Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Converting Set-Back Chimeras - Part III

by SandWyrm

Wow! Has it really been a month since I last wrote a major post? Sheesh! You can blame (over)work for the hiatus. For a good month I didn't have time to play 40K or paint, much less blog about it.

Now that the project I was working on is over, and I'm relatively well rested, I've once again dived into finishing the models I need for 'Ard Boyz on the 15th.  Which means finishing the new set-back chimeras that I'll need for my Stormtroopers.

Back in Part I of this series, I showed you how to cut up the standard (old kit) Chimera model to get the set-back look.

In Part II, I showed you how to fill and sand the joints of the model to remove the seams.

Now it's time to finish up the conversion. At this point, your model should look like the following:

The first thing to do is to put the rear door on.

I don't like the rear door on the standard model at all, so I use this one, which you can order from Forge World.

Problem is, Forge World doesn't have the best quality control in the world. Their resin models are often bent or deformed when they come out of the mold. This is actually one of the better doors I've gotten from them, as it's only a little bent.

To fix it, we're going to use the hot water trick. Grab a coffee mug and fill it with tap water. Then heat it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. You'll then dip the model in the hot water and wait for it to become pliable.

You can then hold it in the shape that you want it as it cools.

Much better! But we still have a corner at the bottom that's a bit bent.

Back to the hot water. We only have to dip the corner in this time.

Once the door is fairly straight, you can check the fit. As you can see, this one still has problems.

The problem turned out to be the interior details. They didn't match up with the door opening. So off they come.

There we go! The fit still isn't perfect, but it's about as good as you can expect from resin.

Now it's time to make the firing ports. For this we'll cut up the pieces that normally hold up the ball-socket lasguns on the inside. Problem is, these have divits on the front that need to be sanded off.

No biggie, but take your time.

Once that's done, we'll cut up the part into port frames. Simply slice them such that 4 of the "windows" have an equal amount of frame all the way around.

The 5th port needs to be angled at the right to fit it's mounting point on the front. Make sure to check the angle against the model itself before you cut!

We'll need to use superglue on these instead of plastic cement, as they'll have to stick to the putty we used earlier. To get a nice clean application of superglue, hold the part with a pair of tweezers and apply the glue from the bottle.

Then touch the part against a post-it note or some other bit of paper to even out the glue and avoid getting puddles of the stuff on your model.

Like so.

You can then apply the ports to the model. Be careful, with a thin, even coat of glue on them, the parts will stick instantly on the model. So you won't be able to slide them around to fit.

Now it's time to cover up that circular hole in the front. For this, we'll cut out 3 pieces of medium-thickness plasticard that are about 3/4" x 3/4 ". If you use a hobby square like mine, they'll be perfect squares. Go ahead and mark out a line in the middle. This is where we'll cut them in half later.

Note that I have 3 models to finish up from this stage on. So I'll be doing everything in triplicate. :)

To round off the corners (like the smaller hatch up front), simply drag the plasticard across a piece of medium-weight sandpaper...

...and rotate it as you go.

Like so.

When you're done, all four corners should be rounded off equally.

Once you're done, cut the part in half along the line you measured out earlier.

Once you've rounded out the center-line corners, you can apply the new hatch halves to the model.

Now we can concentrate on the back hatch. Begin by cutting a thin strip of thin plasticard and gluing it down to finish the hatch border.

Then cut a piece to fit the hatch hole and drop it into place. I've also attached a hand hold to it.

To make the hatch hinges, we'll just cut two small pieces of very thin plasticard and glue them as shown.

Now it's time to start applying rivets to the model. This will take quite a long time, so don't expect to finish quickly. It usually takes about 2 hours per Chimera for this step.

For the rivets, I use the sausage technique. Where I cut a thin plastic cylinder into small sections.

To keep the rivets from flying everywhere as I cut them, I use a rivet tent made from a post-it note to contain them. When the rivets fly up, they'll hit the tent and fall back to the table.

Now that we have some rivets, we have to glue them to the model. First, put a small pool of plastic cement on a glass surface. Upside-down airbrush bottles work great for this. :)

Like so.

Now, the idea is that we use the sharp tip of a BRAND NEW X-Acto blade to pick up each rivet...

... and dip it in the glue. If the rivet comes off instead of sticking to the tip of the blade, then your glue has dried too much and you need to freshen it.

Once you've put glue on the rivet, you can put it on the model. It should come off the blade as soon as you touch it to something. If not, you applied too much pressure when picking up the rivet.

Notice also that I've used 2 larger lengths of the same-size plastic cylinder as the rivets to make the hinges for the hatch.

For the hinges on the front hatch, I mimicked the look of the smaller hatch on the right by gluing down longer lengths of 2 different diameters of plastic cylinder.

Once you're done gluing down all the rivets and hinges, you can put the turret together with whatever extra gear you can scrounge up from your bits box. This will make it look bigger and more menacing than it really is. :)

Once you're done you'll be ready to undercoat the model as shown above. For details of how I'll paint these Chimeras, see my previous post on the subject.

That's it! Hope you enjoyed the guide. I'll get my final Color Theory post up within the next week too. :)


  1. Yowzah! Awesome post, muchas detail and lovely finish. Question though. The Chimera has a 'shorter' range (IE its hull is closer to the enemy than its barrel-end), so there's no tactical advantage in this conversion (beyond the heart attack it causes in the opponent ...) where do you measure your 'five shots' from for drive by action ... I'm assuming the conveniently placed 'front' hatch?

    4 meltaguns later ... your opponent may be questioning the choice of this 'cool' conversion?

  2. Very cool, a wonderfully helpful tutorial. I hope be posting my own tank on the converted Chimera soon, I'd love your input when I do!

  3. @suneokun

    LOL! No, I don't measure anything from the front hatch. It's purely decorative. Doing so would be "Modeling for Advantage", which is forbidden in the 40K rules.

    Instead, for forward fire-point shots, I measure from the center of the turret cupola. Which is where the leading edge of the rear hatch on a normal Chimera would be. I always explain that to my opponent when it comes up, and I've never had anyone argue with me about it.

  4. This is a great close to a really great tutorial. Thanks for being so detailed about each step.


  5. This series has stands alone in terms of quality and thoroughness. Absolutely brilliant work. Thank you.

  6. Awesome! OK, now I just have to get the gumption to do one of these. Thanks a lot!

  7. Great stuff! I don't even play IG and it's given me ideas...

  8. I'm one of the few people who like that forward-turret "Soviet" look on the Chimera. Your conversion looks great though.

  9. I use a hair dryer for remoulding resin, it's really fast and you have more control over the temperature than with hot water. Plus you don't have to constantly be going back to the microwave as you work.

  10. Nice. Rivets always give me fits, so the next time I hae to do them I'll try your method.

    How many Chimeras is this for you anyway? Got an all-army group shot?

  11. This makes 6 converted Chimeras for me. Plus the 2 traditional ones I put together 12 years ago. I'll get a group shot done when I post my 'Ard Boyz list.

  12. Yeah, these are really impressive. Modifying tanks properly takes a lot of effort and you obviously put that effort in. There are very few treadheads out there like you.

  13. Well thought-out, clear photographs, stylish end result.
    You sir, NAILED this tutorial.
    Well done, thank you for sharing :)


out dang bot!

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