Painting & Modeling Total Beginner's Guide

What Sprue Means for You

Do you know what to do with sprues and hard plastic? Scared to make the jump for Legion's Clone Wars Core Set? Click through for more info!

Like it or not, Legion is moving to sprues.

For some of you, this will immediately revive memories (good or bad) of Warhammer and other hard plastic-based miniatures games and bits of glue all over your fingers. Funnily enough, I never played Warhammer – all of my experience with sprues comes from the occasional LotR mini and a recent passion for gunpla models.

For others, you’re coming into this territory as a blank slate and you’ve got no idea what’s next. As is tradition on Imperial Discipline, this article is for you.

Let’s begin at the beginning: a sprue is a channel or mold through which plastic is poured to create your minis. You might also call it a runner or a plate, depending on which other hobbies you’re joining us from. Instead of the usual Legion models being out on their own, models on sprues will be separated out into parts and locked into a larger frame through lengths of plastic.

Remember that not all Legion minis will be moving to sprues – at least, not right away. To begin with, only the CIS Droid Army will be hard plastic. Clones will still be the soft snap-fit you’ve gotten used to for the last year and a half.

Before we move on, check out Crabbok’s excellent unboxing video of the Clone Wars Core Set to check out how those droids look in person, especially if you’ve never seen or worked with a sprue before:

The Why: Moving from Soft to Hard

Droids are skinny but still need to be rigid.

In that sentence, you have more or less the entirety of the argument for FFG moving to hard plastic.

If you’ve unboxed and painted up a set of the Imperial Royal Guard, you probably know how big of a pain skinny and rigid is to get right for soft plastic. Their staff weapons were a bit sloppy and droopy, even after trying to re-mold them with hot water. It’s passable for a single unit, but when a whole army is at stake, it’s obviously important to get the structure right.

But this also represents an investment from FFG in Legion: higher quality minis that are more expensive to produce but allow for more detail. I have no doubt that the sculptors are thrilled to be moving to hard plastic. There’s a feeling that they’ve pushed the soft stuff to its breaking (bending?) point, and it’s time to move on.

Having said all of that, the switch to hard plastic will require a bit of adaptation from players who aren’t already prepared. Next, let’s talk about what you need to succeed.

What You Need

  • Nippers
  • Plastic glue
  • Files
  • Hobby knife

I’m going to loosely group this into “glue” and “everything else” for one particular reason: remember when I mentioned my gunpla (a portmanteau of Gundam and plastic) at the top of the page?

As it turns out, for $8 USD you can go to Amazon and get a fantastic gunpla toolkit with nippers to cut the minis from the plastic runners, files and knives to remove nubs, and pliers to more accurately handle your miniatures. It’s a steal, and I can speak to the better-than-you-expect quality level of those items: I use them myself frequently.

(If you have no idea what half of those words mean, check out the below Warhammer video about building Space Marines – it’ll help a ton.)

In summary:

  1. Use the nippers to clip the mini parts from the frame
  2. Use the hobby knife or nippers to remove any large remaining nubs
  3. Use files to provide a clean finish as needed

Once you’ve cut your minis from the runners, however, you’ll still need to assemble them.

Whereas before we could get away with regular super glue, we’ll now want to switch to plastic glue. The former is a standard bonding adhesive for a wide variety of materials, but the latter – plastic glue – actually melts the plastic together, making an even stronger bond than regular super glue.

Your local hobby or hardware store should have some in stock, but if you’re ever in doubt it’s totally fine to go with Citadel Plastic Glue – if nothing else, it’s just a safe bet.


That about wraps things up. Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments here on the blog, on Facebook, and on the FFG forums, or ping me in the Discord (kevnobi – Imperial Discipline).

Happy sprue-ing, Commanders!

3 comments on “What Sprue Means for You

  1. Super glue works perfectly well on polystyrene, though, and has the benefits of shorter setting time and a tendency to break cleanly at the glue joint if a miniature is dropped. Polystyrene cement makes for a stronger joint, true, but not necessarily better.

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  2. A double-edged sword, in a way – the push-fit models are more accessable to a “newbie to miniatures” audience compared to sprued models, but the detail and quality is just not there by comparison, especially for a not-inexpensive game like Legion. I know as a more seasoned Minis game player, I haven’t been willing to invest beyond a discounted squad of Stormtroopers, because I just ain’t paying GW prices for Mantic Quality restic/PVC models.

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  3. I highly recommend Tamiya Extra Thin Cement Glue for anything hard plastic. You can apply just a thin no mess layer with the brush and the pieces will fuse very quickly. Also great for letting the glue flow off the brush tips into seams to better seal them up. Can’t go back to super glue after using this on anything hard plastic.

    Tamiya 87038 Extra Thin Cement Glue Fine Tip 40ml https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BMYWYC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_U.1sDbA6CSSAD

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