The Rhino Fleet

Sorry for the extended absence. A bunch of real world stuff that would only bore you to tears. I'll make up for it with a very picture-heavy post.

So, a while back I showed how you could make a simple, bare-bones Rhino with the card templates available at The Golden Bolter Society and at the BWC Yahoo Group. There's a few variations, but this is the simple Mk. 1 variant. With minimal practice, you can get to the point that one of these basic hulls will take about an hour's work.

My first attempt to do anything with the hull was a Christmas present. My friend Gillian has an Emperor's Children army, and there are few armies that don't benefit from adding a demolisher cannon. So my first Rhino hull became a Vindicator. There's even a PDF in the Golden Bolter files of the old White Dwarf article that shows how to custom-build such a vehicle (which had no model at the time). The main barrel is just two pieces of plastic tubing (exactly like I did for the Malcador) mounted on a plastic Rhino hull section. The exhaust pipes were going to be hidden behind side armor plates, so I just made them from bits of old sprue topped with Chaos gargoyles. I should've put a 40mm square base on top, too, which would've given it a more "heavy" look.

Helpful Hint-- Most of the time with Paperhammer stuff I’m using plain old white glue. When you’re gluing plastic to cardstock, though, you have to use superglue. And you have to use a lot because it’s going to soak into the cardboard. On the plus side, the cardboard gets a lot more rigid and durable. On the downside, it’s a bit of trial and error until you get the amounts just right. I generally use about half again as much superglue as I’d normally use. Keep a toothpick handy, too, in case you need to guide drops of glue away from delicate or detailed areas

The side armor is triple-thick card. I cut it, glued it, and pressed it under book to get a solid piece. The rivets are just discs from the 1/8" hole punch. In retrospect I would've done two things differently. I would've angled the sides to match up with the lines of the Rhino. I also would've made the top layer of card three sections. This would've made it look a lot more like the old "classic" ablative armor. I don't think anyone would question this as "extra armor," though.

So, for the first real attempt, it's a fairly passable Chaos Vindicator. If you've got three or four cereal boxes and some of the leftover Rhino bitz already, you could put together three solid Heavy Support choices for either a Chaos or loyalist siege army in just one evening.

What else can you do with a Rhino hull, though? Or a fleet of Rhino hulls...?

Well, first off, with a little more work, you can cut out some extra details and give yourself a phenomenal Rhino, one nobody (well, no rational person) could possibly argue against having on the battlefield. If you've actually got a pile of Rhino bitz kicking around, you can make it almost indistinguishable from an actual Games Workshop model. This one is all paper except for the hatches, tail lights, and the weapons (which are just dreadnaught storm bolters with the skull-icon shaved off so you can't tell they're upside down).

Helpful Hint-- The exhaust pipes took a little extra work, but I think they’re worth it. I marked out four even dots on the center panel, then used the 1/16” hole punch. Also, when you assemble them, push the support tabs at the top and bottom all the way down into the pipe. They’ll still work, and this way you don’t have any odd bulges where to many layers of cardstock overlap. Then glue the top and bottom in place. Finally, use the 1/8” hole punch to make two discs, double them up, and stick them on top as the nozzle/mouth of the exhaust pipe.

Yes, between the time I built the Vindicator and started working on this fleet, I broke down and bought the 1/16” hole punch I'd wanted (see the Amazon ad to the right). It opens wide, so you can place a hole right where you want it. I highly recommend one if you’re thinking of doing a bunch of this paperhammer stuff. Why shall become apparent.

What next? Well, hidden away in the Golden Bolter files is yet another PDF, this one showing how to make a Whirlwind turret from stuff you've probably got around the home. Most notably, the "silos" are a 40mm Fantasy monster base cut in half. I used some spare plastic card that I had to build the turret around the two half-bases (although I could’ve done it with cardstock, too), then used two sizes of plastic tubing to make what should pass for a simple hydraulic mount.

Helpful Hint--I attached the thinner sections of tubing to the whirlwind turret first. I used those to figure out the exact placement of the wider sections and glued those to the hull. The tubes are never glued to each other, so I can remove the turret either for a “weapon destroyed” result or just to make it easier to store and transport the model.

Note that this time I did the side armor in a more classic style, just like I said I should've done up above. I took the same square armor and then cut the corners down to match the shape and angle of the hull. This time I used the 1/16th hole punch for what I had in mind from the start; to make smaller rivets. They add a fantastic level of detail. Which also means I should make another one for Gillian...

Helpful Hint-- I love this 1/16th hole punch (wish I’d had it for the Malcador), but there’s one thing worth keeping in mind with the rivets. You’re making a piece that’s not much wider than it is thick, so the cardboard tends to “flake” a bit. It’s not unusual for a rivet to peel apart into two or three sections of paper, only one of which is glued to the model. It happens I’d say it happens to about one out of five. Make extra rivets, use a little extra white glue so it soaks through, and be patient.

Add on a few details from the Marine vehicle sprue and... voila! It's also a pretty close match for another scratch-built Whirlwind I made for my White Scars a few years back. And the only thing more fun than a Whirlwind is a pair of Whirlwinds, yes? So this one will be joining the Khan.

So, anyway, what to do with the next few hulls? Well, I had the bare bones of an Iron Hands force at one point that had gotten broken up and distributed to other armies. The plastic Rhinos went to my Thousand Sons, but it left me with a bunch of the old metal components for some Razorbacks. I ended up with a bunch of plastic components, too, which is why you’re seeing random elements painted black in some of these pictures.

Another shameful admission. I've always toyed with the idea of an Ultramarines army. Yes, they're Smurfs and they hog all the good fluff. Still, the very ornate, Romanesque look has a definite appeal to it. Especially when my other two loyalist Marine armies area bunch of Mongol hordesman on bikes and... well, questionably loyal (the Relictors). So it was about this time I started thinking about an all-paper (or mostly paper) vehicle Ultramarines army. You may see more and more of it in the months to come.

The two Razorbacks went together just like the basic Rhino, except for the back hatch. It took a bit of card-shaving to get the metal plate to sit just right, but once it was done these were both very passable vehicles. I have the parts for a third turret, and that one might get ablative armor on the side, too.

And that's a couple different things I've been doing with some spare parts and cardstock Rhino hulls. There's still a Predator template I want to try (with and without side sponsons), so I may have to revisit this in a few weeks or so.

By the way, there were a few requests over at the Bell of Lost Souls for a Sisters of Battle Repressor. It’s not my kind of thing, but I noticed someone recently stumbled across a pretty decent template for it. I’ve also heard a rumor you need to print it at about 95% to make it come out right. I probably won't be building one myself (SoB being one of maybe three 40K armies I've just never had any interest in) but if anyone wants to give it a try, I've got a few ideas on ways to make the template a little more solid (and easier to build). Drop a comment here and I’ll explain how. If enough people ask for it I might even be tempted to throw it together, post the how-to, and then raffle it off or something.

Next time, if all goes well... everyone's favorite green Xenos.

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