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Impatiently Assembling the Bugs

Starship Troopers
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6 May 2005page first published

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TheMackster Fezian writes:

I pulled out my trusty snips, put a new sharp blade in my X-acto knife, and started to snip parts off the sprues. I know the new blade was sharp, as by the time I finished assembling my first four Bugs, I had over 8 fine cuts on my thumb from pulling the blade towards me as I trimmed sprue flash. Never felt a thing at the time. Doh!!!

The tools for the job

I had Testors Plastic Cement and a bottle of superglue on hand, and found both to work equally well holding the parts together as I assembled some Bugs using each type of adhesive. My personal preference was using the Testors, as the brush tip made applying the glue exactly where I wanted it quite easy - so this guide has a couple of pix of me using the bottle-brush.

Parts for one Bug laid out to view the fit

So, I snipped off just enough parts to assemble one Bug at a time, and took this opportunity to select the 4 legs I wanted to use. As Bill mentioned in his own earlier Workbench article, you have 2 extra legs per sprue - so there is no reason at all why any of your Bugs should have to look the same. I cleaned the leftover sprue pegs off the Bug parts, but did no trimming of mold lines in the interest of speed (and besides, I wanted to see how the paintjob would camouflage them).

I did my own assembly virtually the same as Bill did, doing the bottom first and the top of the Bug second, then finally gluing top to bottom.

The four legs I chose fitted into bottom shell

First, I took the four legs I selected for this Bug, and laid them in place onto the bottom shell of the Bug body, with longer legs to the back for stability. Now, all I had to do was apply some glue to the top and bottom shell to hold them together, then press them together to complete that assembly. Simple, eh? (Note use of Canadian slang, eh?)

Applying glue to top and bottom carapace parts

The brush applicator on the plastic cement bottle made applying just enough glue, exactly where I wanted it, pretty easy. I dabbed some glue to all the outside edges of the top of the body part, and to the peg holes.

Note: Apply very little glue to the peg holes and pegs, or they will resist you shoving them together due to the liquid trapped inside.

On the bottom half where I still had the 4 legs resting in place, I simply dabbed the pegs themselves and the front and back sections with glue (as I didn't want to get glue on the socket joints of the legs yet, until I set them in place).

Top of body pressed onto the bottom half

Now, simply lower the top of the body over the bottom half, then press the two pieces together tightly to hold the legs in place. I just left the bottom lying on the bench and eye-balled it from above as I lowered the top part onto the bottom, then pressed down until the pegs popped in and the two parts snapped shut. Then I picked it up and held them together with my fingers for a few seconds until the glue partially set.

Yay, the bottom is almost done now - but don't worry, it's the hardest part to assemble.

Man - you know, it took me longer to do this one Bug than it took to assemble and paint the first four I did Wednesday afternoon? Do one step, stop and take pix. Do next step, stop everything and take more pix. Ssssoooooo sssllllooooowwwww!
Position legs and apply glue to sockets

One last step, and we've finished with the bottom of the Bug. Just sit the little Bug (ger) on the table and arrange the still-loose legs how you want them. Once you know how you want your Bug to stand, just apply some glue to each leg's ball-and-socket joint, and wiggle the leg around to make sure you get glue all around the socket.

Once all the legs have glue applied, simply pose your Bug back the way you wanted him again, and let him sit until the glue sets.

Note: You have another option here on how your Bug will look on the table. If you lower his back legs a bit, and arrange his front legs straight up, his body will tilt up like he's rearing up. If you reverse it, and make his back legs lift the back higher than the front, your Bug will be looking down on his victim. I did a couple of Bugs with the same legs, and got very different poses just using that little trick of having one looking up and one looking down.

Now, leave your Bug's butt alone while we assemble the top half, so he'll know where he's actually going...