Monday, September 5, 2011

Mk 1 Predator/AAV for the Emperor's Great Crusade

Well I got some hobby time in over the long weekend and I was able to get some work in on my Mk 1 Predator/AAV for use in any Heresy-era games I might play. My good buddy mordian7th and I are planning on taking a trip to jolly olde England in March to play some 40k in the Tempus Fugitives campaign weekend. With that in mind I am having to buckle down and work on my beloved Blood Angels. The plan is to make some Heresy-era miniatures but still use the majority of my current-era troops.

The first model up on the modeling bench is my attempt to make a Mk 1 Predator that I could use as a base-line predator, or a Crusade-era Predator AAV, or a MK 1 Baal Predator. I was able to get my hands on a rather nice after-market resin conversion kit produced by Blood and Skulls Industry and the kit was a pleasure to work with!

To start with I built my current rhino model up to this stage:

Please excuse the state of the Rhino kit, it is an Ebay deal that I stripped in simple green and was perfect for this project. So the next stage of the process was to remove both of the exhausts from both sides. I did this with a flat Xacto saw blade which I laid flat against the side of the Rhino and slowly and carefully removed the raised exhaust areas. I found that coming at the raised area from both sides worked best for me; I started removing it from one side and when half-way through I switched to the other side and my cuts met in the middle.

Here is a close-up shot of the model with the exhausts removed:

While cutting the exhausts off I had to remove the little 'step' at the bottom of the door. At this point I was ready to attach the side panels and the front hatch. The model starts to look like a Mk 1 at this point.

The next step was to attach the very distinctive Mk 1 exhausts (which you can sort of see on the other side of the model).

You will note that the conversion kit comes with pre-drilled holes to mount 1/8" x 1/16" magnets and this is what led me to try and magnetize as much as I could. I knew I wanted to be able to take the side sponsons off to turn it into a Heresy-era Predator AAV. The side hatches used for the Mk 1 Rhinos and Predator AAVs are very thin (about 1/16") and would not really hold a magnet. I thought of backing them with a thin sheet of metal but I had nothing at hand that would work. I settled on using paperclips. It was easy to drill three small holes in the back of the hatches making sure not to punch through to the other side. I then cut some small pieces of paperclip and super glued them into the holes. I waited several hours before I filed them paper clip ends flush with the back of the hatches. Bamn, instant metal plugs that the magnets in the hull will grab onto easily.

Here is a look at what I came up with (this is before I filed them flush):

So while those dried I worked on the Predator side sponsons. I wanted to be able to switch them up from Heavy Bolters or Lascannons or Heavy Flamers. I had access to some Hvy Bolters and Lascannons so they were the first to get the magnetic treatment. I also wanted to be able to switch out the main turret weapon and once again the conversion kit was a dream to work with. The turret is designed to slot in a standard GW weapon (I used the Autocannon) and also comes with a turret weapon mount that has holes for magnets which I plan on using to mount the twin-linked assault cannons for a Baal Predator option.

Some shots of the Mk 1 Predator chassis and side sponson loadouts:

I have a little thing that I like to do with my Blood Angel vehicles and that is to have some 'crazy' commanders. I wanted this guy to be holding the Stormbolter option and have the Hunter-Killer Missile be pintle-mounted. I think he turned out decent and he certainly maintains the 'crazy' tank commander look.

Here is a little closer look at him:

So the initial build is complete. All that needs to be done now is 'bling' it up a bit with some Blood Angel Icons. I plan on doing some winged blood drops on the turret which I have a press-mold set up for. Maybe a nice Icon on the front or rear hatch. Might add the winged blood drops to the side sponsons as well. I have to make sure of the actual loadout available to a Predator AAV (things like smoke launchers, search lights, etc.) before I add those but all in all not to bad I think.

Comments are always welcome and thanks for looking.

1 comment:

  1. Looks sweet! I didn't understand what you were talking about with the paperclips when we chatted over the weekend, but I see it now. Well done!

    I still say you need to have a tank commander full-on tank surfing with one foot triggering the HK missile, one-hand firing a Storm Bolter and throwing a grenade with his off hand...