In the second part of this series we are going to discuss how to assemble the models.
For Part 1, please go here.
In this part I am going to discuss assembling the models. While miniature assembly is pretty common across games, resin models such as those used in Carnevale has some specific challenges over metal and plastic. Because of that, this article is going to focus more on dealing with resin models specifically, as there are much better general tutorials ont he Internet for assembling then I will ever be able to write.
(Note on the pictures: I use some 3rd party resin base inserts with my models, these do not come in the box, though TTCombat does make some wonder cobblestone bases if you want to sprue your models up some.)
I have previously written an article about the tools I use. For reference, please go here.
TTCombat uses resin for it's models. The first step with resin models is to always wash them. Resin molding uses a mold release agent to keep the models from sticking to the mold. Unfortunately, this release also keeps glue and paints from stickign to the model, hence the reason for the washing.
For washing the models I use basic hand soap and an old toothbrush. Place a small wash cloth in the bottom of the sink to catch the small parts that will fall out of your hands at some point into the sink.
Once i have them washed an dried, I sort them by their pieces. The images on the website for the models are a great help for this. Once I have them sorted, I work on one model at a time until it is completely assembled, otherwise I will mix the parts together by accident.
Resin is an interesting material to work with. Becuase of this, you should take some time when assembling these models. Here are my suggestions on how to assemble the models with some common issues that you will see.
1) Gas Bubbles
As part of the casting process, the resin often gives off a gas. While proper venting of the mold cavity deals with most of this (the weird extra columns of material on the model are there to give this gas a place to go) not all of the gas will exhaust properly so you need to inspect your parts for gas bubbles before you start cutting them off as they will cause a weak spot that will make the part more likely to break. This is one of the reasons that I use gap filling CA glue as it can be used to fill gas bubbles. Here is an example of a really bad set of bubbles, if I had cut the sprue first, the tip would have broken off, but becuase I use the CA glue to fill the bubbles, it was fine after trimming. While these bubbles were easy to fill, sometimes you will need to use the pin vise to open the hole slightly to inject the CA glue into it.
Once you have the gas bubbles filled, it is time to remove the sprues. Sprues are a very common part of miniature building so you may already have a process for removing these. That being said, resin is the most brittle of the comon casting material, and Carnevale is a more realistic scuplting style which includes thinner wrists and ankles, this means that the traditional method of clipping as close to the model as possible can cause snapped ankles or wrists.
Instead of the traditional method, I use a combination of standard side clippers for the smaller sprues and a jeweler's saw for the larger pieces. I also make sure that I leave a bit of sprue between the part and the clipper or saw so that there isn't as much stress on the part. On this urchin, I have removed a small sprue with the clippers so that I can reach the piece attached to her right foot with the saw. You can also see the part of the sprue that I left attached to the hand. Resin is a very soft material, so cleaning this up with small files is not that difficult, especially compared to reattaching her hand if it had snapped off while clipping the sprue.
3) Mold Lines
As anyone who has assembled models know, the molds that these models are cast in multiple part molds. For resin models, this is a flexible silicone mold. Because of this, the mold can shift sometimes during the casting process.
When this shifting causes a slight gap between the pieces, the casting material will leak and cause a line on the model (or a small flap of resin). This is pretty easy to remove with a file or by scraping with a craft knife keeping the knife's blade perpendicular to the model (this is important so you don't slice into the model).
The other thing that can happen is a slight shift in one of the molds. You can see this in a slight misalignment of the pieces on model. This is another place where I use the gap filling CA glue. Run a thin line along the misalignment and then you can smooth it out while wet or let it cure and sand it smooth.
Once you have the model prepped, final assembly is easy. The first step is to dry fit the two pieces together. This will show you if there is any final adjustments you need to make before you glue the parts.
Once you have completed your final adjustments, use your craft knife to score the mating edges.
I then pick up the smaller piece with my tweezers before applying glue to it and then pressing the smaller piece against the mounting point of the larger piece. If I am having trouble getting the parts to stay assembled, I will clean the glue off, spray the larger piece's mounting point with quick set, the repeat the process (glue on the small piece, press together).
Once all the parts are assembled, let the model sit overnight to make sure the glue has had plenty of time to set. Then a quick spray prime and they are ready to paint.