The Doom Scythe

Well, fine.  If everyone else is going to scratch-build Night Scythes and Doom Scythes, I might as well, too...

First off, this isn’t going to be spectacular, so if you’re looking for something on par with the Plaguereaper or the Rhino fleet, I’m afraid this won’t be it.  It’s a safe bet that Games Workshop is going to put out an actual Doom/ Night Scythe model when the next big Necron release happens, and a few weeks after that there are going to be a ton of great templates by people much more skilled (and with more free time) than me.  I’m looking to make something that will be a quick, decent stand-in for now.

And, as usual, I want to do it cheap.

I’m not doing templates for this, so I may be over-describing things a bit to make it easier to follow along.  Also, for most of this post, I’m just going to call it a Scythe.  We can get particular next time when I do details.

Let’s start with the basics.  I decided the outside edge of the Scythe was probably close to an 8 1/2” circle.   How did I decide this size?  Well, someone over at the Bell of (LINK) Lost Souls cleverly pointed out that the Scythe sprues would have to fit in the existing boxes.  The inside of your standard Chimera/ Rhino/ Monolith box measures 11 1/4” x 8 7/8”.  I’m also going off the assumption that the hull is going to be mostly one piece (maybe a top and a bottom section).

I drew two diagonals to find the center of a frozen pizza box.  Then, using a compass, I drew out an 8 1/2” circle.  I also drew a line that went straight through the center point.  This is going to be a front-back reference line for the model.

Helpful Hint – The model is going to need four of these shapes.  I found it was easier to do all four at once for each step, because it meant less resetting the compass.  Your results may vary...

Next, I measured down 1 3/4” from the center point and made a second mark.  Off this, I used the compass to make a  4 1/2” circle inside the first one.  Note that they don’t quite touch.  I also marked the center point.  The compass leaves a mark, but I wanted it to be clear because I’m going to be using it as a reference point. It may seem obvious, but this is the empty space “inside” the Scythe or between its wings, depending on how you view it. 

Right at the front, I went out 1 1/4” from the centerline on either side.  I made a few measurements and then made two short front-to-back lines parallel to the center line.  These are marking off the end of the wings and the gap that stretches across the front of the scythe.

Now, going off the center point of the smaller circle, I drew lines extending out over the hull and wings at 45 degree angles.   These are going to help me place the sloped armor on the Scythe.  I just want to do all the marks while this is big, flat, and solid.  Cutting’s the last thing I’ll do.

I also did a pair of lines that were 30 degrees off the center line.  These are for the cockpit section and the smaller armor sections at the front. 

This Is Important – Remember, none of these angled/ radiating lines are cut lines.  They’re just a reference for later

Once I had all this, it was time to cut.  Also, I was careful to save the center sections—they might be useful for the cockpit.  You’ll notice the Necron Warrior gives us a good sense of scale, and you can compare him to the codex art-image of the pilot up above.

Helpful Hint – These circles are big enough that you can cut the whole thing out with a good pair of scissors.  I just took my time and went slow.  It took about three minutes for each one.

Once I had all four sections cut out, I checked which pairs lined up best and glued them together.  I double-checked that they were lined up right, wrapped them in wax paper, and set them under a hardcover copy of Under The Dome and a few other Stephen King epics to make sure they stayed flat.  I let them dry overnight.

And for now, that’ll be it. 

No post next week because of Thanksgiving, but I’ll probably do two the week after just to get this done.


Commoragh’s Bargain Basement

So, while I was off not finishing the Baneblade/Plaguereaper, what else did I miss over the past year or so?

Grey Knights and Dark Eldar.  And I expect the Necron templates to start showing up any day now.  Releases that have gotten everyone I know pretty darn excited.  Well, Matt was really excited about the Blood Angels, but the rest of us weren’t.  Especially when he had the gall to start using those new rules with his army...

Anyway, I wanted to prattle on real quick about the Dark Eldar.  A lot of my friends and I had dozens of Dark Eldar sitting around,  The older, straight-backed ones that came with the third edition set.  And many of us had tried--really tried--to make a solid army out of them.

It never worked.  Yeah, I’ve seen the mathhammers and win-crazy guys argue that the old Dark Eldar worked fine as long as you make this list and do this and get these rolls.  Personally, I’ve always thought that any codex which only offers one viable army list is a failure.  That’s why I can’t wait for the new Chaos Legions Codex.

But I digress...

Here’s the cool thing.  The new Dark Eldar Kabalite sprue comes with tons of extras.  Two heavy weapons, two special weapons, and enough options for two or three different Archons.  Plus extra heads, knives, blades... tons of good stuff.  It is, in all fairness to Games Workshop, a spectacular set.  You can make ten Dark Eldar from the set and still have enough arms and heads for six more warriors.

So... guess what?

All the new arms fit on the old bodies.  No problems, no tweaks, nothing.  Take a pair of clippers to the head and carefull snip off the ball that fits in the neck socket--now those fit on the old bodies, too.  Alternately, use a sharp knife and a drill to make a tiny socket for the head.  And the spare back accessories like the flag, trophy rack, or grenade launchers?  Just file down that little nub and they’ll glue onto an old body just fine.  You can even use some of those extra daggers for more detail.  Essentially, it you’ve got those older bodies—you know, the one everyone was selling for pennies on the dollar or dumping in their bitz bins—you can get sixteen Dark Eldar out of each Kabalite ten pack.  And once they’re mixed in, they’re pretty much identical.  This photo is three Dark Eldar.  An all-new Kabalite.  One old body with new arms, head, and accessories. One’s an old warrior with just his head replaced.

You can also use the old splinter cannons, too.  I put matching blades on both the old and new cannon as an additional link-up between them.  With that and the overhand grip it’s pretty obvious they’re the same weapon.  Add on one of the new heads and it looks great.

Your old Raiders can get dressed up the same way.  Again, two easy head swaps and a dagger make the crew match your shiny new army.  Spare chains, blades, spikes, rifles--they all go on with no real problem.  I like to say my archaic-looking Raider is Urien Rakarth’s personal transport, but it would also work for any senior Dark Eldar--an Archon or a group of Trueborn, for example. 

Speaking of which, I also used the new Kabalite Warriors to make an all-plastic Archon for the army.  I used the Drachon helmet and trophy rack on a body with a splinter pistol and power sword.  Then I used the skull-cape from the Fantasy Chaos Marauder sprue.  All I needed to do was cut the very bottom point off the trophy rack and  file the center of the cape a tiny bit to make a deeper "drape" in it.  I glued a plastic dagger in front to match the metal (now Finecast) Archon, and also added some skulls-on-chains from the new Raider sprue.  A few tiny notches and pits in the sword will make it a fine huskblade once it’s got a bone paintjob.

The old bodies also made for fine Wyches.  I’m not too sure I’m going to use Wyches in my army, to be honest, but I figured I had the bodies so why not.  A few of the old Dark Eldar torsos are definitely female, and some of the leg sets have a bit of motion to them.  Bend them a bit and you’ll get even more.  And the old sets already come with the double-bladed punch dagger.  Some of the heads are leftover Kabalaite ones.  Some of them are from fantasy High Elves, I think (I found them in the bitz bin at my local store).  And a few are from my friend Jeff who bought two boxes of Wyches for himself.  The Hexatrix’s shoulderpad was from a Hellions set my lovely lady got me for my birthday.

And while we’re on the subject, lets talk Beastmasters.  All metal?  Dear God, a squad of these guys and their beasts will run you fifty bucks, minimum, and could hit $200.  For one squad!  Just use Hellions for Beastmasters.  That’s what I’ve done.  You’ll get five of them to a pack, and half of the Hellion heads already have monstrous-looking rebreathers on them.  Leave off the shoulder pads so they’re showing more skin, add some body paint, and they’ll be fine Beastmasters.  You can trim the blades off the hellglaive and just say it’s a big spear or animal-prod.  You could also add on a few Kroot or Ogre accessories so these guys can have random chunks of meat hanging from their belts.

I love the Clawed Fiend, but for a single model it’s just too expensive (money vs points).  I dug around in the bits bins at my local store and came up with the body and tail of a Fantasy Cold One (also available at BitzBarn).  I happened to have some of the old Cold One heads, so look at that.  Add on some Tyranid armor plates, an unusual color scheme, and I’ve got an alien velociraptor with a collar.  If that’s not a fine stand-in for a Clawed Fiend, I don’t know what is.

You can pay $15 apiece for Khymera or around $25 will get you ten Dire Wolves, which look like big zombie dogs.  You can even buy them individually online (BitzBarn again).  Replace their tongue and tail with Skaven tails, give them an alien paint scheme, and they’ll make for a fine pack of beasties.  Or just use them as is and tell your opponents the Beastmaster got them from Space Wolf nightmares.

Alternatively, there’s also a mention of “blade-legged Helspiders” in the Beastmaster entry, and there are tons and tons of spider models kicking around the Games Workshop lines.  Some of the larger goblin ones would make great counts-as Khymera (fast scuttling spiders could rate an invulnerable save).  Or, if you’ve got smaller spiders, you could also say the Helspiders are counts-as Razorwings.  They are blade-legged, after all.

For my own Razorwings, I used some old plastic bats I’ve had kicking around for years.  I think they’re from Warhammer Quest or something like that.  I altered the angles and heights a bit for variety and gave them another alien paintjob, trimming the wings and claws with boltgun and mithril.

Oh, and last but not least... pain tokens.  I saw a very cool article on the GW site about using piles of skulls or brass tubing and helmets.  All awesome if you can afford it.  I just used old Skeleton shields from the fantasy line.  They’re pretty much tokens already, and they’re marked with one skull, two crossed bones, or a skull and crossbones (three).  I dug up over a dozen of them, which means I can use them as either individual markers or accumulated counters.

So, tons of stuff for about $70 worth of new Dark Eldar (thank you, Neil at the WarStore) and a bunch of stuff I got for maybe $10 from the bits bins of my local store.

And sometime soon you’ll get to see my all-plastic Grotesques and Wracks.


Roads and Rivers

I caught a virus at ZomBCon that’s been kicking my ass (no, seriously), and it’s put me behind on a bunch of stuff.  Sorry I haven’t posted anything.

Anyway, in the interest of putting up something, this was a random thought that hit me the other day.  I’m not sure if I’d ever do it myself, but it might be worth thinking about.

Games Workshop sells a roll of Urban Roads.  It’s a 6” x 10’ strip of vinyl printed with some cool graphics to help represent roads.  It’s also twenty-five dollars. 

Go to your local Home Depot or Osh or whatever they call the hardware/ home improvement store in your town.  You want the tile section.  The stuff you want to get is the cheap tile, often called composite tile, and it feels a bit like dry rubber.  You can usually pick up one of these tiles for a little over a buck, so five or six of them shouldn’t hurt your budget too much.  I use them a lot for big scenery bases, because they make great city blocks.        

Once you’ve got your tiles, sand the hell out of them.  Use the coarsest sandpaper you’ve got.  Get both sides good and scratched up.  This is going to give the tiles a bit of texture, which is good for looks and also gives paint and glue something to grab.

I’m going with a six inch wide road.  It’s what GW used, and I think it’s a good number.  At six inches most models can run across a road in a single turn.  It’s wide enough for pretty much any standard vehicle, even Land Raiders and Monoliths.  Yeah, a Baneblade’s going to hang off the edges, but think about what a Baneblade would be in the real world.  It’s not designed for rush hour traffic and carpool lanes.

And, most important, six inches lets me save on materials.

Let’s say you bought six tiles.  Take five of them and cut them straight down the middle.  You should end up with ten 6” x 12” pieces.

This is Important - The tile is resilient and a hobby knife isn’t going to cut it.  You need to use an actual tile knife or a matte knife at the very least.  On the off chance you’re under twelve, ask someone to help with this.  Dad, Mom, or your older brother or sister.  This is very tough material and its easy for the knife to slip and hurt you (said as someone whose right thumb has a lot of scar tissue in it).  Make three or four shallow passes rather than trying to go through the whole thing at once.  If you get 2/3 through, you can probably even get it to snap in half with a clean edge.

The last tile’s a bit more challenging.  Measure off a 3” square in each corner.  Cut them out so you’re left with a large cross.  Or, to be more precise, you’re left with an intersection.

Spray paint all these parts flat black.  I’d do two coats and give them time to dry.  If you want to add a bit of detail, you could drybrush a bit of Codex Grey along the sides or on any particularly rough bits left from your sanding.  You could use pencil to mark off a center line and then add a yellow line down the middle.  Maybe even use some big aquillas if you’ve got them left over from a tank set.  Let’s face it, the Imperium puts an eagle on everything.

What did that take—two hours?  Half of which was waiting for paint to dry?  Two hours gives you eleven feet of road, including a four-way intersection.  All for well under ten bucks.  Plus the tiles have a good weight to them, so you don’t have to worry about them sliding too much.  You can use a piece of tape on the underside to connect them if you want it to be really solid.  Even if you don’t have much else for scenery, these road pieces and a white sheet gives you a nice supply road through the arctic wastelands.  If you’ve got a tan tablecloth, it’s a highway across the ash wastes.  So you’ve made a whole landscape off this and a trip to the linen closet.

Here’s an easy tweak to this.  Suppose you want to make a river for either 40K or Fantasy.  Be honest with yourself—you’ve always wanted to use that Amphibious rule for Chimeras and you’ve never had the chance, have you?

Take a few tiles and cut them in half, just like above.  Texture the long sides of each 6”x12” piece.  Go about 3/4” in at the most.  You can use superglue and rocks or a bit of putty.  Hit it with some sand or textured paint, too.

This is Important -  Make sure you’re consistent with these textured edges so the sections will match up with one another.  Don’t go 1/2” in on one piece and 3/4” on another.  An easy way to do it is to cut up a bunch of cardboard strips at the chosen width and superglue them onto the tile.  Now just texture the cardboard—which you can do with white glue (much cheaper).

Now spray paint the whole thing with glossy blue.  Once it dries paint the “banks” green or brown and maybe use a few touches of flock—whatever matches most of your scenery.  Maybe do a few streaks on the water with Enchanted Blue and Lightning Blue.  You could make a four foot long river for just five bucks—and that’s including the spraypaint.

Want to add a curve to your river?  It eats up a bit more material, but it’s still easy.  Just mark off the edges of a tile at the 6” mark and connect accordingly.  You can make a little jaunt or a full bend.

You could combine the road and the river with the tablecloth, add in a few stones, and look at that.  A very solid and logistically challenging landscape for under twenty bucks.

The only other thing to remember is that this tile can settle and bend over time, so you need to be able to store these flat.  Even if they do bend, just set them out on a hot day and they’ll flatten right back out.

Next week, I’ll get to those Dark Eldar for sure.  And then I think I’ll have a couple more cool scratch-builds to show you.