Awakened Monolith, Part II

Very sorry for the long delay. I had a book come out a week early and it messed up my schedules a bit. There it is over on the side. End shameless plug.

So, the bulk of the Monolith got finished last time. The rest of this is almost all detail work, but it’s kind of key and there is a lot of it. In this version of the model, some of it even ends up being structural.

First off, time to glue the structure so far to a base. The bottom of the Monolith is really wide, especially when you consider it’s a little bigger than it should be. I ended up using a 12” x 12” base. It’s a bit oversized, but odds are this will be one of the major pieces on any table, and it’s big enough for units to actually use as terrain.

Helpful Hint - You can buy cheap vinyl-particle tile squares at most home improvement stores like Home Depot or Osh. They’re only about a dollar each and they’re great for larger bases. My girlfriend got me the Imperial Sector set a few years back and I used these tiles for all the building bases, which gives me great city blocks with curbs. My only word of warning is that they’re a bit soft and will bend over time if you leave part of them hanging ou over an edge. You need room to store them flat.

The tile’s a bit porous, but I hit it with sandpaper to give it a bit more texture for the glue to grab. Then I measured to find the exact center. This let me place the Monolith and line up the corners how I wanted them. I used some superglue on the bottom section, the oversized bastion tabs, and also on the bottom tabs of the front and back doors. A few books on top kept it all in place while it dried.

This is Important - You still don’t want to glue the sides. Leave them as two flaps for now (hinged at the top) so you can reach inside when we’re doing detail work in a bit.

While this was drying Under the Dome, I decided to cut out the rings for the top. Usually I’d save this kind of detail for the end, but once the bastion tops are in place there isn’t going to be as much room to work. I also decided I wouldn’t be doing actual rings but large circles to give it more of a “capstone” look which fit with the idea of an awakened (not active) Monolith . It would also make it easier to position models up there during a game.

This is Important - It wasn’t until this stage that I discovered a major flaw with goyo2303's template (available over at Paperhammer 40K). Somehow, while creating his/her PDF, the images got distorted. If you look carefully at the rings on page 11, you’ll see they’re oval, not circular. It’s a difference of about 1/8” altogether. Because of this, alas, I’d now recommend against trying to build an actual Monolith with this template, as it currently exists. I think the oversized parts and distortions may cause too many issues. If you don't mind a challenge or a somewhat distorted final Monolith (again, Doomsday Monolith), go for it.

I went through the cupboards and found a spice jar with a 1 3/4” lid so I could trace new circles. The four circles were stacked, glued, and trimmed with a hobby knife where needed. Then I cut out four small rectangles (3/16” x 1/4”) to represent the brackets that would normally be holding the Necron power matrix/ big green jewel over the rings. I made the rectangles a bit long so a careful score of 1/16” will let you wrap them around the edges of the ring. These got set around the circle at the cardinal points (the lines on the cutting mat are great for this). Once this was dry, I glued the whole disc on top of the Monolith.

Next was those small bastion tops I just mentioned. Normally these would surround the power matrix. For this scenery piece, they’d be cover for anyone on top and a bit of detail. You’re going to need to add your own tabs to these as well, and space is tight on the template so pick carefully.

Helpful Hint - The top bastions have long oval sections to cut out. On the actual model, green plastic rods would go here. By lucky break, these ovals are almost exactly 1/8” wide. You can take a minute, line up your 1/8” hole punch, and get perfectly rounded ends. Then just use a hobby knife and a straight edge to cut out the section between the two holes. As always, it’ll go much easier if you do this fine detail work before cutting the whole piece out of your sheet of cardstock.

Fitting these together is a bit of a pain, and it’s going to take a lot of holding. Try to put them together just like the larger bastions. Glue and clamp one side. Once that’s done, glue the other edges and use your hands to keep them together and square.

Once these were dry, I glued them in place. Note that they don’t sit in the back corner. Each of these should sit near the center of their respective bastion. Another book went on top to hold these down and make sure they dried solid. Keep in mind, you want to use something lighter than a 1500 page Stephen King opus this time around.

Now for the most time-consuming part of the process--the armor plates. On the plus side, goyo2303 included every piece on the templates, so you won’t need to run off a single extra sheet. It may look a bit intimidating at first, but this is actually set out very nice and easy. There are three layers of armor. All the pieces for the first level are marked 1. Once they’re all glued down, move on to the pieces marked 2 (the second layer), and finally the ones marked 3. Take your time and make clean cuts. If your hobby knife’s getting a bit dull, this might be a good time to change the blade so you’re not tearing the edges. When you’re done, you’ll have a very detailed, layered look to your Monolith.

If you peeled off all the templates at this point (like I did), just open the document on your computer and use it as a guide. There are four identical panels, and then the adjoining panel mirrors the others. This means half your plates are going to be flipped over to show the other side of the card if you’re using cereal boxes. You’ll only need to follow the template once and then you should be able to do everything else off that. I’d also suggest assembling the armor on corners, not sides. It’ll be more obvious if things don’t match up at edges, not so much across one of the sides.

Helpful Hint - When you’re doing all the large plates from pages 8 through 10 (and a bit of 7), remember that this scenery piece doesn’t use the bottom section of the Monolith. A lot of these pieces will need to be cut in half at what would normally be crease lines. This is most of the second and third layer. Make sure you throw away the right half (all of the plates are printed right-side-up, for the record).

There’s some details for the back, too. One is the back plate section on page 11, which is pretty straightforward. Alas, the rings for the back are skewed oval, just like the ones for the top. I ended up using a half-dollar coin (1 1/4”) and a quarter (1”) to trace two circles. Again, I’m going for the implication more than actual detail.

The Monolith portal cover normally has some Necron symbols all over it with an elongated skull in the center. There are templates in the set for all the symbols if you want to use them, but I like the idea of the Monolith becoming more detailed as it awakens, as if some of these symbols are rising up to the surface of the living metal. I wanted to imply the skull was only half-formed. I used a disk from a 1/4” hole punch and cut two small triangles out of it. Then I trimmed a tiny bit off one of the pointy edges to give it a slightly more rounded look. I didn’t do it, but if someone felt really daring, you could use a 1/16” punch to put two eyes in it.

Now, an active Monolith has three arches/ buttresses/ arms stretching up to flank the power matrix on each side. These arms are in goyo2303’s templates, but they’re probably the most complex part of the whole model. I decided not to build them because the Monolith is supposed to be more scenery than active. Plus, to be honest, if I couldn’t do them how they were in the game, half folded over, I know I’d get frustrated.

But what to put on the sides? I wanted to imply the arms if nothing else, even if this was supposed to be a barely-awakened Necron structure. So I came up with this...

Cut twelve strips of card, measuring 6 1/2” long by 1/4” wide. Make these as sharp and clean as possible. Measure the height of your sides to your base. Mine came out at about 3 3/4” inches from the top along the side to the base. Take the long strips and score them at 3 3/4” (or whatever yours measured out at). Run these strips down the side and out onto the base as shown in the picture. Once the first six are in place, double them up so each “arm” is two strips thick. There are a few more detail pieces on the template you could add on here if you wanted.

At this point, the model itself was pretty much done. I decided to do some quick patches on a few of the edges where armor plates didn’t line up perfectly. They just helped hide gaps and keep the clean lines of the Monolith.

Helpful Hint-- If you need to do a patch on a paperhammer project, just use white paper. Cut it to size, make any creases you need, and glue it in place with a generous helping of white glue. It’s not structural, but it’s more than sturdy enough for painting and general use.

For a while I considered placing four obelisks around the Monolith, just like in Dawn of War. They’d look cool and they’d be easy to make. In the end, though, I decided they’d be too fragile and easy to break off the base, especially out at the edge where they’d be placed. Instead, I decided to cut down the base a bit. I didn’t want to reshape it drastically, but the solid square base seemed a bit off for what was still an ancient ruin, and an alien one at that.

This is Important - The tile base is resilient and a hobby knife isn’t going to cut it. You need to use an actual tile knife or a matte knife at the very least. On the off chance you’re under twelve and you’re trying this project, ask someone for help with this part. Dad, Mom, or your older brother or sister. This is very tough material and its easy for the knife to slip and hurt you (said as someone whose right thumb has a lot of scar tissue in it). Make three or four shallow passes rather than trying to go through the whole thing at once. If you get halfway through, you can probably even get it to snap off with a clean edge.

I painted superglue across the base with a wide toothpick and covered the whole thing with coarse sand. Not special modeling sand, just some sand I found outside that had a nice grit. There were a few small stones in it, too, which just add to the texture. I made sure to get some of the glue up into the corners, as well, as if the sand had drifted there over the eons. If you have a few spare Necron parts (heads, torsos, arms, scarabs), this would be a good place to add them, half-buried in the sand. Depending on what kind of scenery you and your friends have, you might opt for some trees or grass here, instead (although I’d make it withered, brown grass if it was me).

One other option here (which I did not do) would be to hit the whole model with textured paint. You can buy it spray cans for six or seven dollars. It would give the entire thing a very rough, raw look, as if it had been sitting here for so long it was eroding. If you decided to do this, you could probably skip the whole armored plates step and paint it in slightly more natural colors. The result would give you something even more ominous as it would suggest a Monolith rather than clearly showing one.

I primed the model black, using several light coats over one or two heavy ones. Any places that needed it got touched up with Chaos Black. I also used a bit of Dark Angels Green, so you can just catch a hint of color here and there. It’s as if the systems are just starting to power up.

And there you have it. Suitable for any tombworld... or a centerpiece for the unfortunate Imperial colony that chose their site poorly.


  1. Awesome. Revival starting early, I see! Hope the projected (rumored) re-release dates are correct, and the new 'Crons codex will be out later this year!


  2. You and me both, Bladebaka. My silver skeletons have been getting way too dusty. :)