After cleaning up and assembling the main resin parts of the kit, it was time to move on to some of the more detailed parts.
Now, I can't actually remember the last time I used any brass etched parts on a kit, so this was an interesting, and somewhat nervous time.
Firstly I decided to get the three exhausts done. These were fairly straight forward. I cut the brass pieces from the frame, rolled them around a rod (of approximately the right diameter) and then maneuvered them into their final positions. I didn't want to drown them in superglue, so I pored some drops of superglue out and used a fine needle to lift the glue and run it around the joints. The main thing to remember is to position the joints where they will be least obvious. The two taller twin pipes went on very well. However the piece of brass that runs around the "air filter" wasn't longer enough in a single piece and I had to cut and join the second piece to get it to run all the way around. I don't know if that was my misreading of the instructions or if there wasn't enough room on the brass sheet for a single longer piece. Whatever the reason it made fitting the brass to the air filter considerably trickier than it could have been.
I moved away from the hull for the next part and decided to tackle the manipulator arms. Each arm is made up of 7 resin pieces and up to 9 brass pieces. On initial inspection the instruction sheet seems fairly straightforward, however, you need to be extremely careful to make sure you have all the correct parts for each arm (left arm or right arm), as it very easy to confuse them.
The resin pieces are all butted together and their are no locating lugs, so you have to be very careful to align the pieces properly when you are gluing them. The piece on the left in this photo (with the piston on the extreme left hand side) proved to be a real challenge as the three pieces, the main strut, the piston and the brass connecting piece, all had to be balanced together, so as to get the positioning correct, before the glue could be applied. A third hand would certainly have been useful at this point as it took two hands to hold the pieces, which made it tricky to apply the glue.
Next came the assembly of the two brass claws. This was the part that I was most concerned about as it involved folding the flat claws into their three dimensional forms.
I happened to have a piece of steel plate (actually stripped out of the inside of a faulty nail gun), that was jsut the right size and thickness, so I used that along with another piece to act as a vice and fold the brass over neatly.
This worked really well, and as it turned out was a lot easier than I had expected .
Once I had folded the two main sides over I had to fold the outer wings over.
Yes, I know I should have done this first, but I didn't notice until I had got this far, and as it turns out it was easy enough to do, just using a couple of pairs of tweezers...
Once I had made up the brass claws I finished assembling the arms. There were a couple of times where a third hand would have come in handy again, and certainly, locating lugs would have made things a lot easier, but generally I was pretty pleased with the result. I am not 100% certain that I have done it exactly as AMW have designed it, but it seemed to go together fine and I am very happy with the finished arm.
I repeated the process with the second arm, positioning the claws slightly differently, just for a bit of variety...
I don't plan to attach the arms to the hull until the end of the build, as they are quite fragile and would get in the way. So I set them aside and moved back to the main hull. moving towards the aft section there are four small resin pieces that will hold the brass fins and tail section. I superglued these in place on to little flat irregular diamond shaped pads on the tail section. These could really have done with locating lugs. The are very small and due to the shape, very difficult to hold, so getting them positioned correctly was a bit fiddly.
While was working at the aft i also assembled and attached the towing hook, this again involved some folding and attaching, possibly the smallest part of the kit, a little brass catch that was around 2mm long by a 1mm wide...
Finally for this session I moved to the hatch I attached in the first part. The instruction sheet shows three brass parts for this , and it appears they make up an alternate hatch. As I had already glued the domed hatch in place I discarded two of the brass bits and simply glued the handle on top.
Progress is moving fairly well and I am ready to get on some of the main superstructure now. I will look at that in the next part.