So I had a Chaos Army that I sold recently. I had been planning to build a series of 6 Hell Blades for use in Apoc games. With the cost of Forge World being somewhat prohibitive to acquiring Hell Blades in those numbers presently, I turned to scratch building and found a template on the internet. I didn't build it right away. And by chance I was at my local hobby shop and I saw the Forge World model of the hell Blade. I'm sorry, but that thing looks crappy! It looks more like a badly stripped down Imperial fighter or something and if it weren't for the glaringly gold 8-pointed star on the side I don't think it's really be IDed as a chaos fighter. So I decided to make my own Hell Blade.... sort of fighter that will still be the Hell Blade.... and use the Hell Blades rules... but won't be the Hell Blade model.... yeah anyway. Making a ship to use as a Hell Blade. What follows is a work log of my efforts toward this final goal. Since I have no technical design training this is a very trial and error process. Each step along the way I build a model, look at the finished model, decide what I like, and what I don't like. What I don't like I try to figure out how to change it so I do like it and then incorporate that into the next version I build. So here we go:
Thinking I knew what I was doing, I jumped at the deep end and started using sheet styrene to construct a Hell Talon based on the Paper hammer template I found. I thought it worked alright, so I moved on a second "enhanced" version. I took what I learned from the first attempt and worked to improve the model.
I soon discovered a critical weakness in the first Sheet styrene version I built:
Absolutely 0 survivability when dropped. Here you see the remains of it.
With the second model I worked to make some improvements.
You can see I built some internal stabilization into it in the form of several sheets of styrene to brace the body a bit more.
I also took some thinner "Sorry, we're closed" signs (What? They're sheet styrene!), and cut out an arrowed trim pattern similar to the Chaos forces designs.
Here I crafted a pair of Reaper cannons by removing the barrels from a pair of heavy bolters, replacing them with 2 lengths of plasti-rod and tipping that with Gargoyle heads. Fair victory I say.
But honestly, it wasn't good enough. I realized this was going to take a lot more experimentation to get to a level I'm happy with. Even with the comparatively cheap cost of using signs as a source of sheet styrene, I'd still be talking of $20+ per attempt and I was looking at at least 3 more attempts if not more like 6 or 8 more. Hmm, my cheap option suddenly became somewhat less cheap. So I went back to using card stock and cereal boxes for my next round of efforts.
Here I built the Hell Talons exactly has layed out on the site I found the template on. Not a bad result. Couple problems I have with it though.
1: Where's the details? Also, the canopy got torn apart when I tried to cut out the part. Needed to fix that in the next version.
2: WOW! Did I way over-estimate the cannon barrel lengths or what?!
As I built it I did make some improvements.
Firstly, I installed a pair of cross supports to support the main body and keep the sides a uniform width.
The engine came out alright, but I can do better. When I get around to building the final version out of plasticard I think I'm just gonna stick Valkyrie engines in there.
I also changed the upper stabilizer design a little. Instead of a single fin I made it a spread junction, almost like a secondary exhaust.
I built a set of Ammo-hoppers to feed the main guns. Full success I say. Though I want to build the final ones out of plasticard and plastirod, not tooth picks.
So, with one successful build under my belt I moved to improve on this version.
And totally borked it all up to high heaven.
But I'm too stubborn to quit. So I returned an built another, again hoping to improve on my previous victories.
Here is my latest effort, completed only a few minutes before I began taking pictures to post in here.
I made several improvements, and several fubars, here.
I used better bracing for the body. Improvement.
I set the bracing too far forward on the body. Fubar.
I added the Choasy pointed edging. Improvement.
I got the canopy built and attached this time. Improvement.
I added new details to the engine. Improvement.
I mounted the engine in such a way that the joined in the housing are visible. . Fubar.
I mounted the engine against the upper body housing with too much space beneath the engine itself. . Fubar.
If you look down the legnth of the body, you see that not only did I not put a pilot in the craft, but I didn't put anything else in either! . Fubar.
So, I made some progress but I still have some way to go. I need to semi-disassemble my latest effort and figure out how to correct my fubars and with what. Obviously something inside the body to make it looks like more then flying cardboard. If I drop a Valkyrie engine in there in the final version that'll take care of a fair amount of the space. From there I think I can build in some scanners and auger arrays in the forward segment of the body to account for the rest of the space. I can build braces to both support the body internally, and hold the engine centrally relative to the axis of the body. I also need to build the bracing further into the main body. I want to build the wings so that there's bracing on the inner sides of them. Yeah I know that didn't make any sense. So something like this:
First big thing I've address is over all strength of the model.
That is 11 layers of cardboard glued together and held in place under pressure while the glue set and dried. Let me tell you, that stuff is fracking strong. See, I glued the sheets of cardboard together, then applied the pattern for the inner wings and cut it out of the finished compressed layers of cardboard. hmmmm.... not easy. Next time I'm cutting the pattern out 11 times and gluing those together.
Regardless, this has given the model utterly un-yielding strength in comparison to my prior models.
I took a suggestion and added a section to the body that angles the wing pylons downward relative to the body.
First up: the paper hammer version.
I think this is about as good as I'm going to get with the cardboard work. The body is good and solid, while the angled wings give it a meaner looking profile I think. I also managed to find out how strong the body is when I dropped it down a flight of 14 stares and outside the forward most parts of the prow, what are not themselves supported, being a little bent, the model survived it's downward spiral with out problem.
So I began work on my first new generation Sheet styreen model based on what I had learned:
I got somewhat more adventurous with the engine on this latest model and gave it a spidery look to it with the addition of a series of claw-like radiator veins around it's axis. Initially this worked real well, untill the veins started bending. Now it looks like it's ready to make a cork-screw maneuver. Using a length of PVC piping I added an inner-structure to the engine.
Now, onto my first sheet styrene build. For cost reasons I've used "For sale" and "Do not enter" signs I got at Home Depot. Total cost: about $12.
Here we see an over all shot of the model. The inner wings are 5 layers thick, like the previous cardboard version. I've also used Green stuff for gap filling. I only applied the putty last night so I have had a chance to file it down yet.
You can see I've added a Valkyrie engine to this build. It was a very simple process to modify the engine to work with the body. Simply make 2 cuts: One directly behind the forward intake housing, and another about 1/3 of the way down the length of the engine itself. The longer portion gets mounted on the back thanks to a little pinning to the main body while the air-intake gets mounted to the front of the main body.
the addition of some 1/4 tubing and I managed to make some passable VTOL thrusters under the main body, and yes I know the cannons are crooked. I'll have to fix those.
The auto-cannons. Nuff said.
So what do I have left to do on this model? A bunch of little stuff. I'm still going to add the chaos-pointing detailing like I did in the 2nd version of the cardboard design.
I need to build and add the forward housing for the cockpit as well. I'm also going to be adding more bracing around the body to give it a sort of industrialized, heavy metal kind of feel to it. And if I'm going for heavy metal I'll need to add bolts. Lots and lots of bolts. I'm also going to be adding wiring and piping to the body to make it look more like an actual machine then just an engine with guns.
Here you can see the finished model of that version:
Still not happy with what I had created yet I continued on:
So I'm still at it. Haven't quit gotten to a level I'm really happy with but I'm making improvements. There you see the first completed scratch Built Hell Shrieker I built. Moderate success over all. Little primer, little paint and doesn't look out of place on the board. But I can do better.
And I'm working on it. I've begun work on the second Hell Shrieker. in the previous model I built the wings and the body and then attached them together and then the engine components to that. That lead to some spacing trouble as well structural problems. So this time I'm building out from the main body.
By building the inner section and leaving it un-closed I was able to VERY securely build the engine parts onto the body. Not that I intend to test it, but I think I could chuck this down the stairs and not worry about the engine parts coming loose from the body.
With more 40k flyers being released I'm working on making my Hell Shriekers work with the same stands. In this case I magnetized the body and the base.
Tommorow I'm going to build the inner sections for the wings and work on adding more detail to the engine workings.
My plans for improvements on this model are detail related. I'm going to try etching some panel lines in the wings, adding Rivets to the frame, fuel lines to the undersides, fan-blades to the VTOL jets, that sort of thing.
Making progress. Finished one inner wing section:
Initially I tried using a belt sander to even out the sides. Piece of advice: Sheet Styren doesn't like being sanded on a High-speed sander.The Friction of the belt against the styren actually gets hot enough to partially melt the particals of styren that are sanded off resulting a thick... I dunno what to really call it. It's almost like cotten candy for a second before it cools enough to become hard. So I took Death's suggestion and went back in with sheets of plastic to even out of the edges. I'm going to go back with green stuff to fill in gaps as needed:
I'm working on building up the engine a bit as well to difereniate it from the Valkyrie a bit. Here's a shot of the added cables.
Finished both inner-wing sections, and completed most of the green stuff gap filling. You can see the Canopy there by the base drying. I've begun adding the details to the body. You can see the Chaos Arrows on the upper part of the wings.
I really liked the armature blades I added to a prior Cardboard mock up so I decided to try adding them to this model.
Good time/Bad time.
I added the blades. Good time.
I mounted the engine off center. Very bad time.
The mis-mounted engine sadly has effected the entire length of the model's model. You can see it's off-centering look here. Next version I'm going to build braces into the main body before I mount the engine.
Well I'm as done with this Hell Shrieker as I'm going to get for the next 7 days. My brother and his family are coming for a visit, so we're converting rooms to accommodate them. Which sadly means I loose my work space until they leave. Oh well, I'll deal. But I'm not putting this project on hold with out an update.
Frankly, I think this is turning out to be my meanest looking Hell Shrieker yet. Which, considering I screwed up on the main body is some level really impressive. I have to say, I think I recovered really well from that particular fubar.
Here you can see the addition of the armor plate and bolts to the fuselage section. I'm going to add rivets all around the main body and the cockpit, but that will need to wait till another day. I figured out a good way to make the rivits too. Take small Hex-rod, tape it to my metal ruler and then go in and cut 1mm lengths. So long as I don't cut the width of the tape the pieces stay there and I can cut lots of the little buggers quickly. Applying them is still a royal pain in the tookus though. Oh well, time and trial.
I found that my local hobby store carried Milliput so I picked a carton of it and am trying it out on this Hell Shrieker. The more yellowish green areas are the Milliput. It's similar to green stuff, but isn't as sticky which was good in this case. It's also way cheaper. For $8 I got about 3x what GW sells for $10. Here you can see how I used it for some gap filling.
I think Death was right and that I'm looking at perhaps 1 or 2 more prototypes before I reach a level of detail I'm happy with. Of course then I have to build 6 Hell Shriekers.
And I think version... what am I up to? 4.5? Yeah, version 4.5. Anyway, I thin Version 4.5 of the Hell Shrieker is complete.
Here it is, based.
You can see I added more rivits around the cockpit struts. I'm going to add more, but it's been a LOOOOOONG 3 days and adding those couple were exhausting. So I will add more later one.
Here we have a shot of the Auto-cannons and VTOL thrusters. I don't know why that one thruster looks crooked in the image. It doesn't on the model itself.
I tried to get a little creative with press molding some turbo-fans into the VTOL thrusters. The idea works, I just need to make a better mold. Still for the next version I'm gonna try sticking a Storm Raven VTOL thruster bit under there and see how that works out.
I had an idea as I was writing this. I pulled out all 6 completed models I have for the project, put them all next to each other and made a short video explaining the differences between each and show casing how the design has evolved through the project. Enjoy!