Continuing with the assembly of the Eagle Transporter, I glued the two halves of the command module “beak” together and then sprayed Alclad grey primer to help me see where to sand.The two halves matched well, but there was still a line along the join that needed sanding. I also noticed a bump on the front, but strangely it would not sand off. It was a bubble in the plastic, so I popped it and filled it with Tamiya filler. The two sides of the main spine were primed. Here you can see the progress on the sanding and filling of the command module beak. The corridor sections have these shelf pieces either side. They’re quite detailed and moulded in halves. Along the centre is a nasty seam line. The corridor sections glue together well enough to form a sturdy place to mount the shoulder pods into. The shoulder pods are designed to be removable, so I decide to add some magnets to firmly hold them in place. You can see the dots where I’m marking some potential positions for the small magnets. I drilled pilot holes and found the outer positions were too near the edge of the insert. The top of the shoulder pod has a beam which slides into the corridor section. I glued these parts together and added some plasticard to strengthen up this weight-bearing part of the kit.
Once dry, I could temporarily insert the beam into the corridor and drill a pilot hole to see where it would come through, and then take a larger drill bit to make a hole just bit enough for the small magnet. I used my files to make the hole a snug fit for the magnet. Here’s the beam with the magnet in place. I followed the same procedure on the corridor section, drilling and then filing to make the holes a snug fit for the magnets. Here the magnets are in place, with a drop of glue just to hold them tight while I mix up some Milliput to hold them firmly in place. I enjoyed using the “Chopper II” to cut the plasticard pieces to strengthen the shoulder pods. The Chopper II is a new gadget I picked up earlier in the year to help me make neat cuts. I’m just starting to use it, and it’s working well. It’s really just a mini-guillotine designed for use with plasticard. I pressed a small amount of Milliput around the magnets to hold them tightly in place. Once all was dry, I was able to test again and to make sure I had all four shoulder pods in labelled to go in the right place. The corridor sections have a large flat area on the base. Unfortunately it wasn’t flat and needed a few rounds of filler to get it nice and smooth. I thought that perhaps just a single layer of filler on the seam would be enough, but the centre of the flat area is dished in, so I had to keep adding more and more filler, sanding with a flat sanding stick to smooth everything out nicely. The rest of the spine pieces glued nicely into place. More primer…. The shoulder pods assembled, ready for more primer…. The shoulder pods were a bit tricky to glue, and although most of the pieces went together very well, there was still the odd imperfect join that needed some sanding. Fortunately there were only a couple of edges where I had to use filler. I decided on Tamiya gunmetal for the inside of the rocket thrusters, and it also makes a great base for the Alclad metallics. The small parts for the landing gear are grey according to the paint guide, but on the original model they’re made from metal and I want to give them some of that look, so I’m putting down a base of Tamiya gunmetal on them while thinking of what paint best to go on top of them.The first go at sanding this pod produced great results, but there were still some very tiny gaps visible. I could use the Tamiya filler, but decided to try decanting a small amount of Alclad primer and painting it by hand into the cracks. This paint dries and thickens up fast, and it was quite easy to direct to exactly where I wanted it with my tiny paint brush.
I must admit I’m finding this kit a little frustrating. The design and accuracy to the original is excellent, but the kit itself has somewhat of a vintage feel to it in terms of how it is engineered to go together. Almost every piece has needed moulding lines removed and some of the seam lines are quite nasty, even when great care is taken to glue the sections together.
After priming I noticed that some of the round or spherical pieces had lines indicative of 3D printing, which really should have been properly polished out on the moulds.