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I've been dawdling over a kit I started 6 months ago, Tom Daniels Pie Wagon, a kit I built as a kid and entered in the only contest I ever tried. For old times sake you understand. Today I decided to try to get it assembled, after messing around with painting for some time. Since this is a car model it had chrome parts for the front suspension. This is the story of my misadventures:

- I've (re)learned, don't trust styrene kit instructions. I glued on the front axle first with gap filling CA (as indicated in the instructions which I dutifully read) and let it set up, then I went to put on the other 4 pieces of the front suspension (all chromed plastic) since thats the order the instructions say. That's when I discovered that although I was careful to get proper vertical alignment on the axle, the other parts that attach TO the axle were now 'too long'. This means that they were under compression spring tension since they were long skinny parts of (chromed) styrene.

-I figured the amount of tension on the parts wouldn't hurt it if I used CA to affix them firmly, so I opened my new bottle of *quick* setting, NON gap filling CA. Using gentle pressure on the bottle with the tapered nozzle attached, I gently squeezed out... a BIG blob of CA :(. Well, heck, I figured it's like water, it will spread out on the other parts after it dries and will make a stronger bond...

- That's when I discovered that CA will strip chromed parts :). Then, after stripping the chrome, you will either have a blobular mess of cured CA, or, you will glue the part to your finger and pull it off the model when you let go of the assembly in disgust. I did both.

- I scraped off the melted styrene and reapplied a 'drop' of CA. This time the surface tension on the part gave way, and the blob tracked down the part to my fingertips that were holding it (sort of like that ninja poisoned that girl in James Bond "You Only Live Twice" by having the poison drip down the string). Fearing gluing my fingers together again, I tossed the part down to my work surface. Where it glued itself to my TV tray...

- After prying it off the TV tray I figured "So maybe this isn't the application for non gap filling CA." I opened my slower setting, but more viscous, gap filling CA and tried to glue the other ends of the now partially dechromed parts to the chassis. I put a larger blob in as these parts were under spring tension (due to the problem mentioned up above). This taught me several things including that CA will (once again) soften plastic, AND not set, if you use too much. I.e., CA is not epoxy putty. I removed the part, scraped yet more plastic off, and ignored the damage to the paint job from where the CA ran down it. Eventually I got the thing glued on.

- About this time I realized I forgot to recap the quick setting CA, so I pulled the tapered nozzle off the top, wiped the bottle tip off and secured the cap on it...then noticed that I had liquid CA all over my fingers. Since it's like water, it had run down unnoticed when I pulled the tapered nozzle off. This time I did NOT glue my fingers to anything, but I did have a sort of CA skin coating layer on most of my fingers. No problem I thought, I have CA remover!

- I poured CA remover on my fingers and rubbed it over the CA'd areas on my fingers. It got some of the stuff off, but not real well, so I gave up in disgust and washed the mess off my hands. At that point I noticed that the CA still coated my hands, but now instead of being clear and dry, it was opaque white and tacky.


- Ok, so maybe it's time to give up on the chromed suspension parts for the day. Lets put that nifty flush fitting rear door (which opens and closes) on. The instructions tell you to glue the hinge to the door, then install the assembly in using a bracket to secure the hinge to the body. This is when I discovered that when you do this, you will have a door which is perfectly fit to the hinge, but which won't fit in the door opening anymore, or open, or close, because the hinge bracket leaves no room for adjustment. Disgusted, I pried the hinge off the door and glued the hinge bracket in with pain old Testors tube glue. Tomorrow I'll see if the melted styrene on the door has hardened yet, and then try to glue it on to the mounted hinge so everything fits perfectly.

Ok, so maybe today isn't my day to finish assembling the kit. I'll do some painting instead. I'll do a black wash to fill in that rack of tasty looking pies which I so meticulously painted yellow (with aluminum pie tins) several days ago. I'll use the same paint and thinner as I used to paint the rack brown several days ago, and I won't seal it first with lacquer since it must be dry by now, right? ... A few minutes later, I notice that my wash has removed the brown paint on the pie cabinet since it was also Tamiya acrlic. The 'pie's are unaffected since they were painted with Testors enamel...except that the brown I used to cover up the extra Testors yellow paint for the pie crusts has now been re-exposed as the wash acted like paint stripper on the brown Acrylic I'd used.

Sigh. Some days you just can't win. Other days you're just screwed over and over and over again :).

Next time I swear I'm going to pull out my nastiest casting of some resin kit, the one with the most bubbles and misalignment, and work on it instead since at least with that kind of kit I expect to have to significant re-engineering to get it back together.
 
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