggestion.

Maybe you stick ’em to paint jars, or pieces of cardboard. I use craft sticks, kind of a throwback to using popsicle sticks for 15mm figures. But how do you stick ’em down? I always used CA glue because if it didn’t glue my mouth shut I’d brush my teeth with it. It’s my go to for everything. Of course prying the figures off the sticks again was a challenge at times.

Maybe you glue ’em down with PVA glue, or white glue for those who don’t track acronyms. Not bad, but it needs to dry overnight and who really wants to wait.

Jim at WarTimes Journal was reading my blog and he suggested glue dots to hold ships in place while I was working on them. I’d never heard of glue dots before, so I had no idea what he was talking about. When I made my weekly trip to Fred Meyer for groceries I dropped back to their ever-shrinking craft department and started looking for them and bingo there they were. Five bucks for 200 dots. Freddies sells the Permanent brand. They are also available on Amazon for a bit less, but they have other brands too.

They come on a big roll. They are dots of sticky stuff about a half inch wide. I put four dots on a craft stick. I just line my dot up where I want it to go on the stick and press it down hard and peel it off the roll. Sometimes the dots don’t cooperate and they make a sticky pile instead of a neat dot, but they still work just fine.

Glue Dots on their roll

Once I have my dots on my sticks, it’s just a matter of smushing my figures into the glue. These dots aren’t gooey or anything like that. They are firm and you do need to be equally as firm pushing your figures into the glue. You might even consider using the dull side of an X-acto blade, but I don’t usually find that’s necessary. Once that’s done, I usually give ’em ten minutes or so and I’m ready to spray prime my guys.

Foundry Mexican Imperial figures blued on to their craft stick, primed and ready to go. Now if they’d only paint themselves, I’d be truly happy.

Will they stay stuck? Yes. Will the figures come off if I drop the stick? Probably. My advice is not to drop the stick. I know this by experience. Can I paint cavalry too? Absolutely, but I use two dots for mounted figures. Can I reuse them for another batch of figures? I tried this once and things didn’t seem to stay stuck quite as well, so based on my experience I’d suggest it’s not a great idea. Could I try this with a different product like Blu-Tac or similar putties? I haven’t tried that but if you do let me know how it goes.

Removing figures from the stick is pretty easy. It’s usually fine to just pull them from the sticky stick. If they seem to be a little too firmly settled in the glue don’t try to rip them off and break their ankles. No, I haven’t done that, but I could see it happening, especially if you’re working with plastic figures. Just use an X-acto blade and give them a little encouragement. It doesn’t take much.

Just something else useful to try. Worked for me and was a definite time saver.

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