Thursday, May 18, 2017

Gunpla 04: With a little help from my friends.

Arms and the man I sing...
Virgil, The Aeneid, Book I
Two days later*, and I'm back, working on Gundam arms. There are three pages of instructions just for this section - and everything has to be done twice.

As anyone who owns a cat would expect, Jaq the Cat has been very curious about what I've been doing, and he's eager to become involved in the process, in spite of my best attempts to discourage him.

He does eventually make his way onto the table as I set things up to continue working, but I manage to restrain him before any real damage is done other than a couple of relocated sprues.  He's actually a bit scared by the rattling of the plastic - we've speculated extensively as to the events in Jaq's previous life that would have made him skittish about things like this.

After a few minutes of conciliatory chin scratching, I move my disappointed assistant off the work surface.  Cats being cats, this process ends up being repeated a couple of times before our frustrated feline decides that it's easier to just lie on the couch and go to sleep.

The instructions for the arms start off with components that appear to have nothing to do with arms as they are commonly known, but I'm willing to accept that giant warbots adhere to a different standard.  As with the torso assembly, there are rubber pieces that are probably part of the connection and articulation system.

The next bit of assembly is equally mysterious, and considerably more challenging.  After combining some sliding pieces that actually aren't connected to each other, just held between rectangular collars, the instructions tell me to sandwich the results between a pair of plates and a strangely shaped armature.

I did some research online for hints and advice when I originally purchased this Gundam kit, and one of the posters specifically commented that the elbows were the most challenging part of this model. Hopefully that's what I'm working on now, because if there's something worse than this, I'm in trouble. It might actually be easier to do this with full scale metal parts and a crane - at least then there would be some weight to hold things in place.

It seems to require an extra hand, and lacking that** I struggle unsuccessfully with the parts for a little while. I finally figure out a method of setting the large holes in the sub-assemblies over the pins in the lower plate, then use the top plate as a guide for the other pieces.

Magically, it all very suddenly snaps together.

Next, a pale grey piece of armour has to go over one end of the assembly, which involves bending part of the joint that I've just created.  Again, the part seems to suddenly find its place and snap into position.

Thank god that's done! Unfortunately, now I have to do it again.

Fortunately, I have the piece I've just finished to use as a guide, so the second iteration goes much more easily and quickly than the first one.

I've used up my allotment of modelling time for today, and perhaps the month - time to fold the laundry and do some vacuuming.* An hour and a half of painstaking work has resulted in four enigmatic assemblies which will hopefully start to make sense as things come together for the arms - literally. 

- Sid

* Isn't it sad how life makes so many non-geek demands on our time? Over the last couple of days,  I've gone clothes shopping, had dinner with my friend Joe, done the laundry, and otherwise taken care of business.  I've also done some extended computer gaming - after all, man does not live by bread alone.

** This is when the cat's help would actually have been useful, although the infamous feline lack of thumbs might have limited his contribution.

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