I recently got a commission to paint up some of Knight Models' large-scale superhero models. The group consisted of Iron Man, Batman on the Batpod, and the Sabertooth vs Wolverine vignette.
I started with Iron Man. When I opened it up I was immediately struck by two thing. First, there were no instructions - and the model had a LOT of small parts. Second. The casting was not ideal and was going to require a lot of work.
At this point I was actually kind of mad. Seriously annoyed. I had to break out the Dremel to start the cleanup as some areas actually required grinding. There were also areas where there was significant pitting or textured (which usually comes from having the metal at the wrong temperature while pouring). Then I had to refer to all of the photos that I could find of the model as the front view on the packaging was the least useful view of the model for assembly. The back is full of little veins plates and such. anyway, it was a lot of research to figure it all out.
Here's the funny thing, though. At some point I really started enjoying the process. I was brought back to my earlier years of painting. Instructions were a rarity, casting was dodgy, and part of the modeling process was making the best of it all. I should also mention that all of these kits are made from an old-school lead-based pewter. So that helped bring the whole nostalgia feeling to life.
Don't get me wrong. I don't really miss "the good old days." I LOVE a well-cast plastic mini that just falls together with a minimum of work. On the other hand, there's something to be said for being able to overcome the problems that these kinds of kits present. I get to see how far I've progressed as a modeler as well as a painter.
Another bit of adversity that I needed to overcome was the fact that Wolverine was actually missing most of his teeny, tiny claws. I had two choices. Try to contact the manufacturer and wait possibly weeks for replacement, or replace them myself. I went for the former solution. What I did was to take a small piece of metal (I think it was a door panel from a 15mm tank), pounded it thin with a hammer, then used a pair of clippers to cut some rough claw shapes in the right size. I glued them into place and then shaped them with files and sandpaper. The results was fantastic. I think that they're even more sturdy than the original one I was given. It didn't even take that long to do.
Batman didn't really have any issues, but the Batpod required some research as well. Sadly, there are few photos of the finished model online, but find pictures of the original prop was easy to come by and that was all I needed to figure out how the thing went together.
As I type this only two of the three sets are complete, but I've already really enjoyed this project quite a bit. Sometimes even an imperfect model can be a lot of fun to finish.