The Iron Falcons Chapter is based around Techmarines and the search for ancient knowledge. I first had the idea back in 1995 with the release of some nice Techmarine models and have come up with various conversions and idea's over the years since.
The Chapter places an almost fanatical importance on keeping all of its wargear in top condition and an even greater zeal for recovering their fallen, be it Marine, Vehicle or Dreadnought. They excel at Urban combat and have developed variants of the Predator and Whirlwind that are better able to traverse the pulverised remains of cities and hab-spires.
This tutorial will take you through detailed steps allowing you to create these...
...from these components (plus some sheet styrene, rod and tubing).
You will need basic modeling tools for this project:
A craft knife or scalpel, snips, ruler, saw, pin vice and drill bits, snipe nose pliers, needle files and a fine grit (P240C) waterproof silicon carbide paper - also known as wet & dry abrasive paper.
You will also need Brass Rod (the same size as your drill bit) and Sheet Styrene. This is available from a number of different vendors but I tend to use Plastruct and Evergreen products and always buy off the internet from wherever I can get it cheapest. You will need sheet styrene in both 0.8mm/.030" thickness (Plastruct SSS-103) and 1.5mm/.060" thickness (Plastruct SSS-106). If you intend to make the Autocannon you will also need 2.0mm/.080" styrene rod (Plastruct MR-80) and Evergreen tubing (Evergreen 232) with an internal diameter of 8.1mm/.319" and an external diameter of 9.5mm/.375".
The Plastruct Catalogue is available as a free downloadable PDF here and is a great source of information, even if you don't use their products.
If you can get hold of it use Liquid Poly plastic cement (also known as Plastic Weld or Testors Number 3502)...make sure it is 'liquid'...it comes in bottles (normally with a built in brush in the lid) and is the consistency of water...if it's in a tube you have the wrong stuff!
The advantages of this over regular polystyrene cement (the stuff you used as a kid on model Aeroplanes) is that it aggressively melts the surface of the plastic it is applied to and it evaporates quickly giving an excellent bond in a few seconds. Also because of it's consistency it is very good for running down cracks and getting into difficult to reach areas. Once a joint is dry with this stuff it is solid. Applying this glue to styrene sheet, rod and tubing gives excellent results!!!
1 x Sentinel Kit (mine was an old kit from years ago...the new ones have articulated legs for better poses I think).
1 x Landraider Terminus Ultra Conversion Kit - Part Code:99120101073 from GW mail order OR a complete Predator if you intend to build the Autocannon variant (you will get yourself a Rhino out of this too).
1 x Land Raider Twin-Linked Lascannon.
1 x Vehicle accessory sprue (unless you got a Predator kit, in which case you will have got one with it).
1 x Dreadnought Sarcophagus front (optional - you can use sheet styrene instead).
1 x Dreadnought Engine (optional - you can use the Sentinel engine).
2 x MKI Rhino rear hatches (optional - you can use sheet styrene)
1 x plastic Melta gun (optional - if you make a plastic Marine pilot you won't require this)
1 x Metal Space Marine Pilot from the old Landspeeder or a Plastic Space Marine.
1 x access panel from a Leman Russ (I think...optional anyway, you can use sheet styrene).
1 x 60mm base of your choice.
1 x length of sprue.
I will cover each aspect of the build in it's own section. I would advise reading through the whole tutorial first before attempting the model to familiarise yourself with the process.
Start with the two sponson access hatches and remove the tags with a pair of snips. File the surfaces smooth with a needle file or abrasive paper. These will form the sides of the body.
Next, take your 0.8mm/.030" thick sheet styrene and cut a length 23mm wide by 77mm long - this will form the top rear and underside of the body. Make score marks across the width of the strip at the following measurements: first - 1mm, second - 3mm, third - 24mm, fourth - 3mm, fifth - 19mm and sixth - 3mm...this should leave a 24mm long piece at the end.
These measurements should line up with the corners on the sponson hatches:
Use your snipe nose pliers to gently bend the sheet styrene along each score mark:
Now, take the hatch blank from the vehicle accessory sprue and remove the aerials and scanner lens from the slotted side and file it flat. Gently file the opposite side (as in the photo). This is going to form the point at which the body and legs will join.
Place it halfway over the last 24mm section and draw around it. Use your scalpel or craft knife to cut along the outlined area...then break this piece away from the rest of the strip.
Glue the hatch blank in place and leave to dry on a flat surface.
Perform a quick dry fit with one of the sponson access panels to make sure the strip fits correctly then glue the two sponson access panels to the strip of sheet styrene starting with the 1mm section and slowly working back.
You should now have a structure like this.
Now you will need to cut the pilots chair so it will fit to the body:
Cut along the marked lines on both sides of the seat.
Now remove the footplate:
Cut a small strip of sheet styrene, 2mm x 15mm and glue it to the top of the chair...leave it to one side for the moment!
Twin-Linked Lascannons / Autocannon
Glue the Landraider Lascannons together and once dry cut away the main power cables and the rear section of the cannon's just behind the arrowed rivets.
At this point you will need to decide whether to have the Twin Linked Lascannons as the Predators main weapon or the Autocannon.
The pictures are fairly self explanatory but a bit of careful knifework is required; (1) - Remove the barrel and coil from the righthand Lascannon but leave the barrel support in place. (2 & 3) - cut the Autocannon barrel so that the back portion will fit snugly into the lascannon body then (4) - glue the remaining Autocannon with the flash suppressor to the front half of the Lascannon barrel support...the tricky part here is to make sure the two barrel halves dry in line with each other...any kind of deviation will be horribly obvious.
Remove the entire barrel, coil and support from the lefthand Lascannon then follow the instructions as for LASCANNON'S.
Glue the Lascannons to the front section of the main body lining them up where I have marked on the photo's.
Cut a thin strip of sheet styrene (you will need to figure out the measurement based on your own model...mine was 15mm x 2mm I think...I forgot to measure) wide enough to fit behind the lascannons...the pilot seat will fit on this.
Take your piece of GW sprue and cut two lengths, one at 20mm (save this for later) and the other at 28mm. Tidy the 28mm piece up so the ends are square.
Glue the 28mm piece to the bottom the two lascannons as shown in the picture.
Take the pilot's seat and flip it over. Cut a 90 degree wedge from the bottom of the seat in the location shown...
...then test fit it to the body. The strip you glued to the top of the seat earlier should sit behind the sheet styrene of the body and stop the seat tipping forward. The bottom of the seat should sit on the strip you glued behind the Lascannons and the sides of the seat should sit snugly between the two sides of the body.
Once you are happy with the fit glue it in place.
If you have an access panel (1) from a Leman Russ, file the raised area underneath it flat. If you do not have this component just make one from sheet styrene - it measures 12mm x 7mm.
Remember the hatch blank (2) you glued earlier? Cut another piece of 0.8mm sheet styrene to the same dimensions (23mm x 24mm) and repeat the process of drawing round the hatch blank then cut out the waste material.
(3) Glue the sheet styrene piece in place and then the access panel where shown and leave to dry. (4) Once completely dry score the sheet styrene along the dashed lines and break away the excess material.
Cut a rectangle of 0.8mm sheet styrene 10mm x 20.5mm and glue in place as shown in the photo's...this will form the front of the Predator hull.
Now take the hull underside piece and dry fit it to the body making sure everything fits properly...adjust as necessary. Once you are happy with the fit glue it in place. You may notice on the left photo that I have glued in a couple of small triangles directly behind each Lascannon to hide gaps.
Ammo Drum Mechanism - Autocannon Only
I cheated a bit with this and used some components from a World War II tank I had lying around, however, I need to show you how to build it from scratch so I have included both versions here.
Before making the ammo drums you will need to cut away a section of the Lascannon body as shown in the photo's. I used a modelling saw to achieve this and then filed down the uneven surface to form a neat cut out that would take the ammo drum mechanism. The area of the cut section on my model was 14mm x 14mm. When you do the cut on your own model be sure to measure it as you need to make the complete ammo drum mechanism the same width.
Ok - how to scratch build the ammo drums. For this demo I used some spare tubing I had that had an internal diameter of 10mm. As the rod I used for the Autocannon rounds was 2.5mm diameter this meant I could fit 8 pieces of rod around the internal circumference of the tube.
I have done some research on tube and rod sizing's. The best fit for this project would be Evergreens styrene tube (EG232) with an internal diameter of 8.1mm/.319" and an external diameter of 9.5mm/.375" and either Evergreens or Plastructs 2mm/.080" styrene rod. Theoretically, this should allow you to create a drum containing 8 rounds.
Start by cutting a section of tube 3mm wide, clean it up then place it flat on a piece of 0.8mm/.030" sheet styrene and draw around it
Cut out the section of sheet you have drawn around and carefully cut away all the excess.
Smooth the edges with some abrasive paper and test fit to the tube section. Glue in place and again smooth down with abrasive paper. You now have an end cap made!
Cut 8 lengths of styrene rod, each 10mm long and glue them around the internal circumference of the tube, ensuring they are all lined up correctly
Add detailing to the other side to simulate a spindle and rivets. I just used a bit of thin plastic wire as it was to hand, but for a better result try using the PVA glue "blob trick".
As I said earlier, I cheated a bit here and used some tank track running gear bits I had lying around. These only let me fit 6 pieces of rod in place plus 1 for the centre spindle, but seeing as I only had 2.5mm rod the fit was perfect!
So, the next thing to do is to make another end cap, level the ends of the rods and then glue the cap in place forming a drum. Repeat the whole process to create a second drum. The total length of my ammo drums was 12mm.
For the next part you will need to make your own measurements because it will be dependant on the circumference of the tube you used. Using 0.8mm styrene sheet I cut a rectangle 12mm wide and long enough to accommodate both drums plus a central divider. As in the photo's make the divider about half the height of the drums then glue everything in place.
At this point I also made a couple of side sections to give the impression the drums are bolted into place. Mine were 7mm x 16mm with a couple of cuts at a 45 degree angle, though I did them more by eye than anything else. These attached to the drum ends AND the rectangle under the drums making the whole assembly 14mm wide...just perfect for fitting into the cut-out section of the Lascannon!!!
Turn the whole assembly over once it is dry and carefully file down the back piece at a 45 degree angle as in the first photo. Add small sections of rod to form the central spindles of the drums.
Add strips of sheet styrene to embellish the mechanism as you see fit. Test fit to the side of the Lascannon and once happy glue in place. Add additional strips if desired.
Now we are going to make the canopy. This can be made completely from 1.5mm/.060" sheet styrene or using sheet and the Sarcophagus front from a Dreadnought if you have one. The canopy is probably the weakest part of the model in design terms but I wanted to show how I created the original model. I may go back to the canopy at a later date and design a fully enclosed one that would do away with the necessity of having a pilot. Of course, there is nothing to stop you going that way yourself in the first place.
Start by cutting two triangles to the dimensions shown in the first photo and line them up with the central piece which should be 9mm x 18mm if you don't have a Sarcophagus. Cut the bottom of the triangles to line up with the central piece as in photo 2.
The edges of the triangles that will join to the long edge of the canopy rectangle or Sarcophagus front need to be chamfered to a 45 degree angle so that when glued in place you will have a neat join and roughly the desired angle for the sides of the canopy.
When dry, the width of the two angled sides should be 23mm apart so that the canopy will sit on the sides of the cockpit correctly.
Finally you will need to file a couple of flat sections on the front of the canopy to lower the leading edge. The canopy sits at about a 45 degree angle on the model so this is what you need to aim for. It's a bit of a judgment call but not too difficult to achieve. I found it easiest to just rub the canopy in a circular motion on a piece of abrasive paper till the leading edge just touched it. If the top of the canopy is not correctly aligned (as mine) then sand that level too.
You should end up with something similar to the first photo below. Now, remember that bit of sprue I had you cut to 20mm way back in the Lower Hull section? This is going to be the top of the hull front and is what the canopy will sit in. As a first step you will need to cut the ends to 45 degrees with a sharp knife.
Next, position the canopy next to the sprue and mark where you will need to cut a section out of the sprue for the leading edge of the canopy to sit in. Unfortunately this is not an exact method and you will need to mess around until you get the right sort of angles for the canopy to sit snugly.
Once you have made your cuts you need to glue the sprue in place so that its front edge is flush with the hull plate to which you are gluing it. This will cause it to sit at the same angle as the front hull plate...I have made a graphic to try and show the angles a bit better.
Cut another piece of 0.8mm sheet styrene 20mm x 5mm and glue in place behind the sprue (photo 5)
The final bit is to add a piece of rod or similar (I used the muzzle from a spare Melta Gun) to the inside of the canopy as a targeting scope. This is completely optional as you may find it interferes with the positioning of the pilots arms later. I managed to get mine to fit but you have to muck about with it.
Tracking Array - Autocannon Only
I used a bit from a drop pod to make the side of the tracking array (it just looked interesting) but sheet styrene will do...you can always add little extra bits of sheet styrene to it to give it detailing.
For the scanner itself I used the scanner from a Vindicator tilted on it's side. I then cut the cowl in half and removed sufficient excess so that when I glued the two halves back together they fit the scanner now on its side.. To complete the array I glued a strip of half-round styrene rod (Plastruct catalogue - MRH-125 3.2mm / 1/8”) along the top.