Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Praetorian Project - Upper superstructure detailing

Almost all the detail bits have arrived, and I was finally able to get some windows that were the right size. I was feeling like goldilocks there for a bit - those windows were too small, those windows were too big. These windows are juuuuuust right!

Still waiting for the brass etch aquilas to arrive from FW for use on the front panel (along with a Thudd Gun for the guard), but in the meantime I'm down to two choices for the Doomsday cannon. It's a little hard to tell which will work best at the moment since the front panel isn't attached to the whole superstructure, but I'm leaning towards the first one as it's closer to the 'real' model's aesthetic.

I'm working on the side sponson construction now, trying out a couple different options - one that will utilize the small turrets that Tom McBride supplied me with (small-ish, but match the upper turret look) and one that uses the Razorback turrets (bigger, but different style-wise). Again, I'm not sure which is going to work best until I get the upper superstructure re-assembled. Soon enough we'll see how they look!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Praetorian Project - Leviathan tracks and lower structure built

Had some free time on Saturday to work on the Leviathan, and managed to get the lower superstructure built and sort out how the tracks were going to attach. I'm rather pleased, everything ends up fitting together like a dream!

Still a lot of greenstuff work to do of course, but overall I was expecting much worse in the way of the fit of all that plasticard. I added some internal support to the lower section with some foamcore board, as when I had it taped together in the test build it felt very delicate. It's now a rather solid piece with all the interior bracing.

It took a bit of adjustment, but the tracks sit just right inside the track guards. Trusty Enginseer VictorXX is dwarfed by the tread housing. It's gonna be big!

I'm planning on leaving the treads loose for painting prior to final assembly, which means I have to mask off all the foamcore spacers. Last thing I need to do is to forget that step and have the primer melt it into goo!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Praetorian Project - Making tracks

Pressing onward on the Leviathan - spent some time last night cleaning and assembling the tread sections I got from Tom McBride's Blood and Skulls Industry! My hobby table was adrift in resin trimmings and shavings. It looks like wintertime happened early...

I'm quite happy with how they're coming along so far - though I still need to sort out exactly how they're going to attach to the lower superstructure. I have a few ideas that I'll have to test out. I do know that I'm planning on leaving them unattached for painting and then glue them in afterwards...

One of the major elements of the Leviathan is the Doomsday cannon that is center-mounted on the hull. I finally managed to find a couple pieces of PVC that should fit the bill! Gotta love 40k for its unfeasibly large weapon systems...

In other news, if you're in Colorado my band Stealth Hippo is playing a gig on Saturday the 22nd at The DNote in Arvada at 9:30pm. Ridiculous costumes, giant mustaches and crazy music! Should be a good time!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Praetorian Project - Leviathan detailing begins

The detailing process has begun! I pulled apart the test build and started attaching the various detail plates. In addition, the package from Blood and Skulls Industry showed up, bearing the treads, wheels and turrets!

I'm really excited to get cracking on the treads - Tom provided me with a set of 2" wide track sections, and plenty of wheels. I need to pick up some dowel and spacer material, and then we'll be cooking with gas!

I'm also looking forward to seeing how the upper turret looks once the Leviathan is re-assembled. Size-wise it's going to be perfect. Unfortunately the side sponson turrets I'd ordered are looking like they're going to be a touch too small, though they will find use in future projects I have do doubt! Instead I'll be going with a set of Razorback turrets - a rummage through the Closet of Doom turned up allllllmost enough bits to pull it off. Just need to order a couple extras and I'll be all set.

I'm still pondering how the internal bracing structure is going to work, but there's still a bit more detailing to go before I can start the re-assembly process. It's all coming together nicely though!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Praetorian Project - Leviathan test build continues

Couple more pics of the build in progress! I've roughed out the bottom section of the main superstructure - the yellow plate is a rough approximation of the outer dimensions of the track sections, though it is a little bit too wide.

I added a model to give it a sense of scale. This does adhere to the old tenet "If you can't make it good, make it big!" At this point I'm going to start working on roughing out some of the main detailing sections and wait for the treads and turrets to arrive...

In other news, my buddy Dave who runs Ex Fide Vido recently did up a tutorial about making really cool 3d custom Space Hulk style 40mm bases - it's definitely worth a look, check it out!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Praetorian Project - Leviathan Mk. II production commences!

Every so often I get a wild idea to make something ridiculous, and the curse has befallen me again! I've been really enjoying working on my Guard recently which naturally brings me around to revisiting an old project - the Leviathan Command Vehicle. I'd built one years ago (before I had the blog), and the Mk. II version of the project has been lurking in the back of the Closet of Doom for years. It's high time it got a little forward motion! I started by dragging out the old sketches and browsing through the dozens of reference images I've collected over the years.

There have been some absolutely stunning, incredibly detailed versions of 40k scale leviathans over the years, and most have done work that is far beyond my talents - however, that's no reason to not give it a try! I have made the decision that I'm going to try and stay as true to the old Epic model as possible - More of a "what would an Armorcast Leviathan look like" rather than "what would Forge World do?" style. Based on the pictures below, I settled on a footprint of roughly 14"x9" - slightly larger than a Baneblade, which I thought would make it a reasonable size for tabletop gaming.

I started off with some half-scale sketches in the ever-useful quad-ruled composition book then measured and cut a set of panels from cardstock to test the fit of the main superstructure, which worked better than I would have expected. After that proof of concept I swung by the hardware store and picked up a mess of plastic signs (as it's cheaper than Evergreen/Plastruct in sheets), figuring if the main parts fit, I could press forward with the next phase...

After working up the upper structure I started laying out the templates for the lower half of the vehicle and hit my first major snag - the plastic signage that I got wasn't large enough to accommodate the templates so that's on hold for the time being while I research other options. I did go ahead and cut out the first set of panels for the upper structure from plastic and did some test fitting, though:

It works! At the moment the panels are just held together with tape as a test fit. I'm still working out how I want to brace the internal structure to give it some rigidity without making it too heavy. I'm toying with the idea of gluing the bottom and sides together, but leave the top panels off and fill it with expanding foam then trim off the excess before securing the top plates. I have a feeling that may be more trouble than it's worth however, visions of unintentional mushrooming foam sculpture dance through my head...

For the treads and weapons I'm going to be ordering a number of items from perennial favorite Tom McBride, whose eBay store Blood and Skulls Industry has a vast number of excellent bits I'm intending on incorporating into the project, including some 2" wide treads that should be ideal, as well as some beautiful turrets for the top and side sponsons. Here's hoping I can do the rest of the build justice!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tzeentch Renegades - Cultist squads painted

Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend (for us Yanks, at least)! Over the past weekend Dark Vengeance was released and I managed to get a hold of a couple limited edition sets - Ostensibly for the mini rulebook, but lets be honest the models included look amazing as well, and are well worth the purchase.

I thought it was clever on the part of GW to include what appear to be a couple starter armies each capable of acting as an allied force for most of the various armies out there, so even if you don't happen to play Dark Angels or Chaos, there's a little something for everyone (except the bugs)! I will say I feel that the units provided don't lend themselves quite as well to buying multiple copies of the box set as the Assault on Black Reach set did - doubling up really adds far too many HQ and Elites choices in my opinion. Nevertheless, the models are staggeringly beautiful. I'm planning on painting up the Dark Angels to ally with the guard from time to time, but to be frank I was much more interested in the Chaos stuff, which has already got me thinking about starting a new Tzeentch Renegades force. That said, I knocked out the cultists over the long weekend:

First up is the hand-to-hand unit - let me start by saying that these are, hands down, the best cultists GW has made to date, and they were an absolute joy to build and paint. I especially like the fact that various models are obviously fallen members of the assorted strata of Imperial life - there are tech priests, and ministorum, adeptus terra and miners and what have you. Excellent stuff! As they are intended to be Tzeentchian cultists, I went with a semi-randomized pattern of blue, yellow and dirty white. If I paint up the second set I'm thinking I'll be using them for our 40k:RPG games and will paint them up more closely adhering to the colors of the adeptus to which they appear to belong, but for now I'm quite pleased with how these turned out!

The second squad of cultists are armed with ranged weapons such as autoguns and a heavy stubber and again there are some simply beautiful sculpts - I really enjoyed painting them! The leader of this unit is by far my favorite - the liberated Commissar's coat and the grotesque makes him just ooze with character!

Next up on the painting table is the first unit of Skitarii for my Ad Mech army, but the remaining Chaos units from the Dark Vengeance set aren't too far behind!