Saturday, September 25, 2010

Space Marine Drop Pod tutorial, Part 1 (HEY! No Dark Eldar!)

First, let me acknowledge that others in our hobby have blazed this trail prior to me. The only reason I'm posting this is to share some detailed observations regarding the infamous (and oft hated) Space Marine Drop Pod assembly, or perhaps to help someone who reads this blog that may have encountered problems. At least I hope it will help you avoid the above scenario.

Anyone who has purchased one of these long-overdue and dreamed of kits will already know that the GW instructions included within the box are, in a word, crap. And that's me censoring myself big time. The pictures are vague and barely instructive (a feature I've often found to be key in instructions, but maybe I'm just picky).

Now, don't get me wrong. The model itself is an opus of engineering and design. The kit is so well made that, if properly prepped and assembled, will fit so snugly together that glue becomes an option in some places rather than a necessity.

So if you're staring at a Pod on the sprue and haven't done the following, STOP and do this before you go any further:

  1. Go here and study this blog. Pay close attention to (and even save and zoom) the picture.
  2. Clip your kit from the sprue and SHAVE MOLD LINES.
  3. Shave some more.
  4. Once you think you have the mold lines gone, SHAVE SOME MORE!
  5. Dry fit everything. If it resists, well, see steps 2-4.
I hope you see how vitally important the complete and thorough elimination of mold lines is in this process. As a hobbyist with a glue-frosted and disassembled-via-velocity kit sitting in the box (which has been covered in various litanies of hate and profanity), I really can not stress this enough.

Once you get the imperfections shaved completely (focusing extra hard on the contact surfaces between hull and base, as well as the underside of doors where they contact the model when closed), you may opt to begin gluing the pieces into the Pod's 3 main parts: Hull, Base w/ doors, and console.

A. The console-

The console is the central pylon which forms the core of the Pod. To assemble this hold the segments upside down (so you're looking "up" into the pylon) and, once dry-fitted, carefully glue each segment to the one before it using a little glue on the contact surfaces. If you look carefully you will notice that each segment has a tiny notch at the bottom and a tab at the top (with an indentation on the backside that receives the tab on the next piece). Once you dry-fit the first two segments together while looking at the underside you will see how the fit snugly together. Be sure to hold each joined segment carefully until the glue sets, then let it sit a bit longer until it is good and solid. If you start attaching the segments too fast the whole thing will pop apart in your hands and rage will ensue. Patience is key in this process.

Eventually you will get down to the final segment. This part is TRICKY! CAREFULLY and gently twist the final piece in so the tab slips together at the top and the bottom fits snugly into the notch at the bottom. This can get frustrating but with a little practice it will work. Be sure to try it a few times without glue before you do it for keeps. I found it best to put the glue on the receiving segment rather than the one I was handling, but you know your fingers better than I.

After the pylon is together and the glue has set you can slip the dome over the top to hold everything in place. If the dome fits snugly you have the pylon together perfectly. If it fights to go on you likely have a segment or two out of whack and will need to fix the problem. If the dome is snug, go ahead and glue it.

The next step is to begin dry-fitting the harnesses into the posts. There is one key element here to consider:

There is one harness with a skull on the cross-piece. This piece will only fit into the upright that has a circular hole instead of a square. There is only ONE circular hole on the uprights so once you find it you're home free.

Glue the harnesses into the uprights (after dry-fitting of course) and make sure the "bulb" where they meet (around the little nipple on the back of the uprights) is cylindrical (i.e. make sure the seams are as smooth as possible and line up well). You'll want to hold both harnesses for a bit until the glue sets so there's no slippage.

Once the harnesses are in place you'll want to check each bulb seam and scrape or file them until they're even. This is the part that will insert into the round holes that surround the console just under the dome top. If they will stick in until the hoses are nearly touching the pylon you have a good fit.

Painters Note: It's a good idea to paint the console before you assemble it completely. I laid down a dry-brush of Boltgun Metal over black, then hit it with a few highlights of Chainmail and then painted some of the fittings gold or brass. This is purely optional of course.

Go ahead and grab the floor piece and notice the raised bump in the middle, as well as the long, narrow slots around the outside. You will also notice that each upright has a thin, flattened rod of plastic sticking out and pointing in the same direction as the bulb above. On the central pylon you'll see a small arch in the center of each segment. Be SURE to slip the rod under the arch when affixing the uprights to the pylon, and make sure you have them glued properly. What I did was after inserting the upright into the pylon I would slip the tab at the base of the upright into a slot while the central pylon sat over the central bump. This ensured that all the pieces were in the right place and would remain so while the glue solidified. Again, this is NOT a race, and if you go for speed you WILL lose.

Work through the uprights, leaving the "skull" harness to go in next to the control panel on the pylon (see picture). Do NOT glue this upright.

At this point you can go ahead and finish painting the console as detailed as you wish. Once it's done and all but the skull upright are glued into place you'll be ready for part 2 (coming soon).


Old School Terminator said...

Great tut. unfortunately there weren't many tuts out there when I bought mine ... I sat there staring at the pictures and the D.C. roadmap of dotted lines that stared back at me from the page with little caution signs, emoticons, middle fingers and whatever other random illustrations the instruction manual designer decided to throw in there instead of ... INSTRUCTIONS!

Anyway, my first drop pod got fired against a wall, came apart and then fit together nicely! After that, making them was a breeze, but the first one made me want to scream and head back to the recycling bin to pick out a coke bottle (AKA the 4th edition Drop Pod!)

Great post guys and just for S&G, will you all be at Adepticon this coming year?

chaplainaerion said...

Yes! And in force. We're (likely) bringing TWO teams in 2011. I really hope to meet you as I've adored your stuff (not in a creepy way).

As for my first attempt at a drop pod (via GW so-called "instructions"), the best description I can give would be that my wife told me... no, she COMMANDED me... to "put it down and walk away" on several occasions. It wasn't pretty.

Thanks for your comments and come back for parts to follow.