Assembly Line Model Building

With the release of the Death Guard this past weekend, I got around to break apart my Dark Imperium boxes and build my 90 Poxwalkers.  Here’s how I did it assembly line style in just under 2 hours!

Don’t get turned into a zombie during assembly!

Necessity and a contempt for losing time are the mother of my process, as I needed my plastic zombies to engage in a furious battle on the same day.

In retrospect, turning  930 pieces of plastic into 90 poxwalkers in 2 hours is a pretty simple task.

So here’s how you do it:

First, a couple of disclaimers.

  • You need: 2 large containers, clippers, a hobby knife, superglue and activator.  Some sort of motivation, like this.
  • I didn’t have the plan and never built any poxwalker prior to that, so I was pretty much as clueless as possible.
  • The models are not exactly paint-ready, there are still some cleaning to do if you want them to look swell.  They are however, playable and all have arms/heads.  We’ve all been on the receiving side of the partial-assembly-torso-only marines army, this is better.

The plan:

As you know, I’m big on plans, that’s how I save a lot of time.  Because I was a little confused with the bits and pieces of these 9 kits, I figured the easiest way would be to get my guys on the bases first.  Then sort out the 1 or 2 additional pieces that goes on each of them.

This works well because of 2 reasons; the models are simple, no more than 4 pieces each, and I’m really working on 10 different models, only 9 copies of each.

This example is using Poxwalkers, but any kit that you buy en masse, you can tackle in the same way.  Looking at you Gloomspite Gitz and Astra Militarum players!

Step 1: Clipping like there’s no tomorrow

Clip every single Poxwalker piece and dump them in one of your large container ( empty box lid ).

Don’t try to sort anything out just yet, just get it over with like a savage.  This first step is the bulk of any assembly line process.

Step 2: Cleaning the bare minimum

Pick up the feet bits, and make sure the connection with the base is clean and flat.  At this stage, I didn’t remove any other mold line or sprue residue.

Step 3: Boots on the ground

Now is where you start to make sense of the chaos… a little.  Glue all your dudes on bases so they stand up and are easy to tell apart and build on.

The way i do this is quite savage, but quite time-effective: I put glue on the feet of a handful of dudes, spray activator on a bunch of bases and then add the models to their bases.  by doing this with 5-6 at a time, this process goes a lot faster as you don’t fidget quite as much between glue, activator and models.

When you’re done with your handful, place them in your second container, keeping the different poses apart.

Step 4: Un-mix and Match

Now is where my plan ended, but I was on the right track.  Bully!

Next step is to separate the different pieces.  I find that going from easiest to hardest is the best course of action here.  So starting with the big pieces to thin out all the bits, then the odd parts with tentacles and finally the heads.

Step 5: Minimal Cleanup, the Re-drop, Vol. 2a, remix, Side B

Only look for the connections ( where pieces touch each other ) and clean up any sprue residue or flash line that would impair the building process.

Minimal is key here, don’t get carried away.  The goal is building, removing mold lines can be done at a later stage when you are ready to paint.

Step 6: One by one by one

Again going from the easiest to the hardest, pick a piece and glue all copies of that before moving to the next piece.  These one I did not do with the handful technique of step 3 as I want to make sure the piece are glued correctly.

Before painting, you should line up your models again and do a final cleaning step with a hobby knife and/or fine sand paper.

If you want more info on assembly, be sure to check out this $1 e-book from our collection!

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