The Mk.1 Land Raider -- Part Three

To conclude the saga of the Paperhammer Land Raider... at least until I decide to make another one.

The main body of this beast was assembled. The next big detail was the treads themselves. This model has a great set of tread templates that work just like the GW models. Rather than a hundred little links, Part 3 of 6 just has a few long sections cleverly crafted to look like links once they're assembled on the model.

Helpful Hint-- Sort of like I talked about with the wheels early on in this project, you can breathe easy cutting out the treads. That complex, angled notch that needs to be cut a few dozen times? The inner half of that notch is going to be hidden by the "link" that goes on top of this tread section, so don't drive yourself mad trying to cut out that shape. Just do two straight cuts with scissors past the end and it will look exactly the same once the link is in place.

Also, trim the wide point at the ends ever-so-slightly flat. It'll make putting the links on much easier where the treads "bend."

I'm really pleased with how the treads look on this model, but I just think they might be a bit more imposing if they were thicker. Figure on this scale, they're about two or three inches thick. If I ever make another one of these, I'll probably make the treads from doubled-up card to give them a little more heft.

The lascannons glued on to the 25mm "mounts" with no problem. I also added on several of the hanging chains from the Chaos Vehicle sprue, because I've made chains a theme in my World Eaters army (based off the idea that Kharn's arms are wrapped in chains). I debated adding a few racks of spikes, but ended up deciding against it. No matter where I put them, they just seemed a little over-the-top (for my personal taste). Besides, the tank has numerous chains, the plates on the lascannons, about a dozen skulls, three gigantic Khorne symbols, and it's going to be painted with blood. If someone still can't figure out its allegiance with all that, well... as my friend Marc says, the Skull Throne isn't going to build itself.

You may also notice a lot of black paint on the model at this point. Austin Powers would call this the "warm liquid goo phase." Y'know how the GW guys constantly warn you to paint over foam before you spray paint it? Well, I had a similar concern. Card is just layered paper, and everywhere there's an edge all those layers are exposed. Moisture gets in there, paper swells, and suddenly my Khornate Land Raider has been possessed by daemons of Nurgle. I had a plain old tube of acrylic paint, classic mars black, and I used this to seal all the edges as best I could before priming the whole thing.

I primed it in three very light, dusting coats out in the warm sun. Didn't want to rush it and soak anything. Did taking my time make the difference, or was it using the acrylic paint? We'll find out in a few months when that tube of mars black runs out. Until them, I'll keep doing it this way because the Land Raider came out perfect. Once it was a nice, uniform gray it became very difficult to tell this was a Paperhammer model. Really, this is a fantastic set of templates and the original designer did some amazing work.

I don't want to dwell on painting too much, mostly because it's not my strong suit and I'd prefer not to embarrass myself. In brief, I painted the whole thing with Red Gore to start, doing the treads and wheels with Chaos Black. My World Eaters have a red and black color scheme, and I wanted this to match as much as possible. I used Tin Bitz on a bunch of details, as well. Some of these, like gun barrels, will end up closer to gold, while the more mechanical parts will stay dark and brassy. There will be much more later as I obsess over details, but this gives you a solid example of how a Paperhammer model can end up looking on the tabletop.


The Mk I Land Raider -- Part Two

So, last time I got the bulk of the model done. Now it's time to do all the detail work, which will probably take just as long. A bit longer, actually.

For starters, Part 5 of the templates has a nice design for an Imperial eagle to decorate the front assault hatch. Tons of detail, absolutely fantastic. Alas, I'd already decided that this "outdated" Land Raider would be going to Chaos, and I'd decided a little before this that it would end up in my World Eaters army, because Berserkers can always use something big and very anti-tank backing them up. So, that Imperial eagle was going to become a Khornate skull.

This took a bit of work. I had to play with the design to make it fit in the space (taking the slots into account) and still be recognizable. Once I had that, it was a bit of work to keep track of some parts, since this wouldn't be a single element. Once I had everything in place and glued, I set it between wax paper--checked again to make sure it was all in the right place--and set a few books on it.

I went through the same thing on the side hatches. The templates have half-eagles for them, I went with half-Khornate skulls. Which looked pretty good, all things considered.

Worth a note about the side assembly (Part 6 of 6), where the hatches and lascannon mounts are. You can glimpse them in some of the earlier photos because I was very stupid and tried assembling them too soon. Before you even think of putting the edges, make sure these are done. Cut out the frame for the door, glue the rectangular backing in place. Then put on the other details (like your half-skull hatches), and the edges, and those interior zigzags I mentioned last time for sturdiness.

Because only an idiot would do that all out of order. Yep. Only an idiot.

Moving on...

I built and glued on the front piece (seen on Part 4 of 6). I have no idea what it's supposed to be. The grill? Maybe part of the mechanism for the assault ramp? No idea. But it was in the reference pictures and now it's on the model.

There were two matching pieces that were supposed to go on either side of this mystery element, but they didn't fit that well. I think it was from a combination of two things. One is a two dimensional model being rendered on three dimensional cardboard. That tiny 1/32 of an inch starts to add up after numerous folds and layering, especially on this scale. The other is my own operator errors, so to speak. A score that's a miniscule amount off one way, a fold that goes too far the other. Combine these two issues and it's not surprising things don't line up sometimes, especially small, intricate things. In the end, I decided to skip the side elements and instead added two diagonal strips to imply the pistons/ struts on the actual model.

At this point I decided to glue the two tread assemblies to the main hull. I used pins and my sharpest knife to mark the position on the template directly onto the cardboard. Then I peeled off the template to make sure it was card grabbing card, not card grabbing paper loosely glued to card. Once again, my book collection helped with keeping things pressed together.

The top panel of the model probably caused me the most headaches and the most work. On the actual Mk. I Land Raider there's only one roof hatch, and there's... well, some kind of bolt weapon there on a pintle. The template for the top panel (on Part 5 of 6) page is marked for three hatches, like the Mk. II has. They're kind of crowded and all sit one on top of another. I knew I wanted an actual twin-linked heavy bolter up there. I also wanted one of the newer tank hatches so I could maybe have a Berserker howling out of the top.

I decided to use all three, but the "corner" one would just be a flat hatch from the classic Rhino that wouldn't move. The other front would be the heavy bolter, left free so it could swing. The rear would be the tank hatch, raised slightly with another layer of cardboard and also left free so I could trade it out with closed hatches, HK missiles, pintle mounted combi-bolters, or whichever.

Alas the cardboard was thinner than the edges of these bits, so I had to double up the cardboard and cut perfect circles through it and raise it even more while keeping it reinforced so it didn't sag in the middle. Nobody likes a saggy Land Raider. I worked on this piece for ages and it was one of the last things I glued in place.

The model comes with templates and instructions to make card weapons on Part 5. Thing is, like anyone who's been playing 40K for a while, I've got a pile of extra bitz and weapons. I also knew the weapons would be the thing that draws the eye immediately, so making them look top-notch would raise the whole model a bit. So I decided to go with "real" weapons rather than card ones.

I wanted the heavy bolter to look old-fashioned, so I ended up using one of the metal ones from the classic Razorback set. A bit of double-layered card let me connect them, and then I mounted them on one of the classic Rhino domed hatches. As I mentioned above, I left the whole assembly free so I could rotate the heavy bolters or remove them for battle damage.

The lascannons were a challenge, one I played with for a while. After a lot of thought and a few simple tests, I realized it was going to be too much work to make them movable. A rough decision, but it also gave me a lot more options as far as building them went. I dug through all my assorted tank parts and here's what I came up with.

I took the plastic lascannons from the Razorback set and clipped off the cables. Next I took a lascannon from the Imperial Guard heavy weapons sprue and trimmed off the pin that would usually mount it to the tripod. Then I fitted them together bottom to bottom. It took a bit of shaving here and there to get a fairly solid fit that kept the barrels parallel and even. Two round Warhammer Fantasy shields gave me a mounting point, and also added stability to the whole structure. On the opposite side (the "outside" of the weapon) I used one of the small plates from the first Chaos vehicle sprue. This made the whole assembly rock solid and unified the piece by hiding the join of the two lascannons.

Since I was using plastic lascannons, I decided to use 25mm bases as the weapons mounts on the sides. I placed them over the cardboard mount and glued the hell out of them. They're superglued to the cardboard and I think there's even a ball of green stuff underneath the base.

So, sides are on. Front logo is on. Next I'll attach the treads, the weapons, and final spiky Chaos bits before I prime it.


The Mk I Land Raider -- Part One

So, last time I posted here I'd shown that Paperhammer could let me make a very inexpensive, very good replica of a classic Rhino. Which is great, because as I said then, you can do quite a bit with a bunch of cheap Rhino hulls. I wanted to try something bigger, though. There are so many of these templates, and some of them... well, if they worked out well they'd open up a whole range of possibilities.

What caught my eye was the old Mk.1 Land Raider. I've heard it affectionately called "the Big Wheel," because it's just a huge set of twin treads on a very small hull. It had my attention for two reasons. One, I own several Chaos armies (six or seven, last time I counted) and it made sense that most of them would have older-model Land Raiders, just like with the Rhinos. Two is... well I just like it. I find the Mk.1 to be kind of intimidating in an over-the-top sort of way.

You can find the template for this model at either The Golden Bolter Society or the BWC Archive, filed under Space Marines. It's only six sheets, but there are no instructions. The file does include a few final photos of the model, so if you're good at assembling the shapes in your mind you can work out a lot of it. You could also print up a spare set of templates and just cut them out of the paper with no cardstock and do a dry run fitting things together.

Or you can follow along as I figured it out and benefit from my mistakes.

Helpful Hint-- The very first sheet, Part 01 of 06, needs to be printed twice. This took me a little while to figure out as I was "assembling" the model in my head. Part 01 of 06 is the core of each side and makes a single base for each tread. Barring accidents, this is the only sheet you'll need duplicates of.

I decided to start with the treads. They're nice, big, and because there's two of them you can go back and forth, working on one while the other dries. This is especially nice because they have a lot of layers. I also decided to build the main hull during this wave of construction. It's the three big pieces on Part 04 of 06, and it's a simple piece to glue together.

So to begin, I needed Part 01 (two copies), Part 02, and Part 04. Two cereal boxes were gutted for enough scrap cardboard. Just like with the Rhino, I used a glue stick and an old credit card to get everything applied. I also cut most of these templates out with scissors because they were so big and easy to work with. It's just a matter of taking your time.

The first real problem was lining things up. It's all layers, but I have to peel off the paper that marks where each successive layer goes. What I ended up doing was putting the paired shapes/ facings from Part 01 down so they were mirroring each other. Now I peel the paper templates off A, and use B as a guide of where to place the wheels. Once A was done, I could peel the paper off B and use A as the guide. So I did this back and forth method as I moved up through the layers.

Helpful Hint-- A great time-saver on this is not going overboard with the many wheels that get "glimpsed" behind armor plates and beneath treads. On the first set of treads I cut out every wheel from Part 01 and Part 02 and took the time to make sure they were as close to round as possible. Then it struck me--they don't need to be round. The wheels can be bullet-shaped (more or less) because most of each one is going to be hidden. Plus this gives more stability between layers, making this truly three-ply card and not two layers with a gap between them. The only ones you need to cut out all the way are four smaller ones from Part 02 that are used as "hubs" on the inside of the completed tread.

As each layer was done I'd fold it inside a piece of wax paper over the facing (in case of drips), check to make sure they were still lined up correctly, and then set a few books on top of them. For white glue and cardboard, with the extra pressure, this works better than superglue.

Once I had the wheels and armor done for all four faces, I started assembling the treads. Again, I took my time and glued one section at a time, clamping them as I went and giving them about ten minutes to dry. I also only glued one facing at a time to make sure it was as solid.

This was also when I started putting the hull together. Unlike the treads, I decided to so both facings at the same time. The indented back worried me, so I wanted to be sure I could make that as solid and sturdy as possible.

Helpful Hint-- I can't say enough good things about clothespins (known in the film industry as C-47s or bullets). The good wooden ones with metal springs are the ones you want, because you can reverse the spring and flip the slats. This makes the rounded end the part you squeeze and gives you a long, flat surface as your clamp. They're great for reaching into places and squeezing down that one loose tab. I use them sometimes on regular models, too (like the old plastic land speeders).

It was about this time I decided I wanted to do something else to make this cardstock model a bit more solid. On each tread, before I glued the second facing on, I cut a long strip of cardboard (from the sides of the cereal box) that was just as wide as the tread was deep. I folded this four or five times to make a bunch of zigzags and dropped it inside the tread. This gave the tread "inner walls" and made it a lot stronger. I wish I'd thought to do that with the first test Rhino, but I'm going to do it from here on in.

Once the zigzags were places, I very carefully lined up the other facings and glued them. I put a piece of wax paper over them, checked again to make sure they were still lined up, and set three or four books on top of them. Yep, the zigzags made them so strong they could hold up about two pounds worth of hardcover books. I left these for about half an hour or more. I wanted to make sure they dried as flat as possible so I'd have good angles on it.

So, that's both sets of treads done plus the main hull. It sounds like a lot, but really that's the easy part. Next, I've got to do all the detail. Including the weapons. And a cool idea I've got for assault hatch.