Garagant: Part Fifth

I know I said I was going to work on the head, but I ended up a bit detail-focused this weekend.  Plus, the head’s something I don’t want to rush.  So for now, I’m going to build some rokkits. 

If you check over on our battle-sister site, Atomic Warlords, there are some test rules for the Gargant.  One of the options is supa-rokkits, and as a secondary weapon they can go pretty much anywhere.  For the moment, I’m going to put two on each arm to help bulk up the weapons a bit.  Depending on the final rules, I may add more...

Rokkits are simple, believe it or not.  They’re just little towers, which are just a variation on gun barrels.  You may remember I made a lot of towers a while back of the silver variety.  It’s a simple procedure, so I won’t repeat it here.  I will point out that I want a few different sizes and lengths,

For this, I made two rockets with 1/4” panels, one with 3/8” panels, and the last one was 1/2” on each side.  This gave me some variety in circumference.  I also had different length and cone measurements for each one, just because Ork weapons are known for having such great variety.

Helpful Hint—I didn’t put tabs on any of the cone sections.  These are small enough that I just used some scrap paper and glue to bind them.  I held them with my fingers until the glue died.  I took a little longer, but I think it was still less than fiddling with eight tabs on each rokkit.
Once I have the basic shapes, I want to add some detail. As I’ve mentioned before, weapons tend to draw the eye on a model, so they’re worth a little extra work.  Maybe one or two rings to help sell their circular nature.  A curved armor plate will do that, too.  Plus, if I line them up right, each of these will give me something extra for the fins to grab.  Like the rokkits themselves, the fins are just a collection of random triangles, some with the tips cut off for “streamlinin’.”  A few of them are doubled or tripled up. I took a few of the triangles left over from cutting the nose cones and used them for Orky jags/teeth on some of the rokkits.

Oh, and more rivets.  Always rivets with Orky stuff.

While those were drying, I made a few quick supports for the rokkits (stands? gantries?).  They’re just a basic M shape kept narrow so the rokkit can be glued on two long edges.  I added a few lengths of thin card on the sides to give it more of an industrial/ scaffolding look.  And more rivets.

I debated how I should glue these on.  Supports to rokkits and then to arms?  Or supports to arms and then add on the rokkits?  In the end, I went for supports to rokkits.  It gives me more control about the position of the rokkit itself once it’s mounted.

When I glued them onto the arms, I tried to keep them towards the back. There’s more space, plus I didn’t want to distract from the different kannons. 

And, as I predicted before, they help a lot. The arms look more significant and substantial.  And more Orky. “Adding on” is a big part of the Ork esthetic, and it’s definitely something to keep in mind when building... well, anything for them.

We’re also really hitting a funny point, I’ve noticed. The gargant’s so big it’s really hard to put things together and... well, get a sense of them.  I either need to do close-ups or wide shots where a lot of detail gets lost.  I’m sure things will stand out better once it’s all painted, but for now it’s easy to get lost in the wider shots.

Next up... the head.

Before that, though...  I’ve got two conventions back to back and it means I’m not going to get anything done, building-wise, for another two weeks.  I might try to revisit an old, recently-relevant post if I have time, but that’s about it.

On the other hand, if you’re already planning to attend Westercon or the San Diego ComicCon, please try to find me.  I’m doing three different signings at SDCC for the Ex-Heroes series and my new book, The Fold, plus a couple of panels.  You can find me (or my schedule) at the Random House booth, or on Twitter.

Hopefully see you there. And if not, see you back here soon.


Gargant, Part Four

Okay, time to build some arms and mount some dakka.

So, you may recall I built two sockets in the thorax so I could make removable arms.  This means I needed 2” square “posts” to fit in those sockets.  These were pretty straightforward to build. They’re two inches on each side and five inches long.  I braced them with glue bottles and random things on the table to make sure they stayed as square as possible.  Square hole—square peg.

Helpful Hint—Mentioned this before, but 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.  It makes all of this soooo much easier and cleaner.

While the two pegs dried I cut two 3 1/2” squares.  These are going to be the base of the posts—the shoulders, if you will, once they’re in place.  They’ll sit right beneath the pauldrons and everything will mount to them.  So when I glued them to the posts I balanced a book on them and made sure they dried solid.  These are going to be taking all the weight from the arms and weapons, so I wanted them to be as strong as possible.

Next up was arms themselves.  They needed to have a certain level of bulk so they’d look good for the scale.  They also needed to work (or look like they worked) believably with the assorted joints and hinges I’d be adding to them.  I toyed with the idea of building them as boxes, like the posts, but then I realized that was Papercraft talking.  Since I was working with foamcore, I could just layer two or three pieces together and get a good, solid arm—especially if I added some detail on top of it.

I decided to go three layers thick, which was about 5/8” altogether.  I cut six pieces at 2” x 6 1/2”.  It’s a bit of an odd length, but I'm still trying to be efficient about my foam core use.  This gave me the longest, widest arms with the least amount of waste.  I also cut 1/4” off each corner to round them just a bit.

Helpful Hint—Again, this is an Ork project, so exact measurements are not needed.  I measured and cut the corners on one of the six pieces, then just used it as a template for cutting the other five.  They’re not 100% perfect, but they’re good enough for a Big Mek and a lot of this will be hidden in the joint anyway.

Once all six pieces were ready I glued them together and set a book on them.  I then checked twice to make sure they hadn’t slipped under the book (and was glad I did).  When they were safely squared away, I let them dry and turned to the hinges.

The shoulder piece I mentioned before was 3 1/2”, so I dug around in the kitchen cabinets until I found a jar lid with a diameter that was almost exactly that.  I traced four circles on my foam core (front and back of two shoulders), each one touching the edge and the last circle.  Then I drew a line across the opposite edge of the circles and another, perpendicular line between each circle.  I cut these out so they were round on one side and squared off on the other (check the pictures below).  Then I added some cardstock discs (some large, some from my holepunch) to add some detail and make it look like a large pivot point.

Now that they were dry, I added a long strip to the center of each arm as a bit of base detail.  Superstructure, support, it could be anything.  But it looks good and adds some more to the thickness of the arms.  At this point, I had the entire upper arm structure pretty much done.

Next was elbow joints.  I built them just like the shoulders, but this time I used a 2 1/8” can to trace the circles with.  Again, you can use whatever size looks right to you.  I added some of the same cardstock details and called these good.

As a final step, I cut a 3” x 2 1/8” piece of foamcore which would essentially serve as a weapons mount.  This will be at the end of the elbow joints.  It gave me a big area to attach the weapons to and also helped bulk them up a bit.

Just before assembly, I added a few more armor plates and rivets to the arm sections.  A lot of these are going to be hard-to-reach places, so I needed to add this detail now.  I also didn’t want to risk breaking a seam later on because I tried to press down on a rivet at a key place.

So... let’s put it all together...

I started at the shoulder.  The two shoulder joints went on either side of the arm.  Note that the front side will really just be attaching to that center detail strip, so make sure it’s on far enough to hold.  Then line up the back piece. Make sure the flat edges are flush by checking them against a flat surface.

While the shoulder was drying, I added the elbow joints to the end of the arms.  I tried to make their edges close to perpendicular to the shoulders, but I didn’t sweat it too much.  If the weapons end up a little off, it’ll either end up looking dynamic or (again) Orky.

I glued the two weapon mounts onto the weapons, then, once these were solid, I glued them to the elbows.  Megakannon on the right arm, twin deffkannons on the left.  No particular reason, that’s just what felt good to me.  Some more armor plates added detail and helped glue things together.

I decided this would be a good time to add on the gutbuster kannon, too.  First, though, I needed to add a big skull icon to cover a lot of the abdomen.  The front panel is 14” x 11” so I marked off a piece of foamcore that was about 12” x 10”.  With that basic  area mapped out, I sketched an Orky skull icon (complete with horns) that would work well for my Deathskulls.  I briefly toyed with putting the kannon in one of the eyes, but it just didn’t feel right.  So I made sure the teeth were spaced so the kannon would fit well between them (without being too low on the abdomen).

I added a bunck of detail to the icon.  More cardstock to make brows and accent the teeth, and then a ton of rivets.  Some of them I even put right down on the foamcore.  I wanted there to be clear lines between the skull and the horns.  Once that was done, I glued some scrap foamcore to the back so the icon would be “mounted” just above the surface of the hull.  I mounted it so about half an inch stood up above the abdomen.  If I’ve done this right, the cumulative effect of these little touches that will add a lot.

While the icon was drying in place, I added a small support to the back of the gutbuster kannon, just like I’ve done on other cannons. I set it as close as I could to the icon’s teeth (without touching) and glued it in place.  I’ve never liked it when I see scatchbuilt gargants and stompas with a very low belly kannon.  This thing has an engine somewhere, but it definitely has a lot of drive mechanisms right there by the feet.  The overall design should account for that.

Next time, I finish up the head and we get this big guy ready to rock.


Gargant, Part 3

Okay, thanks for your patience.  Now it's time to make some dakka.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m approaching this project in a very Orky way.  There aren’t any templates and I may eyeball a lot of things when it comes to measurements.  But I’m trying to throw enough out there to make this a repeatable project.  As you’ll see...

I started simple with the gutbuster kannon.  I wanted it to be big, but not so huge that it became comical.  Also, after a certain size  there starts be odd scale issues with thickness.  If I have a weapon with a ten inch bore, you don’t expect the barrel itself to be 1/32” thick.

Silly as it may sound, I decided to go with a toilet paper tube as the base.   Three of them.  I cut each one lengthwise (giving me a curved sheet of cardstock), then in half.  The tubes are about four inches long, so each one gave me two 2” cured sections.

Then I started overlapping them and gluing them together.  The first two went together pretty well (there was a small gap, but that’ll just be the bottom of the barrel, invisible to everyone except that poor Guardsman who’s about to be crushed).  Then I trimmed about 1/8” off the next one, added some glue, and nestled it inside the barrel (trying hard to keep the front edge flush).  Then I added another, and another, shifting them a bit each time so the seams didn’t all overlap.

Helpful Hint—as a rough rule of thumb, I found cutting off about 1/8” more off each barrel made them fit inside each other really well.  1/8” off the first, 1/4” off the second, 3/8” off the third and so on.

While that whole thing was drying, I started working on the Megakannon.  It’s essentially an Ork volcano cannon, so I decided that’s how I’d build it—just a big solid cannon.  Something that looks like it would always deliver a knockout punch, no matter what it was aimed at.  I knew I wanted a big barrel (at least an inch in diameter), and a good length, so my base piece was 4 1/4” wide by 5 1/2” long (plus a bit of a tab on the long edge).  I gave this piece a good, lengthwise curl and glued it together.

While it was drying I cut detail pieces for the front and back (each one about 4 1/2”) and a 3 3/8” wide piece to be a liner for the inside of the barrel (see the 1/8” rule up above).  Each of these was placed to help hide seams from sightlines. I also added on an armor plate I had leftover from last time as a bit of Orky reinforcement.

I let all that dry and moved on to the twin deffkannons. Or dethkannons. Due to the flexibility of Ork language (and GW editors and editions) there was some debate among the Warlords about what weapons were what.  The final decision was that deffkannons and dethakannons were the same thing pronounced with Deathskull/ Goff accents, respectively.

My deffkannons are based off the Imperial Knight’s battle cannon.  I just made them a bit longer.  Following the same basic setup as the Megakannon, the core piece was 1 5/8” by 5” with a tab on the long edge.   The outer detail pieces were 1 3/4” wide, the inner one was 1 1/2” wide.  I glued those together  and let them both dry.
Then I built two simple boxes to be the bodies of each weapon.  They add to the size and also give me a nice big surface for details and for connecting to the arms.  The small faces aren’t much bigger than the barrels.

As I was finishing up the deffkannons, though, I became aware of an issue with both of these weapons.  It’s the same scale problem that surfaces all the time in Warhammer 40K—how do we reconcile this with this? A heavy bolter is something a Space Marine scout lugs into battle, but it’s also this massive, blocky thing on the side of a Predator.  And they have the same stat line either way.

On a Stompa, a deffkannon looks a little twiggy, but it works.  On a gargant, though—even doubled up—it just looks scrawny.  And that’s considering I made it a little bigger and longer.  Even the gutbuster kannon, the largest gun barrel I’ve ever put on a model, kind of gets lost against the sheer bulk of the gargant.

It took me a little bit to figure out how to get past this.  And to do it in a suitably Orky way.  Then, when I realized how to do it, I felt kind of silly for not noticing it before.

Take another look at the Stompa.  As I said, the deffkannon looks kind of small, but it works.  And the reason it works is because it isn’t alone.  There’s the deffkannon and a mega-gatler, and a bunch of rokkits.  In true Orky fashion, there’s just more and more stuff added on top of the deffkannon until it looks big.

I’m going to try to do the same thing once I get these mounted on the arms.  Add some rokkits. Maybe a big shoota or two.  That should help bulk up both arm weapons.