In Other News...

Sorry... need to mention my other art projects for a minute.

Next week I start touring up and down California with my new book, Paradox Bound, plus a little trip out to the east coast for New York Comic Con.  If I’m going to be near you, please stop by and say hello—there’s still time to reserve a copy at your local book store.

And if I’m not going to be near you... well, most of these stores take orders and ship. Some of them even ship internationally!  Give them a call, request something for enscribbling, and you can still have a personalized copy in your hands in just a few days.

(and there’s also a kick-ass audiobook narrated by Ray Porter, which means you can listen while building and painting... just saying)

Hope to see you there.


Knight Missile Pod

So, a few years back you may remember I spent ages working on a Paperhammer Knight.  It’s a fantastic model from Newobmij, and I’m still very proud of how mine turned out.

That said, a while back you may remebember GW put out their Renegade box set, with Imperial Knights vs Traitor Knights.  Big shock—I loved the idea of Knights that had fallen to Chaos.  Plus, it meant I could now do fantastic giant robot battles with Marcus.  One of the online bitz sellers I deal with frequently bought a bunch of Renegade sets and put a lot of Knights up for sale at about half off. Just bare-bones Knights—not the expansion/ Warden sprue—but still really cheap. Almost half-off.

I may have made some poor choices.

Anyway, so... now I had some Traitor Knights. A few careful bids on eBay got me some weapon options without costing me too much (it’s more about patience than anything else).  A small traitor household began to come together.

The one part that kept eluding me, though, was the missile pod. People were willing to pay big bucks for one.  I’d see them routinely go for $28 or $30. And I told myself I wouldn’t pay more than a third of that.  After losing a dozen or so auctions, I turned to my bitz jars.

And here’s what I came up with. 

These two boxes will be the base of our rocket pod.  They’re from the classic Rhino set (normally they’d go on the back slope of the treads).  I glued the open faces together to give me a solid box.  If you don’t have these exact pieces—no worries.  There are enough random boxes and blocks kicking through the various lines that will work. You could even just scratch-build a box from scrap plastic.

Next, I very, very carefully found the center point on one of the narrow sides and drilled a hole there. My post is the bottom half of a Lizardma—sorry, Seraphon standard pole.

Helpful Hint—whenever I need to do a hole, I start small.  I use a thinner drill bit than I need, because it’ll be easier to place the hole, or to clean it up if you’re a bit off.  Then I can expand up to the larger size, using the initial hole as a guide.

I checked that post from every angle. It’s very important that it be as straight as possible—perpendicular to the surface of the box.  I checked it multiple times from every angle.

Okay, so, while that whole thing was drying, I built two Havoc Launchers from the Chaos vehicle sprues.  These were just straightforward, standard builds.  The only thing worth noting is that I didn’t use the bracket that normally holds them—just the bare launcher. I also cleaned the heck out of them as far as mold lines and sprue marks. By nature of being a weapon and a conversion, I knew this piece was going to get a lot of attention.

Once they were relatively dry, I glued them onto either side of the box.  This took a little bit of work and patience.  I wanted them to be flat across the top, but they also needed to have a lot of surface area touching the boxes for the glue.  It required some wiggling.

Helpful Hint—once I had them more or less in place, I flipped the whole thing over, letting it stand on its head to dry.  That way the top of the piece would dry flat, even if things slipped or settled.

Now, the next part was tricky.  I had a post that fit in the top socket of the Knight, but I needed a bracket to hold the pod upright and stable.  I dug through some random scraps and found some plastic tubing that was just about the right size to fit in the ring around the socket.  A little work on the edges with a file and it fit perfectly!  I could cut a short section and set it around the post, so the two elements would each lock into place.

But... it needed to be perfectly centered.  Even a little bit off and nothing would fit.  I’d have to cut it off and try again.  I mulled on this for a few minutes and then realized the answer was right in front of me.  The ring and socket on the knight were already there. I just needed to fit the tube section and pod into place and they’d center themselves.  The only worry was being cautious with the glue so I didn’t accidentally attach the whole thing right now.

So, I set the pipe section into the ring, carefully applied a thin coat of glue to the top, and then slid the pod’s post through it into the socket. The whole thing settled snugly into place, and I waited about ten minutes before checking to see if I’d messed something up somehow.

And look at that.  A perfect little bracket for mounting on top of the Traitor Knight.  Exactly lined up and centered. It keeps its place so well I can take it on and off with no problem at all. it's solid when it's in place, bu tpops right off for transport.

Anyway... at this point the missile pod was more or less done, but I wanted to add just a few details to make it look more solid, more like the original pod and even more Chaos-y.  So I dug up another one of those vehicle sprues and clipped off a few more things...

The big Horus eye plaque for the Land Raider fit almost exactly across the top of the missile pod. That helped to tie it all together so it looked a little less cobbled together. I also added in a strip of plastic here to fill a small gap.  Next, the regular missile launcher has a sort of antenna/sensor array that wraps around one side.  I wanted to imply that, and found out that one of the curved spiky bits (usually used to line hatches and turrets) worked like a dream for this.

For a few final details... a spare lens from the bitz bins (I think it might be from the basing kit) helped fill up some space in that center section. 

And there you have it.  A $30 missile pod for... well, one afternoon of rooting through my bits.


Primaris—an Introspective

Okay, this isn’t really a hobby/modeling post.  More of an idea that’s been bouncing around in my head for a few weeks now. A few meta/in-world thoughts about the new guys on the scene in Warhammer 40K, and I figured this was as good a place as any to let them all roll out...

So, a while back I came up with a rationalization for why Roboute Guilliman  would send a company’s worth of Primaris Marines to the Relictors to help bolster their near-decimated chapter.

I bring this up because I was at SDCC last month and got to sit in on a panel given by Titan Comics. They’re the folks doing the Warhammer 40K comic (really great—you should check it out), and as such they’ve got a hotline to Games Workshop. And they had some interesting information they shared about the Primaris Space Marines, who’ll be showing up in their stories soon enough...

Three fun facts. 

One is that every Chapters was offered Primaris marines to fill holes in their ranks.  Are you missing a key person here or there?  Maybe a squad.  Maybe a whole company or two?  Here are some troops to fill those gaps. Not everybody took them, but everybody got the offer.  Guilliman had plenty to spare.

Two is that every Chapter also got the how-to technology to make their own Primaris.  No more regular Marines for you.  From here on in, every new inductee will be two feet taller and broader.

Third is this...  Primaris gene seed can also be used to turn current, regular Space Marines into Primaris. Yep.  A few new glands, a little bit of downtime, and you’re one of the cool kids again.

Between two and three, I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing Primaris versions of most of the major Space Marine characters over the next year or three. Tigerius.  Dante.  Lysander.  Shrike. You could save time now and just convert an Aggressor into Primaris Marneus Calgar.

(try saying that five times fast...)

Although this does leave me wondering where—within the story of the game—this’ll leave the many, many relics and historic items each Chapter has in their respective armories.  We suddenly have a thousand suits of power armor and/or Terminator armor—each individual component with a long, storied history, some of them stretching back to the Heresy—and now none of them fit our new recruits.  All those bolters that are near-relics?  They’re all second-rate weapons now that we have bolt rifles.

But as I was thinking about all that, something else hit me.

How are any of the Primaris from that first group (point one) dealing with this?

Let’s look at a few of our First Founding chapters, shall we?  We’ve got the Dark Angels, who don’t even tell their Chapter’s true history to three-quarters of their own members.  The Iron Hands, who more or less all have surgical addiction and  mechanical fetishes.  The Imperial Fists have their OCD scrimshaw habit.  The Blood Angels are about two inches from being vampires and have a tendency to go into berserker rages.  The Space Wolves are about one inch from being werewolves, and ignore most of Gulliman’s rules about how a chapter should act.

And then, out of nowhere... new guys.  New, fully formed Space Marines who share the same gene-seed but haven’t gone through the chapter’s various indoctrinations.  Who’ve been re-engineered to get rid of all those pesky “defects.”

How are they really going to fit in? How are they going to react to their super-secretive Dark Angels brethren or the savage, bestial Space Wolves they’re now training with?  It’s easy enough to repaint your armor, but how do you go against the twenty-forty-sixty years of training you’ve had to deal with these... these other people and their way of doing things?

Plus, there’s one other important thing we all tend to forget sometimes.  Space Marines are these huge combat monsters now... but they were born human.  They had mothers and fathers, maybe siblings.  They got carried around, wrapped in blankets, burped, and even on the worst of worlds they played games with other kids and laughed.  Y’know, before being sent off to work in the adamantite mines for their fifth birthday.  No matter how much training and indoctrination they go through, there’s a core of humanity there.

The current Primaris don’t have any of that. They were all machine-raised.  One of the guys at the Titan panel made a great example—put a Space Marine in a room with a crying baby, and he’ll do his best to quiet it, probably try to find its mother or some suitable guardian for it, and protect it the whole time. 

Put a Primaris in a room with a crying baby and... he’ll probably just stare at it.

Some interesting food for thought, if you like thinking about such things.

Anyway, next time, I wanted to show you this cool Knight missile pod I made for just... well, nothing.  It was pretty much free.  I made it out of bitz I had laying around.

And then I might finally finish that friggin’ Destroyer..