“It’s alive… IT’S ALIVE!”
Ahem, sorry I couldn’t think of a better attention grabber [that was still rated G]. This post is going to be on how I built the Leviathan model we are using for our campaign. If you would like to know more about the campaign, check it here:
So the task given to me was to create a Scourge super death machine, a Jumbo Desolator if you will. Knowing my own skills, I knew I could fabricate some of it, but a lot of detail work would be better left to bitz. Ebay is the easiest place to find these and GW bits are the most plentiful, so which factions have pieces to draw from was the question. Many feel the ‘Nids are a good choice, but they are completely organic. Scourge are bio-mechanical, so to use ‘Nid bits one would have to tone down, obscure, and/or hide the more organic parts and add things like the ribbing and vents common to Scourge units. To me, a better match were the Dark Eldar. They have smooth forms that are closer to bio-mechanical than ‘Nids. I started looking through the bits and sniping auctions for as cheap as possible, picking up a Venom hull, Talos tail and carapace, and Reaver jetbike hoods.
Prior to this I was out shopping and saw some bobby pins. The way they are packaged made me think of the ribbing on Scourge vehicles and so I picked these up thinking I could mount them on whatever hull I make and then add a thin layer of epoxy on top to help them look like they are a part of the Leviathan. I also found a cheap air freshener that had a rounded body and I planned to use the bulk of it.
The first thing I did, once I had the bits, was lay them out and look at them from different angles. Before they arrived I knew the Talos carapace would make a good head, as it has six areas to put bits in, these would make good eye sockets. I planned to use the Venom hull to make a crown of sorts, taking cues from the Desolator. The Talos tail would perform much the same purpose, a tail that mounts it’s main weapon. Lastly the Reaver hulls could be split to make some claws and talons.
The back end was built mostly with bits. The tail enters the hull over the bottom side of the Venom hull, and a Reaver hood placed on top to finish. The halves of the top of the Venom hull were put in position in an attempt to imitate the Desolator. At this point I needed an actual gun barrel of some sort, as the Talos tail ends on a ball where you would normally mount a Talos gun. I found my answer in the form of my super glue cap. Mine was covered it crud though, so luckily Stephen was able to get me a few. A few because the Venom came with a couple engines, but this thing was bigger and needed more exhaust, and I figure these caps would work great there too. With my trusty saw I cut them into shape, and drilled a hole in the tip of tail cannon muzzle. This was the easiest part besides the head.
To split the Dark Eldar Reaver hoods, and later the Venom hull, I used a jeweler’s saw. If you do not have one, but like to kit bash, let me highly recommend this tool to you. With this saw I was able to split the previous mentioned bits down the center. I further cut the bladed wings off the Venom hull, not knowing if I would use them, but I knew they needed to be removed. I then took my saw to that air freshener. Unfortunately, the cheap $1 air freshener is not made of the same plastic and promptly cracked, and become unusable. Crap, back to the drawing board, which was not good as I did have a deadline that I repeatedly confirmed I would hit.
Prior to the air freshener discovery I had been making a frame with spare bits of plastic and using a lighter to warp them to shape. I went back to this shell and begun to bend bobby pins around it to create some ribbing. Bobby pins are actually quite strong and perhaps paper clips would have been easier to work with. After that they were glued in place and clipped. The ones that broke off during clipping were glued back in place. I then mixed a bunch of epoxy and started laying it over the frame. Water was used to help smooth it out. At this point I had the back end, top, and head figured out, but still needed a belly and claws.
The belly didn’t have to be too crazy, as few would see it, but I wanted to give it some attention. The underside of the Venom pieces had some ribbing, so I wanted to continue that. I found my answer looking at the leftover bobby pins tightly packed on their display. I glued a few coffee sticks together and started putting the pins on to create the sturdy frame for the other parts to sit on. It also had the added bonus of being metal, so the custom flying stand I would have to make could easily utilize magnets.
Finally it needed some claws. Ian (BillyJoeRay) was kind enough to send me some old metal ‘Nid claws from the original Screamer-Killer Carnifex, but unfortunately the postman is an old school ‘Nid player and all I received was an empty envelope. The claws you see on Leviathan are the elbows of some sprue with some Reaver hoods and pieces of the Venom hull glued on to make them look Scourge vicious. I have to say that sprue is one of my favorite materials to work with as it is so versatile; I used it to make dragon teeth tank traps for infantry bases. With the claws in place I made some vents on the back with epoxy and hit the spray box.
I relied on my painting to cover up any discrepancies in my sculpting and building and really sell the model. Around here, we have purple, red, green, cream, and blue Scourge, so those colors were out as I wanted it to fit in with anyone’s Scourge force. I decided on a sandy beige color, taking inspiration from various shark species. With dull warm colors as the base a bright blue would really pop as my accent color for glowing eyes, exhausts, and weapons. The entire thing was done with an airbrush – no manual brushing needed – which was a rare treat and I really enjoyed doing it. Leviathan was completed and varnished the night before it’s debut.