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How to bend hard plastic tow cables from old kits?

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  • Member since
    August, 2017
How to bend hard plastic tow cables from old kits?
Posted by DoEddi on Friday, September 22, 2017 5:30 AM

You see I am currently building an Italeri 1/35 Crusader Mr.I, kit number 6432.

This is an old kit and it tow cables are hard plastic. I have problem bending it to matches the surface of the tank. I know I could heat the tow cables with fire directly, and then bend it. But I think this is too dangerous (both to my home as well as the kit), I rather not bend the cable this way.

My question is do hair dryer hot enough for me to bend the cable? Or are there other alternatives?

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • From: San Antonio, Texas
Posted by Marcus McBean on Friday, September 22, 2017 6:51 AM

I would try and soak the item in hot water for a few minutes which should soften the plastic and then bend it into the shape you want.  A hair dryer may work but you have to be careful not to over due it that it starts to deform the existing shape.

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Friday, September 22, 2017 7:16 AM

I would cut out the "wire rope" section out and just keep the shackles. I'd take a piece of copper wire, multi-stranded and make a wire rope out of it. Much nicer and can be bent as you please. On the other hand I have heard that the tow cables are very stiff and fight the tankers all the time, so that they basically go where they want to, and not where the tankers want them to - so maybe what you have is a faithful representation of the real thing... Anyhow - good luck with your build and have a nice day


All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Friday, September 22, 2017 10:56 AM

I second Pawel's suggestion; cut the eye loop ends off and use either wire or string like Tamiya often provides for their kits.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, September 22, 2017 11:04 AM

You treadheads might be interested- some vendors are now making really nice 3D printed chain for ship models in the larger scales. Probably wouldn't work so well here as all hulls have a different sort of drape, but interesting...

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Friday, September 22, 2017 7:25 PM

Tanks, AFVs, and soft skins don't use that much chain. At least not for towing one another. Cables are much more common for towing purposes. 


F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton



  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Lacey, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Sunday, September 24, 2017 11:26 AM

I also like to use real wire for the tow cables. Some twist ties(usually come with new electronics or garbage bags) work well. 

As stated above, cut the shackles off, drill them out, and use three or four wires twisted together with a cordless drill. 

Its simple and provides a much more realistic look. You can bend them any way you want.


- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models


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