WIP: Chrononaut – Industria Mechanika


The Chrononaut – Industria Mechanika

July 2nd

This promises to be the most complicated kit I’ve built so far, including many brass photo-etched parts, – so another learning curve. Helps that (on first appearances anyway) it’s superbly cast and the parts I’ve tried seem to fit together smoothly.

Unfortunately quite a few of the dinosaur teeth had snapped off in transit – something that happened a lot, I read. Fortunately Mike Fichtenfoo produced a set of extra teeth for kit buyers like me and he sent me a set on request. So – on with the dinosaur dentistry.

I was afraid I was going to have to insert pins for each teeth but I think I’ll get away with drilling holes and then whittling down the sprue the teeth came on to make pegs. Won’t be as strong but will take less time.


9th July

The teeth were fiddly and one in particular kept coming loose (I used cyano glue instead of epoxy, my usual choice) but eventually they were all embedded with extra putty.

Quite a long time to get rid of the mould lines on the torso and legs which were the raised kind.; also on the T-Rex head. The detail generally is so crisp you can’t be careless. I used a grinder bit in the end to help out and covered it over with Mr Surfacer.

It’s a long time since I built a kit with so many little parts – took me back to the aircraft kits of my childhood. The problem, as always, is how much can you pre-assemble before undercoating? There is a fly-away diagram and the recommendation that you pre-fit everything but of course no advice on what order to glue in. The nightmare is sticking on something that’s going to obstruct you later; and with so many parts, it’s difficult to test everything –  this is when I would actually appreciate an old-fashioned Airfix/ Aurora type set of instructions.

Nevertheless I went through a lot of it pre-fitting and got some rough idea of how it goes. None of the parts are interchangeable, as I quickly discovered, even the straps; although they might look so. Everything fits very specifically in one place – so be warned! Luckily most of it fits very well, with hardly any need for adjustment.

I’ve decided to glue the body and legs together plus the arms but leave the head separate. I’ve also glued on all the little leg straps but am undecided about the greaves, knee-pads etc. Probably will attach them but leave off the breast plates. I want to undercoat the body in black and pre-shade with a white highlight but maybe undercoat the breastplates and machine bits in a different colour – rust? brown?


10 July

Primed the figure using a Tamiya white fine surface primer over an Army Painter matt black. May not be as subtle a job as if I’d used an airbrush but it’s good enough. I’m getting the black in the creases and shadows where I need it.

I primed the breastplates with the black but these I’m eventually going to prime in Humbrol Gloss so I can try out my Alclad metals on them. Also primed the T-Rex in Army Painter Sand and the head in Tamiya. I may prime the Time Machine in a brown. Tomorrow intend to spray the inside of the T-Rex’s mouth in purple and red since I have the cans from my Zen Bench project. Then I’ll assemble the T-Rex.


 July 16th

Slow progress. It’s marvellous how every little detail in the original design has been cast including the bits that don’t show but the result of that is many very thin, very fragile bits; often wafer thin. I’m being extra careful but I’ve already lost some of  the tiny spikes on the Time Machine to breakage. These should really have been cast in metal!

The curved bit on top of the Time Machine had also snapped off but I managed to pin it back on. There’s no concession here to strong joints where they matter either. The holster flap and the hinge of the revolver were both thin edges glued end to end  – so I re-enforced them with slips of thin metal foil from a wine bottle.

A lot of the time I’ve had to use thin cyano glue instead of epoxy. I managed to assemble the revolver that way – tricky! – only to have it come apart with overconfident handling.

Parts of the kit still puzzle me; especially the photo etched pieces. I think I now know how most of it goes together after looking at one modeler’s build-up on Facebook but there are still three bits that I can’t identify and one shown that appears to be missing. However there are so many small pieces, I’m philosophical about missing a couple.

Primed the gun and TM with matt  black but intend to spray with Humbrol gloss to take the Alclad.


July 17th

Impressed with the Alclad in the sense that it was easy to apply and produced a nice metallic finish. I didn’t achieve a mirror like finish but then that’s not what I wanted. (N.B. I’m advised that the best way to do that is to apply many coats of gloss black as a primer until you get a hard lacquer like surface).

Reading up on it, I was also advised that, if you don’t want the Alclad to rub off, you should spray when the gloss black is still slightly tacky – about an hour after application. Whether that’s true or not, the finish seems stable and resisted rubbing with a brush when I tested it on the back plate by applying a wash.

I also tried out some satin water based varnish in an area I knew would be hidden but it just made the surface cloudy. Hopefully I won’t need to protect it but must remember to Dull-kote the figure before I attach the ‘shiny’ bits.

All in all – I was happy enough to order two more Alclad shades (Pale Gold and Violet Metal) and the Alclad Black Primer (the Humbrol worked fine but I want to compare them). I was also glad I ordered the Alclad Airbrush cleaner with the first two because it made cleaning up much easier.

While I was in airbrush mode, I did some spraying on the T-Rex but that’s probably all I’ll do with this kit. It’s too detailed for a novice like me to attempt to airbrush anything else – so brushwork from now on. Next the sloggy bit of blocking in the main colour areas.


July 23rd

Finished blocking in most of the main areas with foundation colours. I’ve kept to the the conventional black/red colour scheme of the box-art although I toyed with the idea of a blue uniform. It needed to have an imperial feel anyway. I’ll probably make the reds much duskier and the general look more muted but I’m working from light washes to darker tones.

Realised once again what a terrible painter I am when it comes to keeping within lines. High detailed kits like this are better suited to the ultra-neat – I’m sure somebody much better will do the definitive version. I’m going to be spending a lot of time correcting mistakes.


July 25th

There’s an awful lot of painting to do here and I haven’t even finished the work on the body yet. A terrible lot of correction work – I may just get bored with that eventually. N.B. If I was doing this figure again, I’d leave off the the armour and holster until after I’d painted the body – make life much easier!

I’m beginning to realise that the blueish greaves look wrong because they’re too strong a cool colour to go with the warm palette. I’m also reconsidering my original choices of colour for the diagonal stripes (blue & white) and I may paint the groin plate red too as per the illustration but try to mute it so it doesn’t look like a traffic sign.

I’ve obviously lost one piece which goes on either chronometer (still can’t tell from photos) so I have to decide which one gets the remaining one. I bought a couple of plastic domes to try out on the chronometers from the 4D Model Shop but I have a feeling they’ll look wrong.

One thing I have found incredibly useful for all the buckles, fittings and hoses: C. Roberson ‘Liquid Metal’ Inks. These come in a whole variety of shades and produce a really good finish. I liked the results so much that I even bought a few more of them.



July 29th

Have mainly been painting the accessories. I’ve undercoated the head and the gloves but pretty well finished the rifle. I used a tan base-coat on the rifle (Army Painter Sand) and then many washes of sepia and umber ink mixed with matte medium. Quite liked the depth it gave to the wood texture. I thought originally of having different kinds of wood for the stock and butt but I think it would be overdoing it.

In general I feel this kit presents many opportunities to over-embellish the detail by picking it out in different colours but these should be resisted – otherwise it could look a bit gaudy. Thus I’m not going to paint the curlicues on the revolver but I might do some of the trim on the breast-plate – just not all.

Still have to tackle the photo-etched parts. I’d like to find a better monocle than the photoetched version and I’m dreaming of making some goggles for the figure to wear pushed up on his forehead. Need to find the right materials.


August 1st

Starting to put it all together. Lots of touching up needed. The fit between the breastplate and back is very tricky because of the straps and joining bits but I’ve just about pulled it off. Rejected the etched hook catches that go on the sides – there was no way they would fit! Instead I’ve made straps out of lead foil.

I curled the bit of brass wire provided around a pencil to make the cable but it snapped the resin ‘connector’ when I tried to wind it around it – it was far too stiff and hard to manipulate. Once I had pinned and mended the connector (getting practiced at that- you need some very thin drill bits!), I opted instead for some much more malleable thin electric cable left over from ‘The Embrace’ build. It was thicker but actually looks better, I think.

The mystery of the missing part solved – it is the photo-etched part. It just looks different when it’s doubled over.


August 4th

Head painted and most of the touching up down. Will do final assembly tomorrow and then start on the t-rex and base.

Experiments with a piece of perspex failed to produce a good monocle so I’ve made one using the photo-etched part and acetate. It’s a bit on the thick side but could be a steampunk one I suppose.


August 6th

Finished and assembled. There’s lots of touching up and improving I could still do but the main thing is to get some good photos taken


See the final pictures here