Again, I want to apologize for the long delay between posts. If I was making a living off this, I’d be here much more often. Plus, the sheer amount of stuff I’m scratch-building in this one makes it a bit tiring—not quite what I want to relax with at the end of the night.
One last bit of shameless plugging, though...
My third novel, Ex-Patriots, is now out from Permuted Press in both paper and ebook formats, available pretty much anywhere fine books are sold. Mysterious Galaxy, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Bord... well, okay, not Borders. But I got to see Ex-Heroes there a few times, at least. Please feel free to pick up a copy so I make money and have more free time to work on toy soldiers and the like.
And one last plug for Atomic Warlords, a fun, more low-key 40K site run by my friend Marc about or gaming group. Check it out and you can see the first test run of the Doomsday Device I built last year. Almost everyone died, so I guess it was a success...
Told you it was shameless.
Anyway, where were we?
Right. Most of the main hull components are done. Time for weapons, yes?
Now, some of you probably have a pile of spare heavy weapons in your personal bitz bins. Imperial Guard heavy weapon sets give you piles of lascannons, autocannons, and heavy bolters. So do most of the tank models. Heck, if you bought one of the new Leman Russ models, there’s a chance you’ve got a Demolisher cannon sitting around. If you want to use some of those for this, please do.
Helpful Hint – Don’t forget, if you want to do plastic to cardboard, you need to use superglue. You also need to use more than you usually would, because some of it’s going to sink into the cardboard.
For this project, however, I’m going to try to keep this as Paperhammer as possible. The next several paragraphs will walk through a few easy steps for making cardstock weapons. Feel free to skip past a lot of these instructions if they don’t apply to you.
First up are the heavy bolters. There are three sets of two (twin-linked, naturally) across the Baneblade. All these are going to be are small boxes, measuring 3/4” long x 1/4” wide x 3/8” high. A bit chunky, but more like the ones mounted on a Leman Russ than the streamlined ones carried by heavy weapons teams or lone Space Marines... I measured out a card strip that was 3 7/8” long—this is four sides, two fronts, a 1/8” space, and a bit left over for two small tabs at either end. So it should be marked off 3/4”-1/4”-3/4”-1/8”-3/4”-1/4”-3/4”.
This is Important -- The 1/8” measurement is a space between the two bolters. It needs to be scored on the back side of the piece so it will fold correctly. This is small, so if you score it the wrong way and try to force it, it’ll really stand out.
Don’t mind the “butterflies” on there. Those are tabs to help assemble them. I also cut out a card rectangle for each heavy bolter that measured 3/8” by 5/8” to serve as a back. This gave me a stable base for the weapon, and also made the whole assembly more solid.
Once these are assembled and dry, I made a bunch of 1/8” disks with my hole punch. These got tripled up and placed on each heavy bolter as the barrel. If they’re just above the center line of that front face, they look pretty good. I also cut a 1/8” strip, doubled it up, and ran it along the top of each bolter. If you’re feeling especially gutsy, you could put a small triangle at the front edge as the “iron sights” of the heavy bolter. I wasn’t feeling up to that quite yet, though. I’m still fresh back in the game, after all.
For the big cannons, I decided to use the same design I used to make the Defiler battle cannon and the engine for the Hellblade a while back. It was quite a while, though, so let me go over that method again.
Cut a piece of card 2 1/4” wide by 7” long. Make a series of scores on it 1/4” apart, parallel to the short side, so when it’s done the piece of card has nine sections measuring 1/4” wide by 7” long.
Now, once I did this, I cut the piece in two, so I had two scored lengths. One will be 5 1/2”, the other will be 1 1/2” long. These will be the Baneblade cannon (former) and the demolisher cannon (latter). Yeah, it seems a little long for a demolisher, and it is a bit squat on the new plastic model. If you look at the older Forge World versions, though, the demolisher’s got some length to it. I feel this measurement splits the difference well, but if you’d rather more one way or the other, just adjust the above measurements accordingly.
Now, the last section on each piece is going to be a tab, so I cut the corners down. I rolled each piece, glued the tab, and clamped it so I had an octagonal cylinder 3/4” across. Take your time with the Baneblade cannon because it’s going to be one of those focus of attention points I keep mentioning
For the demolisher, I cut three strips that were three or four inches long. One was 5/8” wide and the other two were both 1/4” wide. I wrapped them tight around my hobby knife (you could also use a large marker or round pencil or something like that) so they got a good curve to them. Now wrap them around your cylinder and cut where appropriate. Glue one strip around the base of each cannon. For reference, the seam should be on the underside of your barrel, if your cannon looks better from one angle than another.
Cut one strip to fit just inside the muzzle, too. That’ll give the sense of a thick, heavy barrel and help add to the illusion that it’s rounded, not octagonal. If you decide to do this, make sure the seam where the strip comes together is towards the top of the barrel. No one’s going to get a good look at the inside-top of a demolisher cannon.
I’m going to do the same thing on the Baneblade cannon, but on a slightly larger scale. You’re going to need some more strips. One should be 1 1/2” wide, one should be 1” wide, three 1/4” wide, and one that’s 1/2” wide. Like the ones above, put a good curve in them by wrapping them around your hobby knife. Take your time with the wider pieces—you want curves, not creases. It might work better to start curving them on something larger (like a spray can, for example) and then tighten that curve on the hobby knife.
This is Important – When you put down this first strip, you want it to be 3/4” from the end of the barrel. This should give you 3 1/4” on the other side of the strip. That extra 3/4 is going to be part of the anchor to hold the barrel in place.
The 1” strip goes at the base of the sleeve. When it’s in place, it gave me a layered effect on the barrel. I took my time with this because I now had two seams lining up right over each other. If this gets rushed, the drying glue will just pull the whole thing apart. So I just held it in place for about twenty minutes. After that I used a clothespin to hold both sides for another half hour or so.
I used the 1/4” strips for detail. They went on either end of the 1” piece, and right at the end of the barrel. They’ll all get rivets later on.
Helpful Hint - Okay, so there’s, what, a dozen variants on the Baneblade out there, right? If you want to build one of those, try this out. Download one of the nicer templates for a Warhound Titan that has all the weapons options in it (Vaughn has a gorgeous one that’s also available on Paperhammer.com). It might take a bit of tweaking, but now you’ve got the templates for a plasma annihilator, a Vulcan mega-bolter, or whatever other fun thing your preferred big tank will need.
Last but not least, we need lascannons. One for each of the side sponsons. This took a bit of thought. You can find a few ideas for paper lascannons on different tank models, but I decided to go from scratch.
Anyway, I figure if I can achieve those three things, I’ll have a pretty passable lascannon.
We’re going to start with something similar to the big cannons above. Cut a piece card 1 1/2” by 3/4” wide. Make a series of scores on it 1/8” apart, so when it’s done your piece of card has six sections measuring 1/4” wide by 1 1/2” long. The scores need to be deep enough to crease this without a lot of effort. It’s easy to wreck stuff when you’re dealing with thin sections of card like this.
This is Important – Unlike when I’ve made cylinders in the past (and just above this), both sides of this piece are going to be tabs. You’ll see why in a minute. For now just be clear, this piece should be four sections and a tab on each end.
This is ALSO Important – The cylinder piece may look a bit long in some of the pictures. It is. Those are photos of my test run, where I made a sloppy design mistake.
We’re going to call this Piece A and set it aside for a moment. Now pay attention. This next bit’s a little tricky to explain. Read through first so it’s clear where I’m going with this.
I cut a second piece of card 2” x 3/4”, and drew the 1/8” lines on it. Along sections two and five, measure in 1/4”, then 1/8”, then 1”, and then 1/8” again. Sections two and five should each be divided into five sections. Then I cut out the three larger sections. I’ve blacked them out in the picture so it’s clear.
Got it? Now I scored it down the center (along the 3/8” line) and folded it in half. Everything should line up. If not, use a sharp knife and trim as needed. Once it’s clean, I glued it so this was a solid, double-thick piece of card with the fold on the bottom.
When this was dry, I cut along the short “leg” at an angle. This gives you the under-hanging fin. Which, you may remember, is my first point of distinctive lascannon features.
Put a thin line of glue along the top edge of B. Take Piece A and wrap it around the top rail Piece B. The ends should so the center fold of A rests on the top edge you just glued. Tuck the two tabs up inside the tube you’re forming so one’s on each side. Because I’m doing this on such a small scale, the fold itself is going to add to the curve of this tube, so it ends up closer to octagonal than diamond-shaped. As you adjust to make the tube as round as possible, the A tube is going to hang a little below the bottom of the top rail (damn you, Pythagoras!!!). Don’t worry, it’ll just make the gap between the barrel and the fin smaller.
Cut three 1/8” strips (or 1/16” if you can do it consistently) and wrap them around the base of the barrel. They worked out to just a hair under 3/4” long on mine, but if you try it yourself do a test piece. There’s probably a bit of play depending on how the barrel goes together. Keep them about 1/16” apart and as even as possible. This is the ribbing—point two for distinctive lascannon features.
Last but not least, I cut a piece of card 3/4” wide x 3/8” high. I marked it along the centerline (3/8” in) and then made a mark on each side just under 2/8” high. Then I freehanded a very slight curve starting at that mark, hitting the top edge of the card at the centerline, and then arcing back down to the almost-2/8” mark on the other side. I trimmed that off, curved it, and there’s the flash suppressor for my lascannon—third point.
Helpful Hint - This lascannon barrel is really thin, even thinner than a round pencil. I ended up curling the strips and the muzzle piece around the handle of one of my files to get a tight enough curve to them. A GW paintbrush would probably work if you don’t have a small file set.
So... Baneblade cannon. Demolisher cannon. Heavy bolters. Lascannons. Next week—and I promise on my dear mother’s life it will be next week—we’re going to start putting this big boy together.