The Defiler

The Defiler is such a cool model. The first 100% Chaos-only tank. As such, it struck me as odd that there were so few templates floating around for it. I dug around and finally found a nice one at the BWC Archive 2, and the same one has since shown up at Paperhammer 40K, too. It was created by someone using the title lustandtorment (hey, I didn’t pick the name), and if any of you know who that is, please drop a note in the comments section so I can give credit where credit is due.

I was a bit torn about which army to make a Defiler for, though. I’d toyed with the idea of doing an all-paper Iron Warriors army, but that’s still a ways in the future. The Worldeaters could be good. I already made them that nice Mk. I Land Raider after all. But I also thought paperhammer could loan itself well to Nurgle, as it did with the Plague Tower.

In the end, because I’m a glutton for punishment, I decided to build two. One for Khorne, one for Nurgle. That’d let me show off weapons options here on the blog, too.

Helpful Hint -- If you decide to download this one over at Paperhammer 40K, you may have a moment of panic. The PDF opens with some very scrawled assembly instructions at the start that made me groan, too. Don’t worry. Skim past them, the template itself is fine.

One thing to note is that there aren’t any tabs on this one, and there will be a lot of overlapping if you’re not careful. However lustandtorment has made a pretty solid template without overcomplicating it, so it won’t take much work to place a few good gluing points here and there.

The first thing I cut out and assembled was the chassis. It looks a bit complex but fits together very nice. I glued it front to back first, let that dry, and then slid in one side. While that was drying, I cut a long strip of card about 1/4” wide and made some of those consummate V’s I’ve mentioned before. This made the chassis very solid and weight-supporting. Then the other side got glued and pushed into place. The chassis is a bit odd-shaped, so you’ll want to hold it until it dries, just so nothing slides out of position. That left the two flaps at the front, but they closed up with no problem.

So, with the chassis done for each Defiler, I decided to move on to the legs. They’re labeled (by letter) on the template, but I’d suggest actually marking the letter right on each individual piece. There’s a lot of sections here (more so since I’m building two of them), and there’s a few tricks and tweaks I’ve found for each one. I’ll go through them one at a time and explain. I’d label each of these a Helpful Hint but that would just get annoying fast, so hopefully it caught your attention just then.

First up is A. This is going to be the shoulder/ hip piece on all six limbs. Now, there’s debatable flaw in this part of the template. You’ll notice at the top of the A pieces there’s a square panel to fold over and give you a solid end. Thing is... you don’t want a solid end here. This hip/shoulder piece is eventually going to get attached to a wooden ball, so you want a space for the ball to fit into. When you assemble this section, fold the square panel down flat inside the arm. When you clamp your tab, you’ll end up holding it flat as a side-effect. Make sure you don’t confuse this square panel with the small flap on the other end--that one’s important

The B section is the middle of the front arms. It’s very important that you put tabs on the two long ends. These are going to bend around the curve and they’re going to need a tab so they’ve got something to grab with. Bend those end sections gently around your hobby knife before you start scoring and folding. Again, be gentle--you want the card to bend, not fold. Don’t worry if it’s not 100 flush with the curves once it's assembled. When the model’s done, these ends are going to be hidden inside the other sections.

Section C has a problem, but it’s an easy one to fix. This is the last section of the forward arms, where the big front claws attach. Problem is, unlike B or D, it doesn’t have an end piece to attach those claws to. It’s easy to make one, though. Just cut a strip of card 2 1/2” long and a hair under 1/2” wide (go for something like 7/16” if you need an exact measurement). Bend it gently around your hobby knife at the center. Once it’s got a curve to it, glue the sides and slide it into the end of C that does not have a little flap on it (like with A, the little flap is important). Try to make it line up with the curves on either side. If you have to, you can use a pencil to push it out slightly from the other end. Like on B, don’t worry if it’s not 100 flush with the curves--the claws will hide most of it once they’re attached.

Last but not least is D. These are going to be the Defiler’s four back legs. They go together almost exactly like the B sections.

Helpful Hint -- If you’re having a lot of trouble with getting the pieces to curve on B and D, you could just cut that whole section off and use the method I did to create the curve for section C.

Next is the torso, which is a bit trickier, but not much. On the template, you’ll see two large circles on either side of the torso. These are the “shoulders” that the weapons and close combat arms mount on. For now, ignore those circles and just cut along the straight lines (straight through the circles). Just like the chassis, I glued this section front-to-back first. In a rare move, I also decided to glue this tab on the outside of the body. It made things line up better, and it also gave a tiny bit of texture to this pretty blank section.

This is Important - When you add tabs to this piece, make sure that you score the front-to-back tab so it bends the other way. The Defiler’s back dips in right at the join. You don’t want to have to wrestle with this or re-cut it.

Once the front-to-back join was dry, I folded in the side tabs and slid each side into place. Because of all the angles, you may need to hold this for a few beats to make sure everything stays tight. If you end up with faint gaps or something that went in too far, don’t worry. The shoulders will help hide a lot of that.

Using one of new dollar coins (which I think are the same size as a Euro, but I’m not 100% on that...), trace and cut out three card circles for each shoulder. They should be just over an inch (about 1 1/16” if you want specifics again). You can glue these together so each shoulders is three circles thick, but do not attach them yet.

At this point the only thing left is the waist. It’s just a simple rectangle of cardboard on the templates. Put a tab at one end, then gently wrap the whole thing around your hobby knife to give it a good curve from end to end. Once you’ve got that, glue it and clamp it. I’ll be doing a lot more with the waist joint next time around.

At this point, believe it or not, all of the time-intensive stuff is done except for the claws. Next time I’ll build those, make some weapons, and start assembling.


  1. I've been wanting to build this, but since it's a beta build I've been waiting for someone else to give it a go first. Looks good so far.

  2. I'd been waiting, too, but since this was four years old it seemed like Beta was as good as it was going to get. So I guess I'm the final stage now. :)

    In all fairness to lustandtorment (whoever he/she/they are), it's actually a very solid template as is. I've got some details and weapons I'll be adding to it for the third and fourth posts, but this really is great as it is. It's a perfect balance between far too simplistic and way too overcomplicated.

  3. Please provide a link to the template I can't find it. (Direct link not just to main page)

  4. Hey, Ivollic. If you're not logged in to Paperhammer.Com you can't see the downloads. That's why I just use the default link to the main page.

    Once you're logged in, the template is in the Chaos Space Marines/ Vehicles folder right here...


    Hope that helps.