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I make toys for kids who don't want to grow up. I'm on the lookout for new projects. If you're interested in commissioning me to build something ridiculous, shoot me an email.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Genestealer Update 9: Assembling the Arms and Laying up the Back

 When I posted the last update I had a big pile of untrimmed, vacformed arm pieces like so:

Rough Trimmed Arm Parts Stack

So I set to work trimming the edges and getting them glued together.  I also set Jeff to work on some of the rough trimming and cutting:
Jeff Trimming Genestealer Arm Parts

Once the edges were cut, the next step was to clamp them to their adjoining pieces either overlapping the margins or butting them together with a piece of scrap clamped behind them like so:
Bicep Seam Glued

The magnets were used along the edges were I couldn't reach with the clamps.

Once everything was securely clamped, a tiny amount of Weld-On #4 solvent adhesive was dripped into the seam.
Tricep Seam Glued

Capillary action wicks the solvent into the tiny space between the clamped parts and everywhere it touches it dissolves the plastic a little bit.  As the solvent dries out, the plastic becomes solid again, but now it's all one part:
Genestealer Forearm Clamped for Gluing

So, tinkering in the background over a couple of days in between projects, the arms start to come together:
Genestealer Arm Parts in Progress

Here's one complete set of arms for one genestealer:
Full set of Genestealer arms

They'll look pretty good in paint.

Meanwhile, last time I posted about the back piece, the mold looked like so:
Genestealer carapace mold sections cleaned

As usual, there were tiny flaws in the surface, so we started by giving them a quick sanding.  Here's Tia working on one of the particularly problematic parts:

A couple of days later, I found a few minutes to finish up the wet sanding of the parts prior to waxing them:
Mold Polishing

Each segment was given three judicious coats of wax.  To speed the wax drying between coats, the parts were placed in front of the big circular fan:
Force Drying the Molds

After waxing and coating with PVA mold release, the parts were bolted back together and a layer of grey gelcoat was applied to the inside:
Mold with Gelcoat Laid In

It's a pretty good-looking mold.  Look at it:

With the gelcoat applied, the mold was set face-down to cure:
Gelcoated Mold Left Overnight

First thing the next morning, I laid up the fiberglass inside.  With all of the curves and corners, it was a tricky part to lay up while also keeping it lightweight:
First Back Pulled from the Mold Top Left

Here's another shot after I'd peeled off all of the release agent:
First Back Pulled from the Mold Back Left

And the nice, clean inside which I'm very proud of:
First Back Pulled from the Mold Front

Here it is again, weighing almost nothing:
First Back Pulled From Mold

After trimming the edges and cutting out the windows where the fleshy bits will be exposed, I did a quick fitting for the arm pieces with some gaff tape:
Genestealer Arms Test Fit Back Right

Since I had it all set up anyway, I couldn't resist the urge to try it on:
Genestealer Arms Test Fit Front Crouch

It'll be interesting once I have all of the weight of the head out in front, but for right now it's pretty easy to carry around:
Genestealer Arms Test Fit Hunched Front Right

I'm probably going to make up a backplate for the upper body to slot onto once we get the chest molded.  That way I can give the whole thing a rigid mounting system.  It'll be interesting working out a way to balance the weight on the nose and still keep some agility in the waist:
Genestealer Arms Test Fit Crouched Right

Still, this critter is going to be a lot of fun to perform in:
Genestealer Arms Test Fit Front Wave

For now, here it sits while I work out how I want the chest to work:
Genestealer Arms Test Fit Front Left

I'm thinking I'll split off the sections that to under the lower arms and make the rest of the chest attach permanently to the back.  This will provide better strength and simplify the process of getting it on and off.

Stay tuned...

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