Building a Better Scorpion

Following the Gakken mechanical grasshopper kit, we have the scorpion (1,100 yen = $10 USD). Not including the springs, nuts and bolts, the kit consists of 30+ pieces, and a small sheet of sandpaper to smooth down any burrs if you are so inclined. Again, I didn’t see a suggested assembly time, but it took me a little over an hour to finish it, largely because the little nuts and bolts kept loosening up or falling to the floor.

There’s nothing fundamentally difficult about building this one. The sheet metal is very soft and malleable, and the instructions are very clear even if you don’t understand the language. You won’t see it marketed in the U.S. to anyone under 12 because of the sharp corners and small part choking hazards, but those aren’t as much of a safety concern in Japan. The two included tools are basically useless – it’s better to have your own screwdriver and hex driver set. The only thing worth mentioning is the forming of the face-spine strip. The long thin piece has kind of a half-moon section at one end. This half-moon needs to be curved before mounting it on the back body pieces, so that the bolts holding the half moon to the lower face plate don’t damage anything. If you use the included tool as a pliers to bend the half moon, you’re going to scratch the metal in places that are going to be visible when the kit is done. What I should have done is to use the tool to bend the outer tabs, and then keep pressing the center tab against the table or floor until it was curved enough. As it is, I got sloppy, so now the “forehead” section is scratched. It’s not overly obvious in the photos, but I could have done a better job on that step.

The springs don’t serve a functional purpose, they’re just there for appearances.

It’s fun making these kits, but they’re kind of big and I don’t have many places to display them. I’m thinking of getting one a month, but there are only two right now that I want to assemble. The next one will probably be the tarantula.

The pamphlet has the instructions for the kit, advertising for books on insects and dinosaurs, and a list of the other kits in the series. Plus, there are three pages of photos of five species of scorpions, and a small explanation of why scorpions are not insects.

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