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.

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