Tuesday, 4 December 2012

From The Chopping Board - Articulating a Dreadnought Part 1

Hey folks.

Regular service of chopping up things and making them a little different resumes! I've been a bit 'meh' about all my projects recently, having stared a cool Ork conversion (but not bothered to finish), purchased and built and Eldar War Wlaker (but not bothered to paint) and dabbled with a couple of small, insignificant projects. None have held my attention for more than a couple of days.

Then, last week, I played a 1,500pt game vs my friends new GK army. All went well (I won 14-1) but I took two Dread's, one being my old metal Furioso. The thing weighed a ton! It didn't come apart to fit in my army bag! It looks dated!

Something had to be done...

So it was I realised the old beast had seen it's final regular game and it was time for a plastic upgrade. Lighter, more options and a pose-able kit...wait...the Dread kit is just as static as it's old metal predecessor ..something must be done.

The other thing that bothered me about the Furioso model, and has done since it's release, is the 'standard' sarcophagus is BORING. The Furioso is the Blood Angels' Venerable Dreadnought, yet the standard Space Marine one has a cool head and engraved plates etc - all the BA got were some tacky wings.

I decided the best option was to use the DC Dread front, still has skulls, still has small blood drops, but has the space for a head.

Start drilling!

 Pick a head!

I chose the Blood Angel pilot/techmarine head from the Stormraven but forgot to photo it. It looks almost the same as this:

Then i trimmed off the lens and ariel and shaved the side down until it fit:

Now I had a cool sarcophagus. I'll fill in the cross and add a couple of small decorations to make it a little more fancy and deserving of it's status in the chapter. I'm also tempted to lower the head into the collar slightly, similar to the original skull, think it'll just come down to if I have the energy for more trimming.

Once I'd done the body, I thought it'd be a shame to put a cool front to us on a standard, standing still, Dread. He's going to almost always be armed with two fists/talons so I decided the arms should be doing something too. Now, this is where things get a little more complicated as there's more parts involved and they must match in order to go together after cutting.

Start with the outer arm and a new scalpel blade:
Click to enlarge

Cut along the red lines carefully, making sure your blade runs straight and is tight up against the joint, without shaving off the edges. Score it lightly several times rather than trying to saw through - got to be patient! It'll eventually leave you with this:

The back side of the arm is much more simple and thin, to the extent I don't think you need me to show you how to cut. Tidy up the rough edges and then glue each of the two halves together:

You now have an arm which will give up/down movement to the side. Repeat with the other side's arm too.

Now, how about straightening the arm out? This is useful if you want it pointing an under-slung weapon or such like. The same cut allows you to also bring the arm up to more of a right angle (though only very slightly) rather than the 'relaxed' stance of the current model:

To get this clean you need to be even more patient. This is not something that comes naturally to me regarding models - if I think I'm starting to rush cuts or force something I'll down tools and do something else for a couple of minutes. You need to cleanly and slowly cut round the circular joint shown on the right. This is much easier BEFORE gluing the fist halves together. To straighten the arm you'll need to trim off the smooth pipe where the red line is on the left. The pipe on the right side of that piece will almost certainly have to go too.

Next up? Legs.

They come in a front and back half. I did all of the following before gluing the halves together. First up, think about the pose. I know this is really basic but make sure you aren't creating unnecessary work by cutting more than you need to. I want my Dread with a foot up on a rock (or possibly a wrecked Sentinel). That means the other leg will stand straight, which it already is. Therefore only one leg needs cutting. So next, cut through at the top of the thigh like so:

Next, to enable the knee to bend, the lower leg needs removing. On the left half above, carefully cut off the lower leg section below the knee. Also remove the top peg from the front of the thigh.
On the right leg section the three small pistons must be cut away from around the knee. Do this with patience (again!) - if you're very careful you can maintain the curved surface on the back of the knee one (the central one) which is better for re-attaching later.

You should end up with this:

At this point I glued the top and bottom half together to give me a complete upper and lower leg. Once that is dry you can do a mock up or dry fit to build your base and make sure everything reaches:

Happy with your pose? Awesome. One thing you will need to do is remove and replace the cables. I use Masq-Mini's Tube Tool. Role to the correct thickness (using a trimmed piece to judge off) and glue in place:

Last up is the feet. Feet on Dreads are often overlooked and people have a cool moving Dreadnought with big solid feet. That or they're on terrain with toe overhang like mine above. This is not cool:

Warning, there's more patient cutting coming up.

This one is the most fiddly yet. It's delicate and tiny and annoying. But, take your time and you have a separate toe piece:

Which, once tidied up, makes a big difference:

And there you go - head, shoulders, knees and toes! This guy is coming along pretty nicely. I'm working on the straightened left arm at the minute and have to rebuild the tubes and cables. That's why this is part one - all the cutty stuff.

Part two will hopefully be up toward the weekend with some completed mock ups of the whole guy so check back later dudes and dudettes!
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