Ironclad Dreadnaught

So, I wanted to toss up something quick as my current project (a trio of Necron Crypteks) isn’t quite done yet.  I thought about putting up a Kroot article I’d scribbled out a while ago.  Then I dug around and found some photos of this nice little piece I did a year or so back.

Like most people who play Warhammer 40K, I like dreadnaughts.  I love the fluff.  I love the models.  I even love the rules.  Loyalist.  Venerable.  Chaos.  Cults.  Grey Knights.  Dreadnaughts are just cool. When the new Space Marine codex introduced the Ironclad Dreadnaught, I thought it was pretty interesting.  Alas, as I’ve mentioned before, since becoming a full-time writer the cash flow isn’t what it used to be (though it’s better than it was when I started).  I didn’t think it was worth springing for a model which wasn’t really that different from a baseline dreadnaught.

And then, as often happens, inspiration struck.

I had a right arm/ shoulder/ weapons mount that had once been a spare assault cannon arm.  I’d shaved off the assault cannon to use on a revamped Terminator and saved the rest of it for... well, bitz.  It struck me that it wouldn’t take much to mount some other weapon there.  Or multiple weapons.

I had a basic dreadnaught I wasn’t using.  Back when I was in the film industry and had money to burn, I’d toyed with the idea of building a dreadnaught-centric Iron Hands army (I did mention I loved dreadnaughts).  But the idea died and the dreads all got repurposed to other armies when I consolidated a lot of stuff.  This would also work fine with a Black Reach dreadnaught if you can dig one up.  They’re usually around twenty-five bucks or so, but be quick—time is running out for that set.
STC data from Dakka Dakka

I dug through my Space Marine stuff and found some of the very old bolter sprues.  Some of you long-time players might remember them.  Each sprue came with three sets of bolters, combat knives, backpacks, and shoulder pads.  Those bolters are pretty blocky and archaic by the standards of today’s models.  However, they also don’t have any venting or grips on the barrel that clearly make them hand-held weapons, which makes them perfect add-ons for a project like this.

Helpful Hint—It’s amazing how much of this old stuff you can find for pennies if you look around.  If your local store has a bitz bin, spend some time sifting through it.  Or check ebay a few times—there’s always somebody who thinks this stuff is worthless.

I took six bolters and cut them down right at the aquilla.  I used the sharpest blade I had and took my time.  These needed to be straight cuts so the guns would all sit right.  I filed them a bit, too, just to make sure they were all square and the same length.

Rather than wrestle with them and the “shoulder” piece, I took a piece of plasticard and cut it down to a clean 1/2” x 3/8” rectangle.  This would serve as my hurricane base, and also be an extra little bit of detail.  I tried the bolters a few different times to find the best arrangement (allowing for minor variances) and then glued them on in sets of two.

Helpful Hint—Whenever I do a project like this, I start at the top and work down.  Most of the time this model’s going to be seen from above, so it’s most important that everything lines up there.  If I run out of space or horribly misjudge something, the mistake ends up lower down and hidden from 90% of lookers.

I let the assembly dry so the bolters would be on solid and then drilled out the barrels with my pin vise.  Then I filed down the plane where the assault cannon had been (or the multi-melta, depending on your dreadnaught) and glued the hurricane bolter in place.  It fit perfectly, and once it’s painted it’ll look perfect.  A purity seal near the join also helps draw the eye and distracts a bit.

The chainfist was even easier.  I used a left arm with a dreadnaught close combat weapon, but I didn’t attach the “claws” that go on the end.  I took my file to the end of the little peg/ piston at the end of the arm.  

The big chainblades are just the head of an ‘uge choppa from the Ork Nob set.  My girlfriend plays Orks, too, so there are plenty of Orky bits in our home, even at our budget level.  I cut it off the handle, carefully trimmed down a few of the cruder details, and then glued it onto the peg.  It was that simple.  This guy’s geared up for close firefights and assaults, so I decided to give him a heavy flamer.  Another purity seal pulls attention away from the join, just in case (plus, the Relictors love purity seals).

Last but not least, I did break down on one thing.  I wanted to add the assault launchers because I like the look of them, and I also like the idea of a charging dreadnaught with grenades.  I played around with how to scratch-build them for a little bit, then realized I could get them (and more purity seals) in a little bundle from Battlewagon Bits for four dollars.  I was weak.  You can probably find them even cheaper if you shop around.

And voila--  Veteran-Brother Amontillado of the Relictors.  Bonus points if you get the reference.  A perfectly acceptable Ironclad, even with his bare-bones paint job.  That’s a $45+ model that I just made for about thirty bucks.

Oh, one last thing.  If you want to pop over to Atomic Warlords you can read the tragic account of our attempt to reenact the second War for Armageddon during our annual Memorial Day/ Carnage Asada Apocalypse game.  There’s also some nice pics of some of my Ork scenery and my Skullhamma (during its brief time on the field...).

Next time, Crypteks.

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