Step 1: Gather Up Some Nice Stuff:
Basic hand tools: needle nose pliers, diagonal cutters, small screw drivers & Allen keys/drivers to suit your selection of nuts & bolts, sand paper or Emory cloth, occasionally a small pick, hemostats, and a small vise are handy. Soldering iron & solder. 5-minute epoxy and super glue are my preference above a hot glue gun.
Body - My preference are these small limes and lemons.
Eyes - I use round wooden knobs from craft stores 1/2 -7/8 inch diameter, or, steel/chromed (or brass) ball bearings(from internet). I use o-ring gaskets of various sizes to mount eyes and other things (hardware stores usually have a huge selection. If you only need a few, take your parts with you to make sure you get the right size.
Protuberances (front and back)- I use studs (from Hot Topic or online), and cheap test lead tips(Radio Shack).
Other specialty pieces - Take a look through all the hardware drawers at a good hardware store, or hobby shop that caters to radio control sports, lots of neat little parts!
Landing Gear - Legs are made of brass rod and tubing stock(K&S Engineering, hardware stores). Electrical wire terminals (eye type, guages 10-12, 12-14, with various size stud holes) are used for joints and other places. Try to throw in some springs (from ball point pens, or other...) and small collars(Du-Bro) with set screws to match your brass rod sizes. Wheels - I use anything from about 1/2 to 1 inch diameter, from yard sale toys, solarbotics.com, I've even ordered some nice sets from Meccanno - Australia. I use studs as claws for bee, instead of wheels.
Wings - On the Wasps: I found some nice tough (acrylic?) sheet material inside computer keyboards to be just right. Old computer keyboards can be found for a buck or two; the clear plastic sheets inside have circuits on them - very nice! Wing mounting uses more brass rod, or square stock, and wire eyelets. This is a good place to mount some electronic component heat sinks. On the Bee, I used rubber food scraper utensil pieces.
Nuts & bolts - I like to use black socket head screws, acorn and wing nuts wherever I can., mostly in sizes of 4-40, 6-32, and somteimes 2-56 for smaller stuff, various lengths, and lots of flat and lock washers. Think of your overall design, you can get most of these in dull steel, chrome, black, or brass coloring.
More color - I use a small bottle of flat black model enamel, or gloss black nail polish, for painting the eyelets on landing gear and wing mounts. My preference for the wooden eyes is Plymouth Prowler Purple or Dark Cherry Red, in small spray can. For a Night Wasp, I use a flat black spay, or Plasti-Dip spray on flat black - very nice! I've tried a hi gloss chrome spray but not sure it really goes with the orange peel texture of the fruit bodies.
Step 2: Landing Gear
The first set shows a simpler, smaller tricycle landing gear. The second set shows a 4-claw setup I use on Bees.
Note: Before soldering, clean the components to be soldered, you'll get a better job. And, after any soldering job, you should try to clean off the resin, since the eyelets will be painted. I use alcohol and an old tooth brush.
Step 3: Wing Assembly
Step 4: Major Assembly
I start by looking at the body pieces and finding a line of symmetry, and mark top and bottom center with a marker. The landing gear and wing assembly can be mounted independently or together with one "heart bolt" going all the way through. Anything that needs to connect to the body uses the same technique: drill a hole, insert some epoxy, mount the piece. Wooden eyes(knobs) have a flat side and a hole in them. Once painted and dry, I use a piece of 6-32 all-thread, about 3/4 inch long, epoxy it into the eye, set the rubber ring, let it dry. Once dry, put epoxy into the eye hole on the body, and insert the 6-32 rod. 5/8" Brass ball bearing eyes - I solder a 3/16" dia. x 1/2" long brass tube on for mounting. Steel/chrome ball bearing eyes - ...would not take solder. I found I had to rough up a spot with a dremel tool (& cutting wheel) and epoxy the tube on.
Some more elaborate accessories that I've done include adding lines, like tendons or control cables, tubes like fuel, pneumatic or hydraulic lines, grease nipple on the bottom like a.... a grease nipple. And even a 2 cylinder horizontally opposed engine mounted between the eyes and the wings. Be imaginative, add your own parts.