So, over on our sister(brother? sibling?) blog, AtomicWarlords, Marcus has been talking about the history of Ork gargants. In the game. In the fluff. In the studio design notes.
And with our annual Memorial Day game coming up, it got me thinking. Plus there’s all this recent talk about new Knights and Warlord Titans. Matt has a Warlord. Said Warlord, Big Blue, has caused us all much grief on the battlefield.
So, with all that in mind... let’s talk about gargants.
And before we go too far, let me point out that a lot of this is going to be fast and simple. One of the great things about modeling Ork vehicles is that they’re crude and lack symmetry. It makes quick-and-dirty scratchbuilding like this very easy. So there isn’t going to be a real template, just a lot of estimates
Plus, the models are very forgiving when it comes to hiding flaws (as I’m sure we’ll see next week).
Based off some of the ideas Marcus and I bounced around, I worked out a few ideas for what a gargant should look like. A good height. A basic hull structure. I decided to go with the later-era, squared-off model rather than the earlier, rounder one. Also, from a construction point of view, the blocky shape and angles would be a lot easier to work with while I was putting it together.
My final design gave me three sections. For future reference, I’m calling them the head, thorax, and abdomen—that’s top to bottom. There’s feet, too, but I’ll deal with them separately. My whole design stood at 27” tall... just a little bit taller than Big Blue, if memory serves. The base was a 14” square. It was big and bulky and (from an orky point of view) absolutely beautiful. Lots of space for icons, plating, and other details.
I decided to build the core hull structure out of foamcore. It would cost a little more than my usual projects, but those wide expanses would be much more solid. Then I could decorate/ detail it with cardstock, plus build weapons and arms out of cardstock so they’d be lighter. On this scale, lighter was going to be better.
Speaking of which...
Now, this model’s going to be very big, and it’s going to weight a decent amount. So I don’t want anything to be depending on glue alone. I want to make sure these are all load-bearing joins. The foamcore should be taking the weight, not the glue.
That being said, I need to remember that that foamcore’s thicker than cardstock. The overlaps and joins will actually add up to something now (unlike with cardstock where we’re talking about maybe 1/64” if it’s the heavy stuff). So when I start taking measurements and marking things off for cuts, I need to remember some construction basics...
Helpful Hint—Most sheets of foamcore are about 1/4” thick (check yours to be sure). Which means if the top and bottom overlap the sides, I should be subtracting 1/2” total from each vertical measurement. For example, the sides, front, and back of the feet are only going to be 1 1/2” tall (even though they’re marked as 2” on the blueprints). The extra half inch gets made up for by the top and bottom panels of the foot.
I took my time laying this out. Since I actually have to pay for foamcore (about $17 for all I needed), I didn’t want to waste any. So each piece was measured carefully so I used as much as possible with as little as possible left over. It meant flipping and reversing some pieces to make them fit, but in the end I got all of this out of just four sheets of foamcore. And I already had plans for some of the leftover pieces...
Helpful Hint—Foamcore is always two cuts, at least. Always. When you try to go through foamcore in one cut, that’s when you get all those beads and tears and rough edges. Use a fresh blade in your hobby knife, do one light pass, then one final pass. I usually do a third pass just to make sure I’ve cut through the bottom side of the foamcore.
Also, be aware this will dull your blade to the level of a butter knife. Seriously. It will take at least two blades to cut all this foamcore, and even then there’s going to be some ragged edges.
The feet are just simple boxes. I set down the bottoms and built the front, back, and sides to them. Then I used consummate V’s in the feet. This is a simple technique I’ve used in the past. It helps fill up the empty space and gives things a bit more load-bearing ability. Once those were all set, the tops were glued into place. I put a twelve-pound dumbbell on each foot to make sure it dried flat, and it held the weight with no problem. So if they can hold twenty-four pounds, I’m pretty sure then can deal with the weight of the gargant.
The abdomen is essentially a big box with a sloped front. Easy to assemble. But since it’s the base of the whole gargant I wanted to make sure it was very solid. Also, I wanted to make sure it had a bit of mass to it. It’d be very easy for this model to become very top-heavy. I played around with a few ideas in my head, and what I came up with was a phone book. Not a huge one, but one of the thinner local ones that weighed about two pounds. Free and plentiful. I built a frame to hold it and glued it in place. Then I added a few more right triangles around the inside to brace the walls (and the frame). When I was done, the abdomen was rock solid.
The thorax needed a bit more work. I knew I wanted to make the arms removable for easy transport and possible swap-outs. But I needed any sort of socket to be low enough for me to add details and also some sort of “pauldron” over the gargant’s shoulder.
After a bit of wrangling, I decided on 2” square sockets, a little more towards the back than centered. Then I flipped the half-assembled thorax over and added two little “benches” to the top, just inside the sockets. When I slide in an arm post, the weight of the arm itself is going to make it want to tilt up (levering on the socket hole), so—in theory—these will keep the arm from tilting. Make sense?
I also added some more triangle braces while the benches were drying.
Now, on my diagrams the head’s a basic cube, 6” in every direction. As I worked on this, I came to realize that was a hair too tall. I wanted something more squat (no, not that kind of squat). So I knocked the head down to 4” tall, which actually meant I cut the pieces at 3 1/2” to make up for tops and bottoms. And this shaved 2” off the height of the whole gargant.
I also decided I wanted the head to stand out a little more, and look a bit closer to the Stompa design. So I decided to go with a hexagonal head. After running a few numbers in my head, I decided to go with 3 1/2” sides. So I needed six panels that were 3 1/2” square. A hexagon with these sides fits exactly in a 7” diameter circle (high school geometry wins—again), so I used my compass to draw said circle. I also drew another, slightly larger circle around that and cut the whole thing out. This is going to be the head’s base on top of the thorax, and also where I’ll be mounting the “jaw” later.
Once that was all done, I assembled the head-panels inside of the 7” circle. I cut another 7” circle, then trimmed it to fit the hexagon, and that was my roof. I set a book on top of it and let the whole thing dry.
And that was my rough hull. It’s big and impressive and extremely white at this point, but I’m hoping to fix some of that next time. Here’s my lovely lady’s Freebooter Warboss –Bah Bossa—to give you an idea of scale (he’s the one from the Black Reach set).
Next time, some details.