Today I managed to assemble most of the gladiator figure; as I had suspected it has been a relatively pain-free process. Even my cold has been cooperative and has not been too rough, I think it might be just a mild 48 hour illness, certainly it has not stopped me having a profitable day with my model making.
Last night I got around to assembling and gluing the figure's head in place and also its left arm, the position of these are not fixed by any lugs or key points in the corresponding parts on the torso, but they can be easily worked out by matching up the muscles and by looking at the instructions sheet. The left arm, incidentally, is simply one solid piece that just requires a little tidying up, though the join to the shoulder was not very neat and I needed to fill this in with some Plasto later on. I also needed to give all of the joins around the neck and on the shoulders a good coat of filler, as these were quite noticeable. By the time I had finished, the figure looked like an apprentice welder had been let loose on it and done a poor job.
When I returned to the figure this afternoon, everything was dry, so the seams were cut and sanded back and they have not turned out too bad. Some of the Plasto filler had gone rather lumpen and needed some serious buffing back with my mini tool, but diligent follow-up work with fine sand paper cured the few problems this caused. The head and neck of the figure are the hardest parts to sand because of the nooks and crannies between the various muscles, but patience is a virtue and the job can be done with extra care. The head is not the figure's best looking feature - it has no ears - but then once the large helmet in place we won't be able to see the face, never mind the ears and it does make sanding the head easier as a result.
I had also built the gladiator's helmet and visor last night and test fitted them on the figure. I was wondering if I could fit the visor to the helmet and be able to slip the entire thing into place over the head, but it can't be done, so I'll be putting those in place after I have painted the figure. The helmet anyhow, gave me a small problem to fix, the large crest did not fit correctly if placed where it should have gone (there is a gap in the moulding on the back of the helmet as an indicator) and I had to shift it to one side. To do this, I decided to carve two thin grooves in the part of the crest where it joined the helmet, this was to make it fit flush over the raised moulding around the bowl of the helmet. Bolder souls might have just cut away the offending moulding to fit the crest, but I like to leave my options open; once you cut away stuff its gone and can be tricky to replace. Anyhow, I got the grooves just right, but there was still a gap between the bowl and crest, but this was filled with Plasto and filed back today.
The raised right sword arm is made up of two separate pieces that required only a little cleaning up and were glued into place using the instructions sheet for reference. As with the helmet, I'm not going to fit the hand and sword until I've painted the rest of the figure as it will only get in the way, though I did tidy these up today. The only disappointment I have felt in regard to the level of detail and sculpting of this figure came when I was looking at the fingers around the sword grip; they are rather crudely carved compared to the rest of the figure, but they might look better when painted.
Finally, I put the two small pieces of the gladiator's ornamental belt in place on either side of his waist. It is not clear which goes where and needs a little experimentation to get a satisfactory fit. I also filed the backs of the belt-bits thinner and pared back the receiving parts on the body, to ensure a cleaner, much more even join with the moulded belt already on the figure. Again, this takes a lot of patience, but is worth the extra effort.
The next job on the agenda is priming and painting the main figure, but I now have a short stint at work, so that may have to wait until I'm off on Sunday. Anyhow, I may fill in the next few evenings with a little more work on my neglected Ultramarine figure.