The Plague Tower, Pt. 3

To conclude the very drawn-out construction on the Plague Tower...

So, when I left off I’d just glued the tower to the chassis and finished up the pus cannon. At this point, a few issues presented themselves.

I couldn’t hope but notice a certain wobbliness to the tower. I wasn’t worried about it falling apart but it had a definite wibbly-wobbly quality to it. And not the good kind of wibbly-wobbly. So I went into the lower section and put two diagonal struts. I straightened the tower, held it in place with a few books, and cut the struts to the spaces. Clamping these was a bit of work. I ended up just holding the deep one for about twenty minutes or so. Once they were dry, the tower was notably improved, stability-wise.

The other thing was that the front of the tower just looked... flat. I balanced it on the axles to get an idea how it was going to look and it felt clunky. After coming close to ripping the axles apart, I realized the problem was as simple as it sounded. It just looked flat. It needed something like a grill or a cowcatcher to sell the idea of it being a dynamic thing and not just a static object.

I toyed with the idea of using two of the spike-rams from the Chaos vehicle sprue, but they didn’t seem quite right for some reason (I also only had one spare one). Then I hit on the idea of using the obelisk-shaped tombstones from the Warhammer Fantasy zombie sprue. Alas, I’d already used most of them to make a graveyard and only had three left--barely enough for one side. I even peeked at Battlewagon Bitz on the WarStore, but no luck. Neil doesn’t stock zombie, skeleton, or demon parts, curse his black heart.

(I jest. I love the WarStore.)

Anyway, I realized I’d have to build this thing from scratch. I cut a series of six triangles, 3/4” at the base, 1 1/4” tall, but left a 1/2” or so tab past the base. Then I cut three more with no tab and cut them in half lengthwise. The tabs glued on to the base of the tower along the front edge, three on each side. Once they were in place, I set the half-triangles down the center lines of the full triangles, bases against the edge of the chassis-platform. This gave extra support (gluing in two different directions) and also created a visual “broadhead” effect, style-wise, for the cowcatcher. This looks like something that would shred through trees, soldiers, small buildings, or anything else that got in its way. In retrospect, I should’ve jammed a few random body parts into the corners. It’s still not too late, I suppose...

At this point I just had to attach the wheel-axles. I shuffled the wheels around to make sure each axle was in the best spot because they’re all slightly different (the downside to doing so much of this off the cuff). Just a sixteenth of an inch here or there, but it was enough that in the wrong order one set of wheels could get left floating above the ground. The tower itself weighed enough by now that I could just glue them, set it on top, and let it dry.

I threw on a few last details, too. This thing is so big that there’s a lot of blank space on it. I used some more tidbits from the zombie sprue to put a hanging corpse and a few severed heads along the battlements. A little excess white glue made it look like the corpse was leaking down the side of the tower.

The tower is considered open-topped for purposes of embarking and disembarking. I decided to put a few hatches on the sides to symbolize this. They’re just simple shapes with Nurgle icons made from 1/4” hole punch disks. After a lot of thought, I decided to close up the bottom section in the rear, too. It would cut my usable space in half, but it also would hide the diagonal struts, the base of the pus cannon, and other things I’d prefer not to be seen. So I made a panel to cover the back bottom half using some scrap card, building it right to the opening. I put a wider hatch on that, and glued the whole thing in place. It’s worth noting this made the tower rock-solid, as much again as the diagonal struts had.

I also took one last marble of green stuff and added little threads of it all over the model. I did some quick work with the sculpting tool to make it look like rot, corrosion, or whatever other damp, soggy substance you can think of on a Nurgle vehicle. This also helped make a few joins a bit more solid.

This thing’s about 90% cardstock, so I still went for the “liquid goo” phase with the acrylic paint. The paint seals the edges of the cardboard so moisture can’t get in to make the paper swell and deform--it’s more-or-less the same principle as painting foam with Chaos Black before you prime it with spraypaint. I layered the acrylic paint on especially thick on the tower. Doesn’t hurt to be safe, and if it shows through... so what? It’s Nurgle.

Priming this beast took some time. It’s about three times larger than a Land Raider, and I was doing light coats so the cardstock stayed as dry as possible. On the plus side, since I was going at a slow pace, by the time I’d done the fourth side the first was just about ready for the next coat. I gave it two good coats, one coat across the bottom, and then dusted a few trouble spots.

As I’ve mentioned before, painting isn’t my strong point, so I’ll just do a quick overview. All the metal got Tin Bitz as a base. The pus cannon, the Nurglings, and anything else kind of rotted got based with Dark Angels Green.

The metal got drybrushed with brass with gold even lighter over that. Then I put rust patches all over that, which is just a bit of Blazing Orange dabbed on with a really crappy old brush, and a light dust of Tin Bitz on top of that. The icky bits got drybrushed with Snot Green, washed with green ink, and then drybrushed with Camo Green. I did a super-light drybrush of Scorpion Green around the mouth of the pus cannon just to emphasize the muzzle.

For the main body, I used a variation off the color scheme for my Death Guard. They’re all based with Dark Flesh, then drybrushed with a few different colors to build up small patches of white (I go off the idea it’s their original armor--pristine white and gold--that’s gotten filthy over the millennia). I simplified this a bit for the Plague Tower, but it still ties nicely to their paint scheme.

So, not counting the six frozen pizza boxes that gave their lives for this project (really, their days were numbered once LOST went into the final episodes) total cost for some tubing, half a pack of green stuff, a new bottle of white glue, and a blister of Nurglings... about $22 and maybe twelve hours altogether.

Not a bad price for 700 points of Chaos/ Apocalypse fun.

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