Sunday, April 19, 2020

Assembling an Inquisitorial Arvus Lighter

“We're in the pipe, 5 by 5”

It is not secret that we at Between the Bolter and Me are not overly fond of resin miniatures. Unless all the stars align perfectly, resin models tend to be defined by mold shifts and bubbles. This is certainly the case when talking about Forge World models. And while this has gotten better over the years, assembling any large resin model from Forge World can be a frustrating experience, particularly if it was designed before the advent of digital sculpting. We have purchased quite a few Forge World models over the years, but have assembled very few of them due to the aforementioned challenges. When searching through my backlog of models, I found one such Forge World model, an Imperial Arvus Lighter that I purchased during the excitement of the Pilgrym and Curse of the Alabaster collaborative games. Pulling out the partially assembled model, seeing many of the pieces were warped, I remembered why it was never finished. I have grown a lot as a hobbyist since that time, and thought now was a good opportunity to finish assembling the diminutive craft, and then paint it!

I used a JLC Libor Kopeček Universal Razor blade saw to cut up a piece of sprue to help fill some gaps on the Lighter.

The first thing I decided upon when setting about assembling the lighter was that I would glue the hatches shut, hiding any interior detail. While this detail is neat, the cast was too poor to hide all the interior gaps upon assembly. This was not a difficult decision, since I was not too keen about painting the inside. I glued the two fuselage halves together, as well as the wings onto each engine. This allowed me to see the basic shape of the craft and see how the main pieces fit together, as well as start doing some extensive gap filling. While I initially used green stuff to fill in the gaps, bubbles, and mold shifts, I quickly shifted over to using Milliput instead. It is helpful because it is water soluble, allowing it to be easily smoothed by adding some water to a silicone color shaper. More importantly, however, it allows the area to be sanded after it cures. This allowed me to achieve smoother transitions between parts than I would have with green stuff. Every inch of the model required some sort of putty work to correct imperfections, some of which I still likely missed, despite spending extensive time with the model.

I placed plastic spacers to reduce some of the gaps I could not fix simply by bending the resin with a heat gun.

In addition to using sculpting putty to help correct the Lighter, it was necessary to bend some of the warped parts for them to fit together. A heat gun was invaluable for this task. It allowed me to heat up the piece in question and carefully bend it into the desired shape. I used it to flatten the rear hatch so that it would shut flushly. I also needed it to reshape the cockpit. This piece was so distorted that it was difficult to fully correct it, but I think I was fairly successful. One of the brackets to hold one of the engines to the hull also needed to be adjusted. After reshaping a piece, dipping it into cold water helps quickly set it in the new shape.

I used a series of adjustable clamps to hold the wings in place as the J-B Weld epoxy cured.

Despite all the putty work and correcting pieces with a heat gun, I was not able to get the cockpit or back hatch to close without having a substantial gap. To address this, I cut out a piece of sprue/runner, and using a fine saw (JLC Libor Kopeček Universal Razor blade saw) cut it down the middle. One piece was used as a spacer for attaching the cockpit, while the other was used to make a frame on the inside ceiling of the Lighter, to hide the gap created when the hatch was closed. Milliput was used to make each of these fit nicely with the rest of the resin kit.

I added some greebling on the top of the craft, to signify some sort of esoteric technology, like a psychic nullifying generator.

Note the gaps between the body and the cockpit and the gap along the top of the back hatch. Both I tried to minimize with plastic spacers and reshaping with a heat gun.

Rather than simply using superglue to attach the wings, I opted for using J-B Weld, a two part epoxy that creates an incredibly strong bond. It is often used by hobbyists assembling larger Forge World models, like titans. Although it creates a strong bond, it takes almost 24 hours to fully cure. Because of this, I used a few Irwin Quick-grip clamps to hold them in position.

I added a Gatling Cannon from the Imperial Guard Taurox kit to the prow of the Lighter.

The top of the Arvus Lighter.

Finally, I added a few small details to make the Lighter look as though it was slightly modified by the Inquisition for use as a rapid transit vehicle. The main change was adding a chaingun to the prow of the craft, which replaced one of the headlights. The weapon was created using a Gatling Cannon from the Imperial Guard Taurox kit. To add some more visual interest to the flier, I created some greebling from an Arc Rifle from a Kataphron Breacher, which I added to the top of the Lighter. Quite what the greebling is supposed to be is debatable, perhaps some psychic nullifying generator or an astropathic relay/amplifier?

After so many years, I am pretty amazed to see the Arvus Lighter finally assembled. While it is not perfect, its resin construction making that an impossibility, I think it turned out pretty well. It is far better than being in a box, hidden away somewhere! Now to determine a paint scheme and get to painting!

- Eric Wier


  1. Great stuff. I agree with the sentiment expressed at the end...better to get these things painted even if they're not perfect. For years I never painted my eldar because I didn't think I was good enough to do them justice. I lately realised their destiny was to be painted and get out on the battlefield, even if that paintjob is not "perfect". Can't wait to see this Arvus lighter finished..great job assembling what was no doubt a difficult kit, and the changes though subtle work really well.

    1. Yeah, I will be much happier having it finished and painted, where it could be used at some point than forgotten in a box somewhere.

  2. Helpful post, I'm getting ready to start on one myself.

    1. Good luck with it! It is not too difficult, just time consuming and a little frustrating compared to plastic GW kits.

  3. Got to be honest I avoid resin like the plague. It's too much work. You did a great job on the flyer.

    1. Thank you! I agree about avoiding resin. I do whenever possible, ha ha.