Gargant -8-

So... more dakka.  And some other stuff.  This one’s going to be kind of huge.  I had a week off and I did a lot...

I mentioned before, I built a simple arm for the rokkit pod based off the same design as the gargant’s actual arms. I fastened it to a square plate on the bottom and a round plate (a “swivel joint”) on the top. 

Then, back to the flakkgunz.  I tried something new and actually wrapped the cardstock barrel sections around my hobby knife when I glued them.  There were plusses and minuses to this, as I discovered.  On the plus side, it let me put clothespins right on the seam without deforming the barrel, so the seal here was very solid.  Minuses, they were clamped so tight that every non-clamped area became loose almost by default.  Also, I realized this meant the knife and clothespins kept getting tied up on single items while they dried.  Needless to say, this slowed production down a lot.

So... maybe only use this method on single, specific things.

While the barrels were drying, I  sketched out two simple boxes to be the bodies of each flakkgun.  It’s not far off from the way I made the deffkannons, just smaller.  I put these together and then made a slightly more complex shape—think of it as a cube with a triangle on top of it.  This is going to be the central “mount” for the flakkgunz.  I’m sure someone reading this knows the real term—feel free to put it in the comments.

I glued the barrels to each other, turning them so the seams were between each pair of barrels.  Once they were dry, I mounted them on the bodies.  And while those were drying, I added a few details to the center of the mount.  Once the guns were in place, it was going to be tough to reach between them, and I’d rather do it now when it was easy.  So I put on some rivets and plates, made a simple Orky targeter, and glued the whole thing to a foamcore base made out of a square piece of scrap.

Once both of the flakkqunz were dry, I attached them to the central mount.  I didn’t want to dig out my larger clamps, so I just walked around holding the whole assembly for about ten minutes, checking it now and then to make sure nothing slipped.  I wanted them to be as close to aligned as possible, but I wasn’t sweating it much.  Like much of Ork technology, their anti-aircraft guns don’t work on accuracy as much as volume...

Then I cut some long strips of cardstock for the scaffolding/gantry that’s going to hold up the flakkgunz.  The wider ones are going to be uprights, the narrower ones will be diagonals.  I doubled these up, clamped each of them, and once they were fairly dry I stuck them either under books or the cutting board itself.  These need to be solid and straight.

Once they were all dry, I set them out and built one side of a 2” wide scaffolding gantry.  I used my steel ruler/straight edge to keep all the connections pressed flat.  At this point, there’s a lot of glue and cardstock here, and it’d be very easy for it to warp or bubble.  So, pressing flat and straight the whole time.  I let this all dry, then flipped it over and built the other side.  I added a foamcore square as a top platform and let that dry.

Alas, my three-legged scaffolding was not as stable as I’d hoped.  The triangle it makes is strong, but not enough to counter the leverage of the square platform.  So, in true Orky fashion, I rolled some cardstock into a tube, glued it, held it tight with rubber bands, and then stuck it on the side when it dried.  Done.

Except... well, now I had a new problem. I’d been thinking I’d leave the gargant’s head unattached to make it easier to transport.  But if I’ve got two towers growing off each shoulder, the head’s kind of a moot point, isn’t it?  Plus, that means the towers are going to be subject to a lot of stress riding in the back of my car—odds are they’ll tear off the first time I make a turn.  So I needed to figure out a way to make them solid, but also make them removable.  Like the arms.  Except I’d planned to build the arms that way...

After a bit of fret and worry and a few discarded ideas with magnets (which are too expensive for a cheap project like this) I came up with... gravity.  The gargant’s shoulders are flat enough, and it’s not going to move that often on the tabletop.  Really, once it’s placed it’ll probably just blaze away.  So if I can make these shoulder-mounted weapons stand on their own, they should be fine.

I ended up taking two pieces of foamcore and cutting them to fit across the back of the gargant’s shoulders.  There was some deliberate overlap where the pauldron connected with the torso.  I added a small foamcore block at the overlap point.  It’s going to fit right in the corner behind the pauldron and make sure these “baseplates” always sit in the same spot, so I can build around them.  The weapons mount to the baseplates and these are done.

Fun Bonus –It also struck me that all four weapon systems are removable, which means they could be swapped out if I decided to build something else.  The gargant is unexpectedly modular.

With that taken care of, next up was the Gaze of Mork (or possibly Gork).  I knew I wanted it to have a vaguely Zzap gun look to it.  It also needed to fit inside one of the eye sockets, but I also didn’t want it sticking drastically out.  I made a small cylinder about an inch and a half long and maybe 3/8” wide.  It was wrapped in a few strips of cardstock, and then I wrapped narrower strips on top of those. It gave me a nice, simple, Tesla-coily look.  I glued a 1/4” disk from my hole punch in the front as a lens, then added a simple hood over that, and the Gaze was done.

Actually, one other thing.  Because of how I’d built the head, the surface behind the eye socket is at an angle.  So I needed to build a little base for the Gaze of Gork that would be able fit through the socket and counter that angle.
Once again... math and science pay off.

The head is a hexagon.  That means each of the outside angles is 60 degrees (360 divided by six sides).  My tiny little craft toolkit comes with the standard 30-60-90 triangle.  Even if it didn’t, 60 is such a commonly-used angle it’s even marked on my cutting board.  So I sketched out a quick triangular box that was also 30-60-90.  It was small enough that I just held the whole thing together in one hand while it dried.

Now, with all the weapons done, it was time to think of some details for the back.   Most Ork walkers, from killa kans up to stompas, have some degree of exposed engine workings in the back.  I didn’t see why the gargant would be any different.  So I wanted to do something that gave the appearance of half-covered machinery.  But I also wanted to keep it simple—In The Grim Cheapness of The Future... has never been about super-insane-realistic detail that takes days of work.

I plotted out a few simple shapes on cardstock.  Two triangular boxes and another one that could be described as a cube with another triangle beneath it.  It’s lot like the one above I made for the flakkgunz, but I assembled them a bit differently because of how they were going to attach to the main model—that one sits on its square base, this one will essentially hang by its rectangular back. 

Question—At some point I may do a post just on how to build some basic shapes.  I skim over that a lot because it seems basic to me, but that might just be me.  Would anyone be interested in a quick geometric shapes post?

I cut out the sections, glued them together, and let them dry.  Again, simple forms, not much measurement past making sure the sides lined up.  Then I actually glued the three of them together to make a larger, engine component-ish-looking thing, then slapped on a few simple detail "plates" that also helped hold it together.  A good block of tech for the back of the gargant. And it gave me a broad horizontal surface for smokestacks to come out of...

Helpful Hint—Here’s another little quick geometry tip.  If I want to make a cylinder and it doesn’t need to be exact, figure that it’s going to be about 1/3 the size of my piece of paper or cardstock.  A three inch piece of cardstock will roll into about a one inch cylinder.  A six inch piece of cardstock will make a two inch cylinder.  If I need it to be exact, do the math, but this is a good rule of thumb for this scale.

Another Helpful Hint—Don’t forget to leave a little extra space for tabs, too.

All that being said, I cut some 4” wide strips of cardstock, trimmed one side into a tab, and rolled them into large smokestacks.  Because of their length, I couldn’t put clothespins on the middle, so I ended up wrapping them with rubber bands.  And—much to my surprise—it turns out I don’t have a lot of rubber bands in my house.  So things kind of ground to a halt as I essentially did one smokestack at a time.

At which point, as I mentioned at the start, I realized how much stuff I’d done.  This is going to be a huge post as is, so I’m calling it done.

Next time... everything gets assembled and the rivet fairy shows up!

(the rivet fairy probably will not show up—it’s just going to be me)



Okay, so, ready to apply logic and geometry to a problem?

I want a jaw that sticks out an angle, kind of like the one on the Stompa.  Now, If I have a straight line and wrap that around the base of the head, it’s going to stand straight up at a 90 degree angle to the table.  Likewise, if I trace the outline of the base and wrap that around... well, it’s going to lay perfectly flat.  Zero angle.  Make sense?

So, what I need is an arc that’s between a straight line and the curve of the base.  And I’m willing to bet—based off my great scores in high school geometry—that if I make my arc halfway  between those two extremes, it should connect in a way that gives me a 45 degree slope to my jaw base.  Or something very close to that...

HOLY CRAP! GEOMETRY WORKS!!  I guess math and science are still the way to go...

I glued my new jaw base in place.  A few cardstock strips helped make the whole thing a bit more solid.  I put some clothespins around the jaw to help hold it in place, but to be honest it was pretty solid from the moment I attached it. i still gave it plenty of time to dry, because I need this to be solid if it's going to hold the weight of the teeth at that angle.

Helpful Hint—Just another reminder—because this is an Ork project I didn’t do a lot of measurements.  If I did measure things, it was more to make sure angles matched than anything else.  The joy of Orks is that 99% of mistakes look like planned details.

Next I took apart that whole daisy-chained tooth construction I’d put together at the end of last week’s post.  Someone also pointed out that all the teeth I made were pretty even, size-wise (which isn’t very Orky), so I also made a new tusk for one side of the jaw.

Once this was done I went through and added a bunch of detail to the jaw.  A lot of it was edging-pieces, because I want these teeth to look clean and sharp.  There were also some random armor panels here and there. I also cut out any excess material from the cardstock base that showed between the teeth.  I used a pair of scissors for most of it, and some of the fine stuff I cleaned up with my sprue clippers.

I also added some pieces onto the head itself and the horns.  More cardstock plates, some foamcore scraps, stuff like that.  And there’s still at least a hundred rivets in the future.  For the moment, though, I let the whole thing sit and dry.

Now... I mentioned last time the need for shoulder-mounted dakka.  That need still exists.  And these magnificent horns, even cut down, still eat up a lot of shoulder space.  This bothered me for a bit until I remembered how much of the old gargant art shows weapon emplacements mounted up on gangly scaffolding or scrawny mechanical arms.  All of that suddenly made sense...  I’d already planned on some flakkgunz  for one shoulder and a missile pod for the other.  I decided to put the flakkgunz on scaffolding and the missile pod on a smaller version of the arms I’d built as, well, arms.

I did the rokkit pod first, just because it’s easy.  I wanted to make it look kind of like a real-world multiple rocket launcher (or a big Whirlwind, if you prefer).  It’s really just a basic box, very easy to lay out and assemble.  Wider than it is deep, deeper than it is tall—about 3 1/2" x 3" x 2" .  The only measurement I cared about was the front, because I wanted to try something clever there.  We’ll see if it works in just a few moments...

I plotted out a 3/8” border inside the front panel, then marked off what was left into a 1/4” grid.  This will let me place rokkit covers/ tubes in a more or less regular pattern.  I don’t mind if there’s a little variation, but if there’s too much it won’t be clear what this is.  I tried to shade it a bit to make it clear which grid squares were which, and to give me an alternating pattern.  I used my 1/4” hole punch to make a bunch of disks, dabbed some glue, and then put them all in place.

Helpful Hint—Probably goes without saying, but a hobby knife is perfect for this sort of positioning.  A sharp pencil works well, too.  Fine point, solid, easy to direct.  It helps get these little pieces right in place.

Once the disks were on and mostly dry, I assembled the box.  I clamped the tabs with clothespins at the early points, then just held it together with my hands as it neared the final joins.  Once I felt confident it was solid,  I added on a bunch of detail pieces.  I made a simple  “sun screen” to overhang the rokkit silos.  Also some cardstock plates and panels that gave it a little more structural integrity.  This whole thing will also need to get a few hits from the rivet fairy.

(The rivet fairy is a magical creature who lives about one week in the future.  I keep hoping she’s going to do all these rivets for me.  So far... no luck with that.)

With that together and drying, I turned to the flakkgunz.  If you remember the first Apocalypse book, there was a nice flakktrukk in that, and I decided to use it as my basis for the gargant’s flakkgunz.  I cut four pieces of cardstock about 4 1/2” long and 1 3/4” wide, then put a good curve in each one, lengthwise, by working them around my hobby knife.  These would be my barrels.

But I’ll talk a little more about them next time. I’m running a little bit behind and I want to get this posted.

Next time, flakkgunz, the Gaze of Mork (or possibly Gork), and some engines for this beast.  We’re closing in on the end.


Garagant: Part VI

Many, many thanks for all your patience.  There were conventions and edits and then an anthology.  But now I’m back.

Speaking of anthologies, check out that new one over on the right.  I now get to call myself a canon X-Files writer with my story “The Beast of Little Hill.”  It’s fun, you’ll like it.

But let’s head back to the Gargant...

To be honest, I’ve avoided the head until now because it’s going to need a lot of work.  Like any vaguely-humanoid model, the head’s going to be the first thing anyone sees—people look to the eyes.  So if I’m going to focus my attention on any part of this, it needs to be the head.

First thing was a face plate, much like the ones on the Stompa.  I’m keeping it simple and just going with the more blocky one.  I cut a foamcore rectangle that was about 3 3/4” by 6 3/4” wide.  Then I cut a 1/2” x 1” rectangle off each of the bottom corners to give it a stylized skull look.  The two eyes.

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 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 takes a little bit longer, but it makes all of this so much cleaner.

Now, once I had these little bits carved out of the face, I made a very shallow trench down the center of the back.  Not even halfway through the foamcore.  It was one pass with the knife, then one or two leaning the blade either way and just letting gravity do the work.  The point is to remove a thin wedge so I can bend the foamcore just a little (maybe 15 degrees) without leaving a harsh wrinkle or crease in it.

I glued the faceplate on the front of the head and added two spacers out on either edge to help keep everything solid.  Then I balanced the head on its back and set a bag of lentils across the plate.  That sat and dried for about half an hour while I went to work on the horns.

Helpful Hint—A bag of lentils or split peas is a great, cheap way to help stuff dry in place.  It has a good amount of weight, plus it’ll bend and flow over whatever you put it on like a not-quite-full beanbag—letting you keep pressure on almost any surface.  Plus, the lentils are good for you.

Most gargants don’t have horns.  I don’t know why, because horns seem to spill over to every other Ork vehicle.  And I wanted them to help balance out the squatness of the head..  Probably wider, blockier ones to go with the usual Deathskull esthetic.  So I sat down with a piece of foamcore and plotted them out, shooting for about 7” so they’d be twice the height of the head itself.  I liked how they turned out, but realized one problem as soon as I held them up to check the look.  They were too wide.  The horns covered the entire torso and pauldron area—and there’s supposed to be some shoulder-mounted dakka up there.  So, I immediately trimmed about 3/4” off the inside of each horn.
Next I took the triangular scraps from cutting the horns out and glued them on to the front and back of the horns themselves.  I made sure front and back pieces all lined up with the side edge.  It gives the horns some bulk, plus it means there’s more area for the glue to grab and hold them in place.  I made sure everything was lined up and then set a book on top of these for about ten minutes.

I glued the horns in place.  I had to hold them for about five minutes.  They sit a little forward on the head, not quite halfway back.  I also used the scrap pieces from the faceplate to make a nice solid block between the horns, the head, and the base piece for the head.  I’m really happy with how they look.  To be honest, it’s got me thinking of some punny Japanese robot names for the Gargant.  Gorkdizer.  Great Morkinga.  Gorking.  Dangork Ace.


It struck me while I was thinking of names, though, that the horns almost look too good.  For an Orky creation, they’re just too symetrical.  I’ll make a point of trying to set them apart when I add the detail next weekend.

Next up was the jaw. I thought about how to do this for a little bit.  I briefly toyed with the idea of cutting the jaw as one piece and curving it with the same “wedge” method I used up above with the faceplate.  Thing is, I’m running low on foamcore and I’m trying to keep costs down on this, so I didn’t want to risk wasting a piece.  I decided the best path would be to cut out the “teeth” individually and then work them together into the jaw.

Thing is... this turned out to be a lot harder than I expected.  Because they’re flat, the teeth don’t get a lot of contact against the head’s curved base.  They also don’t get a lot of contact with each other because the angle-out means they actually lean away from each other.  What little contact they make isn’t enough to counteract the angle.

I tried three different versions of this and couldn’t get any of them to work.  Things kept falling apart.  And I was running out of glue.  My last attempt was to create a sort of “belt” of teeth, with the hopes I could bend it into position.  It didn’t work, either.  Not in a way I liked.

But it got me thinking...