Didn’t feel like painting this evening so I busted out the Ke-Ho and started doing some assembly. I had already done a fair bit of trimming and smoothing the parts and a close examination had revealed a couple of things:
- I had a few air bubbles, but these were very minor and only one part had any,
- A couple of the single mould pieces need to be filed smooth. This issue is pretty common with the technique Spartan use for most of their resin figures. Along the bottom there will be an area, usually 1-2mm thick, of non-detailed roughly textured area. This is where the resin has risen over the edge of the mould. Removing is easy and just involves some sanding to get back to the original base.
Assembly isn’t too difficult, but there are a couple of things to watch out for and I made a major mistake that cost be a fair bit of time and rework.
I started by assembling the 4 rounded sections and the 8 tread pieces into one unit. There was a bit of a challenge to this piece and in the end I wound up using slow setting CA glue on the 4 rounded sections and half the track. While wet these were joined and held together. All a bit of a rushed process and involved a fair bit of glue on the fingers, but it came together well and once you have these 8 pieces together they do all fall into place and it’s quite easy to line them all up.
One thing to be aware of is that the 4 rounded outer pieces to not fit flush together. There is a 1-2mm gap between each piece, so be warned if you are trying to build this part first and then can’t fit the tracks properly. The tracks do fit flush together, and the Ke-Ho’s front/back/top/bottom do slot into these rings so you could do a gradual build and start with these treads. The first picture below shows how it looks together, and if you look at the back you can see the gap between the top and rear panels. I also attached the gun barrel and exhaust funnel while I was here.
The main thing to be careful of is that the tanks have a direction, and ideally your tank should have both tracks pointing forward, and at worst at least both in the same direction. Unfortunately I had one going backward and the other forward. I tossed up leaving it and thinking no one will notice, but of course I would. So out came the acetone and cheap paintbrush and about 1/2 an hour later I’d removed one track with only a little damage. I’ll focus on this as the build progresses, but the plan is to use some “mud” to cover the damaged points – after all this is a tank and mud is its natural habitat.
The next sub-assembly I tackled was the small trailer at the back. This was quite easy it is basically a resin block with 2 white metal wheels. The only addition I made was to pin the wheels on to give them a little extra strength.
My next step was to take the side pieces and sand them down. Many of the Spartan Games pieces are single mould casts meaning the rear sides often have a bit of overflow. It’s easy to fix as there is no detail here, you’re just after a smooth edge so you can use some sand paper. I find sanding in a large circle: stopping to rotate the piece in my and and changing the direction give a good even result. Now, there are a bunch of people in the modelling community who claim resin dust causes cancer. I’ve never been able to find anything to back this up, I’ve done some looking and all the only link between resin and cancer I could find was involving workers who mixed the stuff day-in and day-out. However, with pieces this big the dust can be pretty unpleasant. There are two ways to deal with it: wet sand the pieces or wear a mask.
Anyway once this was done it was pretty easy to glue the pieces into place on the side. They’re fairly easy to line up: the side has 4 panels moulded on it and these panel joins line up with the seams between the 4 pieces that make up the front/top/back/bottom of the Ke-Ho. One thing I have done is leave off the gun-shield. I’ll paint this separately and then glue it on to make things easier. The weapons pods on the two sides will be magnetised so they can be swapped on and off.
I’ll finish with some pictures of the beast. I’m happy with how he’s gone together. It’s been a little time since I fixed my error with the tracks so I’m more at ease with it all now. As said I’ll also be able to cover up the problem spots with dirt and mud so it won’t show at the end.
It should be noted this thing is a bit of a beast: about 15cm (6 inches) in length, 10cm (4 inches) tall and 9cm (3.5 inches) tall. As such it’s going to take a bit of paint; thankfully I’ve got an airbrush. Now, just need to decide on a scheme.