Getting Gigas together

Mantic Studio Paint Job
I talked about the Trident Realms mega army last week, and showed all the pieces for the Gigas. I felt that these models were not quite as intuitive as they might be, so figured I'd show how to assemble them (and how I painted them).

The first thing to be aware of is that these are three separate and distinct models - so the backs each match a specific body, the heads match a specific shell, etc.  The first thing you want to do it identify which pieces go together - I started with the backs and bodies.

I dry fit each back to each body, and very easily was able to determine which went where.  You can also look at the little connection 'bumps' on the back vs. the body - each is in a different pattern.  Also each body is slightly turned, also making the backs easy to match up.

Once I identified each, I simply glued them together.  Yes they are metal but no, I did not pin this. Why?  Am I just lazy?  Well yes, but actually this joint should hold extremely well (except maybe against being dropped, but then all bets are off anyway, including pinning).  This is because you are gluing two relatively flat surfaces together - there is no way to apply force to either piece to break the bond (as opposed to the heads and claws later on).

I did clamp these in place to let it set.

Next is the head, which is in three parts - the head, mandibles and shell.  Once again each set only fits one way.  The mandibles were the trickiest, because they are very close to identical.  However dry fitting does allow you to see that each has a much snugger fit to a specific head than the other two.

Again, glued but not pinned, for the same reason as above.

The shells and heads are the same way

I'll be honest - at this point one of the mandibles did come off - but for some reason even though it had been clamped for over half an hour, the super glue had not set.  It does frustrate me at times that the glue will move across the surface of the pieces you are holding and INSTANTLY bond with your skin (even though you didn't apply any of it near where you are holding the piece), but will take many minutes to bond metal to metal.

Of course a quick google found a quick answer to this question.  This also answers why it often helps to blow on superglue to get it to stick.  Maybe a key would be to put the glue on one part (as before), but then lightly breather on the other to add a tiny bit of moisture to it.  I'll definitely have to think / try this more.

So while I was waiting for all these dry, clamped joins to set, I looked at the claws.  These are simple ball joint, and as such do need pinned.  This is because it will be easy to generate sheering force against the joint and pop these back off.

I have definitely noticed in the past few years that my grip strength is going down, my finger joints are a bit stiffer, and it doesn't take long for them to start hurting when doing precision work that requires force (i.e. using a pin vice, as opposed to painting (if you are gripping a brush so hard that your hand starts to hurt you need to lighten up a bit!)).

So when pinning models, especially metal (which is the most common, of course) I can usually only do a few holes before having to take a break.  Of course a solution to this is power tools.

A rotary tool (Dremel is the most common brand name - though mine is a Craftsman (i.e. sears)) can be used for this, but cheap ones don't work very well for a couple of reasons.

The first is the speed, they turn the bit extremely fast, which, when drilling, generates friction and heat.  Heat causes metal to expand, and the pewter from miniatures easily heats up.  It is not difficult AT ALL to drill into a mini and feel it heat up, and I have often had this result that the mini can suddenly bind - which can often lead to you breaking the bit off in the very hole you are trying to make.  A variable speed tool helps with this - keep it at the very lowest setting.  Be warned, it helps, it does not prevent this completely.  When drilling into minis, use an in/out motion, each time going a little deeper.  Don't try to force it, and if/when you start to feel the bit bind a little, back off.

The second is the size of the tool.  Working with a large tool on a tiny piece of metal and be quite difficult.  However you can get a flexible extension for your tool - this has a much more compact end to it (like a really thick pen) but now is quite easy to hold in one hand (much like when you are writing) and precisely aim the drill. The flexible extension also helps with this.

I do find it funny that I can often spend more time getting the dremel (ok, it isn't made by Dremel, but it is like aspirin (or even better Tylenol) - the brand name becomes the generic name) out,set up and then packed back in the box than I do actually using it (especially if I'm doing just a single mini).

I followed my own advice, and cut an x into the end of each claw to provide a quick starting point.  I struggled with the first one, only to discover that even though I had grabbed a new bit for this, it was dull or even broken.  Once I put in a second one, everything went as easily as expected.

Because these are ball joints, you actually can position them in almost infinite ways.  Pinning them does lock this down so that the only variant is rotating around the pin - but so long as you decide where to put the holes for the pins this isn't really an issue.  Also, unlike some tiny pieces - the hold in the socket side doesn't have to be in a single exact spot - if it is a little off center that is just a bit more angle to the part.

I thought a bit about it, and decided to go ahead and pin the head to the body as well.  Again it is a ball and socket joint, and I have seen these come apart all the time.

The heads fit a bit more exactly (not having the play the claws do) - and I wasn't able to find any body that fit any head better than any other.

And thus were they assembled.  Once dry, to the light box for some better pictures.

The cross between a crab and a shrimp makes these very interesting to me.  The next day after everything was set they got a coat of white primer over the entire model.

I then sprayed them again with a brown primer from the top and front - this leaves a subtle transition between the two colors

white underbelly
 brown base coat
leaving the white under and behind the head.
The next step was to apply a sepia wash to the entire model.  This darkened the bright white primer a bit, as well as shading it, and also added a little shading to the brown front / top.

After the wash had dried, I did a quick drybrush of red to give them more of a red vs the brown. I then picked out the barnacles on the shells with dark green and painted the eyes black.
I was, unfortunately, out of large infantry regiment bases, so I glued three individual ones together. However under the sand, paint and static grass you would never know.

The final version, based and ready to defend the Trident Realms

And from behind.  A very interesting overall sculpt.  I like it, but is isn't what I expected from the original pictures.

Because it is all fun and games . . .


  1. Interesting info concerning super glue, have had the same problem never thought to check out ideas on You tube- cheers :-)


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