Assembling the ARC-8M Archer Miniature  (IWM #20-211)


tools used-
  • exacto knife
  • needle files
  • putty
  • JB Weld (JB Kwik) epoxy
  • toothpick (for mixing and applying epoxy)
  • vinegar
  • toothbrush
  • paint bottles
  • sprue cutter
  • tweezers
  • pin vise
  • blue/yellow epoxy putty (green stuff)

Here are the contents of the blister:

(14 individual pieces)

Prepare all the parts by cutting/filing mold lines and removing them from the sprue.  Test fit the missile doors (hold with a tweezers) and file them down as necessary.  Score the ball and socket joints on the arms/shoulders and waist to give the epoxy a better surface to hold.  Once all parts are ready for assembly, scrub them with the toothbrush and white vinegar to clean them. 

The lower leg/torso assembly is plenty stable as-is, so attaching a hexbase right away is not necessary.  In fact, I don't recommend it until the very end.  Epoxy the upper torso in place and use a wad of putty to hold it for 30 minutes.
At this point I decided that I did not want to mess around with trimming down the antenna and whatever that other piece is (we'll call it a heat sink for the purposes of this guide) and pinning them.  They are molded with enough of a "pin" attached to work.  You'll just need to drill out the holes more than they are currently.  I don't know the exact sizes of the bits used, they aren't labeled.  I happened to have two lying around that matched the diameter of the "starter" holes.  Don't attach the pieces.  I drilled now because the bare mini is easy to hold.
I went with four missile doors right away, holding each with a tweezers to put them in place.  Inside doors first and then bottom doors.  For the inside doors I ran epoxy along the "hinge" on both the door and torso side and also a little on the center torso where the door would cover.  For the bottom doors I covered the entire "hinge" surface.  Using the toothpick, carefully remove any extra epoxy that oozes out.  Neither set of doors require putty to hold in place so I let them cure for 15 minutes just like this.
Outside doors were next.  I applied epoxy to the "hinge" on the torso and door side.  Using the tweezers again to hold the doors, I stuck them in place.  Again the epoxy was tacky enough that I did not need putty to hold the doors in place.  Remove any excess epoxy with the toothpick.  Allow 15 minutes to cure.
Now for the top doors.  I wasn't even going to try applying them without putty to help.  Carefully put a ball of putty on each launcher face, making sure the very top of the ball is at the same height for each.  Dry fit the doors to make sure they're even and adjust the putty as necessary.  DO NOT MASH THE TOP DOOR INTO THE PUTTY!  The point of the door should rest on the upper most portion of the putty.  It should not hook over or stick in it.  If it does you run the risk of tearing off the door when removing the putty.  Apply a thick bead of epoxy to the torso side if the "hinges".  The area will be covered so it does not hurt having extra epoxy under the doors.  In fact it will help make the doors more stable.  Put the doors into place and allow them to cure for 30 minutes.

Right about here I decided that that laser barrel beside the cockpit was too long.  I took care of that between the next two steps by cutting the tip in half and drilling out the end slightly with a #76 bit.

Apply epoxy as best you can into the holes you previously drilled out for the antenna and heat sink.  Apply a little epoxy to the "pin" on each piece and then insert them into their respective holes.  Remove any excess epoxy with a toothpick and allow 15 minutes to cure.
Pre-position the arms using putty and paint bottles for support.  When you have them where you want them, slide the bottles out, apply epoxy to the sockets, and slide the bottles back in.  You may have to press gently on the outsides of the shoulders.  Allow at least 30 minutes to cure.
Here is the finished assembly.  You can see the mod I made to the head-mounted laser.  I think it looks closer to the TRO illustration this way.
Now it's time to fit it into a hexbase.  If you're a stickler for "centering" like I am, there is a bit of work to be done.  Though I didn't get a photo I removed a few millimeters from the back side of the Archer's base, including the area under the foot, with a sprue cutter and exacto.  This allowed the mini to be nearly perfectly centered in the hexbase rather than perched forward..  (It's one of those little things that I believe improves the overall look of the finished miniature.)

Once positioned and epoxied into place, I filled the gaps with green stuff and textured them to match the metal.  For texture I coated the surface with water (to prevent sticking) and pressed sand paper onto it.

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