If you play Imperial Guard you know how much the Imperium loves the rivet. There must be entire Forge Worlds dedicated to turning the things out, judging by their prodigious use on everything.
I’ve struggled for some time to get rivets that look right. Slicing .05 rod gave almost the right diameter, but the length was hard to keep consistent and it was a cylinder shape, not the correct dome shape that GW’s stuff has. For a lot of people that’s ok, as each rivet is fairly small, and really it’s a rather nit-picky detail.
I also bought a special tool from a model show that was a series of punches that I was told would make good rivets from thin metal sheeting. There you had both the diameter and thickness correct, but you’re still missing the dome shape. It was also kind of a pain to punch through the foil with out a small hammer and a rubber backing to punch through to. It has other uses, but if I had taken a minute to really look, I’d have realized this wasn’t what I wanted.
Finally a few months ago I heard about Tichy Train Group and their line of rivets. They offer a bunch of different diameters and, more importantly for me, the correct dome shape. I finally took the plunge last Friday and ordered some .04 and .05 diameter rivets (to see which is actually closer to what is on the majority of IG stuff, see below) and some bigger hex head pieces. You get 96 for $3, or about $.03/pc.
They showed up on Monday morning—that’s some quick shipping!
The rivets are made of brown injection molded styrene and come on a sprue. They are shanked, so to mount the rivet, you can drill (1/32 drill bit is what the package said for the 3 different sizes I ordered) a hole, apply a tiny amount of plastic glue and drop the rivet in.
You could also just as easily cut the head off and just glue that to the surface of what you’re riveting up (though it’s a pain to move around due to its size).
As you can see (please ignore the misalignment…) they look pretty good when installed:
A quick note about cutting: I’d recommend placing the sprue in a small bag before you cut so the rivets don’t go flying—kind of like cutting photoetch.
Anyways, back to size, and it looks like the .040 rivets are right about perfect.
Now there are plenty of other ways to makes rivets, and if I hadn’t gone with Tichy, I would have gone with one of two others:
The first is the water filter method. Brita (and I’m sure other) filters use a combination of activated charcoal and tiny round spherical…somethings to do their filtering. The spherical somethings turn out to be about the perfect size (and shape!) to make rivets. You break open one of those filters, grab out the white spheres and viola! Rivets. You’ll need to drill a slight depression on the surface so you get the proper rivet shape, but a really good solution. Here is a really solid tutorial.
The second method is Archer Fine Transers . Archer goes about things a bit differently, basically making a 3-D decal that you attach to you model. They make a lot of cool things including foundry marks for historic models as well as welding beads. Trying to find the right size rivet is a bit more difficult, but depending on exactly what your looking for, either the G-Scale railroad rivets for 7/8th (.034 actual size) or the 1.25 (which isn’t listed a size but should be right around .04″) would work.
Hopefully this helps someone with riveting related issues!