Riders of the Waves

the box
Since I first saw the concept renders for these, I thought the Naiad WyrmRiders looked like one of the coolest units yet to come out of the studio.  I had converted my own from plastic Naiads and metal kraken from Iron Wind Metals for my Nature army, but as soon as I saw these I knew I wanted them.
My converted wyrmriders
Yeah, I wanted these!
I am debating on if I want to go ahead and just replace these in my Nature demo army, or if they would be better suited in a Neritican demo army (maybe replacing them in Nature with water elementals).

But that isn't why you are here - you want to see the actual models.

First off, they are all metal, and they are HEAVY.  Even heavier than some of the newer all metal ogres, or the new earth elementals.  I hope that Mantic will be able to start making these larger kits in resin now that they have resin casting capability in house - this is another case where I truly miss restic.

One thing that surprised me a little was the LACK of interchangeability among these models.  Ok, so the bodies are in three different poses, I can see that.  But each pose actually has a specific rider for it as well.

There appear to be some interchangeable parts, namely the naiad heads and arms.  The heads seem to be identical (and I would think you  would be able to replace them with the plastic heads from the Naiad sprue if you wanted), and the bodies and arms are all flat joins, so you should be able to swap them as you desire.  For the tridents that works, however the left arms ARE specific to each model (as I would later find)

The fins (top of the picture) are NOT interchangeable, as they appear to each have a different type of connector where they are attached to the metal sprue - however because they were all together I took the picture with the heads and arms.

The three wyrms and riders took a bit of figuring to see which parts actually went where.   As I was assembling them, I started calling them Moe, Larry and Curly in my head (left to right on the box cover).  So I'll refer to them each that way.  Each of the pieces of the wyrm body has a slight different connector on them, so with a little bit of trial and error you can determine what goes where.  The bodies actually have three different marks in the crotch that match up with marks in the saddles.  I tried to group the parts together so you can see each.
Fitting the saddle to the body was a little trickier, but again there is one 'natural' fit.  Same with the head on the saddle portion.
With these being larger pieces of metal, I would recommend pinning them together, as otherwise they are liable to come apart from the simple stress of travel.
That is one thing that occurred to me - I wonder if it would be possible to make the connector surfaces that actually have slots and tabs in them a bit 'deeper' - deeper slots and taller tabs - so they themselves would act not just as a guide for assembly but do the work of pins themselves.  Maybe they are already supposed to - however I have not found them sufficient for my needs.

If you aren't used to pinning - check out my post on it to get you started.

The biggest challenge pinning these models is getting the holes you drill to line up.  Especially with larger pieces like these, this can be more of an issue.  Not only that, but many of these joints are not flat, and even most of the flat ones need to line up in a very specific way.  In my previous post on pinning, all the examples were small, thin joins (specifically spears).  These were easy enough to center the pins on, but that is a riskier technique on these larger pieces.

When working with these larger pieces you have to go slowly and carefully to avoid the bit seizing up in the hole. This generally occurs for two reasons. One way to pinch and seize up a bit is to change the angle at which you are drilling while drilling.  This is something that comes with practice.  The other is heat generated by friction.  This is most common when using a powered drill (such as a Dremel) as you are generating much more heat than a hand pin vise due to the speed.  I really like using a Dremel, especially when doing a lot of pinning (power tools save your hands), but you definitely have to watch the heat there.

If your bit seizes up on you, stop drilling immediately or you will snap it off, blocking the hole you had so perfectly placed.  Take a breath (because, of course, you will be angry).  Then gently attempt to wiggle the bit and loosen it.  Do not force it, or it will snap off. If it won't come out, try applying an ice cube to the piece.  This is to get the metal to contract slightly, allowing you to wiggle the bit out.

So what you want to do for larger pieces like this is drill one side then use it as a guide to mark the location to drill on the other side.  For this you want to dry fit your pieces together - you need to know how they fit before you start.

Pick one piece and drill your pin hole in it.

Once you have one side drilled out, put in a pin that is just slightly longer than the hole is deep - you want it to stick out just enough so you can remove it but short enough that you can fit (or almost fit) the pieces together.  Then take a bit of paint and mark the end of the pin.  You now want to fit the pieces together as much as possible - lining them up clearly.  The idea here is that the wet paint on the pin will mark the second piece indicating where to drill your other hole.

Now remove the pin, and drill your second hole in the spot you marked.  Cut a second pin that is now long enough to go in both holes, and then fit them together.  Remember is it better to start off with a pin that is too long (as you can always make it shorter, but you can't make it longer).  Once you are satisfied with the fit, take the pieces apart, apply your super glue, and put them back together.

Now on to the actual assembly.  First off, did I mention pinning?  I'm not sure if I did, and I want to emphasize it with these models. Many of the pieces look like they will easily fit together snugly and so stay glued together.  This is an illusion - especially for the wyrms - it is trivially easy to apply significant pressure to the pieces - and every time I tried to be lazy and not pin two parts - they would pop apart fifteen minutes later - and now I had to clean off the dried super glue, making them harder to pin and fit together.

There are a few pieces that DID NOT need pinning - the heads of the riders.  The side fins on the wyrms.  The jaw of Moe's wyrm.  And that is about it.

I picked up a set of pieces (which I had bagged before, when taking the initial pictures over a month previously) and it turned out to be Curly.

It looked to be simpler to go from the tail up - the smaller pieces first.  Curly's tail had a bit of the scales sculpted on it, so it was easier to match up.  It had a small indentation to fit together on both pieces, but it wasn't a snug fit at all, so out comes the pin vice.
drilling the body
trying to show how the tail matches the body
and together after being pinned and glued
without the clamps, show how it sits when complete
joint for the body.  The square helps to line it up, but it is the ridges from the scales that show how it actually fits.  It is an illusion that this looks like it will glue up without a pin.
Glued, broken, then pinned and glued again.
Similar join on the saddle portion
After gluing the saddle portion to the body, I looked at the join for the head.  The head was actually a nice, flat cut - but the saddle was not.  It was actually concave with some pieces sticking out where the fin and spikes were.  I wonder if this was intended to be flat, but the surface shrunk a little as it hardened.

All three of the saddle pieces had this problem.  So out comes the file to smooth off as much of the surface as I can to attempt to get a better join.  When I talked about pinning larger pieces earlier, this is a prime example.
two pieces that don't quite fit yet
head attached
I prefer to use a gel super-glue - because it helps to fill the small gaps that are common with metal models.  In several of the pictures, you can see what appears to be gaps - but on most of these they are already filled with the glue, so won't show once painted.
three different connectors for the side fins
These were light enough that I did not pin them, and none of them broke off (yet!).  Curl used the middle ones, with the two square bumps
Curly's rider - two bumps again - the least effective join o the three
and this is where I discovered that the left arms go with specific bodies, so that the reins match up.  These do not.
pry the arm off and put on this one, which matches much better.  Pinning the arm helps with positioning it, as you an rotate it as you need to in order to get the reins to match up
With right arm and head
A whole body shot.
 Larry was next.  Again the joints seemed like they would glue nicely, but they did not.
body to tail joint
This was probably the worst one to get together.  It had to be pinned, but the pin vise would not fit as the joint was almost straight even with the body.  Plus the fit was not 'natural' when holding it because of the way he curves.
I waited to do Larry's tail fin until last, adding on the saddle next
and there is the fin, pinned
What looks to be a gap between the body and tail is filled with the super glue gel
Larry has a square connection for the rider
One note - I did not attach the riders to the wyrms yet - it will be easier to paint them while still separate, and glue them afterward.
Sitting pretty, using the army I first thought went with Curly
 And finally Moe
The tail fin is already attached.  This was a trickier piece 
Once you start pinning, then things don't fall apart and it gets a bit easier.
Moe's head did not need pinning, but I did clamp the jaw and set it apart to dry
I then pinned it to the saddle
Saddle connects to the body
with fins
And Moe's rider has a rectangular connection in the saddle
I was matching the poses on the box, so Moe got the trident pointing upward.  I'm thinking of adding a small banner to it for the unit.
full body shot
So all three are assembled, though they are not glued to the base, nor are the rider glued on.  The unit weighs over 14 oz - almost a pound of pewter.
heavy cavalry
Shot of just the wyrms
and from the back
And if these aren't enough for you, don't forget Mantic has a character riding one coming out this month.  This may end up in resin, which will make it much easier to put together.
Naiad Wyrmrider Centurion

I hope this helps you assemble your wyrm riders - and remember it is much easier to pin before you glue than after the joint had broken apart and you have to get the glue out of it.

Because it is all fun and games