Gamecraft Minatures (gamecraftminatures.com) make a line of resin cast modern Iraqi buildings. These little works of art are suitably for modern, near future and far future (tech 9-) urban landscapes. The line is varied and flexible. I selected some less-than-obviously middle eastern selections last Saturday and placed my order.  Allen, the owner/operator, set my package up for mailing on Sunday night!

The kits were at my door on Tuesday. Compared to orders from the UK (I love you, Jez) that was lightning fast service. The package even came with candy inside. Great customer relations :>

I cleared the workshop for building the kits on Friday night. While I was looking forward to the kits, frankly I was dreading the construction since that can be where one’s dreams meet the harsh reality of one’s skills. But this time, I had a secret weapon: the MicroMark Gluing Jig.

I have a lot of construction projects in mind. Borrowing some ideas from the model railroad world, I read Basic Structures for Model Railroaders to ground myself in some relevant technology. There I discovered the Gluing Jig which is basically a metal box with an open top. You use the jig to align the walls while gluing so that they come out at a true 90 degree angle. The jig comes with 8 big, badass magnets to hold the piece you are gluing to the box. Sounds simple, huh?

This thing is magic. I took some pictures of the process for those who care to look. First, here are the five pieces of kit 1 (downtown building):

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 1

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building - 5 pieces

The castings were very high quality and required very little clean up. Some of the edges needed to be trimmed flat so that the dry fit worked better. I ordered 2 of these kits (10 pieces total) and two others (14 pieces), a solid cast building and two apartment building faces. One of the apartment building faces came slightly warped. I followed the directions to fix it. I boiled water and poured the water over the piece in a flat pan. After a minute or so, I took the slightly softened piece out and pressed it flat with a weight until it cooled. It worked like a charm.

Next I got out the jig, and secured the front wall in place with the magnets:

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 2

Securing the front face with magnets in the jig

I used two magnets to hold the piece against the side of the jig and another magnet to press the piece firmly into the corner. I then applied Zap a Gap CA glue along the edge. I positioned the side wall piece and made the first bond. Note the restraining magnets for the side wall.

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 4

First wall glued

I had a lesson here…I am used to holding these pieces in my hands and squeezing like crazy until I am sure the glue has set. I can’t use my CA accelerator because I need both hands to hold the piece in place and I don’t have a free hand to apply the accelerator with. While I hold the piece, I often turn it so I can see the progress of the bond. The jig frees my hands so I don’t get a hand cramp by the end of the evening. It also allows me to apply the accelerator so the CA kicks faster. That makes the whole gluing process much, much easier.

But it also means that the piece remains in one orientation and that the CA tends to drip down through the gluing space. After successfully applying the CA accelerator, when I went to remove the piece and found that they were glued to the jig!! Luckily they were not that glued to the jig and I was able to separate them. Be careful and consider gravity in your gluing.

Next I flipped the piece over and fit the roof in. I decided on a flush roof since it seemed like it would suit the model. I was able to set the whole thing up before I applied any glue. Once set, I applied a thin bead at the join and the added accelerator.

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 5

Gluing the roof in

I decided to put the rear face and the other side wall together and then glue that piece to the front wall — roof piece.

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 6

Gluing the opposite walls together

Next came the big moment of gluing the two assemblies together

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 7

Putting it all together

If you look carefully, you’ll see some small gaps. These needed a touch of putty to close up and voila we have a building! I zipped through three more before bed time. The combination of the gluing jig and the accelerator made every step faster and easier. This was FUN!

Here’s the front view:

GameCraft 15mm Downtown Building 8

Downtown Building all done (front view)

I saved one more for Saturday along with a scratch-build apartment building. More on that next post!