But that’s a debate for a different forum...
Anyway, as I browsed through the various paperhammer templates I’ve accumulated, there was a pretty nice one for the Necron Monolith. It’s available for download over at the Paperhammer 40K website. Alas, the gent or lady who designed it doesn’t give their name, but there’s a firstname.lastname@example.org mentioned on the plans. If you know who that is, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.
This Is Important - goyo2303 made a pretty good template, but it’s a tiny bit oversized. This Monolith would be about an inch taller than a GW model (a huge difference at this scale). To complicate things there’s a scale bar on the templates that doesn’t seem to match up to anything. Maybe it’s cubits or something. Anyway, I’d say the template needs to be shrunk somewhere around 8-10% if you want to make an “authentic” Monolith. Or just leave it this tiny bit bigger and say it’s a Doomsday Monolith for Apocalypse.
However, I just wasn’t sure I wanted to make a cardstock Monolith. Not until I got distracted from work for a bit by going back to Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, anyway. On the off chance you’re one of the seven or eight Warhammer 40,000 fans who haven’t played the game, the Monolith begins as a mostly-buried ruin. As the action progresses and the Necrons advance up their tech-tree, it awakens, rises up, and restores itself until you have a fully-functional death machine teleporting around the battlefield.
Wouldn’t that make an interesting scenery piece? A partly-restored, awakened Monolith still half-buried in the sand, maybe so ancient it’s coated with dirt and dust.
I thought it would.
So, easy first step. You’ll need to draw some tabs on some of these pieces to make assembly easier. Since so much of this is interior structure, I decided to put as many tabs as possible on interior pieces and leave the exterior sections clean.
The big chunk of the templates are the four corner bastion sections, located on page one and two of the document. Each of these includes what would be the sloped underside of the Monolith. Since this is going to be half-buried, that seemed like a perfect point to cut them.
Helpful Hint - Only cut off one of the two lower sections on each bastion piece. If you look at the template, only one half is marked for armor placement. Cut off the lower half on all four of the blank halves. Now you can bend the remaining lower section back and it’s just become one huge tab to glue this piece onto a base.
You also need to cut off the bottom half of the bastion backing. Just draw a line across, corner to corner, and remove the lower section.
It’s kind of early on, but you need to make a decision before you start gluing. There’s a port at each corner of the Monolith on the bastion front sections where the gauss flux arc projectors would go, that three-barreled gun that hits everything. What should be here on an only-just awakened model? A blank face? An empty port? I decided to go with a recessed armor plate. Cut out the opening as cleanly as you can and make sure you save the piece. Then use it to trace a slightly bigger piece. Glue this to the back/ inside of the bastion, so it’s covering the hole. From the outside, it’ll be a recessed section. When I add on armor plates later, it’ll look even deeper-set.
When you start to glue these sections, I’ve found it’s best to first glue the tops down on the bastion fronts. Once the front sections are dry, glue half of the back in place (one edge and the top). You only want to do one half so you can make sure it glues tight. Unless you’ve got some very long clamps, you’re going to have to hold the edge up by that port I just mentioned. Clamp where you can, hold where you can’t, and make sure this side is dry and solid before you move on.
Helpful Hint - Make sure you’ve got a good, deep fold on the front and back sides of the bastions before you start gluing. If you don’t, it’ll pull the bastion out of square and you’ll be wrestling with it forever.
Once all four of these assemblies are dry, glue the other edge. You’re going to have to be pretty hands-on with this step, too. Glue it and use your hands to hold it in place so the seams are clean and tight. You want to check inside and make sure your tabs are down flat, too, and not hanging in the air above most of the glue. Reach inside with a pencil or sculpting tool and press the tabs down if you have to.
So, now you should have all four bastions done. If you push them together they should make a solid pyramid with a flat top (think Aztec Necrons). This is also a nice test to make sure you got everything squared off--just see how well it all fits together.
Time to connect them with the bottom. This piece was cut so it had tabs in each notch where a bastion would fit in. Then I set the bottom flat on the ground and glued it there. The front section is also a bit longer, but don’t worry abut that. This piece is more for stability and structural integrity than anything else. I set a book on top of it while it dried to keep everything square and in place.
Cut out the front, back, and two side pieces. Make sure you leave tabs on the top of all of them, and on the bottoms of the front and back. Remember, this scenery piece is only the top half of the Monolith, so you can ignore the bottom section of the templates for the back and sides.
The front was a major departure, because goyo2303 designed this model to have an opening portal. just like on the GW Monolith. On the templates you’ll see there’s a rectangular piece on page 5 marked “Front Top Half/ Portal Doorway.” It’s got a thin strip in the middle where you’d fold it to create a recessed portal. Cut this piece out, but ignore that rectangle. Then measure and cut so you’ve got a piece just like the sides.
The other part of this is the portal cover. Cut out the rectangular emblem in the center, but make it as clean as possible. Once you’ve got it free, cut along the long “sun” lines. You don’t want to cut the emblem apart, but you want your cuts to be distinctive.
Now cut our the main body of the cover. Trim off the edge pieces that would normally give it depth and let it move. Glue the cover onto the front section, then glue the emblem back in place. The end result should look like a faded bit of carving on the door.
Helpful Hint - When you build full-scale scenery for stage and films, there’s a simple thing called a hog-trough. It’s just two long boards fastened together at a right angle. The right angle forces the long boards to be rigid. You can do the same thing with paperhammer models. Cut a few strips of cardstock an inch or so wide, score them down the middle, and fold them. Then glue them behind a wide surface you think might bow or warp (say, the four sides of the Monolith). Let these sit until they’re completely dry, because if there’s any play in the glue they’ll just pull themselves out of line again.
Cut out the top so it has tabs in each notch where a bastion would fit in, just like the bottom. Then glue the front, back and sides to the top piece. Make sure you’ve got them all in the right positions.
While the top assembly was drying I built a real simple support for the inside of the Monolith. It’s a scenery piece, after all, so at point someone’s going to drop a big chunk of metal on it like a Mega-armored Ork, a Krootbeast, or a Chaos Dreadnaught. I measured the inside height (3 9/16” on my model) and cut a wide card that height. This got cut in half, and then each half got cut halfway down the middle. Slide them together and it’s a nice X-column. I reinforced it with a few quick scabs.
You may also want to mark the inside planes of the bastions so you know the correct height to position the top all around the model. When you glue the top in place, the sides should line up parallel to the outside edges of the bastions. Once this assembly was in position, I set the books back on top of it to keep it square and flat and left the whole thing to dry.
As a scenery piece, the bulk of this is done. Next time I’ll do a bunch of detail work, some basing, and paint it.