SkullHamma Upgrades

Some of you who’ve been following this for a while may remember my SkullHamma.  It was one of the first models I ever talked about here, and I still enjoy taking it out to do some damage.

In a recent Apocalypse game, though, I came to realize the SkullHamma wasn’t doing enough damage.  On reflection, I realized it needed to embody one of the basic tenets of Orky war tactics, that tenet being “Moar Shooty!”  And, as luck would have it, I’d kind of planned for this way back when.

Y’see, back when I first assembled the SkullHamma, I put a rare earth magnet in the hull.  It's along the port side, right behind the big shoota turret.  I knew at some point I’d want to give the tank a lot of “rokkit” options, I was just waiting for the right idea to strike.  And it finally did.
I found a scrap of plasticard and cut a piece 1/2” x  1 1/2”.  This was going to be my base.  I used two mortars from the Imperial Guard heavy weapons team for “arms” to support the missile array.  With the aquilla filed off, they can pass for pistons, easy.  They went at either end of the rectangle. 

Helpful Hint—I used a piece of plastic trough I had to make sure the two arms were parallel, but anything flat would work.  Just make sure it sits flush to both pieces.

Once I had the pistons even, I glued the piece of trough in place.  Because I could get it from two sides, it made this piece rock-solid.  Then I dug up another rare earth magnet and checked placement against the one in the hull.   Once I knew were to make this sit I used a drop of superglue (just a drop—see below) and glued the magnet in place.

Helpful Hint—Take a moment before gluing to double and triple check that you’ve got the magnet the right way .  Nothing worse than having your two components repel each other.  Very limiting on the battlefield.

Once the magnet was in place, I dug around and found a little “box” piece from the old Rhino sets. I needed to scrape the inside walls just a bit with my hobby knife, but once I did it fit right over the magnet.  I glued it down and that gave the base a bit more of a mechanical/manufactured look.  I didn’t want it to stick out, visually, when it was mounted on the SkullHamma.  I added a few small scraps of plasticard onto the base, too, to look like extra struts and straps.  I’ll also take a moment here to apologize for all the blindingly white plastic.  It doesn’t always make for great follow-along photos.

Next I took a small leftover piece of plastic girder—about 2 3/4” long—and added it on.  I’ve had this little fragment for years, just waiting for something, and it struck me that it would work very well for this.  It also helped with the “building up) aspect, making a believably large missile gantry on top of a smaller base.  Also, as the picture shows, this makes the piece officially top heavy and off-centered, so from here on in I had to lay it down to dry. 

Next... supa-rokkits.  The Skullhamma can take up to three  I had two leftover Stompa rokkits, but I also played with putting a big, almost comical collection of different hunter-killer missiles on here (maybe eight or nine of them), giving them Orky paint jobs, and letting it be a counts-as.  But the Stompa ones are so much larger it really had to be one or the other.  At least, until I remembered that old Imperial HK missile came with a slightly larger housing sleeve-launcher.  Scrape the aquilla off that and it made a nice addition to the Stompa rokkits on this framework.

I still may use the counts-as idea for something else though.  I do love the idea of an Ork vehicle with a very Warner Brothers-esque arsenal.

Helpful Hint—It’s a little silly to write this out but... remember that rare earth magnets don’t have infinite power.  They get talked up a lot, but at the end of the day they only can hold so much weight.  And you need to take leverage into account, too.  They’re not going to hold up everything, especially if the missiles are reaching too far out to the side.  Note that this assembly goes up more than out.

And that was pretty much it.  More shooty to unleash at the Imperium.  Or Chaos.  Or the Tau.  Or Eldar.  Or Tyranids.  Or other Orks. 

Let’s face it—they’re Orks.  There’s a good chance they’ll shoot off all the rokkits before the battle even starts.


Space Marine Captain

Staying on the Space Marine bandwagon for one more week with a project I’ve been playing with for a while.

As I’ve mentioned before, my big loyalist army is, ironically, the Relictors.  I’ve got over 3500 points, plus some in-the-works things.  Like most Space Marine players, I’ve also entertained the idea of building up an entire chapter (or as much of a chapter as the Relictors have left these days).  One of the easy targets, so to speak, is special characters, and (also like most Marine players) I’ve often toyed with the idea of building the ten company captains... each with a unique twist that lets them fit into the Relictors army.
Maybe a year or so back I was digging through the bits bins at my local store and found the back half of the Captain from the Assault on Black Reach set.  It was a bit banged up and had a few connection holes plugged, but overall it was in very good shape.  You may recall this model had a front half that included his head, chestplate, tabard, left arm, and bolter.  Without that piece this figure was a little... well, bare.


As it turns out, a regular Space Marine chestplate fits where the bulk of that piece normally would.  Fits perfectly, in fact.  It even merges with the collar to form a standard head-socket.  All I needed to do was shave down the pins on the back of the chestplate.  I went with a Mk. 8 because I feel like the stylized aquilla makes the wings very prominent.  And wings are good, as I’ll get to in a minute...

This still left a big hole in the... well, the codpiece region.  And this isn’t really a standard component in any version of Marine model I’ve dealt with.  What is standard, though, are various pieces to cover this region.  Tabards, cingulums, pteruges, purity seals, and so on.  I dug around in my space marine jar and found one of the short tabards with a purity seal on either side.  It’s not a perfect fit, but with a tiny bit of filing to give the right leg some room, it works pretty well.  I also glued the captain onto his base at this point.

Now...this is going to be fourth company Captain Daedalus, the Master of the Fleet (see, wings are good).  According to most fluff, this means he should be armed with a thunder hammer, a symbol of the massive firepower he can call down.  But he is a Relictors captain—a high ranking one, too—so there should be a bit of a Chaos influence in his weaponry.  There’s a good chance he’s part of the Conclave, after all.

I have a pile of parts from the old Fantasy Chaos Warriors, the really old ones that were kind of like cartoony, armored hunchbacks.  One of the hands has a warhammer, but it’s single-sided and has kind of a short handle.  So I tried to think of a cool way to combine two of them into a Chaos thunder hammer.  Here’s what I came up with.

On one of them, I cut the whole gauntlet off the arm and then the back spike off the warhammer.  Then I cut the hammer-head off the other piece and glued it in place.  It took a few moments of scraping and wiggling to make it sit just right.

Helpful Hint—Whenever I’m doing conversions with little pieces like this, I always try to clean all the mold lines before I cut.  Trying to do it after the fact with tiny bits is nigh- impossible and always causes problems.

Once the hammer head itself was good, I cut off the haft of the de-hammered warhammer and added it to my weapon-in-progress.  I needed to shave the base of the w-i-p flat and also do the same with the addition.  The leftover spike made for a nice touch at the base of the thunder hammer.

Helpful Hint—Weapons are almost always going to be focal points, so they’re going to get looked at a lot.  Take as much time as they need.  In this case, I knew the shaft of the hammer had to be straight, so I spent almost ten minutes checking it from every angle.

The gauntlet was just a bit too short to connect to that elbow piece.  I cut a piece of 1/4 square plastic and trimmed the corners with my hobby knife until it was more or less round (it’s barely going to be visible).  I glued it onto the “cuff” of the gauntlet and it gave the arm that little bit of length it needed to look right.

I debated for a while what to do with the other hand.  The “traditional” Master of the Fleet just has his hammer, so I went through my bits looking for a good empty hand.  I thought about giving him a ranged weapon of some sort.  In the end, I settled on a storm shield.  I know the shield is generally a symbol of the Master of the Fortress (second company) but there’s nothing that says the Master of the Fleet can’t have one (and it is a pretty classic combination).  Besides, if anyone’s going to be a little off from tradition, it’d probably be the Relictors...

The shield is also from the Fantasy Chaos Warriors.  I shaved off a few of the studs and spikes so I could drop a few purity seals on it.  I want to almost conceal the chaos nature of the shield.  I cut off an old bolter arm just above the elbow and this all went together perfectly.

All of my Relictors wear their helmets.  There isn’t a bare head in the entire army.  It’s a simple, subtle theme that helps imply they’re hiding something.  Even my scouts have balaclavas and goggles.  So I wanted to give Daedalus an ornate-looking helmet.  I’d recently come into one of the new Sternguard sets, and I briefly considered giving him the helmet with the big Roman crest.  However, because of the large aquilla “collar” on the back of the model it didn’t sit right, and that was before I even put the crest on.  Instead I went with one of the Mk. VI “Corvus” helmets (the beakies).  The Sternguard one even had a matching aquilla on it.

As a final touch, I added a few more purity seals (Relictors can never have too many purity seals).  I also dug around and found one of the Crux pendants from the Terminator set.  Hooked to his belt, it’s a symbol of his history and also helps hide a tiny gap between the tabard and the torso.

And there you have it.  Relictors Captain Daedalus of the Fourth Company, Master of the Fleet, and member of the Conclave.  He may get an iron halo or some other backpack icon, but other than that I think he’s ready to go out on the battlefield.


Standard Template Construction

In the couple of years since I started this page, I’ve noticed that a lot of Paperhammer resources on the web have... well, folded.  Some archives have vanished altogether.  A few of the ones that have stuck around have become a bit more insular and less likely to let in new folks.  So I decided I’d set up a little archive and share a lot of what I have for anyone who needs it.

A few points, just to be clear.  I didn’t create any of these templates.  All along I’ve tried to give credit where credit is due, and if you ever spot something of yours here that you don’t want out in the world, just say the word and it’ll be gone (I'm big on creator's rights).  The flipside of that...everything here is available somewhere else on the web—a huge amount of it is at the BWC Archives—so please don’t complain if you can’t find anything new here.  This also isn’t everything I have (not by a long shot), but that’s a deliberate choice. 

Y’see, I think this is kind of a unique (or very rare) resource.  Pretty much every model I’m sharing is something I’ve built here at In The Grim Cheapness of the Future.  From the bare-bones Rhino to the Baneblade, from Ork Kans to a Necron Monolith.  So you can grab a template you like, browse the cloud on the right, and see step-by-step instructions for how it goes together.  There’ll be hints, corrections, and suggestions to get the most out of each model.  And a fair amount of photos for every step.

So, please check it out, let me know if I missed something, and I’ll keep adding to it as I work on new projects.