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This is an easy and fairly well-known trick, especially since Mark blogged the work of Dominic Wilcox on Boing Boing back in 2004. The methods circulating on the web generally favor the use of an oven to melt the guys together, and while that’s certainly less labor-intensive, it generates a bunch of foul-smelling fumes in your kitchen. The oven method applies indiscriminate heat, which tends to melt the guys pretty severely, and is also, reportedly, fairly sensitive to differences in composition between guys from different manufacturers.

I’ve always wanted to try this, and since it’s plastics month, I thought I’d try to figure out a way to do it outside. This method uses a heat gun to soften the plastic in a more discriminate way, and though it’s more work, it can result in a less-melty look, with more intact guys. Adding a mechanical “mushing” action to the weld also seems to make the process more tolerant of different types of plastic from different batches of guys.

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Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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Comments

  1. Jase Moss says:

    I did this last Christmas as presents using the oven method. I lined a circular pizza tray with grease proof paper and once melted enough i pressed them between two salad bowls. The outcome varies as there is limited control over the strength of the bowl due to the positioning of the figures. Great fun though, I shall be melting more toys this christmas too! 

    1. Anonymous says:

      I have attempted this twice now and used a wok in the oven at 300 degrees.  My first one came out OK’ish.  The men were a bit too melted but were much better than my second one which really melted and broke apart when I tried to release them.  I also had much more toxic smelling smoke the second time around. I’ve just purchased another 3 bags of the little men but also purchased some 4″ tall green guys and plan to make 2 versions this weekend.  I’m definitely going to watch them this time around and pull them the moment they are done.  I’ll post again to let you know the brand of army men, heating time/temp and results with both sizes of the plastic guys.

  2. SouthFresh says:

    Just in time for the end of don’t ask don’t tell, the military supporting fruit. ;)

  3. SouthFresh says:

    Just in time for the end of don’t ask don’t tell, the military supporting fruit. ;)

  4. ashley says:

    Goin to hot glue mine

  5. Wish me luck, going to give this a try with a heat gun. Woo hoo!