Friday, October 31, 2014
Battlepods! Battlepods! Battlepods!
I decided to start by assembling the easiest models first. After looking at the sprues I determined the Zentraedi battlepods would probably be the easiest. There aren't a lot of pieces compared to some of the mecha and they all look fairly simple.
First things first. I snapped a quick pick of the tools I selected to use for these builds. Sprue clippers, hobby knife, files and glue. I never ended up using the files, which is typical as I tend to just use the knife to scrape the little bits I need. I did that in this case as well and it worked fine.
A note on glue. I'm not sure if it's that Robotech has attracted some people who aren't typical gamers and I know some people are just really ultra detailed and/or anal about it but I've seen a lot of discussion on what kind of glue to use. The models are ABS, a pretty standard plastic for model kits. I used cyanocrylate - most glues made for gamers is cyanocrylate, krazy glue as well. This stuff was perfect. I didn't wash my plastic and it bonded quickly enough that I didn't have to hold pieces for more than a few seconds, and not so fast that parts got locked into place right away. In fact once or twice I had to pull some parts apart because I'd misplaced them or whatnot and with a little pressure they came apart and I was able to stick them together. I'm confident once the glue completely cures they'll be locked in.
Here's a shot of how I lay out the parts:
I don't cut all the pieces off the sprue at once for each model. In fact I wouldn't recommend it as the antenna and guns that stick off the pod are small and probably easily lost. I generally work in stages. First stage was to cut and clean torso halves, top mounted antenna, side thruster pieces. Once these were done (I worked by sprue so 3 at a time) I moved on to hips and legs, and finally to the antenna and guns that stick off the front of the pods. In each step I cut the parts off the model, clean them, test fit and glue.
Here's a shot of the first 3 pods I did. These guys took me the lions share of my evening because I was feeling out the kits and developing my approach to assembly. I'm feeling a little under the weather as well so I took frequent breaks, especially in the beginning. All told to knock out 9 pods (3 sprues) it took me about 4 hours. However, the first 3 pods probably took me close to two hours, the last two sprues took me about an hour each. I think an hour a sprue seems reasonable as you don't want to rush.
1. Test Fit! Not everything fits together perfectly. It's not the nightmare some people would have you believe but there are a couple of key areas. First, the back torso piece appears to have been cast wrong so you have to sort of cut out a little indent so it fits better to the front torso. Not a big deal, took about 30 seconds per torso. The feet have holes of different depths so you have to test fit the legs to make sure you're matching them up right. If you decide to experiment or just end up gluing the wrong feet to the wrong legs, no big deal. I did this my first time around and just cut the posts that connect the feet to the legs and bam, done. The other thing is some of the ball and socket joints aren't perfect so may need to be shaved down some.
2. Hold the pieces as you cut them. There are tons of tiny pieces, not as many on these as there are on the valkyries but the antenna for example would be too easy to lose. Parts you clip have a tendency to want to fly across the room so when I cut the small bits I just gripped the part between thumb and finger and then cut, no problem.
3. Take your time. I found a lot of the seams, mold lines (these are real faint but I scraped them off anyway) and so on could be minimized by just taking your time. I took an hour for the last 3 pods and they came together well.
4. Legs! The legs on these things were sort of weird at first. there are three pairs of legs, each mirrors of each other. If you use each pair, I find one or possibly two of the pods get stuck in poses that are sort of awkward looking. After some suggestions on the international robotech facebook group I started mixing and matching. A little test fitting to make sure things came together and for something with only two limbs you can get a plethora of dynamic poses.
All in all these weren't too bad. I know there's been some negativity about the kits and I'll admit, they're not perfect. As a long time seasoned hobbyist, I didn't have too many issues. If you're new, or newish, than I recommend again, taking your time and make sure you do things right. You'll feel better about it in the end even if it takes a little longer.
It won't be long until I have all the targets...er Zentraedi assembled and ready for painting!