My goodness! It's been just shy of two months since I've had anything to say about 40K. This has been a very busy summer here on the farm, which is great for business and not so great for hobbying.
I've just been picking away at my trio of Landspeeders this whole summer, and am finally ready to start assembling the main bodies after magnetizing everything and painting the pilots and heavy bolter gunners. The multimelta gunners are still a work in progress.
Over the course of building these old, Third Edition speeders I figured out a few tricks that might help someone else that ends up with one. They're pretty common to find on eBay, and the kit is a bear to assemble when compared with the current version of the sprues.
The biggest problem you find with these Speeders is that the top half and the bottom half tend to warp a bit in the front-to-back dimension, meaning the middle rarely closes cleanly. This seems to be the fault of the crew chair assembly. If you look at the picture below, where the chair is not glued in, the gaps are manageable.
But once you add the crew seats, things get all wonky.
Obviously, the seat assembly is a little too large in certain areas. So, break out the files and start filing slightly at each of the locations marked in the images below:
|Get the groove above the seats, the top of the dash, and the top of the air intake.|
|File the sides of the seat back piece and the sides of the seats themselves.|
You also want to make sure the seat assembly sits flat in the bottom of the hull. The best place to check is the gap just below where the doors would attach, near that textured diamond plate section.
After all that filing is done, your gaps will be a little more manageable...
...until you try to glue it together. You're going to need a lot of clamps!
You'll notice I have one clamp pressing down just behind the angled air intake on the roof (far left Irwin clamp). This one provides top-to-bottom pressure and ensures the back section is glued flush. You can make sure by looking in the back of the chassis and making sure the pieces have no gaps. Sorry, I didn't get a good picture of that part.
The center Irwin clamp is pressing the sides in. If you exert too much pressure on the top-to-bottom clamp, the middle likes to bow outward.
The red and silver clamp on the right holds the nose section together in a top-to-bottom direction.
And finally, there's that pink rubber band pulling from the dash area to the lower nose. This pulls the seam below the dash laterally to close that gap. Because you cant get a band in there normally because of the center cockpit support, you have to pass the band through the cockpit and pull both ends toward the nose. Then put a pen or something (I used that purple sculpting tool) through both ends and twist it to provide torsion or tension or whatever to close up the gap.
You can probably understand why GW had this kit retooled. The modern version is a million times easier to assemble without gaps. My three Speeders didn't come out without any gaps, so I have to get some Liquid Greenstuff to fill them in and file smooth. I might try the "sprue slurry" method as well. It's where you melt some sprue shavings with liquid cement and spread the goop in the gaps, let dry, and then file smooth.
One final tip, that really should have come first is that you want to assemble as LITTLE AS POSSIBLE before gluing the halves together. Don't glue the rear airfoil on the roof, the gun rail, the pilot shield, or even the little mast thing that sticks out of the bottom. I made the mistake of doing so and all of those pieces get in the way of clamps and rubber bands and WILL break if you're not incredibly careful. You only get one of each piece in a kit, so there's no spares if you snap off the gun rail or crush the rear airfoil.
Honestly, I'm probably never going to build another of these old Landspeeders again unless I get an insane deal on one (like five dollars each kinda insane). They don't come with all the available guns (no Typhoon launchers and no nose guns), and take so much additional effort to build that it's probably worth the extra money for the modern kit. But if one crash lands in your lap, now you know how to make the process slightly more bearable.
I hope to have these suckers primed and paintable in the next several days. If I use the sprue slurry method to fill gaps, I'll do my best to document the process.