Building a Better Tarantula

I realize that I just ran the entry on the scorpion kit only last week, and that I’d said I was going to build them one a month. The thing is that I’d actually built the scorpion kit at the beginning of March and had waited for a few weeks before uploading the blog entry. And, I built the tarantula kit on April 1st, which seemed fitting some how. (Besides, they’re only 1,100 yen ($9 USD) not including tax, so it’s not like they’re all that expensive. I just don’t have room to store them after I make the things. That’s why I’m not getting all of them all at once.)

There’s over 35 pieces to this one, not including the nuts and bolts. Again, I didn’t see a suggested assembly time, but it took me close to two hours to finish it, largely because I had so much trouble trying to hold the pieces in place as I added each of the legs. These are not kits intended for one person to build by themselves. You really need two pairs of hands.

There’s a lot of folding of the sheet metal, on the body and tail sack. At first, I was confused because the instructions said to fold the panels on the spider’s back upward, which didn’t match the finished photos. Turned out, though that the reason was to make it easier to slide the main pin bolt through the holes in the sides to hold both the front and back subassemblies (for the head, and the abdomen-connector) in place on the leg-lower body assembly. I also had to spend several minutes pushing the front and back assembles ONTO the leg subassembly to get the holes to line up flush, because the pieces required a LOT of pressure to get them to fully slide into place. After that was done, I had to fold the upper sheet metal back down and form it over the frame as shown in the above photo.

You can see from this photo that there was a lot more folding and shaping involved in making the abdomen section, too. The instructions say to use the slot of the bigger tool to bend the sheet metal. Having had to do the same thing on the forehead of the scorpion, I knew that there was a risk of putting deep scratches in the metal surfaces. So, I tried to be careful and use minimum force, but that didn’t work out so well either. The scratches show up on the tarantula much more obviously than on any of the other kits. Instead, I kind of leaned in the opposite direction and put in so many little scratches that it now looks like it’s supposed to be that way.

Putting the final two major subassemblies together was very easy – it’s just one nut and bolt running through the matching holes on both pieces. As with the other kits, the nuts loosen up too easily when you try positioning the sections to get them to look right. It would have been nice if the kits included lock washers, or if I had the courage to use loctite on them. As it is, I just have to keep my screwdriver and pliers out when I move the kits around. The legs are intended to move freely, so that’s good.

Once finished, the tarantula is the first of the kits so far where I had satisfaction in seeing it fulled completed. It’s a cool little kit (11 cm long), and it has a very “tarantula-like” feel to it. As before, the springs are just there to represent muscles in the legs and don’t actually do anything themselves.

The instruction book has 3 pages of pictures of various spiders, and one sidebar explaining why spiders are not insects.

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