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5 - Assembling Janus' Hull

Janus Mk VII
Product #
Janus Mk VII
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10 March 2000converted to new format
24 December 1996page first published

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I start my inspection with the bottom hull. There were two nobs of metal on the back right - I flush cut the large one, and filed off the small one.

Filing made me aware of the seam that runs around the sides and front of the bottom plate. I decided to file it down, as I was afraid it might show up if I used a wash when painting (which picks out surface details). Filing was low risk here, since the details were deeply incised and not likely to accidentally be filed off. It took me a few minutes to adequately clean up the seam.

The bottom of the plate has some roughness to it, similar to the rocket pods, but not in an area that's convenient to sand out. Since this is the bottom of the vehicle, I decide not to sweat it - won't be too visible on the tabletop!

Checking the Flanges

The right flange has no perceptible flaws.

The left flange has a little nob of metal on the inside, where it makes with the hull - easily filed away. I notice a seam on the outside of the wing, which makes me wonder if I missed one on the other part. I check the right flange, and discover that the two pieces are not mirror images. The left flange has a flat side (with a seam), while the right flange has a very faint indentation.

I could file the right flange down to resemble the left one, but I decide they don't have to be mirror images. I do file the right side a bit, to make the depression more noticeable.

Back to the left flange: I file down the seam on the outside of the wing, and do what I can on the inside edge near the engine scoops (can't file much here, for fear of leaving a groove after the winglets - besides, the seam is pretty minor).

Looking Over the Upper Hull

The front bumper is crooked, so with gentle pressure I straighten it out. It also has a seam across it, which I take out with the Flex-I-File.

I notice no other problems until all the way at the other end, where some metal nobs stick out from the rear "bumper" cylinder. Smoothing out the cylinder may take more patience than I have, since it is in a spot where getting a file to it is awkward. I moved the file often, to make sure I'm not filing a flat spot, and I get the bumper smooth enough for me to live with.

Fitting It All Together

After a lot of trial and error, I think I've finally figured out the best way to dry-fit these pieces together. (This is after trying and failing more than a few times...)

Turn the Upper Deck upside-down, and fit the Flanges into place. Each Flange slides under an overhang of the poop deck, with a large pin from the hull sliding into a well on the bottom of the Flange.

While holding together the Hull and both Flanges, attach the Bottom Plate. Two pins in the Plate fit into holes in the Flanges. That's it!

The fit of the Flanges to the front of the Upper Hull can be tight, though the mechanical connections are loose - when gluing it all together, I'll need to make sure I'm forcing those parts flush.

Both Flanges leave minor gaps between their top edges and the bottom of the poop deck overhang, but this can be easily filled in later (I think).

The fronts of the Flanges and Upper Hull do not line up, but I think this was intentional on the part of the sculptor and nothing to worry about.

The Bottom Plate seems to be off a bit to the right, not covering both Flanges equally. However, the only way to fix this would be to remove the pins which attach the Flanges, and I don't think that's a good idea mechanically. Besides, the defect is subtle, and only visible from the bottom.

Cementing The Hull

The easiest way to glue it together would be to dry-fit all four pieces, then apply the superglue to the seams, knowing that capillary action will draw the glue deeper between the pieces. The drawback is that you pretty much would have to cement everything at the same time, and that's a lot of glue and a lot of chance for mistakes.

The alternative - gluing on one piece at a time - runs the risk that you'll get three pieces glued together, then find the fourth won't fit because something got misaligned during the gluing.

I decide to glue one piece at a time, figuring that I've dry-fit the pieces enough times not to misalign anything. (Fingers crossed.)

First I attach the Right Flange to the Upper Hull, making sure that it fits tightly at the rear and the upper front (which means sacrificing fit under the poop deck and underneath). I use just enough glue to hold it in place.

I use the same procedure with the Left Flange.

As soon as both Flanges hold, I add the Bottom Plate. (Fortunately, it fits fine - I didn't screw anything up.)

Body Work

I'm most concerned with the Front Hull/Flanges joint, as I want the final vehicle to not look as if it were separate parts glued together. There isn't much of a gap here, but I carefully put a little superglue here (capillary action makes it run down between the parts). If the glue runs out on the surface, it might fill in the detail, so make sure to wipe it away if it does so. (The paint might have filled in this gap anyway, but I'm playing it safe.)

When that's dry, my next worry is the poop deck/flanges gaps. Holding the model on its side, I drop a little glue into the gap on the left side (the worst area). I could have used gap-filling glue, but it wouldn't have been drawn so easily into this gap (which is small) - I'd rather use multiple applications of runny glue, if I need to.

(I eventually put another dose of glue on the left poop-gap...)

I then work my way around the vehicle, letting the glue dry before moving to the next gap (wouldn't want the glue to run out where I don't want it!). I could hasten the process by using a superglue accelerator, but don't feel in that much of a hurry.

The assembled hull