On most days I'd be singing praises of a plastic set, and the new Kans are gorgeous, no question about it. As it happens, though, I'd already been playing with a Kan template created two years ago by a gent named Adam Souza. It's a great one-sheet template (part of the big file over at the Golden Bolter Society) and it'll let you build a very nice Killa Kan in about an hour. Three cereal boxes will give you six Kans over the course of a weekend. And the price can't be beat.
So start by printing out said sheet. Use a glue stick to fix it to the back of a cereal box or some such piece of card. An old credit card will let you glue it down nice and smooth. In my experiments so far, I’ve found it’s easy to do two at the same time (using the front and back of the same box).
This is Important-- There aren’t any tabs on any of these components, so take a moment before you start cutting and sketch in some rough ones you’ll be able to use. Look carefully and try to picture how these components fold. Some of these components are pretty small and you don’t want overlapping or unnecessary tabs. Watch the little section on the back of the torso, too--you’ll need to make a reverse-score (on the opposite side of the sheet) for a tab to be useful there.
This template’s very easy. You can build all the components-- the main body, arm sections, legs, etc--and then assemble them bit by bit. I started at the bottom and worked up, but because of this design you can do it in any order you like.
Helpful Hint--I made the bottom layer of the feet double-thick. Trace them again on the card and it’s fine. This gives the toes a little more heft, considering they're supposed to be steel claws supporting this little monstrosity. You can also add on a few small rods or card strips to look like pistons or hinges.
The model gives you diagrams so you can build the legs with blocks the whole way (thighs, hips, ankles, shins). I went with a suggestion Souza makes in the notes and decided to use tubing instead. It’s an old Bic pen (10 for a dollar most places) that had dried out. One pen gave me legs for two Kans. If you happen to have a chisel-blade X-Acto it works great. A regular one works too, it just takes a bit longer. I glue the tubes to the feet first. Then once those are dry their glued to the thigh blocks (so I can make sure the thighs are square to one another). I wanted to use some wire from an old set of iPod headphones to make some power cables or hydraulic tubes or... heck, it’s Ork technology. Who knows what they’d be. It’d just look good. That’ll probably be on the next set.
The torso is a single piece with a bit or detail on it. I suggest gluing it shut on the bottom first and perhaps piling a bit in there for weight. I have a little tin where I save all the metal flash from models. It’s great for counterbalancing models. Drop a few pieces of that, a dozen BBs, or whatever similar thing into the torso. Then just drip some glue over it to keep it stable. White glue’s probably best as some superglues are thin enough to run out any gaps in the kan’s bottom.
Helpful Hint-- Again, Orkiness pays off. If you want different details on the kan, go for it. It’s hard for them to look wrong. A lot of these have the control panel from the template, but I freehanded a skull on one and made a very simple “jaw” on another. I also stacked 1/8” and 1/16” pieces over the eye-slit of one to make a “targeter” of sorts. Whether or not the grot inside will ever use it, well...
The three arm sections have a bit of leeway. You can make the center one a bit shorter and it’ll give you a slightly different look. Make sure that the “bicep” of the arm (the lowest section on the template) gets a good-sized tab on the end. That square is going to take the weight of the whole arm, so you want it solid.
When you assemble the arm, take a moment to pose it right. If it’s out too far you’re either going to need a base or the whole model will tip over. You also don’t want it in one of those positions that just looks weird for some reason. Once it’s together I use some pieces from the 1/8” hole punch to give the joints a bit more detail.
The close-combat claw is really nice. This is probably the most time-consuming part of the whole model. It’s a bit of work to cut out the little teeth and the multiple layers, but well worth it. You can also cut straight lines and make it look more like a set of giant shears, which I did with one of them. If you’ve got one of the Boyz chainsaw-choppas kicking around, it would probably glue in there real nice, too.
Helpful Hint--Even five layers thick, the claw doesn't fill the "wrist" space in the arm. So I took out my handy 1/4" hole punch and knocked out a dozen or so card circles. I glued together two sets of four circles each so I had a squat cylinder, than attached them to either side of the claw at the wrist. Voila--a hinge joint. It's detail and it makes the model more solid. I also skipped the shoulder pieces on the template and just did three or four-thick 1/4” circles there, too.
Take your time attaching the arm to the body and hold it until it’s dry. Not kind of dry or mostly dry--make sure there’s no doubt whatsoever this join is holding. Then brace it somehow and leave it overnight to dry more. This one point is probably going to take more stress and abuse than any other part of the model, so you want it as solid as possible.
The template has plans for a big shoota, and they’re probably the weakest part of the whole model. Not horrible, but kind of weak. It does make a passable grotzooka, though, especially with a new muzzle and a scrap bin on top. I also ended up scratch-building two kustom mega-blastas using a very old Ork plasma cannon and Marine plasma pistols. The last one’s probably going to get a rack of rokkits scraped together from a variety of sources.
Once you’re all done, add some final details. Souza says this right on his blueprints. Rivets make anything look Orky. I made a pile from the 1/16” hole punch and applied liberally to corners, edges, joints, and so on. In a few places I stacked them on top of 1/8” discs for more depth.
Helpful Hint-- If you ever end up with a gap or a loose join that just won’t stay, slap a patch on it. Just fold a small square or rectangle of card, glue it up, and place it where it needs to be. Then outline it in rivets. It makes the model more solid and it blends right in on an Ork model. If you look close, I did it on a few of the thigh-blocks and some of the arm joints. You could probably do this on a lot of Chaos models, too, without too much worry.And there you have it. Very solid, very passable Killa Kans for pennies apiece and an hour of your undivided attention (maybe two hours if you’ve got an interesting movie on in the background). I’m probably going to keep a card-mounted template handy so I can keep build more whenever I’ve got spare time and no other projects going.