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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Warhound Titan

This is going to be a bit of an odd blog entry - I'm writing it in March 2013 regarding a project I completed for Christmas 2008. I'm going to post many of the updates I wrote for the original website I put this on back then, hence all the historical dates you will find below.

Titan Build Project - Update 1 (01/09/2008)

Work commenced on our own Titan model in the last week of August 2008. My task is to have the model completed ready for Christmas. I have decided to build the model out of card and foamboard. I have a plentiful supply of thick (almost 1mm) card which should provide a very strong model. Pictured below is the first part built: feet.

What has become apparent whilst building this foot is that the plans are - whilst an excellent resource - somewhat incomplete. They assume that the construction material is infinitely thin (which will never be true) and don't (as is normal with folded-card models) feature any "glue tabs" - small protrusions from the edges of the templates which you coat with glue and then fold beneath the visible parts.

I will need to add the "glue tabs" as I go where necessary. No guidance is given in the plans on adding additional structural supports, strengthening joints etc. Thankfully the sections constructed so far for the foot are so small that these haven't been necessary, thanks to the thickness of the card, but larger pieces will undoubtedly need additional support which will need to be engineered in as I go (one definite piece will be the upper-ankle-joint, which according to the plans is a join between a flat card surface and the curved surface of a plastic tube and looks horrifically weak, given that it will be supporting the entire weight of the model and will have to absorb a shock every time the model is lifted and put down again).

I have experimented with glues on the build of the foot and am so far favouring the use of a hot-glue gun over PVA. It's more difficult to manage, but dries (I should really say cools) much faster and you can really blob it on where necessary.

The plans for the titan give no "details" either - just the bare structure of the model and it's main features, so I will need to add armour plates, badges and features to bring the model to life as I go (you can see some that I added to the toes in the picture below). My next task will be to add the remaining pistons, add some details, trim and add some modelling putty to tidy up the seams and then construct the other foot.

The toe-piston which has been added (on the back toe only, so far) has been made from a section of brass rod inserted into a section of steel tube, both bought from a local model store. Each toe will have two of these, either side of the toe-joint and a third connecting each toe-joint to the lower-ankle joint. The use of metal materials here adds no strength to the model - they were simply an available material.

Titan Build Project - Update 2 (09/09/2008)

Work continued on the build into the first week of September. A second foot was built to the same specifications as the first.

The metallic toe-piston was removed and replaced with a full set of pistons constructed from cocktail-sticks and the plastic rods from cotton buds. These metal rod constructions were replaced because they were too large and they were also comparatively difficult to work with - the cylinder cuts quite easily with a junior-hacksaw but the brass rod which forms the actual piston is much harder to cut. Making 16 of them (two per toe, four toes per foot) was not going to be practical. They will be used on other areas of the model, however, as larger pistons will be required (from each toe to the leg, for example).

One other note at this stage is that I've become somewhat dis-enamoured of the cardboard I've used to construct the feet from. It's very thick and therefore quite strong, but it does have it's drawbacks. Its a given that in order to fold card successfully you need to first score it with a craft knife. This particular card is very fibrous - the score-lines when folded exhibit a small "fraying" behaviour as a result. In addition to this, if you don't score deep enough, then when you make your fold the card can tend to separate (imagine peeling a slice of bread off a sandwich). I'm not at this stage planning to scrap the feet unless their condition deteriorates, but I will be giving them a coat of watered-down PVA glue to try and put a sealed layer on them that hopefully won't fray and will still accept paint.

Going forward, I'll try and do more of the build using foamboard. It's inevitable that card will need to be used, but I'll try and minimise it to areas that don't need to be folded.

Next on the plan - adding pistons to the second foot, tidying up a few uneven edges and adding some details (raised steel plates and bands etc.). Then I'll begin work on the legs.

Titan Build Project - Update 3 (10/09/2008)

I've worked so far on adding pistons & details to the feet. I'm still trying to decide how much tidying up to do - there are some obvious things (where abutting pieces of card fit together poorly with gaps between or not quite lining up correctly), but I don't want to overdo it and eradicate things that could actually form useful bits of detail. When building a model like this one which is essentially made of lots of flat sections of card, you end up with not a lot of detail, so bonus freebies introduced by folds and creases are sometimes to be preserved. In addition, the plan of coating with PVA to avoid fraying was ditched - a happy accident demonstrated that it's easy to lay a thin film of glue from the hot glue-gun along edges (lay a bead out and then smooth it flat with the hot sides of the glue gun's nozzle) which I think will give a stronger layer of protection.

Titan Build Project - Update 4 (12/09/2008)

With the feet more-or-less complete, I've started work on one of the legs. I've used plasticard for the construction, treating it essentially as I would do with thin card (i.e. Mark out the shape, cut with scissors, score along the fold lines and bend). Observations so far are that it can be treated this way successfully, but some folds can quickly become thin and fragile so I've run a bead along the inside edge of the folds with my hot-glue-gun. Some internal bracing is required as well as the finished shape could be easily crushed. For this I cut a small square of foamboard (to the same size as the cross section of the leg) and inserted into the leg, gluing it top and bottom. My first experiment looks like this (the lower-leg and armour construction):

The Shin Armour is only resting in place at the moment and will need to be removed prior to fixing in order to attach some pistons between the toe-joints and the lower leg (refer to the schematic illustration at the top of the page). It will, of course, need detailing and the upper-ankle joint needs end-caps adding.

Titan Build Project - Update 5 (17/09/2008)

Work continued last night. The orange cylinders shown below which form the ankle joint were added, then removed and some re-inforcement added inside the top of the leg segment (a small segment of foamboard just visible in the right-hand leg) prior to being re-attached. This will not only strengthen the top of the lower-leg but also give more surface area for glue to adhere to when the orange cylinder is re-attached.

There's a lot in the plans for this model that looks very weak in terms of "not falling to bits during play". Some creative thought might be required as I go on with the build.
Also added are the central toe-pistons - each toe now has three pistons in place - one either side of the toe joint and a new central piston from the top of the toe-joint which joins the leg proper. Contrary to earlier posts, this was actually made not from the brass-and-steel materials, but from more cotton but stems which were inserted into a slightly large plastic tube (salvaged from bottles of squirty hand-soap - the tube being the one that runs from the dispenser into the soap bottle through which the soap itself is drawn up).

The second shin armour section has also been constructed and both have now been fixed in place. Apart from adding some visual detail, the lower-leg segments are now complete. The only further work besides the detailing is to mount them on a base of some kind (and I will wait until the hips are constructed before I do that as I can't decide at the moment whether to build one large base which will strengthen the hip joint but make packing the model away and actually gaming with it more awkward, or build a small individual base for each foot) and re-attach the orange cylinder.
I've decided that before the orange upper-ankle is attached I will complete construction of the next leg segment. From looking at the plans, I've been nervous about the strength of the join between the upper-ankle and that segment for some time. I've finally decided to drill a large hole into the upper-ankle and insert a 10mm wooden dowel into it, then fix that through the bottom of the next leg segment. That will be easily done if I don't re-attach the upper-ankle yet, but mount it to the next leg segment first and then attach the whole segment in one go.

Titan Build Project - Update 6 (19/09/2008)

As mentioned in the previous posting, the next segment to complete was the middle leg. Once again this was constructed from plasticard (mental note to self - buy more plasticard!). My plan to secure the leg segment to the upper-ankle with wooden dowel ran aground as the dowels were simply too large (the cylindrical diameter). I modified the plan slightly by substituting a length of offcut sprue instead, which seems to have worked well.

As before the leg segment is scored, folded and glued into shape with a hot-glue gun. A bracing piece of foamboard is added inside the segment to give more structural rigidity. A hole has been drilled through the end which joins to the upper-ankle which matches a hole drilled into the orange cylinder. The sprue-length is hot-glued into the cylinder and then the cylinder is attached by threading the protruding sprue-length through the hole in the middle leg and laying a bead of hot-glue between the cylinder and leg segment before pushing it home. Finally, the sprue segment which now resides inside the middle-leg itself is smothered in hot glue to fix everything securely in place. Plasticard circles are cut to cap the upper-ankle (should really start calling that a knee) and hot-glued into place.

My next task will be to construct the upper-leg segment. This won't be fixed in place yet, however, as I want to give some thought to the construction of the hips of the model.

I was originally hoping to make the legs removable for easy packing and carriage, but having studied the plans I'm not sure that this will be possible. It looks as though it would be easier to keep the hip-and-leg assembly as one large piece, but make the upper-body removable. I'm undecided yet, but if I do go down that route I'd want to seriously strengthen the hips - possibly remodel the hip joints entirely. These are shown on the plans as short cylinders, much like the upper-ankles are, which fasten onto the waist section. I may actually decide to use a much longer tube and run it right through the waist so it spans the entire width of the model. This will likely mean remodelling the waist slightly to make it large enough to accomodate the tube. The other decision to make is regarding basing the model - it would, I think, be perfectly stable unbased, but I'm worried about damaging the feet through wear-and-tear. I will certainly build a base of some sort, but whether it will about to a small base for each foot (really just there to protect the toes) or a largee base which both feet would be mounted on, I'm not sure. The larger base would add considerable strength to the hips, but would be more awkward to pack away and game with.

More thought is required. Stay tuned.

One thing that's becoming apparent is the scale of this model - it's going to be huge! I'll try to remember to include a model or two in the next photo for reference purposes.

Titan Build Project - Update 7 (23/09/2008)

I have completed the build of the basic structure of the legs. Before I can work further on the build of the hips, I need to source some 1/2'' plastic tubing as I haven't got enough of the orange stuff left to span the entire width of the titan (see previous entry). To add insult to injury, I'm running low on plasticard and my local hobby-shop is out of stick of the grade I require (grade "20").

Titan Build Project - Update 8 (29/09/2008)

All materials shortages are over. The plasticard has arrived and I now have an abundant stock and - thanks to a trip to the local hardware superstore I have my 1/2'' tubing (well it's 2.51mm actually as we're all metric here in the UK - 2m for the princely sum of £1.58!). I also managed to pick up some push-fit connectors for the tubing which will neatly serve to give me some excellent mounting points for the weapons arms when I get to that part of the build. My intention is to build one of each of the four weapons a Warhound can be equipped with and make them removable via a slight variant on the light-bulb bayonet fitting. More details when I get there.

I decided due to:

  1. the abundance of 1/2'' tube I now have and
  2. my plan to run the hip tubing all the way through the width of the model

to abandon the requirement in the template to build the hip joint from 3/4'' tube and use 1/2'' instead. 3/4'' tubing isn't available at the aforementioned hardware superstore and would be too large to go through some of the plasticard structures indicated in the plans anyway. Another modification I have made is to build the middle portion of the "waist" in such a way as to make the two "walls" that the tube now tuns through from foamboard (which necessitated making that portion of the model from 3 separate plasticard sections rather than one, as the two joining sections were now separate foamboard pieces. If you refer to the plans p. DWG-WH-106 you'll see what I mean - I'm referring to the template in the upper left of the page, the sections marked with hatching and "A"). I made a similar amendment to the two cuboid "hip"sections on the plan. I actually cut just the four sections in a strip (from "A" through the blank, the section marked with a ring and the next blank) and cut a square of foamboard to close just one end of the box. In each of the foamboard sections (the two in the waist and the section in each hip) I cut a circular hole to accept the tubing (very tricky in the hip joints as they're barely an inch across). The tubing was first pushed through the waist, centred and glued and the each hip was added - open end towards the waist - and glued. The result is a very strong piece as the tubing that runs through the whole thing adds an awful lot of rigidity. Just for interest, if anyone is intending to copy the method, the tubing needs to be 7'' long.

So here's the picture so far with the legs attached. As promised I've included some items to scale the image - an Imperial Guardsman and a steel rule - (15cm/6'' long).

The hips have an unintentional slant to one side - not much I can do about that at this point, but I'll try and work with it for the rest of the build and see if I can exploit it to lend the model some "animus". With the legs standing basically upright and side by side there's little feeling of movement otherwise. Again there's not much I could have done about that as I didn't see it coming and it would have needed a redesign (especially of the feet) as one would have to have been bent so just toes were resting on the ground and the heel was off.

Another change (which unfortunately doesn't come across too well in the above photo) that has taken place since the last update is that a considerable amount of work has gone into adding detail to the model - a layer of additional plasticard (the black areas) have been added to the legs to represent armour plates. The shin armour has had more armour added too, but in white plasticard.

Next in the plan is to cap the ends of the hip tubes, add the model to a base and start the filling of gaps with modelling putty and adding detail (rivets, hooks, chains, insignia etc.). I'm going to try and discipline myself to do this before I start construction of the upper half of the model - I've written several times so far about filling and so on but not done any yet. the build itself's been too tempting. There are also some pistons to add into the upper-knee joints which I should have added whilst gluing the upper legs in place - they're going to be awkward to fit now.

Titan Build Project - Update 9 (18/11/2008)

A long, long overdue update. I've been busy working on another scratch-build project and the Titan was sidelined but is now back with a vengeance!

The upper carapace was next to be built. This is a multi-section part of the model - 6 pieces in all (without including the head). The main piece which runs from front to back and is basically the Titan's torso in that it attaches directly to the hips and the shoulders hang from it. It is effectively a box with dimensions approx 2''x2''x5'' - that's a large hollow on a model this size and needs re-inforcement so a large chunk of foamboard has been inserted inside. The hip spacer is shown on the plans as a 5mm deep folded-card box. Foamboard happens to be 5mm deep so for strength I used some of that, cut to shape (actually I layered two pieces to make the hip spacer 10mm deep - this was done because I intend to make my weapons removable and it didn't look to me as though I was going to have much room to manoeuver the weapons in and out).

Another variation from the plans was that I cut a length of 1/2'' plastic tube and ran it through the lower hip joint, up through the two 5mm hip spacers and into the torso section, for strength. This has added a lot of rigidity to the hip spacers which flexed a lot after the first build effort - they were almost certainly going to break apart at some point.

The rest of the build is according to the plans, with the exception of the weapon mounts. The plans here call for some fairly short (about 5mm) circles of tubing which the weapons will be glued into to be attached to the underside of the shoulders. I've made mine about 15mm deep and have fitted a bar through them across the diameter - I'm planning to make a bayonet-fitting attachment on the weapons so that they can be removed and interchanged at will. More detail about that will follow when I get to the weapons build.

One other reason that this update has taken so long is that the model had a catastrophe - I picked it up one day by the hips (before the carapace had been attached and the hips separated from the legs and it crashed to the floor, shattering into about 10 pieces, so the whole thing has had to be cleaned up and rebuilt. This actually was a bit of a blessing in that it highlighted the weaker bits of the build and allowed me to work on a minor pose problem which you can see in the above photo - one leg was flexed further than the other and the model listed to one side. Every cloud...

Titan Build Project - Update 10 (04/12/2008)

The Titan has a head. It's impossible to tell from this photo, but the head has quite a bit of detail internally. I have constructed a cockpit (with a very small amount of painted-on detail) and a crew (two WWII German Soldier models painted in "Star Wars X-Wing Pilot" style). I had taken a couple of hurried photos of the interior before sealing the canopy, but they unfortunately didn't turn out to be useable.

The only modification from the plans in the head construction was the use of a fair amount of foamboard to detail the cockpit and to add a lot of rigidity to the model, and I've also used a short length of 1/2'' tubing which has formed a sort of "neck" to assist the head in staying attached to the torso (the neck is completely internal and can't be seen and is anchored to yet more foamboard which has been installed internally to the torso and head purely to attach to the neck).

The main portion of the Titan Model is now complete. All that remains is to add some missing pistons to the ankle joint, fill in a few cracks with modelling putty and add some details. I'll then start working on the weaponry.

Better get a move on - it's Christmas 3 weeks today and I've got to get it painted too.

Titan Build Project - Update 11 (05/12/2008)

A lot of work done last night for little gain: I have added in the missing pistons and done a load of crack-filling and added the missing red caps to the ends of the hips. If I'd been less tired, then the surplus milliput I mixed for crack-filling would have been sculpted into some details (purity seals etc.) rather than becoming rocks on the base (see photo above).

The pistons were made from some carbon-fibre rod and some steel tube I bought from a local hobby shop. It was fiddly fitting the pistons in place - I ended up using some milliput pushed into the upper-half of the ankle joint, pushed the rod into the milliput which enabled me to position the piston and then not have to hold it in place so that I could use both hands to manipulate the model and the hot-glue gun. Awkward, but successful.

At this point, I can declare that the build of the Titan proper is finished. My next task is either to add detail or start work on the weapons. I'll decide which when I have my next building session. I'm not sure I like the milliput rocks on the base - they may very well get removed.

Titan Build Project - Update 12 (10/12/2008)

A lot of work has taken place between Update 11 and Update 12. The build phase is now finished, painting starts tonight. Firstly, the Titan's weapons were constructed, using the bayonet-fitting method I mentioned previously.

Seen above are the two weapons (from left to right) a Turbo-Laser Destructor and a Vulcan Mega-Bolter. Both have undergone slight modifications from the plans. The Laser has had the ends of the weapon enhanced (the red sections) by adding some additional tubing over the top of the black tubes to more closely resemble a Warhammer Las-Weapon. In the plans, just the black tubes are used, cut square. The Mega-Bolter has had its gun-barrels enhanced - in the plans, each barrel consists of 5 short tubes set in a "5-point star" pattern. I set the plate that the barrels are mounted to back about 1cm further than the plans and built barrels by arranging 10 x 1cm lengths of cotton-bud stalk around a 1.5cm length of steel tube. It looks more like a pair of Gatling Guns now and more closely resembles the ForgeWorld model.

In the upper picture above is one of the mounts for the weapons which accepts the connectors protruding up from the back of the weapons. This is like a reverse of the bayonet fitting you would find on a UK light-bulb and works quite well.

So, fully assembled, weapons in place and the finished, unpainted Titan Model looks like this:

You may have noticed that I have removed the milliput rocks from the base.

I won't be posting any more updates until the Titan is fully painted, but since it's intended to be a Christmas present, that won't be too long to wait.

Titan Build Project - It's Finished (28/12/2008)

Just in time for Christmas (I was still applying paint on Christmas Eve). Mission accomplished, job done. Phew.

The base has been augmented with some grass-flock a few painted matchsticks and barbed wire made from car bodywork repair mesh and a bit of discarded plastic painted to look like a girder. The model has had a couple of banners added - one on the carapace to cover some crummy work with the hot-glue gun (one of the problems with the hot-glue gun is that - whilst it's second to none in terms of being able to deliver loads of glue where you need it, it can also be very messy, over-delivering, dripping and stringing) and the second suspended on a chain between the legs. The banners are made from my usual formula of sandwiching some paper between two sheets of foil, glued with PVA.

I will be building two further weapons for the titan at some point but another project beckons first. This puppy needs an enemy - an Ork Stompa is next.

As a footnote - I never did get back to doing any further work on this project. Looking back at the photos (the model itself is boxed up at the moment) it's clear that a lot of improvement needs to be made to the carapace which is very flat and dull. Loads more detail needs to be added on to really perk it up. Also, the paintjob (which was a real Christmas Eve rush-job) needs some serious work too.

I'll get around to it. Eventually.

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