Saturday, 19 July 2014

Guest Article - Assembling M2E Som'er Teeth Jones.

There's been a lot of talk about assembly issues with certain Wyrd Games models on the various Facebook groups and forums and the M2E version of Som'er Teeth Jones in particular has gotten a lot of criticism (both constructive and otherwise). While engaged in such a discussion on the 'A Wyrd Place' Facebook group a gentlemen called David Mckenny expressed a desire to do an article on his personal experiences and techniques for assembly models in general and Som'er Teeth Jones specifically.

It seemed like an excellent idea for an article so I happily agreed to format and post it as long as he did all the actual work...because I'm good like that, lol.

Everything from this point on is his work with the exception of a clearly labelled throw away comment or two of mine...


Som'er Teeth Jones M2E version

A Detailed build log
This is a detailed description of my assembly of the new Wyrd Miniatures Som'er Teeth Jones figure from their new Bayou Boss set for their tabletop game Malifaux(WYR20601). This is intended to show typical assembly techniques for styrene based miniatures, especially some of the typical aspects you may encounter with the new line of highly detailed multipart miniatures Wryd is releasing currently to support their new edition of Malifaux, replacing current metal models with much more detailed and dynamic fiures molded in a blend of polystyrene and ABS plastic.

Planning (Sun Tzu says win the battle before you engage)

Som'er is composed of 15 separate pieces. When I start construction of one of these figures I begin by downloading the instructions from the Wyrd website (each kit has a link to the download) and studying the instructions and the sprue of pieces carefully. At this point I ask myself: Are all the pieces there, what can I tell from the parts in front of me, can I tell what kind of joints I might face and what is a good assembly sequence? I usually work from the core outward, assemble body, legs then arms/head/details in a sequence that hopefully lets me add details before I add parts that might make it harder for me to get to an area, like adding a belt buckle before a gun that might block the buckle. I also look for pieces that will need to be assembled together, like 2 arms that have to hold a sword that fits next to a head with a hat...In that situation having an adhesive that takes a bit to set makes a world of difference, which brings us to...

Tools of the Trade
The tools I will use are a fresh Number 11 x-acto (blades are cheap, replace them often), Needle files (round, triangular cover most of the bases, clippers, nail files and maybe needle-nosed pliers or tweezers for delicate part placement. If you plan on pinning anything a pin vice and drill bits to match your wire supply is necessary. I also like good light source, good pad to work on and magnifying glasses (reading glasses from the local supermarket or pharmacy are fine) Make sure you have a comfy stable place to work.


I will use the Testors Model Master Cement for this assembly, the needle applicator is wonderful and it has a fairly quick tackiness, but a long set time so you have a chance to manipulate the part if you need to. It work by dissolving a bit of the two surfaces so they blend and basically weld the two pieces together A couple kinds of putty and gap filling super glue will be covered later.


Here We Go, Part Clean-Up
I'm going to start So'mer with his body. The first thing I notice is that there are some sort of weird cracks on his back, I know I'm going to want to deal with these as they are fairly prominent given his pose.

Editors Note - Personally I presumed that these cracks were part of the texture of the models jacket and left them there. The advice given is still excellent for filling imperfections though...I'm just not sure whether these qualify as such or not...

I cut him free from the sprue with clippers and, because I'm not really sure of what kind of contact is on the right leg I leave a little bit of the sprue on until I can see better what I need to do here.

Once I have the part free I look it over and see where the mould part lines are, these seams will need to be cleaned up, attachment points to clean etc. Most of this will be done with my nice new sharp x-acto knife. My first task is to trim the last bit of sprue from the part, I can see I need a square peg there and trim the excess away.

I also slowly clean the other attachment nubs away with the knife, taking care not to damage the model. Now on to the seams. My initial attack on these (which will go all the way around a piece generally in line with where the part was attached to the sprue) is to use a scraping approach with the knife. I hold the part in hand and scape with the edge of the knife perpendicular to the seam. Typically I scrape towards me with the knife angled away from me.

For the most part this will be sufficient but there are situations where I have to bring out the big guns. The knife can remove a little seam, but if it's really bad then files are necessary. They remove more material but can leave a rougher surface. This then needs to be smoothed with the knife or sanding stick. Frequently I will work with both a knife and file in hand, alternating until I get a good result. The triangle file is good for working around areas where there a edges, like belts, that I want to preserve. Round files are good for curved surfaces. Work around the part until all the seams are removed. This approach is followed with every part I work on.

Once I get most of the main body cleaned up I put some putty on his back to cover those lines. I think this putty is typically available in auto shops and the key point is it doesn't shrink. It's really soft and doesn't do well filling deep gaps. This is a trick I learned from folks who build spaceship models, who use other putties for primary gap filling and this fine bodied red stuff for final finishing.

So I'll set this piece aside, not I work on the next sub-assembly, the hat. This piece is typical of the various pieces I've seen, there is a square peg for allignment that needed trimming before it would fit in the hole, once I cleaned the seams (follow these, they will typically go around the edge of any protuberance, like the feathers and the brim) I glued the piece together, using the band around the hat to align the pieces

A touch of the plastic glue was enough to close some minor gaps on the hat brim, capillary action flows the stuff into the seam. Gap filling superglue works the same, easy to apply with a pin to small areas.

Next assembly is his head. Once again I cut the piece free leaving a little to trim, then I dry fit them together, starting with the face, which locks together and then fits into a square hole on the back of the head. The back of the head also has a square peg that fits into the hat. After careful seam cleaning I decided to glue the lower face to the back of the head first, then the upper face. This took so trimming of the square peg on the back of the face and even then when I had both face pieces glued there was a space I ended up having to trim down with razor, then fine file and some model glue as filler.

Editors Note - Kind of wish I'd put a bit more effort into the clean-up of mine now I've seen it done properly...

On to the Next Day:
Now I had to fit hat to head and head to body, but first I did major sanding of the body to address the red putty. Knowing I had a lot to do here I started with the coarse file and worked away most of the putty, then used the fine to smooth it. I didn't work towards a final finish as I knew I would be back:

So I sanded the gaps around his face and then began dry fitting the hat...not easy, nor was the fit of head to body. Both square pegs needed to be trimmed down on all sides to fit correctly, the same was true on the leg peg that attached the shoe. Once they were trimmed the parts fell into place:

The belt piece with the chain required a fair amount of work with razor and file to get it to fit, I had to make sure it sat flush with the chain on the rest of the body.

Now I wanted to play with the left arm. The stock pose just doesn't seem right, looks like an impending faceplant (which for Som'er might be fine) but it seamed like an easy modification to play with, so I tacked the arm on with blue tack stuff and tried a couple poses:

The arm up pose almost won, I would have cut the wrist and made it look like he was throwing up a surfer salute, but I ended up deciding to rotate the arm so it was more down at his side moving forward. So I cut the locating peg off the back of the arm and filed it flat, gluing it in as close a natural position as I could. That made a big gap that I filled with Squadron white putty mixed with liquid cement. The model glue softens the putty and makes it more workable.

Now I waited overnight for the putty to harden. After that I sanded the putty and applied some fine polishing stick to the rest of the back. I also addressed the other arm piece and the gun. One treatment all my guns get is a bit of attention to the end of the barrel. In this case it was a little tough because it's an oval bell, but I used a different shorter x-acto blade almost like a drill to do most of the work, then a drill in a pin vice and the no.11 x-acto to finish the edge. I also attached the coat tail which was pretty close to the right shape and only took minor trimming and filling.

Now he looks pretty good, so it's off to the paint booth to get a first coat of primer. Priming isn't the end of the prep, though. I find it lets me see seams and such that I may have missed, so as you can see in the last picture I've addressed some seams after this primer coat. If I had major repairs I would have done those and then re-primed, but in this case I will probably just paint the model as is, especially as humidity here has spiked and always causes problems with spray primer.

I'll wait until basic painting is done before I attach the two separate shine jugs, so I think I'll leave things at this point as there are many other articles that do a much better job on the basics of painting.


Hope you all enjoyed that and I'm sure he'd value any constructive feedback you have to offer and thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.

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