Introduction: Finished Building a Flat Rock Scorpion Model (Hadogenes Troglodyte) and Illuminating It

About: I am, most definitely older than 00010101 and to put it simply, still curious about nearly everything :-) I then tend to read and/or experiment in those areas - when I have the time.. . My two "specialty h…

The model/puzzle was gotten from the Discovery Channal store.  Being around 9 to 10 inches long it is just a wee bit bigger then Hadogenes Troglodyte at it's biggest.  but is close enough to be realistic.

There ARE some small pieces (ganglion and brain stem, and poison sac located just below the aculeus on the end of the tail, so it is not a good puzzle for those that will put things into their mouths. 

Sadly, one of the parts is mislabled in the enclosed booklet as a gandlion (the "brain" or ganglion) and it is fairly difficult for a youngster (NO instructions for putting the legs nor claws in and how to match them up....which is what makes it a PUZZLE and not an ordinary model). 

My "partner", Cindy, who helped with the assembly a lot, was recently diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.  She recently turned 8 and literally thrives on puzzles like this one in order to keep her mind busy.   Recently, she "excavated" the entire skeleton of a T. Rex and put all the bones together (scaled down to about 12 inches tall of course).   So this project didn't pose much trouble for her, except that some of the parts (the claws especially) were VERY difficult to snap in place (took a bit of adult pressure to get them to stay together :-)

To build this model, one needs no tools.   PATIENCE is required however as the instructions are totally non-written, picture/drawing type sequentially illustrated method that doesn't normally work needs to find their OWN way with this kit.     Still, the projected 15 minutes to put together the model/puzzle was close. The model is "mostly" covered with a transparent shell, but because of the perled and rippling of the body shape, it is less transparent than I like, SO I intend to illuminate the inside a bit to make it more visible.

Step 1: Parts, Tools, Patience, I Mean Skill Level...

As for the model itself, the one I chose was labeled a 4-D Scorpion Model sold by Discovery Channel Store.   I bought the kit in order to help educate a young friend of mine who just LOVES this kind of thing.

To build this model, one needs no tools.   PATIENCE is required however as the instructions are totally non-written, picture/drawing type sequentially illustrated method that doesn't normally work needs to find their OWN way with this kit.  Some of the parts do not fit well together, and some do not stay in place any better.   Still, the projected 15 minutes to put together the model/puzzle was close. 

As for the illumination:  I chose a UV LED, two button cells, and a single tiny 3mm button switch (push on, release off) and a very small plastic case.  The dropping resistor I used was a 30 ohm 1/8 W  (color band = orange, white, black, gold).

As for tools, a soldering iron is necessary,  "helping hands" clips come in handy.

Step 2: Getting Started

Cindy and I (this is the Asperger's Syndrome child I was building this with) put together the puzzle before I installed the LED, to make sure we could get it all together, to learn about scorpion anatomy, and to make sure there'd be enough room in the body for the light and switch.

The directions, as mentioned before, indicated a completely different sequence of construction that was practical. SO, we had to make our own way.

I identified all the parts first. 
Three sets of eyes: a pair of median eyes at the top center of the carapace,  two sets of lateral eyes on each side of the front of the prosoma.

The chelicerae,  the small claw like structures which protrude from the mouth, as a pair.

The "legs" that carry the pincers (claws) are called pedipalps.

The pectines, the comb like structure which help the scorpion to find food and mating direction are midventral sensors.

The metasoma or tail has 5 segments, terminating in the telson tipped with the aculeus (stinger). Inside the telson is the organ containing the scorpion's poison.   Despite the hype of movies, many scorpions are not deadly to humans (unless you are allergic to them).  Their venom is mostly arthropod specific.  

Also, despite it's appearance, the scorpion is NOT a crustacean.  It is of the phyla:  arachnida and so is more closely related to a spider then a lobster or crayfish.

I then installed the brain (ganglion nerve center, the brain stem, the intestines, and on top of that the Book Lungs.  

To complete this step, the clear plastic shell was snapped in over the whole thing to keep the contents, which tended to slowly sneak out otherwise, inside the abdomen.

Step 3: Adding on the Legs, Stinger, and Claws

To some extent, the "puzzle" was self explanatory for an adult.  
Cindy correctly named which parts should go where however, (smaller legs in the back, claws in the front radiating out from the side just behind the head.

She was unable to get the parts together, not because they were being placed incorrectly but rather because they fit together poorly.  Each part fit,  mortise and tenon style in it's appropriate sized and shaped mortise hole, but they fit SO tightly that she was unable to get them to "stay" together,  but with a little persuasion from me, we get them fitted. 

Advice on getting the parts to fit better?  Nothing I could think of made the job any easier.  Some of them went together nicely, other took brute force to get the parts in.....other, like the book lungs,  took 3-4 hands all at once to align pins with holes, and tuck in 8 lungs into the "shell". 

I had to admit, I was really proud of how well she was able to figure out, without looking at the instructions, which parts went where.   This whole project made my week.

As soon as I install the UV LED, I will add the picture in this step.

Step 4: Appendix - and Adding the LIGHT

All in all the project was the most fun I have had for a long time.  And Cindy, who recenlty turned 8,  was really appreciative of this particular model especially. In her words, once it was finished:   This is REALLY COOL !   :-)

She enjoyed it so much, we actually put together another project:  The noise making tin can robot.  However, it vibrated a wire loose after starting and didn't function after that.  It will be functional again as soon as someone solders the wire back.  Sadly, I had not brought my soldering iron with me.   BTW:  Update: 3/17/12:  I finally remembered to bring my soldering iron and we fixed the she drives her mom crazy with it since it vibrates so loud LOL

OK: I have added some pictures of the switch, what the insides look like when lit, and the results of UV reactive coating I placed over the insides (yes, I know the "outsides" of scorpians glow under UV lamps, but this has a clear upper shell so she can see it's guts, so I made THEM glow...the lamp I added is a single very bright UV LED.

The stand post went missing too, so I took a piece of dowel I had laying about and coated it black to match the scorpion, and then fastened it in with epoxy and "hard as nails" brand fastener.