Promethium Pipes

I have to admit, I like that scenery is a lot more interactive now in Warhammer 40,000.  Different buildings have slightly different rules, bunkers are more durable than office buildings, statues can inspire, and all that.  Just recently we’ve seen the Plasma Obliterator (limited edition, already gone) and the promethium pipes (not limited, but also already gone).  It’d be nice if Games Workshop made something besides Imperial scenery, but... well...  You can’t have everything.

Where would you put it?

Anyway, for no reason whatsoever... I thought I’d show how you can build some great refinery/ pipe pieces that’ll cost you, well, pretty much nothing if you have some really basic modeling supplies and a few empty boxes.

I stumbled across these basic templates in a scenery pack five or six years ago.  This led me back to the creator’s DeviantArt page, where taerSliver (his spelling) had created a few more options (including a horizontal bend, a T-intersection, and a double support).  I’m also going to try to get all of them up into the STC Archive in the next couple days (there’s some kind of recurring error happening at the moment).

I decided to build some basics and printed these out two each of the basic pipe length and the ground pipe.  They look a little complex on the page, but I was impressed how well they quick they went together.  The two ground support pieces took about an hour to mount on cardstock, cut out, and assemble.  Once I started folding it,  taerSliver’s template became clear and easy to work with.  I built the bottom first, sat a spare bottle of glue on it while it dried, and then folded the top over and used the bottle to hold that in place, too.

Next was the actual ground pipe.  This is probably the most complex part out of all the different components.  There are regular and inverted folds, and on some of the underside points they’ll actually triple up.  This piece requires the most time and patience.  It’s complicated to cut out and most of the joins require you to just hold them—it’s not possible to get a clothespin on them.

Helpful Hint—There is no actual bend to the underside of this piece.  It’s a right angle.  I wasted about ten minutes assuming taerSliver had left off a fold line or two.  The template’s fine—just assemble it as directed and be amazed by the optical illusion.

The pipes themselves are very simple octagons, just like a lot of the gun barrels, engines, and towers I’ve made in the past.  Once they were scored and glued, I clamped them and let them dry for about ten minutes.  One nice thing to consider is it’s very easy to extend or shorten these if you’ve got a specific layout in mind you want to build.  Either cut the template short, double it up, or just extend the lines as long as you’d like.

The other support was very simple.  It’s not much more than a box with two angles at the top.  Again, it went together without any challenge.

There’s a plug piece as well. This gives the pipe a bit more solidity, and also a surface to fasten the pipe ends to the supports on either end. I didn’t build them for this example, but they’re good to use if you want to make this whole thing rock-solid.

And that was pretty much it. I’d built two groundpipes, two regular pipes, and two supports in a little over three hours.  That’s from printing them out to dried and done.  Well, done as they are on the template, anyway...

I decided to toss on a little more detail.  I used my 1/16" hole punch to make a bunch of rivets, and these gave me some nice texture.  I almost put a little control/ monitor panel on one of the regular supports.  They’ve got tons of room for such things.  And once this was painted, it’d be very easy to add on tank decals and such to the pipes.  Numbers, aquillas, warning signs.  These templates have so much empty space it’d be easy to load them up with whatever details you want.  You could mount the whole thing on a piece of foamcore and have a great, solid scenery piece that matches up with a refinery or fuel depot or whatever else you may have in your collection.

I joined these pieces up so you’d have a sense of what it looks like.  I also realized, at this point, I’d had my printer settings off and these template were a bit larger than they should’ve been. Maybe about 10-15% larger.  Even then, that would make these about chest-to-neck-high on a Space Marine.  If you wanted to get these very close to the GW Promethium Pipes, you’d probably want to print these out at around 80% normal size.  This will make that ground pipe really nightmarish to assemble, but it’ll be worth it.  In fact, on that scale it almost might be worth doing some of  these components on heavy paper rather than cardstock, but that’s going to depend on your own tastes and comfort.

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