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.


  1. Great to see some instructions/demos up for this as I was just about to start trying to put one together... OK, "a few"... BTW, have you considered the "Spartan" class? I have one I kitbashed years ago, and it is actually ~ the same size as the current Raider and it has the appearance of a front assault ramp with the Rhino hull to the front...

  2. Y'know, I saw pics of the Spartan when I was looking for references for the Mk.1, and I thought it might be interestign to try.

    Really, it's just a classic Rhino hull replacing the Mk.1 hull, so it shouldn't be that hard to do by just mixing some of the templates I've played with here.

  3. Well, it's been decades since I made mine, but looking at it (and the vauge memories from back then) it is more or less the MK 1 Rhino hull, or at least part of it glued onto the front of the MK I Raider... I have some of the templates if you do not... It's just an old .doc I think I snagged from the BWC archives years ago. Printed them onto manilla folders I cut and ran through the laser printer, will be working on that this weekend, time permitting of course :-)