Both metal, and the rules :-)
But more of that later... First of all, this is how the saddletank has gone together so far. It's a very clever design idea. First you build a stout subframe that will keep everything square, and then you put the top and sides in place. These are held in place with etched tabs whilst you solder it together, and then file the tabs off after all is done.
This is the subframe assembled with the panel of the tank top already in place. This is located over vertical tabs which have been filed off leaving just the faintest of traces.
The horizontal tabs are left in place as they are used to locate the side panels of the tank.
This is the tank subframe from underneath. The plate with all of the holes in it acts as a reinforcing piece for the assembly. The multitude of holes is to enable you to easily solder it in place. I used an RSU to join them together, so it was less relevant for me, but if you are using a conventional iron, then you can flood solder through the holes.
Now this is where I started bending the rules, as well as the metal. Normally Chris's instructions in High Level Kits are absolutely spot on, and indeed they come with a sizeable health warning not to alter them and try to do your own thing.
However when it came to shaping the complex S-curve that makes up the sides of the tank, I felt a little nervous. The instructions state that you should anneal the panels prior to bending them. I'm never comfortable at my ability to anneal brass evenly, and to the right extent. Added to the facts that the panels themselves are already half-etched, and that I was not confident that the completed sides would not accidentally pick up dents in the softened metal, and alternative approach was needed.
So I started off by putting the gentle curves at the top of the tank in by pressing the metal around a largish diameter metal rod on to the mouse mat on my desk. Then I clamped the panel against the rod in my modelling vice, and used a further rod to gently ease it over, as in these pictures...
You can also see the gentle bend that I put in at the top of the tank from the pressure on the mouse mat.
Well, this may not be the recommended way to form the curves in the tank but I seem to have got away with it. This is the first panel fitted into place on the tank, and held in place only by the locating tabs.
I've now done the second side panel as well, and maybe later tonight I'll get chance to solder them in place.