Thursday 21 July 2011

Toy Soldiers: Tutorial - Putting The New CMG Praesentia Hyperion Drone Together

Generally speaking Critical Mass Games resin models are very simple to put together, needing virtually no clean up (they clean up the models before they are sent out, on the most part). The casting is exceptional. I have seen very little flash, virtually no mould lines and only one air bubble (which happened to be in a very easy place to fill) in all of the resin models I have,  around 30 in total.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 15

The new Praesentia models are quite a lot sleeker than previous vehicles that CMG have produced, and consequently they appear to be a bit more fragile. So I thought it would be worth running through my experiences with putting a couple together.

Today I am going to run through the clean up and building of a Hyperion class drone, and in my next post I will look at one of the Guardian class drones.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 01

Firstly, here is the kit, straight out of the bag! On the left you can see the main hull of the tank. At the top are the two part o the flight stand. On the right the two tail section (for want of a better description). At the bottom of the photo you can see the two main guns. Finally, in the centre are the only three metal parts for this kit, the two small guns and the shield generator.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 02

Here you can see the underside of the front of the Hyperion. There is a lot of excess resin, from the cast process, left on the model. It is fair to assume that this has been left on the model to support it while in transit, the wings are quite thin and I think that this is a reasonable precaution. However, it does leave the gamer with the job of removing it when he putting the model together.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 03

This is another shot showing the resin that will need to be removed. It is joined to both wings and also to the central gun mount. I was a little worried at this point as to how easy it would be to remove it. The thinness of the wings being my main concern. Anyway, I decided to use a pair of end cutters to trim the excess resin away, and as it turned out, the way the resin had been laid out around the model was really very ingenious. The actual contact points between the waste resin and the model itself are quite small, making it easy to trim them off without damaging the model. Also the resin used has a forgiving nature. It is reasonably flexible and does not seem prone to shattering. In fact part way through the process of trimming off the resin, I dropped the Hyperion’s hull and it fell around three feet to a hard concrete floor. I must admit,my heart was in my mouth at that point, but fortunately it survived intact.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 04

In this photo you can see all the part, cut from the waste resin, ready for cleaning up.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 05

This is the main gun mount on the underside of the main hull. As you can see, there is a small piece of resin that needs trimming off before the gun will fit. Also the top edge of the gun mount needs to be smoothed off. I cut the lump away with a sharp Swann Morten Scalpel and then filed the edge down with a flat needle file.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 06

The inner edges of the two wings also needed to be cleaned up, and a rub over with the needle file was all that was needed. Fortunately, the inner edge of the wing is quite broad, and this means you can file it down easily without taking chunks out of the wings.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 07

This is the main hull, all finished and ready for assembly.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 08

The two tail sections were easily trimmed from the waste resin, and again tidied up with a flat needle file.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 09

The guns only really needed to be trimmed with the scalpel, and then scraped over with the edge of the scalpel blade, very clean castings indeed.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 10

To fix the gun barrel onto the main hull I decided to use an epoxy adhesive (Pacer Z-Poxy 30 Minute Formula). Superglue would have worked fine, but I prefer the stronger bond you get with a good epoxy, and there is nothing better, I have found than Z-Poxy. Normally I prefer the 30 minute formula as it give you time to work with the adhesive and position items properly.

As the adhesive takes 30 minute to set, I thought it best to pin the gun barrel in place to hold it while the Z-Poxy  went off. I drilled a 1.2mm hole in both the hull and the back of the gun barrel and (using superglue this time for speed) inserted the wire into the hole. I then, sparingly, spread some of the mixed Z-Poxy adhesive over the the inner surface of the gun mount and pushed the gun barrel onto the wire and in nice and tight.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 11

Wiping away the slight excess adhesive that oozed out, I was very pleased with the fit of the two parts.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 12

The tight fit of the wire within the joint meant I could handle the model before it set, so as I had some mixed epoxy adhesive left over I decided to do the next stage immediately.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 13

I glued the the Hyperion to it’s flight stand and propped up sitting level and left it to set.

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 14

You can already see the sleek lines of the model taking shape now and I couldn’t resist taking several photos of it in this position.

All that was left, after this, was simply to glue on the two tail sections and then to glue on the combination of either the two small blasters, or a blaster and the shield generator. I have not actually glued them on yet as I am not sure how I am going to paint the model. I have an idea brewing that I may try airbrushing these models although that may prove difficult on the much smaller Sentinel Drones, and as I want a nice uniform finish may have to rethink that one.

Here are couple more photos of the Hyperion next to an ARC Fleet Medium tank, just to give you an idea of the imposing size of these machines…

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 16

Praesentia RAL Hyperion Drone 17

Finally, while I was putting this together, it struck me that a fleet of Hyperion, Guardian and Sentinel Drones, could quite easily be used for small scale space combat games, as there scale is quite indeterminate. They would look really impressive sweeping across the depths of space ready to attack a fleet of Vorlon, Starfleet, or possibly a Chaos Spacemarine ships.

Just an idea…

OK, next up will be the Guardian Drone, look for it in a day or two.

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