I have been toying with the idea of posting up the details on my Hercules Land Raider for a while now so here goes.
The basic concept for my Marine Chapter is that it is based around Techmarines and the search for ancient knowledge. I first had the idea back in 1995 when they released some nice Techmarine models but it never got beyond some rough sketches.
It wasn't until 2007, during a clear-out of some old papers that I found my original sketches for the Hercules. By this time the current Land Raider kit was out and a number of other plastic kits had me coming up with possible conversion idea's. I eagerly got to work on the project over the summer of 2007 and below is my documented work.
Although I got quite a lot of work done, kids, work and other conversions have taken up my time since and the Hercules was shelved part done.
Just recently I have revived the project so I thought now would be an ideal time to post up my work.
I started with a regular Land Raider and had half an idea of what I wanted to achieve. I wanted the finished item to look functional and rugged. I also knew I wanted it to be able to tow damaged vehicles and deal with twisted wreckage AND I wanted it to be able to carry my Forge Lord and a retinue of Servitors and/or Tech Adepts. I didn't want the model to be offensive...more a transport and recovery vehicle, however, I did want it to be able to defend itself should the need arise.
I quickly discovered that the leg sprues from the Chaos Defiler would be ideal for what I had in mind (and at that time you could buy the sprues seperately from GW). As the project continued I found a use for just about everything except the Defiler chassis!
Basic chassis build
Having built the basic structure I made a start on the Twin Linked Multi-Melta and towing boom. The Multi-Meltas were fairly easy to build as it only involved pinning a couple of metal MM's together and mounting them on a spare Whirlwind turret base.
The boom construction involved chopping up a couple of the Defilers legs (I kept the ball joints for later) and gluing them together. I also had a couple of Terminator teleport homers that looked right sat underneath the boom.
Test fit of the Boom.
Once I was satisfied with the look and fit of the boom I cut out some of the engine vents from the upper hull to allow the boom to 'sit-in' to the hull. I also filed some 'chain runs' into the top of the boom.
Finally, the end plates from a couple of IG vehicle HK missile tubes were cut into the hull to provide a location for the lifting chains to run into, giving a feel that the chains could be tensioned independently of the booms movement.
Top view of the hull plate.
The final part of the upper hull structure was to make the towing hook. The fact that I rarely throw any bits away came to the rescue here. I found the lower torso from a plastic Dreadnought I had converted for my Whirlwind Walker. This provided the bulk of the lifting tackle and the end portions from an IG dozer blade were perfect for a nut/bolt assembly the chain would run through. The pictures show the original jewelers chain I used but I didn't think it was coarse enough and ended up ordering a couple of lengths of chain from Forge World that I linked together to make a single piece.
The hardest part of the lifting tackle was the hook itself. I did look around for a week or so at various modelling websites and shops but in the end I had to manufacture it from an Ork axe or something similar (can't quite remember now). It's not fantastic and I may come back to it and make a better one at some point.
Lifting Tackle hook
With the upper hull done I turned my attention to the sponson mounts. I had always planned on having some kind of hydraulic Salvage arms on either side of the Hercules, rather than something mounted on top of the hull as others have done. After a few scribbled ideas I went with the claws and arms from the Defiler after removing all the Chaos markings.
I designed the arms so they could travel horizontally through the 180 degree arc of the sponson weapons mount but also be able to rotate through 360 degrees on a collar to allow them to grapple battlefield wreckage. The Hurricane Bolter armour from a Crusader provided a nice finish to the look of the arms and those swivel joints I cut off the Defiler arms earlier were used as end caps to cover the pinning I used to hold the arm to the collar.
Rotating Collar close-up
End Cap (opposite side to the collar)
Both Salvage Claws complete.
The next step was to glue the upper hull in place. I added little touches to the vehicle at this point like making the tow cable and converting an old Mole Mortar
so it looked like it had a folding stand. I managed to cut out an auxiliary tow cable and connectors and glue them to the Herc's rear as well. The picture clearly shows the Adeptus Mechanicus symbol I cut off of something (the Land Raider engine block I think) and glued in place on the lower ramp.
I decided at this point that I would glue the ramp shut, having never been a fan of being able to open it up. The main factor behind this was that I really didn't have the time or inclination to paint the interior before assembly (just impatient I guess).
Final hull assembly
I undercoated and basecoated the model once it was dry. I did do some basic painting on the models components but by this time I had run out of steam a little and work was getting in the way.
When I put the project on hold I was only half happy with what I had achieved. For one, the paintjob was irritating me. I have never been very happy with my vehicle painting techniques, especially with large flat expanses and two, I thought the Herc was looking a little stumpy at this point. I toyed with the idea of using some old IG dozer blades to make a suitable dozer blade for the Herc but it never reached fruition...until recently.
Well, thats it for now as it's getting late and I have an early start tomorrow. More to follow.