How to drill Gun Barrels on Miniatures

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How to Drill Space Marine Gun Barrels - Step 3 Drill a Hole

So this was originally part of my article on the best Hobby Drill (Pin Vise) for Miniatures – But I figured it was worth sharing separately as its own quick tip. Just so the guide is a bit easier to find online. If you’re looking for the cleanest way to drill space marine gun barrels, here’s my approach.

Buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

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If like me you’ve spent Quarantine building models, I figured this might be useful to you. I’ve spent the last weeks looking at how to drill Bolters.

The best Pin Vise / Hobby Drill for Miniatures

Also, if you’re interested in our Top Picks on this Essential Hobby Tool. Check out our article below. See the rest of our Essential Hobby Tools List here.

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The best way to drill Space Marine Gun Barrels

This is probably the most common thing that miniature hobbyists will drill (aside from holes for pinning or magnets) and it’s a good idea to know how to get your barre holes central. I’d like to tell you exactly what size drill bits to use, but it varies between the different types of weapons and the scale of models. The difference between bolters on Primaris Marines vs Squat-Marines is noticeable.

How to Drill Space Marine Gun Barrels - Complete.jpg

For drill holes on a barrel, it’s definitely worth doing all this before you prime your mini or you can ruin your paint job. This is really part of the model prep, just like removing mould lines.

1. Drill the holes on the side of the barrel

Drilling the holes on the side of the nozzle is quite easy, measure up a drill bit, you want something just slightly smaller than the model’s natural recess diameter. They will have a slight roundedness from the mould, you don’t want to remove this as it will leave a sharp 90° edge. Leave the natural curve but drill just inside this.

How to Drill Space Marine Gun Barrels - Step 1 Drill Side Holes

Drill slightly from one side of the barrel, then from the other, do not try to drill all the way through from one side. You are likely to come out the other side in a different place than you wanted. It’s 2 seconds extra work to just dill a bit from both sides and meet in the middle.

2. Mark the centre

There’s no tool I have found which will perfectly find the centre of a miniature gun barrel. If you know of one, please tell us in the comments?

How to Drill Space Marine Gun Barrels - Step 2 Mark the Hole

The best thing to do is to mark it up with a semi-permanent pen. At least then, if you make the mark wrong you can just re-draw it or rub it out and start again. you can skip this step but once you start making a hole in the plastic you cant go back. If you want it right, mark it up

3. Create a pilot hole

Measure twice and good once is a sensible adage that prevents mistakes. This is the second measure. Using a Drawing Pin, your hobby knife (which can blunt or snap the end) or the best option, a Hobby Awl.

How to Drill Space Marine Gun Barrels - Step 3 Scribe a Pilot Hole

Make a pilot hole right in the centre of your marked hole. this will guide your drill and stop it slipping off-centre during the next step.

4. Drill a hole

As noted above, if you have drilled the side barrels, I think it looks better to go with a slight larget drill bit for the main barrel hole itself. Even if it’s just .2mm larger. You don’t want it too large as it may be wider than the neck of the barrel which will cause it to come out of the back.

How to Drill Space Marine Gun Barrels - Step 3 Drill a Hole

Line up your drill, it should sink into your pilot hole comfortably. Give it a couple (or three) reverse turns. Counter-clockwise, (unless you bought left-handed drill bits). That should embed the drill into your pilot hole centrally.

Then just drill by turning the shaft (yeah, haha) clockwise. Don’t push down on the drill, just apply enough pressure to marry it up to the part. as you turn, the drill will do the work itself.

When you punch through, you’ll know, the drill tip will be visible through the side holes. drill just a touch beyond this. to show depth in the barrel beyond the side holes. Literally just a touch.

Don’t reverse turn the drill or you will be left with a spiral of plastic still attached inside the barrel. Keep turning the drill clockwise as you apply a little force to pull the drill out. This should leave a clean cut. you may have some plastic burr left as you punched through to the side holes. If this happens, switch back to that smaller drill bit and drill the sides again to tidy up. You may think to just drill the side holes second, but then you can’t see how far you are drilling the front hole and the burr will be left the other way so you may need to re-drill the front.

Buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks FH! I’ve got a couple 3d printed center finders floating around here – they work great, but not on cylinders that tiny. I just use my Mk1 eyeball for centering holes on Space Marine guns.

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