Building Nik Jardine’s Armored Crab,
(Crab #1, Phase Three, Final Painting, Extra Detailing and Assembly)



Monday, May 1, 2017
(Onto the BLUE Metallics!)

Once I finished all of my preliminary blue paint applications, it was time to move onto my metallics. Once again, the colors I had selected to work with were Model Master Artic Blue Metallic (2702, which is a lighter blue color), Testors Blue Metallic Flake, (1539, which is a darker blue color), along with Model Master Blue Pearl (277108).

I started out with the M. M. Artic Blue Metallic. Moving the nozzle of my airbrush back a bit, I very carefully started dusting this color onto all parts of the crab. I was going for a very light coverage with a very gradual metallic buildup.

When done, I moved onto my Blue Metallic Flake. I was once again going for a very light coverage, with a gradual transition into this color. I started at the outer perimeter of the crab's carapace, (in and attempt to achieve the gradual light-to-dark color transition), and was quickly disappointed. It turned out to be way too dark. My outer blotches started to disappear quickly.

No problem. I stopped using it on the top and moved onto my darker blue base-colored parts. I airbrushed the Blue Metallic Flake onto the lower regions of the crab's body, its leg assemblies along with its claws. This really didn't end up darkening the existing dark blue color any, but instead gave it more of a shimmering look.

When done I moved onto lightly, really lightly airbrushing my Blue Pearl over the entire crab assemblies. Once I was suitably satisfied with my results, I moved onto the next phase of my build...adding some "bling-bling" to the crab.

(Rhinestones, anyone?)
When visiting a local A. C. Moore store, I was able to locate some small, costume rhinestones. I was eventually able to find some blue ones the right size.


("Just in case", I also picked up some in differing colors).

I used the blues to accentuate features on the crab. First up were the circular areas on the top of the crab, which were surrounding the bumps which I had removed. I carefully positioned one over each region, peeled away the paper backing - (they were advertised as been self-adhesive) - and added a drop of CA glue, to attach them permanently in place.

I also added them to the side, rear-facing areas.


(I would later revisit this technique on all of the other similar features on the crab).

Next up were my jump-jets.

(Jump-jets)
I had left the jump jets base-coated with Alclad Gloss Black Base and Chrome. I went back and completed them in Tamiya Metallic Blue, and was quickly pleased with the nice contrast I'd created from the other blue colors on the crab's leg-panels.

I then moved onto the crab's feet-pads.

(Going Tamiya Flat Black on the feet)
Since I wanted to add additional contrast to the crab's blue color on its legs, along with desiring to add somewhat of a "rubbery" look to the feet-pads, I decided to paint them Tamiya Flat Black. The downer to this is that if I had just left these pieces off, it would have been a breeze painting them. Because I'd already attached them, I'd now have to do some masking.

After cutting thin lengths of Tamiya's yellow masking tape and carefully masking off the surrounding areas of the foot-pads, I airbrushed my Flat Black on. When dry the tape was removed, with a pretty good painting job resulting.

Next, it was time to complete the replacement of my guitar-wire/hydraulic line replacement.

(Guitar string/Hydraulic Line Replacement)
I had previously removed all of the molded on hydraulic lines during my preliminary construction phase of the crab. There remained two sections on either side of the crab where the existing lines had connected to. These attaching areas would need to be drilled out, in order for my replacement wire to be properly positioned.

Using a small hand-drill I carefully drilled out these sections. Following this, with quite a bit of difficulty I was able to finally run the wire through, attaching it on either end.


Part of my difficulty was caused by the stiffness of the guitar wire. It needed to be bent, a slight bit, in order to confirm to the curved area it was going into.

A second problem dealt with the attachment point on either end. I needed to drill my holes deep into the crab's body, followed by putting a severe bend into the end of the wires, in order to get them inserted into the holes properly, continuing to sit property in place.

After a bit of work I was finally able to get 'em in there!


Next up, the attachment of my jump-jets.

(Jump-jet Attachments)
I had previously lined things up and drilled a small hole into each of the leg-panels. In addition, the attachment wire had been attached to the end of each of my jump-jets.

After all associated parts were painted, all that was left was to poke my wire through the hole.


They were then snipped off at the end, shrinking the wire's size down so it would fit into the inside cavity of the leg-panel. Next, I'd have to come up with something to attach to the end of the wire, so the jump-jet could pivot around - (ya know, you just gotta have functionality with those jump-jets). The only question for me was what to use as my attachment parts?

When visiting a local hobby store, I perused the train section, and ran across a whole lot of small nuts and bolts. A brief search uncovered some small, Hex Nuts, (0-80). (Turns out they were actually used by Nick to add the nut details to his crab - I love reverse engineering models).


Several were inserted into each end of the wires. I slid 2 on and added a small drop of CA glue to attach them permanently. The jump-jet was swiveled around for a minute or two, until CA glue cured, (preventing them from being glued stationary, permanently in place). Pretty quickly my jump-jets were successfully attached.

(Some final assembly required)
Ok, I was almost at the end of my crab project. Next up was bending the section of wire into a 'U' and attaching it onto the faceplate. I did some measurements, located the center of the wire, and worked my way back to either end. The bending points were marked off and I carefully did my bend.

Once shaped, I drilled out the attachment holes a bit on the faceplate, making them deeper. Then a small dab of my CA glue was added to glue the wire in place.

I finished up by attaching a Rhinestone onto the center of the faceplate.


Next up was the attachment of the 2, rear-facing hatches/doors.

(Rear doors)
Those rear doors gave me a good deal of difficulty. The problem was that there wasn't really any alignment grooves or obvious attachment areas designated. After working on them a bit, I was able to finally get them properly seated and attached. A small amount of CA glue was applied to the inside of the lower one, before positioning and gluing the second one in place.

I then moved onto my next step...attaching the rest of the crab's main body together.

(Final Assembly of the Crab - Using a New, Better Formulated CA Glue)
While attending a Modeling Show I stumbled upon a vendor selling a specialized type of Cyanoacrylate glue. It's called Mikes' Model-n' Crafter's Glue, and appears in consistency to just be a thinner type of super glue.

However, the guy selling it demonstrated that unlike regular CA glue, this stuff really retains its attachment after curing. Regular CA glue has poor shearing strength when cured - (if you bang the glued on parts from the side, your bond will probably break) - Mike's glue really keeps things glued in place, once the glue cures.

It's with this CA glue that I decided to attach all remaining parts and assemblies of my crab.

(Back to the Crab)
The upper two halves of the crab were (CA) glued together using a very small amount of Mike's, sandwiching my styrene section (which had been cut to shape and painted Fluorescent Blue, followed by the Blue Metallic Flake colors) in place.


Then, the remaining lower portion, (which had the small nail inserted up through its center hole) was attached. The nail was inserted up into the corresponding hole found on the lower end of the upper body subassembly.

(Now, my crab could swivel around. YEAAA!).

Next up was the assembly of my 3-piece crab claws.

(Crab Claws - Adding some "bling-bling" to 'em as well)
At this point of the crab's assembly, I honestly was just looking to get 'er done. I had decided to not do any more pinning to the attachment points of the parts.

So for the crab's 3-piece claws, I just decided to attach them together. I had previously been toying around with doing some sort of major conversion to them. I had contemplated replacing one with an actual Dremel Drill bit.


In addition, I had done a pretty extensive, exhaustive search of some sort of more menacing looking claws as replacements. (I even doodled a rather kewl looking claw).

Due to the claw's orientation, I'd have to do some major conversions to them to get them to sit and look correctly. So, I opted to just stay stock with the claws.

The claws were attached together, (once again using a drop of Mike's CA glue).Their positions were varied around a bit, in order to give their pose some variety.

Before moving on, away from them, I glued a rhinestone onto each of the protruding "bumps" on the claws.


(Leg Assembly attachments)
There were two remaining parts to be attached to each of the crab's legs.




There were the leg panels (with their now attached jump-jets), along with an inner 'U' shaped part, which attached to the rear of the panels and sandwiched the main leg assemblies together. My Mike's CA glue was once again used to attach everything together, with this step going surprisingly smoothly.

When all six leg sub-assemblies had been complete, I opted to do some final detail painting on them. Using some Alclad Chrome paint I c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y hand-painted silver onto all of the exposed hydraulic pistons.


When the paint was dry I moved onto attaching the legs to the bottom of the crab.

I intentionally went for a position in which some legs were higher than others, along with some of the legs being positioned forward of the others. (I tried to envision where the legs would be positioned if the crab was in the process of walking forward).

Once they were done it was time to move onto my final step. - Adding the rest of my rhinestones on.

(Final touch-ups, with my rhinestones and Micron fine-tip black Magic Marker )
I went back and added my rhinestones to all remaining protrudences on the crab. Included were the numerous "bumps" located below. I even decided to add a rhinestone over the nail head which was still visible on the very bottom of the crab.


Next it was time to go back and re-highlight all of my recessed panel lines, along with my vents, and other related features. During my painting stages, much of this pre-shading had been blended (too perfectly) with the blue of the rest of the crab.

Using my fine-tip Micron black magic marker I carefully went over all of these recessed features, bring them back to life.

When finished I was FINALLY DONE with my Armored Crab.


(Ok, Phase Three was complete. Onto Phase Four, the Final Look).




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