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Healing Potion

For a long time I’ve thought of using real glass in my miniatures. Whenever I see a model with some kind of container holding liquid I think what a shame it is we can’t use real glass. The trouble is finding something small enough to fit the bill. This particular item will be hanging from the belt of my Winged Doombull once he’s finished and painted up.

It started out as the smallest glass item, a jam jar in fact, I could find online (from a Dolls House company called Miniature Marvel) and measures 11mm tall and 6mm wide. Originally I had envisioned it actually having liquid in it but something I didn’t factor in was surface tension; turns out you miniaturise the behaviour of liquids 😛

Instead I had to settle for filling it with paint. I knew that I only wanted it half full to help show off the fact that it’s glass. I used Games Workshop’s and old Red Ink, very carefully placing a couple of drops at a time at the bottom using a straightened paper clip and letting it dry before adding more. I had to be very careful not to get any paint on the sides as I was lowering it in, because the liquid surface tension meant it would just stick to the side and not run down to the bottom. Unfortunately, I failed this a few times and after cleaning the ink up as best I could I was still left with a little splatter effect in the top half of the jar.

The whole process took a few days and once the ink had built up inside the edges I pushed in some Brown Stuff modelling putty to fill in the space before applying more ink over the top. I used Brown-Stuff simple because of it’s colour. Finally the cork was made with a piece of Brown Stuff also.

The final thing can’t be added to the model until it’s painted and varnished and even then I’ll have to fix it with something other than super glue (I’m thinking wire, made to look like string). This is too big to use on any human type miniature but it works great for my Doombull and I expect would look awesome on an Ogre Lord or Hero.

Next I might try looking for some thin glass tubing or even a plastic alternative to use on Fabius Bile’s Chirurgeon.

September 7, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    For the liquid solution, could you add a surfactant to reduce the surface tension? I imagine detergent would work to some extent, but I’m not sure whether it would be enough.

    • I did consider it (but didn’t actually try it, so who knows) but I doubt it would have been enough. I’d be tempted to try it but the cost of the little glass jars is too much to experiment.

  • Angus

    You might try adding some tension breaker on the next one might help get the liquid in to the bottle.

    • You know I think I might give it a second go. Think I’ll have a look-see on eBay. Any recommendation on product to use?

      I did find water hand too much surface tension, but I guess some chemicals would have better flow.

  • Alternative might be the tip of a glass papette? You could suck up a small amount of liquid. Then seal the bottom before cutting away the papette and adding a stopper.

  • Neldoreth of An Hour of Wolves

    Just a note on glass and super glue: super glue isn’t rated to fix glass to anything, so you might need to use a different, glass-specific adhesive if you do decide to use glue after all. Cool idea though, very cool.


    • Cheers. I wasn’t sure about its sticking potential, but I wanted to avoid super glue because of the white discolouration when it hardens.

      I’m thinking a tiny dab of Araldite bit be the best choice.

  • Yeah part of what makes water so amazing from a chemistry standpoint is that it has more surface tension than it logically should. I know that doesn’t sound amazing to some people but I find it interesting >.> my point is, in order to get away from the stick you have to use something that is NOT water based (detergent, for example, is still water based). Alcohol might be a good solution, it has considerably less surface tension than water but if you want to use something more exotic go for ether.

    • I certainly find that interesting. I feel some internet research coming on.

  • faolan_conall

    Miniature LED bulb covers work well, so does simply drilling out a small hole from clear plastic stock, then using tension reduced ink flowing down a needle into it – I used this technique years ago on the pole mounted light on a Tamiya 1/35 scale riverine boat.

    • That sounds cool, got any pics?

      • faolan_conall

        Sadly no, that was the better part of a decade and two continents ago.  Maybe a little longer, even.

  • Big Poppa Bear

    Have you tried using Flow improver or touch of fairy liquid that will kill the water tension.
    Love all your work
    Keep it up!

    • Not yet. My impression is that adding something to paint or ink won’t be enough. But I’ll have a play around when I get around to buying a second jar.

  • Erich1234562002

    I cant wait to see your version of Fabius please let me know first if after making him you deside to sell him =)