Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Assembly Notebook - Iron Fang Pikemen

I admit, this unit scared me. I put off assembly until the last, the very last, the too late last. All the horror stories of broken/bent pike shafts and the inability to repair them, the fact that the shields cover the miniatures, so the must remain separate until the final stages of painting, etc.

Well, I took the plunge, and found that like most things, you can psyche yourself into inactivity! The assembly for these are not as bad as it may seem. Pretty simple and straightforward glue to the base. As they are older casts, most still have full size base tabs. Some putty may be necessary for test fitting and test pinning the shields in place. Check out the PIP catalog and images both on the Gallery page and pics from Google to suggest proper shield alignment and tilt. I'm still deciding for myself if the static pose shield needs to be parallel to the base, or more dynamic. I do suggest leaving the shields off and painting separate, then taking them with glue in the finals stages.

That leaves those pesky pikes. (gasp!) Before you even begin, trundle on down to the LHS; Local Hardwear Store and buy yourself a package of 1/16th inch brass (not aluminum) tube (not rod), and a corresponding 1/16th drill bit compatible with your pin vise. (I prefer titanium.)

I would normally provide a link to the Brushthralls "Brass Rod Tutorial," as they taught me the technique I use, and comes complete with pictures and all. they are in the midst of sight reorganization, and I can't seem to find the page, so I will sum up.

Important Tip! One pose of the the standard IFP has his pike in a 'javelin throw' grip. They are distinguished by having a pin on the glove/pike instead of a hole. Set them aside, because you will have to put the head.butt on opposite ends from the rest! Unless you want to make up a lot of ideas as to why you glued them wrong way round. (Yep, I did it.)

Pre-measure and cut all your brass rod for the whole unit and tidy up the ends with a heavy duty file and some pliers. Get all this done before you start. I removed the butt end from the old pewter shaft with a hobby knife and tidied up with a file, then marked the hole with an awl/scribe.

My Secret! I don't use brass rod for every pinning job, I use hobby wire like from the Hobby Store. It is way smaller than the rod and useful for most solos/troopers. For this job, I first drilled a 'pilot hole' with the smaller drill to the depth I wanted, then went back with the 1/16th drill after, to enlarge the hole. This avoided any mishaps, like drilling out through the side of the hand/arm or spearhead. Also, a little water will help when enlarging the hole with the 1/16th bit. I don't know why, it just went smoother. Lubrication maybe.

I worked from the butt to the blasting head on each one in turn. Some minis, there was some of the old shaft casting left on the hand. I usually left it, figuring that more contact with the glue and the surface of the arm is a good thing.

Watch Out! Brass rod + CA superglue = nearly unbreakable instant bond! I've never seen superglue grab anything so hard or so fast as brass. Work quickly and watch where the glue is going! I just used a small drop on the shaft just before I slid the shaft into the arm hole, and it glued in just fine, and frighteningly quick.

Once finished, there were some that weren't perfect, and some, as mentioned were backward. My first batch of 10 plus the 2 figure unit attachment took me two hours from start to finish.

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