This is a gauntlet assembly tutorial utilizing mainly screws and magnets (and of course, some adhesives) and is intended for vac formed kits or kits with resin uppers and vacced lowers only. This closure method will not work with kits that are made with resin/fiberglass uppers AND lowers. The reason being is due to the way the magnets will need to be pushed apart in order for the closure method to work properly.
I would rate this tutorial for medium to advanced hobbyists or anyone who is familiar with assembly/model building. However, that is not to say that the novice cannot do this after reading this and following the steps laid out in here, which is the intention of this tutorial.
That being said, let's take a quick look at the pros and cons of doing your gauntlets this way:
Permanent and the magnets will never wear out
Strong, will not come apart during trooping
Ease of use and functionality/practicality.
A clean look with flush, butted results (no exposed hinges)
Easier to paint the pieces as they can be disassembled and reassembled after paint (eliminates adhesive/paint conflict)
Expensive. I spent about $40 in magnets alone doing it this way.
Higher difficulty level with little room for error when drilling holes for certain parts.
I have created this tutorial in response to the amount of questions I have been receiving regarding how to assemble this kit. It is not my intention here to promote my gaunts over any other vendor's, rather the sole purpose is to share my knowledge with (and promote) the community. If you own a kit that is similar (or close enough) to the one I am using, and want to assemble them this way then by all means please feel free to use this tutorial. To the best of my knowledge (and at the writing of this post), I believe FP is the only other maker who does gaunt kits with resin uppers and vacc'ed lowers (please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong or update/inform if this changes).
For the purpose of this tutorial I went with ROTJ. I will be adding an ESB section to this in the future when time permits.
Here is an example of a pic of a typical gauntlet kit (of this style, with resin uppers and vacc'ed lowers) that you will be starting out with from your chosen vendor.
(Pic courtesy sleepalot)
After receiving your kit, the first step is going to be fitting the gaunts to your arms (don't forget to account for flightsuit and gloves, as well as foam inside the gaunts for comfort and a snug fit, to keep them from moving around while trooping)
When cutting the uppers and lowers down to size, make sure you cut off equal amounts of material off the side of each upper and lower as you go. For example, if you need to take off a total of four inches, cut 1 inch off EACH side of the top clamshell (a total of 2 inches) and 1 inch off EACH side off the bottom clamshell (a total of 2 inches) for a grand total of four inches (whatever amount you need to cut, just divide by 4, and that will give you your amount needed to cut). DO NOT cut more off the top than off the bottom or vice versa as it will give your gauntlets an uneven look. (Note: If you have resin uppers, the left gauntlet will likely only need the bottom excess cut off).
Also, be sure to save your excess flashing that you cut off as it will likely come in handy to have these pieces later during the build.
After you have done the cutting for sizing, finish trim all edges (sides, fronts and backs) as it will be much easier to do this while they are unassembled. I did mine with a combination of various dremel attachments, files, sandpaper, and sanding blocks. (You'll see in this tutorial that I forgot to clean up my left upper, but it wasn't an issue as I still had easy access to those edges after assembling the lower to it)
While you are assembling the tops to the bottoms, it may be necessary to fine tune your finish side cuts to size as you go.... to make sure you get that flush look for the uppers and lowers to match up as close as possible.
You can start with either gauntlet (since they both have to be done anyway), but for this tutorial I will be showing the right gauntlet first.
The first thing I decided to do is cut out the hole for the 'oval' piece (does anyone even know if that thing has an official name? lol). It is easier to cut this out before attaching the bottom shell (the same goes for the upper rear hose connector, which I will cover later). It took me about 10 minutes to do this because I took my time and did not want to cut the hole too big. You want it to fit as snug inside as possible with no gaps. On this piece, you will want the bottom of the oval to fit as flat as possible to the gauntlet.
Since all these parts will need to get painted later, do not install this piece until after paint (it will only need to be glued on the inside, so it will not interfere with the paint....AND it will make painting the oval piece easier as well). It will make your life a LOT easier doing it this way.
The next piece to attach will be the upper rear hose connector. This piece fits flush (and centered) up against the back of the rear 'ledge' on top of the gauntlet.
Drill two holes into the gauntlet FIRST based on where your screws will stick through into the hose connector. Also, pick the length of your screws based on the combined thickness of the gauntlet and the hose connector so that they do not poke through the top of the hose connector (this rule will apply to all other pieces in this tutorial that will be screwed to the gauntlets). Important - Choose your screw size before drilling any holes. Once you have decided on your screws, drill your holes into the gauntlet just large enough for the screws to fit through. Next, place the hose connector exactly where it will need to go, hold it in place, and then mark where to drill into the hose connector THROUGH the holes you just made in the gauntlet. Next, drill pilot holes into the hose connector slightly smaller than the screws so that they fit snug but are not too tight. You must drill pilot holes into the resin pieces to prevent cracking and to make it easier to install the screws. Be careful not to drill holes all the way though the resin piece. Refer to this section for all future pieces that will get screwed to the gauntlet.
For the whipcord housing, this kit comes with a hollow tube that fits inside the rectangular box. After cutting the hollow plastic tube to fit, I used Zap-a-Gap to glue it into place. A little on each end inside the box and a bead on the bottom and then a line on the tube which will touch the bottom. Zap-a-Gap is like superglue on steroids and is a little thicker than regular superglue so it fills in areas nicely. I got mine locally from a hobby/model store, but it is also available online.
Now for the actual attachment of the whipcord housing. This will probably be the hardest part to install and get it to mount correctly. The most crucial part of making this work is going to be getting the curve on the bottom of the whipcord to match the curve of the side of the gauntlet. You want to sand it so that it matches the curves of the upper and lower halves and sticks out from them the correct perpendicular angle. These whipcord pieces are poured flat on the bottom because there is no other way to make them in an open faced, 1 part mold, but that is easy enough to mod. I used the curve of my belt sander and slowly and carefully took material out of the middle bottom until it matched the gauntlet halves (it does not have to be perfect, just close...and it will likely take you more than one sanding session to get it right). I also slightly sanded the side that touches the gaunts to match the curvature of the gauntlet profile for a nice, snug fit. I did that part by holding the upper clamshell over the top edge of the whipcord and traced a line onto it taking off as little material as possible.
NOTE - Before mounting your whipcord housing, you will want to drill out the hole on the rear for the small hose attachment first, it will be easier to do that before it is attached. Be sure to plan for where the screw will be drilled into the side when it gets mounted to the gauntlet.
Once you have done that part, you will need to drill your holes into the upper clamshell first (I did 3 screws...one at the front, middle and rear. It really doesn't need more this). The whipcord housing is just wide enough to do this and placement of the screws is crucial (the must also be as perpendicular as possible). Tricky, but it can be done as you will see in the pics. Not too far to the edge and not too close to the middle (see pics below). Attaching it to the upper resin shell first will make attaching the bottom much easier. I had to assemble and disassemble the whipcord housing from the upper and lower shells a few times and re-sand the bottom of it until I could fine tune it because it wasn't sticking out at the proper angle. Doing that also wore out my pilot holes a bit, but remember you can always add resin dust back into the holes to tighten them up. And after paint, you will be able to put a dab of superglue (or adhesive of your choice) onto the screws to lock them back into place permanently.
Once you have attached the whipcord housing to the upper clamshell, do the same process for the lower. Make sure that your front and rear edges are lined up correctly when you do this. You may have to disassemble and reassemble the three pieces a few times to fine tune it.
After attaching the bottom shell, I removed it for easy access for installing the magnets. I purchased 10 discs and 10 cubes. The cubes need to be smaller than the discs and you'll see why later in the tutorial. I purchased the following: (http://www.amazon.com/Neodymium-Magn.../dp/B00DN9T7LS) and (http://www.magnet4less.com/product_i...roducts_id=868)
The first thing I did was cut shallow 'trays' into the resin for gluing the cubes into the upper clamshell. Next, I left the discs attached to the cubes (to make sure my polarity was correct) and glued them with Devcon plastic welder. Be careful not to glue the cubes to the discs as you will need to remove them once the cubes set up.
Here are the cubes after I removed the discs -
After that, I got some scrap strips of .060 (1/16") ABS and cut holes into them just large enough for the cubes to fit into. I then attached two small 'spacers' on each side of the hole with Zap-a-Gap. These smaller spacers are what the discs will sit on. The purpose of this is to push down the large strip (with the hole in it) all the way over the cube to the bottom of it. The disc that sits on top will hold it in place. Make SURE that your spacers that the disc sits on are not too short or too tall because the magnets have to be touching each other....they don't have to be absolutely perfect, but try to get them as close as possible. If the spacers are too tall, the magnets won't reach each other and weaken the bond and if the spacers are too short, the hole won't get pushed all the way down to the bottom of the cube. Think of the cube as the 'peg' for what I like to refer to as my 'peg and hole' method.
Next, reattach the bottom shell via screws from earlier and then strap the gauntlet together in place (I put the buckles at the bottom so they don't scratch up or mar the top), making sure your front and rear edges are lined up. As you can see in the pic, I put tape on each end to make sure that they don't shift during assembly.
Next, bend all the strips you just made (I did a total of 5....no heating necessary) to match the interior curve of the bottom shell so they lie as flush as possible against the bottom clamshell while sitting on the cubes. Put the discs over the top for a dry fit test (they will pull themselves into place). This is now when you should check to see if the magnets are touching and make any final adjustments if needed. Once everything looks good, smear some Devcon over the the tops and sides of the discs (making sure they are attached to the spacers) while being careful not to get any on the cube...which you really shouldn't anyway because the cubes are hidden inside. After it cures, you can pull the strips with the attached discs back off (just make sure you keep all your sets matching, I used a number system). Now go in and put some Devcon on the inside of those strips (the sides that will be touching the inside of the clamshell) and put the strips back on. The magnets will pull themselves back into place and keep the strips flush until the Devcon cures. After that, you should be able to pull the magnets apart by squeezing the bottom clamshell and pushing the magnets away from each other (this is why this method will not work with kits that have resin uppers AND lowers...because you have to flex/squeeze the bottom shell to get the magnets to release).
After that part was done, it was time to add the lower hose connector. NOTE - This piece can only be installed after the lower clamshell and whipcord housing are in place.
I really wasn't crazy about attaching this piece with adhesive, so I decided to try screws on this one as well...and it worked out great.
Same method as before - choose your screws first (I had to cut some down to size for this piece) drill holes in the bottom clamshell first, then mark the rod through the holes. This one is not as tricky to install as you might think. Again, take your time and don't drill holes all the way through the rod. If you happen to, don't worry...it can easily be repaired with Tamiya putty.
A nice bonus from doing it this way is that you can take it apart for painting (like all the other pieces) and reinstall it without trying to glue it in place and make a big mess.....cause we all know how much adhesives and paint don't play nice together, right?
While I was installing it, I decided to try out some Rubb-n-buff on the 'plumbing' parts. I think it looks great and gives it a nice realistic, metallic look.
You can still screw these into place without taking apart the lower clamshell. Just open the gaunt and stick the screwdriver down inside to reach the screw
The left gauntlet was a lot less involved as there were not as many parts to install. Since there is no whipcord on this one, I had to make my own permanent mounting base on one side. I opted to do the outside since that is the side that the flamethrower will get attached to. I simply heated up a strip of ABS (remember the extra flashing I told you earlier to hang on to?) with a heat gun. I used a fairly wide strip for this. Strap the halves together (like we did earlier for the right gaunt), heat up your strip and lay it over the seam and let it cool, pressing it into place to make sure it contours properly. Make a mark on the strip itself and the inside of the gaunt so you know how it lines up. Take off the straps and disassemble the halves. Attach the top half of the mounting strip first (using those marks) and then strap and tape up your clamshells again to hold them in place while you install the bottom half of the strip. I used Devcon for this as well, as it is super strong. (http://www.amazon.com/Devcon-Plastic.../dp/B001QWMVP8)
I only did 3 strips with magnets on this one as the bottom clam is significantly shorter than the bottom right clam which required 5 strips. On this gaunt, I did have to heat up the strips (for the magnets) with a heat gun because of the wonky layers they needed to conform to. This part was kind of a pain and rather time consuming, but worth the effort.
While that was setting up, I cleaned up the flamethrower and installed bracer walls with 1/4" inch styrene (with Devcon...be sure to account for where your push button switches will go, you don't want to put the bracer walls in those spots) and then installed the nozzles. I also made sure to paint the baseboard that the nozzles are attached to before installing them.
After that, I cut slots in the bracer walls for installing the cube magnets. Attach the discs to the bottom cover FIRST, let them cure, and then put the cubes onto the discs and then put a little Devcon into the bottom of the slots for the cubes on the bracer walls. Then CAREFULLY line up the sides and ends of the flamethrower cover and lay it on the flamethrower housing, all the while not gluing the cubes to the discs. It's a little tricky, but doing it this way will allow you to get the bottom cover to perfectly fit over the flamethrower box and the magnets will be exactly where they need to be. You will also be able to install electronics for your rangefinder and have easy access to them as the bottom cover will now be removable. Make sure you keep your electronics far enough away from the magnets so they don't interfere.
Next, drill holes into the side of the gauntlet where the flamethrower will attach (again, be aware of where your bracer walls are) and put screws through as shown in the pics. I did three screws for this - the two shown and another one just behind the calc pad area...in order to keep the entire length of the flamethrower flush against the gauntlet top.
For the dental expander, I simply drilled a small divot so that it can sit evenly and flush with a dab of superglue. This will get installed after paint.
I'm not even going to explain how to install the calc pad, so don't ask
Obviously the rocket still has not been installed (this will be done the same as all the other stuff that got screwed into placed), but I'll post up pics when that is finished. That part is pretty straight forward and I can't imagine at this point that it would require an explanation either.
Now that all of this is done, I will disassemble all the parts necessary for paint (I will leave the right gaunt whipcord housing attached to both right upper and lower clamshells though and the left gaunt upper and lower will also remain attached) and tape/mask off the areas needed on all the parts and pieces.
Be sure to properly prep the gaunts and pieces for primer. The most common way of doing this is by giving it a wash with mild soap and water, this will get rid of any mold release residue that may have been left behind. The ABS vacced parts should be sanded before primer and paint. I've found that is the best way to prep that plastic.
This concludes the assembly portion of this tutorial. It is my hope that with the aid of this thread that you will be able to successfully assemble your gauntlets as shown as well as making it easy for prepping for paint. Good luck and have fun with the build.