Imperial Knights, Part XII (the end)

Okay, let’s talk about some final extras.  None of these things are necessary, but I think they’re a lot of those good little details that can really make a model pop, especially a Paperhammer model.

First up, my friend Marcus sent me a tracing of the base from one of his plastic Knights.  I copied this onto foamcore and cut it out.  Now my Knight was on an official-sized base.  I also painted/smeared a lot of glue along the foamcore edge so the whole thing wouldn’t dissolve when I primed it.

Helpful Hint—The big trick to cutting foamcore?  Don’t do it all at once.  Get a clean, sharp knife and cut halfway through.  Then go over the line again and cut the rest of the way.  It won’t pill up or tear this way.

Next up was... well, a bit mind-numbing.  Rivets, rivets, and more rivets.  I used my 1/16” hole punch and made about a hundred tiny discs.  The original templates had lots of drawn-on rivets, and I used these as a guideline for placing my actual ones. They went on the torso, the leg armor, the chainsword, and so on.  I highly recommend a long audiobook or maybe a few episodes of one of your favorite television shows standing by.  Rivets alone can be two or three hours of work on a model this size.  I watched two bad SyFy movies while putting all these on.

Another Helpful Hint—I didn’t put all the rivets on the Knight that were on the template.  This design is very rivet-heavy, like a lot of the older models, and the new GW one is a bit more streamlined in that regard.  This is every other one, for the most part.

Helpful Hint 2.2—Rivets add so much to these Paperhammer models, but there’s something worth keeping in mind.  You’re making a piece that’s not much wider than it is thick, so the cardboard  tends to “flake” a bit.  It’s not unusual for a rivet to peel apart into two or three sections of paper, only one of which is glued to the model.  It happens I’d say it happens to about one out of five.  Make extra rivets, use a little extra white glue so it soaks through, and be patient.

The shoulder pads draw a lot of attention because they’re big, relatively smooth areas. So I thought about what I could put there.  I decided to try to put an aquilla on one shoulder.  As I’ve mentioned once or thrice before, there are a bunch of Warhammer 40K fonts floating around the web, and you can probably find a few of them with Google.  Try searching for Marines, Imperial, and ChaoSquat.  Many of these have a version or two of the Imperial Eagle.  Using my word processor, I created one 3 1/2” long (105 points).  Once it was printed, I had a template for an aquilla.

There were still a few challenges, though. At this scale the aquilla was a little harder to cut out than the big one I’d used for the Thunderbolt wings.  The claws, the heads, the multiple sections... there’s a lot of work to get this exactly right.  I went for about 80% right and it was still a lot of work.  Much to my surprise, one of the easier parts was putting said aquilla on a curved surface once it was cut out.  I curved the body and wings around the handle of my knife and it sat very well across the shoulder pad.
Then it was time to think about purity seals.  It’s very easy to make Paperhammer ones with a pair of hole  punches and some scrap paper.  I liked the idea of a Knight being covered with the accumulated prayers and blessings of hundreds of years of service, so I wanted a lot of them.  They’re also great because they can go anywhere, which also means they’re a good way to hide small flaws, gaps, and so on.

I made about ten 1/4” ones and maybe twenty 1/8” ones.  I also made a few of them the extra-long-and-flowing type.  I put a bunch on the shoulders, especially on the non-aquilla pad.  Some went on the tabard, the heraldry shield, a few along the weapon housings, engines, and the leg armor.  I covered up some of the less-detailed parts of the aquilla.  I also used this idea to accent the two seals at the top of the tabard and give them some more detail.
My last detail was probably the trickiest one, because, to be honest... well, if I screw this up I’ve kind of ruined the model.  I wanted to give the Knight a face.  Something simple that would resemble the helmets on the GW model.  I played with it in my head for a while and came up with the idea of giving it two 1/4” hole-punch eyes.  Then I’d use two 1/8” strips to suggest a visor and a center ridge/crest along the Knight’s head.

To save time, this idea did not work.  Fortunately, it was clear almost immediately it wasn’t going to work, before anything was glued to anything else.  The head’s curved just a little too much to make the pieces sit in a way I felt good about.  If I’d done this right at the beginning, before things were assembled... maybe I could’ve made it work.

However, I decided I still wanted to do something here, and the T piece I’d cut out fit well on its own. It’s a small thing, but I think it cleans up the head a lot and gives it a more solid “eyeline.”  It’ll stand out even more when I paint it.

And with that... I think the Knight is done. 

This is a really great template that does a lot of very clever things.  If I had to fault it for anything, it’s that it relies a lot on printed detail over actual detail.  And even then... this is a pretty great template.

(and I just now found the page of the guy who originally created it--Jim Bowen a.k.a. Newobmij.  He's got a ton of amazing projects over there)

Total cost for this model, assuming I had to buy the glue, the bamboo skewers, and the foamcore for the base... about three dollars.  So that’s three dollars ($3.00) for Paperhammer versus $140 for the Games Workshop.  And if you build more than one, that three dollar price would actually drop to more like $1 - $1.33 a model, depending on how long your glue held out.  That's about 99% off retail price.  And that's pretty damned cheap.

I know this dragged on for about ten months here, but I think it’s possible to build this model in about three weekends.  Maybe a solid week if you had nothing else to do.  A lot of that is drying time, so I don’t know if you could cut it down more than that.  On the plus side, the template is simple enough that you could be building two or three of them at the same time.  Which means in one month you could have a very solid, play-worthy detachment of Imperial Knights (over 1100 points worth) for maybe five dollars.


  1. It looks superb. I would love to see it painted.

    1. I really wanted to have it at least primed for the last shot, but time and weather were against me. I think somewhere down the line I may do a post showing a few Paperhammer models all painted and on the field.

  2. Amazing! When it's complete, it's got that perfect combination of shock and awe, and the price tag can't be beat.

    Please, show us what it looks like painted.

  3. Looks awesome! You are the master of rivets.
    You do need a photo gallery of your finished, painted models.

  4. Found this via a google image search and wanted to post saying how aweosme it is! Nicely done man :D.

    I notice you're in nz, if you're ever keen for a game in christchurch send me an email at kjgibson@hotmail.co.nz