Imperial Knights, Part III

Okay, after some musing I figured out how I was going to assemble the whole head/ cockpit area in a way that would bridge the gap between this Knight template and the new Games Workshop model.

First, I put the head together.  I gave it a bit of a bend in both directions, wrapping it gently around my hobby knife.  The opposing bends did cancel each other out a bit, but it left a lot of curve where I needed it.  Then I dabbed some glue on the tabs and worked my way through it.

Helpful Hint—Because of the amount of small folds and overlaps, it might be worth putting this piece on thinner card.  Maybe even something like a file folder that’s closer to very heavy paper.  It’ll still be rigid, and once it’s on the head base it’ll be solid.

Another Helpful Hint—Start from the right side (looking at the above picture).  That way you’re folding the sections down onto the tabs rather than trying to push the tabs up onto the sections.  Trust me, it’s easier.

Once I had the whole thing together, I held it for about a minute and then mounted it onto the head base (the small oval on the template).  This helped the whole thing hold together, and after maybe two minutes I was comfortable setting it down to dry.

I also added two 1/4” circles from my hole punch at the back for a little bit of detail.   They’ll be deep inside the cowl, but the head’s going to be the focus so I think the more the better.   I was careful to make sure they didn’t hang over the back edge, since that’ll be flush with the torso. 

Next I mounted the head on the neck.  The neck’s a very simple piece to assemble (just make sure to give the long center piece a slight curve at the front), and the head goes on it with no problem.  I also added some hole-punch discs here for more detail.  A 1/4” and a 1/8” on each side.  Make sure the head is centered  and lines up in the front (check the outlines on the template).  This combined piece has to be just right so it’ll match up with the hull.

This model has a bit of empty space between the head and the hood.  I decided to fill this with a secondary piece, which I’m going to call the cowl just to make things easier and clearer.  It was scratch-built, but it’s very simple.

I marked off a piece that was 1/2” wide and 2 1/2” long.  While I was cutting it, I left a tab on either end and one in the middle.  At the last minute (after I took this photo) I also made a 45 degree cut on the corners (the red lines).  I used a straight edge on the front, but I wasn’t as worried about the back.  I put a curve into this piece by wrapping it around the handle of my knife.

Finally, the hood.  This was kind of a nightmare.  That front/ outside edge is so thin it’s almost impossible not to tweak it.  I over-curved the top section, I scored all the tabs to the point that one of them almost fell off, and it was still a pain.  I ended up with half a dozen clothespins on it, all braced to hold it steady and in the right shape.

Now... time to put all this together. 

The scratch-built cowl went on first.  I knew it would sit close to the head, and I didn’t want to be fumbling with the tabs around that piece.  I took some measurements, marked off the centerline of the torso, and glued the cowl so it sat even with the edge-corner across the “chest” area.

Helpful Hint—Because of the curve of the torso, the cowl won’t sit flat.  If you look close, it’s connected on either side at the base and then by the tip of the center tab.  The important part is that it’s flush at the base.

Now I put the head-neck assembly in place.  Just as I’d suspected—it just covers the ends of my tabs for the cowl.  It would’ve been a pain to add the cowl if this piece had been glued down first.  The whole assembly fits great against the torso.  It's a very well-designed template.  I held the head-neck piece in place for about a minute and it was solid.

Next is the hood.  Some of you may have noticed that the hood doesn’t have any tabs on it.  I did, too.  However, as I just mentioned, this is a very well-designed template.  The hood fits perfectly against the hull at all points.  I put some glue on the edges of the hood, pressed it into place, and it was so snug it dried solid.

Now, one last bit of detail...

The original template for the Knight has a sort of “Mechanicus zipper” pattern across its back.  If you like that, I’d recommend cutting the pattern out on the spare set of templates, giving it a light curve, and laying it down along the hull’s center line for a nice, raised detail.  On mine, though, I think I’m going to make another tweak to bring this model closer to the GW one.

There are three prominent hatches on the top/ back of the GW model.  The larger, center one even gets picked out in the paint scheme sometimes.  Going off the look of the plastic model and the scale of this one, I cut out a 3/4” x 1” rectangle for the center hatch and two small 1/2” squares for the side ones.  I gave each of them a slight curve on the knife and then glued them in place.

On another note... I’m not going to be able to post next week because I’m a guest at Texas Frightmare.  So if you happen to be in the Dallas area, swing by an say hullo in person.  But the week after that... much more progress to show off.


Imperial Knights, Part II

I didn’t make a lot of forward motion this week.  Part of it was just shortness of time (I’m right on that line of being just on time and falling behind with an important deadline).  Part of it was hitting one of the first bumps in this project as I had to figure a few things out.

But let’s look at what there is and next week I’ll have some more.

First thing I did was the smokestacks for the top of the engine stacks.  They’re worth spending a bit of time on because they work off an interesting design that crops up a few times in this template.  It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but once I did I was kind of awed by the creator’s solution to the detail issue.

In the past, when I wanted to add detail to an engine or gun barrel, I’d start with an octagonal tube and add strips of curved card around it to “smooth out” the design a bit.  In this template, it’s all done as one piece.  I just cut it out and roll it.  The detail pieces are longer, so they build up higher.  It’s very clever.

Since a lot of this detail is 2D though—just images on the paper—I decided to take it a bit further.  The circular vents on the smokestack are almost exactly 1/8”, so I took a few minutes to line up my hole punch and actually make them.  When the detail wraps around, they’ll have flat card beneath them just like the vents on the back of the engine stack.

I wound each of the long pieces around my knife to give them a good bend.  Then I glued the tab first to form the base and held it for a minute or two.  Once it felt secure, I wrapped the second half of it around.  I made sure to pull it tight so there weren’t any odd gaps between the two layers.  It’s tricky because pulling too hard will tug the tab loose (as I discovered), so don’t be too frustrated if this takes two or three attempts. 

Once it was all in place, I tapped the top and bottom on the table a few times to make sure everything was sitting flush.  I also squished the sides a bit to get it as close to round as possible.  I held each one for about five minutes to make sure they were solid.

I decided to move on to the head next.  It’s a very small piece, and it doesn’t help that its outlines are pale gray on white paper.  It’s also very intricate.  I spent about twenty minutes cutting the whole piece out.

Helpful Hint—If you’re going to peel the paper off like I do, take a moment and trace over these lines with a sharp pencil or fine pen.  Your eyes will thank you for it later.  My eyes are cursing me because I didn’t think of it until I was done...

At this point it became how small the head was in relation to the torso.  It also has no real detail on it aside from 2D eyes.  I wanted to mull this over for a bit, so I moved on the extremely slow process of cutting out the Knight’s hood.  It’s a piece with a lot of very thin sections.  I’d hoped I’d be able to alter it’s shape a bit, give it that little “bill” in the front that the new GW version has, but that would involve additions, not alterations.

As I studied the template and some of the images go the finished model, it struck me that I could add a second hood inside the larger one.  It would fill up some space and bring this closer to the GW model.  It was also clear I’d have to start with the head and build out.

And this was where I decided to stop and mull on things a bit more.  I cut out the “neck” and some of the shoulder pieces, just to have some more pieces ready to go, but I stopped assembling things until I had a better sense of where I was going with this.


Imperial Knights

I have to be honest.  This was on my list for sometime in June or July, probably after this new book was done and turned in to my editor.  But Games Workshop seems to have forced my hand, and it’d be silly not to work on this right now when everyone’s interested in such things.

Not to mention if I can show how to build a half-decent model for ten bucks or less instead of $140, well, I think that’d go over pretty well.

I’d also planned to do two—a loyalist and a Chaos one, but now I think I'll just stick with loyalist.  I doubt GW will do Chaos rules without building any actual Chaos models.  Partly because of the whole Chapterhouse thing, partly because... well, Chaos gets screwed a lot.  Sad but true.

Anyway...Imperial Knights.

This is a great little template I found through the BWC group on Yahoo a few months back.  You can join up there, and I’ve added it to my own archive as well.  Feel free to grab it and follow along.  I’m also probably going to be doing a few small changes and tweaks along the way to bring it more in line with the new GW model.  You can ignore, improve, or mock those changes as you see fit.

Also, this template’s in full color—intended for the paper to be left on—but I’ll be building it from card and peeling the template off (as I usually do).  This may result in a need for more detail in some places, but I think it’ll all work out fine. 

Let’s get started with the basics...

I printed out two sets of templates (in black and white, just so there's no confusion) and I glued one set onto bulk cardstock (a.k.a. frozen pizza and cereal boxes).  The other set is a spare for possible accidents of detail pieces as they become necessary.  Or if this goes insanely fast and I decide to build another one.  Not likely, but I'm trying to think positive.

I decided  to start right on page one with the main hull/ torso.  I gently rolled the piece around a thin bottle to give it a nice curve for that “beetle back” look.  I’ve used this technique before for small detail pieces on engines or weapons.  This is the same thing, just on a slightly larger scale.  It's a bit trickier and takes a little more work, but it makes everything so much easier I think it's worth it in the long run.

Helpful Hint—I want to make sure I only roll the back/top of the hull.  If I put a curve in the side pieces, it’s going to make assembling this section a pain.

This section is going to take a lot of work to make it all fit well.  I spent almost an hour on it, working each tab to make sure they were solid.  I didn’t want to rush it and have it popping apart later.  It really is the core of the whole model, so it needs to be solid.

Helpful Hint—I didn’t close the hull quite yet.  I left the last panel, the bottom, free so I could reach in and apply counter-pressure when adding a lot of these detail pieces.

There’s also a small detail piece—a box—on this first page.  It sits right between the bases of the engine stacks, more or less in the small of the Knight’s back (there's a clearly marked spot for it on the template--I love it when people add stuff like that to their designs).  Assembling the box is very straightforward and I glued it in place with no problem.

Helpful Hint--This little box is one of the first places you might have tab issues.  They're snug here, so if I've leaned a little too far one way or the other while cutting this piece out, the tabs won't fit together well.  Always remember--tabs aren't seen.  They can be trimmed, cut down, or even removed if you think there won't be a structural problem.

Next up are the engines themselves.  All the tabs make these look complex, but they really aren’t.  There’s only two tabs that actually connect to assemble each piece.  The rest are to attach it to the back of the hull. 

Also, just like on the hull, I want to curve these pieces, but I don’t want to curve all of them—just the section that’s going to wrap around and be the engine housing.  These are a little bit tricky because they only hold together at the very top and bottom.  If there's not a really good curve, they're a chance they could splay out in the middle and cause problems later.

There are three big vents on each engine.  After a bit of debate, I decided to cut them out for extra detail.  I did all the cutting before I assembled the engine.  Once it was together, I curved another piece of card for some backing and it glued it inside.  Wipe off the excess glue and it looks great.

I used my 1/4” hole punch  and added a disk to the bottom of each engine stack.  It replaces some of the 2D paper detail.  Plus it looks good in that semi-circular section.

There’s also a 2D Mechanicus logo that goes between the two engine stacks.  I held off because I didn’t want to create any problems on the off chance the stacks didn’t fit well—I didn’t want to end up with a weird overlap.  And as it turns out I was right to hold off.  As I worried about above, the engine pieces are splayed out just enough that the logo won’t fit.

I like the general level of detail, though, so I played around and found something round to trace that fit the space (an old Warhammer fantasy shield--you may need your own object depending on how yours turns out).  I also added another 1/4” disc at the center of this piece.  It doesn’t look like the logo, but it looks a little more like the “engine core” on the GW model.  It’ll probably look even better when I hit the rivet phase.

More next week.


Yet Another Pathetic Minor Update

If anyone’s still bothering to read this, you have the patience of a saint.

I could give you the usual list of excuses.  Book release.  Appearances.  New book in progress.  Far too much dental work.  Printer issues.  It hasn’t left me with much free time for other stuff.  Heck, I think I’ve managed to play two games this year, and they were both Kill Team games.

But you don’t care about any of that.

Good news is, a large number of these issues have been resolved.  So this time next week, I should have the first part of a new project up.

Give you a hint... it rhymes with Ethereal Blight.