Making Miniature Fake Chains and Springs

Fake? Yes, they're non-functional - and chains (in particular) made with the technique below won't really stand close inspection, but they're quick and cheap to make and I find them a useful trick to have up my sleeve. I can't claim to have invented either trick - they're common knowledge, mixed with a bit of trial and error.

Making a fake chain
To give an idea how quick this is, making the fake chain for this demo took 5 miniutes... including taking the photos.

Stage 1: Make a loop of soft wire (in this case, fuse wire), and clamp the ends in a pin-vice. Allow plenty of spare, because it will get shorter...

Stage 2: Loop the wire over a nail or something similar held in a vice and twist 'till it's tight (too much will snap it). You could use a motor tool - but with fine wire you really need to feel what's happening - so I prefer to use a pin-vice and do it manually.

Stage 3: As an intermediate stage...you've just made a small-scale cable.

Stage 4: The next bit couldn't be much easier... to make a "chain", bend the wire to the desired shape and tap it GENTLY with a hammer... Voilą! It looks like chain...

Why bend it to shape first? Simple - once you've flattened it, it's harder to bend without distorting it. Obviously, this method isn't suitable for larger chains, because anyone will spot that there are no links, but for really small ones it's really useful.
  • Chain_1
  • Chain_2
  • Chain_3
  • Chain_4
  • Chain_5
  • Chain_6
  • Chain_7

About the Author

About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...