Although fellow DFIR poster MattP is our resident Apocalypse guru, I thought I'd share my recent (and first) attempt at something truly "apocalyptic." In all of our past Apocalypse battles (which can be checked out at Apoc-Eclipse), I had plenty of models to field a large force including several Legendary Formations. However, the only time I've fielded any Super Heavies was when they were borrowed from MattP.
Time to change that.
I was ecstatic when I received a Baneblade kit for Christmas. Kudos to my wife's family (Bob, Martha, and Kaitlin) for feeding my 40k addiction. On a side note, I should point out that they have always fed my little addiction during gift-giving occasions, but this was the first time they got me the item I had put on my wishlist, instead of a gift certificate. THAT'S SOME TRUE LOVE!
Not having an Imperial army, there was no question that this "Baneblade" was destined for greater things in the service of the Dark Lords. Given that I was also working on a Deathguard army, it was also a no-brainer that this was to become a PLAGUEREAPER (featured in the main Apocalypse rulebook), dedicated to Father Nurgle and all of his pestilent ways.
Opening a Super Heavy kit for the first time was rather daunting, to say the least. Half a dozen sprues just chock full o' parts. Thank God it came with an instruction booklet; to bad said instructions were very detailed and somewhat complex. But that was just first appearances; in the end, the thing went together smoothly, nicely, and very easily.
Here's a shot of the project during the early stages (beer label pointed away from camera to protect the innocent...). At this point, I was working on assembling the two sides consisting of the track housings and tracks.
Discussions with MattP indicated that I could go beyond the basic Plaguereaper datasheet, such as adding extra side sponsons (like an Imperial Baneblade can). So I decided early on that I would do just that, mounting sponsons on the front and rear of the three side panels. I also decided to add a Havoc Launcher to the turret. Seriously, can a Super Heavy Tank have TOO many guns? I don't think so...
In hindsight, the whole process of building the baneblade kit was rather easy, but I believe that this early stage of building the two sides was the most time consuming. Once those were complete (couple nights worth of working on them, maybe 3 hours total), the rest of the kit went together very quick (probably another couple of nights, 3 or so hours).
So all in all, it went together nicely, as you can see above. Once the basic kit was completed, though, it was time to sufficiently "Nurgle-it-up." I had a few thoughts about this part of the project. Primarily, I did not like the look of the Pus Tanks as depicted in the Apocalypse rulebook - large, open vats mounted on the sides of the tank hull.
In essence, I had several personal problems with that look. First, the open tanks. Drive over your first hill slope or bump in the battlefield and all your "ammo" is spilled-out onto the ground. Second was the pipes that feed the turret's pus cannon. What happens when the turret rotates? Expanding pipes? OK, so maybe I'm thinking too much about real life physics and mechanics for a game set in the 41st millennium and based on various races that span the galaxy...
Practically (and primarily) , though, I figured my infantile converting skills just really weren't up to the task of hacking off part of my model to put the tanks in - not to mention that it'd take away precious space where I was mounting extra sponsons!
Searching at the Papa Nurgle forums, I turned up THIS idea of how to take care of my problems with the Pus Tanks (see second post down). Thanks, Mabrothrax!!!
The other primary thought I had was to make this Plaguereaper appear to be more of a "new addition" to the Deathguard's arsenal. Not some antiquated thing all rusted and cantankerous, but something representing a "recent fall" from the graces of the Imperium. In other words, I wasn't as keen on "Nurgling-it-up" as much as Mabrothrax's Plaguereaper seen HERE (see second-to-last post on that page).
So, here's what I came up with.
1. Mildly scar up the tank to represent battle damage, and add some greenstuff (but not a lot) to create Nurgle pustules and growths to the tank. This was done with a variety of tools. Pin vice with a couple different sized drill bits to make shell holes. X-acto knife to run some 'cuts' along pieces. And the corner of a flat head screwdriver to "scratch-up" other parts. Obviously green stuff, which was sculpted with a chopstick tip (pretty much the only GS sculpting tool I've ever needed).
2. Use barrels on the back of the turret for the Pus Tanks. I used the bendy parts of several drink box straws to feed the turret (any parent with a small child will have drink box straws in spades). I used drink box straws because their smaller diameter was more in line with the scale of this tank. These were attached with green stuff.
[Side note: I took a close-up of the barrels, but managed to leave it on the wrong computer - I'll add that pic in the Part 2 update (which will cover the painting of this thing). You can kind of see them below, but not all that well. Sorry...] ;-(
3. I also swapped the lascannon barrel ends with the Chaos gorgon head gun barrels. I didn't have enough to do all the heavy bolters, so just did the twin-linked heavy bolter mounted on a mini-turret on the front (see above).
4. Add some growth to the main pus cannon barrel, but again, not to much. So as not to use up to much of my green stuff, I used an air-hardening "porcelain" clay product (the white). I rolled this out into a long sausage and simply spiraled it down the barrel from turret towards end. I also ran a second roll and spiraled it the opposite way. I added a little more of the white clay where the barrel connects to the turret and molded that into one mass - trying to go for a large growth at the turret end that is slowly snaking its way up the barrel. Finally, I did a long sausage of green stuff, but before sprialing it down the barrel like the white porcelain clay, I "twisted" the green stuff log to give it even more texture.
And there you have it. Construction of a Plaguereaper! This weekend will feature some very nice weather AND at least enough time to get this thing primed. I'll post a Part 2 in a week or so when I have the thing completed (painting Nurgle-themed stuff is easy-schmeesy - see THIS post for details.)
Happy Easter everyone! Hopefully you are NOT like me and actually have today off... ;-)