I may have had a little too much fun with the inclusion of Chewie here. I mean, I do try to include one photo with him in every post, as a way for people to get a sense of the size of the models (it took me a while to figure out an internationally appropriate size comparison object, until I realized that most everyone knows Legos! And of course it would have to be Chewie!). But this time, how could I not let him get a little more into it? Of course, carving drum sticks out of toothpicks was a lesson in accepting imperfect results.
The question now is… do the toothpicks, as a decorative element, count enough to make this a mod? I’ve done some other “mods” where I haven’t really altered the model, so much as decorated it, but the decorations were usually a little more invasive / integrated. Here, they are just sitting on the model. Meh, I’m gonna call it a mod, because I can. Wheeeeeeee! Oh, wait, I completely forgot that I spent an extra chunk of time trying to recreate the amazing cymbal-shaping modification that Instagram’s @iwallod shared. I didn’t do it nearly as beautifully as he did (apparently, wookiee’s are quite rough with their drumming and cause a lot of wear on the cymbals). But that definitely makes it count as a mod!
This Drum Set model is quite a looker, as long as you don’t look too closely. At least, it’s that way with my results. This model is really good at making small mistakes stand out a lot when you look closely. Not that it’s the model’s fault, it’s more the subject that’s been recreated. Uneven curves are easy to detect with the eye, but not easy to create with the hands. Layering curves on top of curves on top of curves, where they are also supposed to be parallel / lined up? It’s gonna remind you that no matter how much of a perfectionist you are, you are not going to get perfect results with this model. Of course, I think I’m probably just being super-hard on myself, and it’s not really as bad as I’m seeing it. And the model is quite impressive. They really packed a lot of punch into a two-sheet model. I just feel like I didn’t execute it very well, and also like to think that it’s pretty darn difficult to execute well (cause I don’t want to think I just did that badly).
So, if you can’t tell from what I’ve said so far, this isn’t exactly the easiest of models. Part of that is all the cylinders, but I’ve kinda gotten used to those by now. The big challenges are in the layering and the fragility. And how close it all fits together. It’s a good model if you like a challenge that pays off in the end.
Each of the drums is brilliantly designed with multiple layers in multiple dimensions. Around the outsides of the drums, you have the tensioning hardware (if I were a drummer, I would probably be able to give you an actual name for this stuff) as a separate, raised piece over the core cylinder. On top of that, you have the raised rim of the top of the drums at one of each cylinder. It results in a great visual effect, but it’s increases the complexity.
I do wish they had made the raised rims on the two smallest drums connect on more than two points, as it resulted in the rims tending to not be level / aligned / straight. On top of that, the part that contains the tensioning hardware for the top of the drums is attached directly to this, so that ends up crooked as well (which you can clearly see in at least one of the close-up photos in the gallery above).
Speaking of the tensioning hardware parts… the instructions suggest that you attach these after securing the ends of the drum cylinders, which I did for the first pair of drums. However, I found it hard to get them in place, and shaped correctly, given how those two drums were mounted. I would advise (and I actually did this for the rest of the drums) attaching the hardware pieces to the end-caps before attaching them to the drums. It makes it a little tough to get the end-caps over the drum cylinders (gotta get that alignment just right…), but I think it’s worth it for not having to shape the parts while attaching them.
As for fragility… well, that’s somewhat unavoidable with a model like this. There are a lot of tripod stands to contend with, and all the little bits here and there. Just be aware that this model is going to be one you’ll have to handle delicately while assembling. Luckily, the designers thought about this beforehand, and have you assemble each drum / cymbal section individually and set them aside, so the model is only super delicate during the final assembly, when attaching everything to the base.
However, this leads to a possible confusion. And I thought I got confused. But I don’t think I did. But I think it’s okay. So what am I talking about? Well, I told you that there are a bunch of tripods in this, right? Well, the way they are formed, they only really fit on the base in one orientation (with each leg going to a specific slot). This doesn’t have a lot of impact on the drums, but the two larger cymbals are mounted on offset arms. And if you don’t pay attention when attaching the offset, you might end up with a cymbal in the wrong place.
I thought I had gotten my medium cymbal lined up incorrectly, and took it apart to change the angle. I should have looked up drums set photos, though. Cause I think it was in the right position (matching the photo on the packaging), despite it not matching the apparent angle in the instructions. So, I should have left it the way it was. But… I also noticed that the layout of drum sets are rather inconsistent, and appear to be up to the drummer, so I just left if the way I had it.
My advice for the off-set cymbals is this: build the tripod base, but don’t attach the offset arm. If you keep it separate, you can properly align it when you do the final assembly, by attaching the tripod to the model base, and then lining up the offset arm and cymbal to what you think it should be.
As for the modification to the cymbals, to give them their shape, I was completely inspired by @iwallod’s amazing execution of this. I utilized the fondant-shaping balls that I have, a few sockets from a socket-wrench set, and a rubber mallet to gently hammer in the curvature that the cymbals should have. I used a large ball and socket for the general shape, then a small ball and socket to get the raised section in the center. It did not go as well as I had hoped. One cymbal has the raised center lopsided, one cymbal crumpled while I was forming the overall curve, and I almost blew out the slots in all three of the cymbals I tried to shape. This process is captured in it’s full brutality at the beginning of the third build video in the playlist at the end of this post. However, you can also see @iwallod’s much better results in his Instagram post, embedded below:
The drumsticks, on the other hand, were just… freehand. I used a hobby knife to carve in the general shape, and sandpaper to smooth it / remove hanging splinters. Lather, rinse, repeat. Give up on one and start over on the other end of the toothpick. Finish with something that vaguely reminds me of a drum stick. Cut to length and round out the end. Then realize it’s way oversized for the model, and just not care. Something like that. It took me a lot longer than I expected.
While this was a rather challenging build, it was composed of mostly large parts. That resulted in a build time of about 3 hours, which includes the shaping of the cymbals and the re-building of one of the offset cymbal stands. That was spread over three videos, which you can find in this YouTube playlist, or embedded below: