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.

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