Monday, August 3, 2009
The Project Begins
The box from Brookhurst was waitng for me in the carport when I got home from work. I have two boxes of cavalry and six boxes of infantry and I’m ready to start. The other projects have been cleared off the Citadel Workstation to make way for this one. The LotR figures are back in their boxes, the Perry plastic French battion has retired in a plastic box, and the Space Marines are on furlough. Piles of Plastic ACW frames have taken their place. Note that I have to work areas in my house. One is a permanent workbench I use for painting. It has the lights and space to spread out and leave things out and out of the way. The other is a Citadel Workstation that I use for figure prep. This I put on the kitchen table it has a lamp and the overhead light from the lighting fixture. Light here isn’t critical, but being able to move the whole thing out of the way if I need the table makes the Citadel Workstation very useful. Having a painting area and a prep area means that I can switch from one to the other when I get bored or fatigued.
I decided to do the cavalry first. Cavalry, to me, is always the “hump” in any project. Perhaps it’s the horses and trappings that make them seem so much work. Somehow I always felt like one cavalry model equaled about four times the work of an infantry model. So, I decide to attack what I thought would be the most difficult part of the project first.
As always, with plastic models of any sort, I took my time and studied the parts on the frames. It became obvious that, not only are the hats interchangeable, but the sides of the horses are as well.
I separated the horse halves from the sprue (frame) using plastic nippers. If you don’t have a pair of these, you must get some. They are basically flush cutters (one side of the jaw is beveled and the other straight so that the cut is flush)
In the picture you can see that I’ve laid out the left side of the horses (the side with the head attached) from the three identical frames in the same order. I then laid the right sides of the horses on top ensuring that the same right half from each sprue had a different left half. This makes each and every horse within a box unique. Even the horse halves which appear standing look good mated with a running opposite side; they simply appear to be pawing the ground. The way these horses go together is brilliant. Once mated, the sides were cleaned up and glued together using Testors Model cement. I really like this glue and the applicator in which it comes. It’s a fine steel tube and it comes with a couple of wires to clean it out if it should become clogged. So far, I’ve avoided a clog by clearing the tube (squeezing the bottle when upright and releasing, thus pushing out any glue in the tube then sucking air in to make sure) before screwing on the cap. It also helps to line up all of your parts before starting to use the glue so the cap is off the minimum amount of time possible.
While the horses cured overnight, I began on the cavalrymen figures. I clipped out all the men and cleaned the seams. The only truly visible seams are on the upper left arm and the right boot (for those that have a visible boot). Cleaning was a breeze with a round and a triangular jeweler’s file. If you choose to use files on plastic, be gentle! It’s much easier to make a several gentle swipes than it is to repair a gouge. The only flash is on a couple of the cavalry men between the boot and end of the saber’s scabbard. I use a small stiff brush to clean up the bits of plastic for filing as they tend build up a lot of static electricity and you don’t want them trapped under the primer. The cavalrymen then get a hole drilled underneath just slightly smaller than the diameter of a toothpick. The tip of a toothpick is cut off about halfway down the taper. The toothpick is shoved into the hole making a pretty tight friction fit. Now, each figure can be handled by the toothpick. Each one can be mounted on a piece of corrugated cardboard simply by inserting the toothpick into the cardboard edge on for priming and drying.
Once the horses are cured, they get mounted to jumbo craft sticks with rubber cement. I use rubber cement because it’s easy to remove once the painting and over coating is done. Yet, the bond is generally strong enough to withstand normal priming and painting. Occasionally I’ll bumps a figure and knock it loose but then I just rubber cement it right back on the stick (working on another stick until the cement dries).
Unfortunately that’s as far as I got before I had to catch a flight for a business trip. When I return, next week, I’ll pick up this journal where I left off and finish the assembly and priming of the cavalry models. Look for the update to the assembly and painting of the cavalry in a couple of weeks.