The Baneblade, Pt III

Many thanks to all of you who voted in the Preditors & Editors poll. It is appreciated.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled super-heavy war machine.

So, all the major sections are done on the Baneblade. There’s just one big challenge left, and it was going to be a bit time-consuming. This is my only real complaint with Jeff Vaughan's models. They are absolutely fantastic in almost every respect, but...

He never does treads.

The Baneblade templates have the tread guards and the wheels, but no instruction on how to put treads between them. There's a suggestion of how far apart they should be, but that's it. Sooooooo... you need to figure out one of the most visible elements of the tank on your own.

Fortunately, I did it for you. And really, Mr Vaughn left us all the details.

If you hop to page 10 (DWG-BB-210) there’s a front and side view of the finished model to help with construction. You’ll notice that in this picture, the Baneblade does have treads. So here’s what we’re going to do.

The picture’s at 75%, so it needs to get expanded back to a normal 100%. All we need is the treads and tread guards, so feel free to trim off the turret and the fuel tanks. If you want to save some paper, you can also double up so you’ve got a left and right side on one page. You’ll probably get a little bleed into the margins, but not enough to cause problems. You can double check the size against the tread guards you’ve already built.

And if you’re really lucky, someone already did this in Photoshop and will be sending the file Baneblade Treads to Paperhammer.com so it can be posted there. Once said person figures out how to make a PDF that doesn’t lose scale...


Print out four copies of this. The image extends slightly out past most printers' range, so you’ll probably need to clean up any edges so the template has complete ends. Now go through with a pencil and extend the treads “into” the tread guard. This doesn’t need to be exact. As long as you more or less match that red outline over there, you’ll be fine. Do this on both images on all four sheets.

Cut out these tread outlines. You probably want to mark them as left and right sides, just to save yourself potential headaches later. Unless something’s gone horribly wrong, you should end up with four left sides and four right.

Take two of each (left and right) and put them aside. These will be your bases, and they’re done now. Take the other two and extend the wheel outlines on each one to a full circle. On page six (DWG-BB-206) there are the actual wheel sizes and outlines. They’re almost exactly the size of a quarter and a nickel if you’re careful tracing. You may want to try a penny instead of a nickel unless you want to sharpen your pencil constantly.

(foreign readers I apologize-- if someone wants to mail me a bunch of Euro coins I can try to include those in the future).

Cut out these wheel outlines and the “frame” that they’re on. Extend the frame up along the top edge, too. It’ll make things easier in the long run. I’m going to call these the wheel frames.

You’re also going to need 32 small wheels and eight large ones. By this point in the project you should have enough scrap cardboard it shouldn’t be that big a deal. Use either the template or the coins, throw on an episode of Chuck or Archer, and start cutting.

If you’re really insane (I’m not, but I’m tossing it out there for those of you that are) you could mark the center of each wheel and punch it out with the 1/4” or 1/8” hole punch. It’ll probably take a few tries, so I’d make extra wheels if you decide to go this route.

Okay, now take a base and a wheel frame (both left or both right--make sure they match). Line them up and glue. Wrap them in wax paper and leave them under something heavy, or maybe even a few heavy things. I recommend Stephen King’s Under the Dome, Dan Simmons’s Drood, or both.

Helpful Hint -- One of the downsides to white glue is it contracts when it dries, so larger projects with a lot of surface area (like this) will ripple and bend very easily while the glue dries. You want these very flat. It takes a bit more time, but leave them under the books for two or three hours, until they dry completely.

Once you’ve got all of those done, you should have a left and right side for each set of treads. Attach the wheels and also add a strip along the top edge. That strip is a spacer which will make sure things sit square when this gets assembed and put into the tread guards. Wrap the sides in wax paper and press them under a few more big books again. Double-check before you put the weight on that nothing’s slid or shifted. You don’t want to be gluing things in the wrong place.

Time for some extra detail. Use a 1/4” hole punch to make small hubs on the wheels. They may look a bit oversized now, but remember that most of this is going to end up under the tread guards. You can also use the 1/16” punch to add some rivets. Again, most of this is going to get hidden, so don’t put anything above the height of the wheels.

Now, cut a few long strips of card that measure 1 3/16” wide. The final goal is two pieces, each in the range of 15” long. Unless you’ve got some gigantic cereal boxes, there’s a good chance you’ll need to graft two strips together.

This is Important - When you scab these two pieces together, do it at the center. The center of this strip is going to be the underside of the treads--beneath the tank-- and you want to end up with any irregularity out of sight. So graft two eight inch pieces together at the center.

Go out about three inches from each center. You want to mark off a section 5 15/16” long. This is the base of each tread. Score these lines. To the front, mark off another section 2 1/4”. To the rear, mark off 1 5/8”. Do not score these last two sections. Again, the only score marks should be at the two ends of the base.

Now, from the smaller sections on either end, you want to curl the cardstock around your hobby knife, a magic marker, or something in that size range. You want the card to have a good curl to it. Remember, this curl should be past the front and back sections you marked out.

Cut out a few more long strips of card 1 3/8” wide. Start cutting these strips into 3/8” lengths. These are going to be the treads, and we’re going to make them double-thick, so you’re going to need a lot of them. Start cutting now. Stop in a few days.

Alas, this has eaten up a lot more time than I though it would. And the last of my glue. I need to make this a stopping point for now, but next week we’ll get the treads all together and do a bit more work on the hull.


The Baneblade, Pt II

So, I wanted to concentrate on the hull this time around.

I’ve already got the bottom hull section cut out, so the next step is the front hull. It’s the one labeled DWG-BB-205. This is a tricky piece because the front of the Baneblade has that “shelf” next to the Demolisher cannon where the heavy bolter turret sits. Some of these lines need to be scored on the opposite side so they bend the other way. The lines in red are the ones that need to fold “backwards.”

Helpful Hint - Be careful when you’re planning out tabs. Because of this multi-directional folding, some of the tabs will have to bend in different directions, too. Don’t just bend them by brute force--take the time to score them properly. If you don’t it’s going to lead to messy edges.

When I started clipping this together, I focused on the shelf area. Make sure you get these edges good and tight. This area is going to be one of the main focus points of the model. If you’ve got gaps or uneven edges, everyone who looks at the model is going to see them. It’s like those dreams of going to school in your underwear where you tell yourself no one will notice if you just act naturally--but you know it’s not really going to work. This is a very visible section. Take your time with this part and make sure it’s nice and clean.

Once this is dry (or earlier if you’ve got enough clothespins), you can attach the front hull to the bottom hull. Hopefully you cut out a nice big tab at the D line (marked as such on the template). Clip it in place and give it lots of time to dry.

The next piece is also a bit complex. It’s the main turret base on page four of this template (DWG-BB-204). There’s a lot of angles here, so you need to be precise. First though...

This Is Important - There is a simple mistake on the template This piece is inside-out. If you build it as-is, you’re going to end up with the mirror of the piece you need. This is one of the times that Vaughn’s simpler style pays off, because it’s very easy to reverse. You can put it up to a window and re-trace it or just flip over the cut-out piece and use the template to connect the points and angles on the opposite side. Heck, if you’re better than I am with Photoshop (not too hard) you could just mirror the template page when you print it out. Make sure you do this before assembling the turret base or you’re just going to get angry.

I made sure this piece had big tabs around the edge to attach to the top. Because of all the angles where the sides slope in, I decided to start on either side and make sure those were solid before sealing the whole thing up. Again, this is that front-top center-of-attention area, so take your time and make it look nice.

Helpful Hint - It was a pain trying to get clothespins into those small angled spaces. Then I realized I didn’t need to. Push the sides into position and then use the clothespins on the tabs you added. They’ll keep the whole thing pulled together, plus you don’t have the headache of having to put them right on a glued spot.

Once you’ve got those sides clipped, hang on before doing anything else. Again, do not finish assembling the turret base. Before we go any further in building the hull, there’s another big decision to make. This one’s going to decide how much work you do this week.

As Mr. Vaughn has designed his template, there’s no mechanism to allow the main turret to rotate. It’s just another construct at the top of the hull. I’m going to toss out a few ideas and show you how to do the one I picked.

First (and easiest) is don’t worry about it. Games Workshop has often said in their rules and FAQs that if it looks like a piece should be able to rotate, it should be treated as such. Unless the people you game with are complete powergamers determined to tweak and nitpick every rule so they can win, having a solid turret shouldn’t be a problem. Just finish assembling the base, glue the turret in place, and call it good.

Second (and just as easy) is not to attach the turret at all. Add a bit of weight into it so it sits well on the assembled base and turn it (or remove it) at your leisure. This could lead to some arguments about measurement, however, since your turret won’t have a fixed “home” position. It’s large enough that a shift of an inch or so might not even be noticeable. And we all know how much one inch can change the game.

Third is magnets. Yep, magnets. All the cool kids are using them. Put one in the turret, one in the base, and now you’ve got the best of both worlds. If you go this route, triple check the polarity of the magnets before you glue them in place.

Last is the basic post-in-the-socket method that most Games Workshop models work off themselves. I’m going to build a simple axis post for the main turret to turn on. In fact, as I get to them, I’ll be doing this for all the turrets. What this means for now is that I need to put a socket in the turret base. To help with placement, I want to jump ahead and assemble the turret. You’ll see why in a moment

The turret (DWG-BB-209) looks a bit intimidating. This is because the exploded view makes it hard to pin down what’s what, and it is slightly counter-intuitive. The center of the template is the rear of the turret section. The slightly-curved front where the Baneblade cannon will mount is marked in red.

I started pulling this piece together at the back and working forward. I glued the four corners of the rear section first and let them sit. Then the two “side flaps” that come down from the top of the template. And then, again, we’re going to pause before going any further.

So, to figure out where to place the socket, I used two methods. First was (heaven forbid) researching the facts. On the older model Baneblade, the socket rested off-center in the turret base (right about where the large red circle sits in the diagram). Also, we can tell from the pictures in the template (DWG-BB-212) that the turret should sit mostly in front of the A edge of the base. So placing the mostly-constructed turret lets me see where its point of rotation should be. With all this in mind, I’m going to cut my socket right about where the X is.

I say “about” because you can be a bit loose here. For now, just cut a hole about an inch across, centered around that X. It can even be a little messy (I got it started using my hole punch). Then I looked through and cut another hole out the bottom of the base. Again, I’m not worried about being too precise. It’ll all make sense in a little while when we mount the turret in two weeks.

Once you’ve got that done, you want to attach the turret base to the hull assembly. This is the best time to do this and make sure the hull as a whole is nice and solid. Line up the A and B edges on each piece and clamp it. Let this dry for a good long while.

While it’s drying, cut some strips of cardstock about 11/16” wide. Fold each of these two or three times to be your consummate V’s inside the turret base. They’ll keep it nice and solid when dreadnaughts, carnifexes, and demon princes try to pound on it. Keep them clear of the socket, too.

I also cut out the armor plates for the turret base. Then I numbered each of them and the corresponding spot on the hull where they go, just so I could keep them straight. Note that there isn’t an armor plate for the backside, where tab C is going to attach. That side is going to get covered by the rear hull section when the tank gets assembled in a little bit.

Now glue edge C in place. This one will be a little tricky because the place you want to put pressure is in the back of the turret base. It’s going to be nigh-impossible to clamp this, so you’re just going to have to hold it until it dries. Just make sure you do this as Fringe or a Deep Space Nine rerun is coming on or something and you’ll be fine.

Once C is dry, seal up the turret base. Start at the back and work your way forward. As I’ve said before, take your time. This is going to be a high-attention area, so you want it to look good. Don’t forget you can reach in through those two socket holes to press tabs down if you need to (as long as your Consummate V’s aren’t in the way).

Helpful Hint - At this point you can use the tread guards if you need to set the hull assembly down. They’re the right height and width to hold everything up (naturally), so use them if you must.

That’s it for this week, but as you can see we’ve got something that is recognizably Baneblade-ish now. Next week, I’m going to tackle the most intimidating part of any tank. The part that grinds you into the muck.

By the way, there’s a new anthology of the month up, too. It’s Timelines from Northern Frights Publishing, a baker’s dozen of time travel stories that all tie back to H.G. Wells The Time Machine. Some are very direct links to that classic, others are much more tenuous. There is one damn fine, creepy story from J.W. Schnarr and John Sunseri (who Brian Keene recently named one of his favorite authors of 2010). And, yeah, I’ve got one in there, too.


The Baneblade, Pt I

Hullo, there. Some of you may remember me. I’m the guy who used to post here every week or so until he had to go finish a book. I’m back now

And so, with that long absence awkwardly glossed over...

I’ve been thinking about a Baneblade for a while now. And let’s face it--why not? It’s big, it’s heavily armored, it has tons of guns, and there’s about half a dozen armies that can justifiably use it (or some variation of it).

I’ve seen one or two different templates floating around, but I found myself drawn to the one by Jeff Vaughn (sometimes working under the name jsvironfurnace or Magos JSV) that’s available over at Paperhammer.com. Mr. Vaughn’s the same guy who designed the Malcador that I built a year ago. While there are a few small issues that come up with his stuff (we’ll get to them eventually) I think the overall simplicity of his designs make them a lot easier to work with (as we’ll also get to).

To be very clear, this is not a Paperhammer version of the current plastic Baneblade (based in turn off the latest Forge World resin model). This is the older, squatter tank from a few years back. Check out the Chapter Approved book that has the vehicle design rules, and you’ll see a picture of the chunkier, slightly taller Baneblade. It’s got two big fuel barrels on the back instead of four smaller ones. If you’re not going to be happy with anything but the current version, I’m afraid you’re out of luck.

On the plus side, all you need is 2000 deposit bottles to pay for one of those.

So, first up, you probably want to print two copies of this template. There’s a few multiple items and some detail stuff that will be much easier to do if you have extra copies available.

I began with the rear hull. It’s a big piece that goes together easy. Don’t forget to add a few tabs to aid with the construction so edges can join solidly. Keep in mind you’ll also need tabs so this can eventually be joined to the main hull.

Helpful Hint - whenever you’re adding tabs to a template, always join smaller to larger. If you’ve got a small section attaching to a big one, put the tab on the small one. That way the tab can be as big as you need to fit “inside” the larger section. Bigger tab = more secure tab. If you go large to small, you’ll have to use tiny tabs which just won’t be able to hold as well.

I used clothespins to fasten each joint and gave it plenty of time to dry. This thing’s so big, each joint is going to hold a lot of weight (relatively speaking). So I used large tabs, didn’t skimp on the glue, and clamped every join for at least twenty minutes.

Next I moved on to the two track guards. These go together very nice, but there’s a few details and decisions you need to take care of before assembly. You could probably do some of them once the guards are assembled, but it’ll be a pain.

Helpful Hint - You’ll notice on the track guard templates instructions to score the plasticard. This is to give a bit of detail and the illusion of armored plates. The best way to do this is with an old ball-point pen. Just bear down hard and trace the lines--the metal pen tip will leave a faint groove in the cardstock, and that’s all you want. I’d even take it a bit further and extend some of those score lines, perhaps even add one (like I did here with the red lines). Once these grooves get rivets on either side of them, it’ll really add to the illusion of a constructed vehicle.

This Is Important - Because I’m using card, not plastic, it’s very important to note the difference between actual score lines (for folding) and lines where you just want to leave a groove. Make sure you’ve got them clear. If not, you could end up with either ugly folds or a weakened panel. All the red lines I added are just for grooves.

It’s also important at this point to decide if you’re going for the full-armored option, or if you’re going to go for double sponsons on each side. You could also model one of those side hatches open, if you wanted. There’s a couple possibilites here, but you want to make the choice before you start assembling things.

Put a few tabs on the front and back top and use some clothespins to clamp them together. Make an effort to get these angles as square as possible. When we start building treads in a week or two, it’ll make things much easier.

Now, use your second set of templates to cut out some of the detail pieces. The armor plates, the mounting for the sponson, and the double-layered hatch--or whatever combination of them you’re going to be using (you may need a extra set of the templates depending on what you’re doing). If you did decide to model the hatch open, you’ve got a chance here to do some clever stuff with the pieces. For the record, I’m not sure the two angled front pieces are symmetrical/ interchangeable, so make sure you actually cut them out individually.

Also, the template makes a distinction here between different thicknesses of card for different details. If you care, I cut all my details out of the same material (frozen pizza boxes, to be exact) and I think it all came out fine.

The real challenge is lining things up. In order to glue down the details, you have to peel off the paper template that marks where all the detail goes. In the past I used two sides to mirror each other, then using one for the guide of the other. This time around I was very careful when I peeled off the templates and was able to put down some marks for myself to work off.

Once those were done I cut out the bottom hull section with tabs on it. You’ll want to add tabs to the front and back, to connect to the front and upper hull, respectively. You also want tabs on the sides so the assembled hull can eventually connect to the track guards. Don’t be scared to go big on these tabs. They’ll be carrying a lot of weight once this behemoth’s all together. I also marked them clearly (Vaughn has them down as C and D in his diagrams).

So, not a bad start for the first day back. Doesn’t look like much, but that’s almost Next time I’m going to work on the hull and maybe get to the turret. Hopefully I can get this whole thing built in just a few weeks.

Many thanks for your patience and ongoing support.