Not Your Usual Model Kit

Over the last few days I’ve been assembling the pieces of the ceramic poppy that belongs to my brother and sister in law. (I’m told their cat broke it, which is why people should have dogs. A dog would never do this. ;O) ) This is one of those that were part of the 2014 installation at the Tower of London, marking the centenary of the beginning of the Great War.

The ‘kit’ arrived from London as five large parts, and a couple of sherds. My brother-in-law had already tried to repair the poppy with cyano-acrylate glue, but it hadn’t stuck. This is slightly surprising as super glue usually works well with ceramics. First up was to remove the glue from the joints so as to get as close a fit as possible. About five hours work with super glue softener, tweezers and a bit of water did the trick. (I found out, quite by accident, that once the softener has had an effect you need to immerse the parts in water for a few minutes. This makes the glue turn white, and therefore easier to see so it can be picked off.)

Above you can see the cleaned parts. I joined each part with a couple of dots of super glue initially, and followed by flooding the joints with Roket Hot super thin super glue to complete. Despite painstaking cleaning I couldn’t get a perfect fit so had to use some filler. Being a modeller means I’ve got umpteen fillers and solvents on the shelves, so I used some Deluxe Materials Perfect Plastic Putty to fill in the gaps. I found that Tamiya X-20A paint thinner can be used to thin the putty, and make it easy to flow in to the gaps.

Above shows the poppy reassembled, and the putty in white before a bit of sanding back to tidy it up.

And below is the restored flower, with a couple of paint touch ups still pending. (It turns out Xtracolour BS538 Post Office Red is an almost perfect match.)

A very satisfying project. (In the UK we have a wildly popular TV programme called The Repair Shop, and I learned most of the techniques used from that, and the fantastic ceramic restoration work of @kirstenramsay2. If you haven’t seen it, have a look.)

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