Wednesday, 5 March 2014

On Scratchbuilding: Or, "An Ode To Krisken"

"If I have seen further than other men, it is only because I have been standing on the shoulders of giants."

One of the reasons I started this gaming blog at all, and specifically here on Blogger, was because I follow several Blogspot  blogs which were a big inspiration for me getting back into 40K.  One of those, Scratchbuilt 40K, was particularly useful  as a guide to experimenting with cardboard, plasticard & mould-making to create ones own product.  He's got a great selection of stuff and I'd highly reccomend reading his posts.

The chap who writes Scratchbuilt 40K, Krisken, is talking about putting his blog onto sabattical - he's not really into 40K much right now, having felt disenchanted with the latest rules-set and instead focusing his attention on other games like X-Wing.  I therefore thought I should take this point to show some stuff I made with the aid of his cracking website.

Briefly available in the first year of 2nd Ed but then evaporated until 3rd Ed came out.  Even White Dwarf had to suggest using a World War I tank model as a proxy.
Back in 2012 when I was unemployed and therefore had little money but plenty of time, I decided to put Krisken's scratch-building templates to the test.  I wanted to add a Land Raider to my army - the heavily armoured Space Marine troop transport - and in particular an old-school long-out-of-print Rogue Trader era Land Raider, with it's giant rims, was something I remember drooling over a child but never owning.  Forge World do a "Land Raider Proteus" kit to duplicate this style of Land Raider... but it's about £80, which is far beyond what I can justify and was definitely unworkable when I've just been made redundant.
It's gorgeous.... but I could buy two "regular" Land Raiders for the same price.

So, instead I took several cardboard boxes apart with Krisken's templates (and a bit of help from Ailsa since I'm not exactly the best at straight lines) and set about assembling my own Mk 1 Land Raider.  This took a few days of work but wasn't especially difficult - 40K Imperial vehicles are such blocky shapes naturally that they lend themselves quite well to scratchbuilding as compared to, say, Eldar or Tau where the smooth bends an aerodynamic look is a lot harder to improvise with cereal boxes.

The raw Land Raider when assembly was finished.

To add a little bit of detail to the model and cover up for it's cardboardiness I added some details from my bits box or duplicated via casting - a Chaos Space Marine vehicle hatch and smoke launchers.  The sponson lascannons are old Space Crusade Tarantula weapon minus the feet; the top of the vehicle has two magnetised points where I can attach pintle-mounted weapons or banner poles depending on my mood.

 My Land Raider complete and painted.  Ingredients: Cardboard, plastic straws, cardboard tubes, Milliput, glue, bitz box and time.

The end result is something which is clearly scratch-built yet clearly an old Land Raider.  Corrugated card makes pretty convincing tank treads; the multiple layers of card stop it from just appearing big & flat.  I was unsure quite how my regular players would react to it but they've all been quite positive - in fact some have spoken very highly of how it looks.  I'm so used to being a poor painter that it's surprised me how many people have sighed and said they wished they could scratchbuild - I think for a lot of people it seems a bit of an arcane art, but Krisken's blog gave me the confidence to give it a shot.

I didn't stop there, though.  I made a Rhino for my Rainbow Warrior Marines: an old Rogue Trader "Beakie" marine was added as a gunner.

Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Rhino

This one is a little boxy and I'd like to make more with differing thicknesses of card to make them prettier - and of course, the Rhino is a pretty standard piece of Space Marine kit which is the basis of other vehicles like the Predator battle tank, Vindicator siege tank and Whirlwind artillery support vehicle.

Chaos Dwarfs demand my attention so scratch-building isn't likely in the immediate future but once I've got a functional WFB army I do want to go back to it.  There's loads of templates online, from classic 40K items like the Leman Russ Battle Tank to more obscure or modern models.  In particular, I'd like to try and rustle up one of the Baneblade variants so my Chaos Space Marines will have some heavy fire power for Apocalypse games.

The Stormlord would look awful good in purple and pink, don't you think?...

1 comment:

  1. I am flattered beyond belief. Thank you so much for the post and the more than kind words. Great stuff, George!