Friday, April 2, 2010

Converting Set-Back Chimeras - Part I

by SandWyrm

Long-time back40K readers may remember the set-back Chimeras I converted last July for the 'Ard Boyz Semi-Finals. I had some requests at that time for a step-by-step of the process. But I had already finished the first 3 and gotten half-way through 2 more by then.

However, with 'Ard Boyz coming up again this May, I've found that I need an 8th Chimera for my army. So hey, why not document the process while I convert it?

Note that I'm using the old Chimera model for this, as it matches the rest of my force better. But these instructions should work fine on the new Chimera too.

OK! First assemble the chassis as shown, and then lay out the side "pontoons" (what I call them) and the top half of the hull. You don't have to put the flamer on yet, but I felt like doing it. :)

Next, use a hobby saw to cut a series of grooves into the pontoon sides from the back. The grooves will allow us to cut away the sides without bending or marring the front that we want to keep pristine. Make sure that you cut through each corner.

Now, snap a piece of the pontoon side outward...

And then inward to break it. Most of the side sections should come off easily.

If any of the pieces give you trouble, CAREFULLY trim them away with a NEW X-Acto knife blade. Do not use a dull or broken blade for this!

Also, trust me, you're going to slice your thumbs during this project. I've done this conversion 5 times already and I still sliced my left thumb during this phase. So BE CAREFUL! Cuts on thumbs always hurt like hell, so prevent as many of them as you can.

An X-Acto Tip: You can prevent a lot of damage to the thumb on your favored hand if you put a Band-Aid (or Duct-Tape) on it BEFORE you get 20 shallow slices in it from whittling away plastic rivets.

Anyhow, pretty soon you should have all of the pieces snapped or cut away from the front of the pontoon.

Carefully use your X-Acto to trim and/or scrape away any excess or rough material.

When you're done, the piece should look very clean.

Now glue that piece onto the Chimera and then do the same to the other pontoon.

Once both pontoons have been modified and glued, pull out the hobby saw again and cut through the top of the Chimera's roof at the point just in front of the 2nd row of side periscopes.

Next you'll want to cut through the roof behind the turret about half-way between the row of rivets and the edge of the rear hatch.

Now check the fit by placing the two pieces of roof into the chassis. DO NOT GLUE THEM ON YET!

Next we need to cut away the L-shape in front of the turret.

Using a straight-edge and a marker or pencil, draw a line across the top of the roof that's aligned with the recessed portion of the front.

For the diagonal bit, draw a line between where the flat plane on top ends and the point on the bottom of the riser that lines up with the bottom of the recessed part. Just get close, it doesn't have to be absolutely perfect.

When you've drawn your guide-line, use your hobby saw to cut 3-4 groves from the front of the L-shape back to the line. Then either snap off the bits or cut them off with the X-Acto. Again, the saw cuts will prevent the roof from being warped as you cut the excess material away.

Clean the cut up as best you can. Then carefully cut away the rivets on the front of the riser, as shown. We're removing these so that they don't get in the way of our sanding the piece later when we cover the hole.

Clean up the back of the riser and remove the rivets shown and any bits of the lasgun mount that you can see. Try not to gouge the surface as you''re removing these.

Now it's time for some intensive knife work. This is where I cut my thumb, so BE CAREFUL!

You will need to remove the rivets, periscopes, and lasgun ports (as shown) from the rear section of roof.

Once that's done we need to sand down the join between the two halves of roof so that they fit as perfectly as possible. Use a coarse sandpaper to grind away the plastic to the proper length.

Then use a fine sandpaper and your X-Acto knife to clean up the joint so it's clean.

Before we can glue the roof in place, we need to insert some spacers into the front of the roof groove on the chassis. If you look on the forward roof section, you can see that it's notched to make the assembly of the normal model easier. But if we don't correct for this, our roof won't glue down flat.

I've used some plastic cylinder bits to do this in the picture above. But you can use anything handy as long as it's top is even with the roof at the front of the chassis.

Now we're ready to glue the roof down. Glue the rear section in first. Then fit the front to it (Check the fit before you glue it!). The forward part of the roof should just touch the edge of the chassis roof as shown. If it's too long, go back to the sanding step until the fit is perfect. When you're done you'll be ready for the 2nd phase of the conversion.

Continue to Part II...


  1. Do you happen to have a completed, stock Chimera? I would love to see a pic of one of those next to yours.

    Thanks for the tutorial, btw.

  2. There's a comparison pic in the article from last July that I linked to at the top. Here's the address:

  3. Awesome - sorry I didn't think to follow the earlier threads. It's funny, yours look 'normal' to me while the stock ones look kinda silly.

  4. Yeah, that's why I converted them. I wanted something that looked more like a Bradley IFV.

    What bothers me is the design of the new Chimera. I thought that they had re-done only the track assembly. But when I opened the box, I discovered that they had re-cut the entire kit to use just 2 sprues instead of the original 6 or 7.

    If they were going to re-cut the entire kit, why didn't they modify it at the same time? Why didn't they at least re-design the ball-socket lasguns into proper firing ports?

    GW vexes me sometimes...

  5. Sweet conversion mate! I love the finished chimeras.

    I'm just gutted I've already built mine.

  6. tanks for the tutorial, it will surely get me on the right track.

  7. How does this effect the firing ports? Do you lose range for the meltas?

  8. Range is measured from the top hatch. I measure from the center of the turret hatch, which is where the front edge of the top hatch would be on a stock Chimera.

  9. Just a quick question, what thickness plastic card did you use?
    Courtney @ Cadian 127th


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