Thursday, May 17, 2012

Land Raider Ares, part 2

I was just too tired last night to continue the diatribe and explain in excruciating detail how I widened the dozer blade (or siege shield, if you want to be picky about it!).

As you might well know, the shield that comes with the vindicator is about 5mm narrower than the body of the Land Raider, so we need to change that. Some people aren't that bothered and I have seen quite nicely done versions of this vehicle across teh interwebz that just use the unmodified siege shield. I want it done properly, dammit!

I though that the best way to widen the shield would be to add pieces on the end of the shield, before the end sections are glued on.  Some suggested cutting two shields and making one wider one, but it would mess with the symmetry of the lower portion of the shield and inaccurate cuts can ruin the whole affair.  I hunted around and found some styrene rod that was roughly the dimensions I needed.  Evergreen Scale Models make plasticard and strip styrene, and they have a variety that is .100" square - or 2.5mm x 2.5mm if you prefer.  This is pretty much the desired size!  I paid $4 for far more than I needed. I'm sure I can use the rest on something Orky.  Or if I decide to build an Ares variant of the Linebreaker Squadron.  Ouch!

I cut a suitable length and held it up against the end of the shield.  I realised that I would need to shape a portion of it with a knife to go around the piece at each end designed to receive the end plate. I made sure that when I cut and shaped it, that it would protrude a small amount top and bottom so that I could shape to suit. Then I glued it inch by inch starting at the bottom, clamping as required.  I used Plastruct solvent cement.  It really softens the plastic enabling the two parts to really bond it's $6.99 for 2fl oz up here in Canada.  A comparable cement would be Tenax 7-R, but Plastruct comes with a brush applicator.  Don't spill it - it will ruin whatever surface it hits. Sorry, I don't have a photo of it in mid gluing, but here's the shaping I had to do. When it was all dry I had to sand and shape the styene to the profile of the shield.  The strip styrene isn't THAT bendable - it's injection moulded plastic that's 2.5mm thick! So there were portions that weren't true with the shield.

When I went to fix the end plate in place, there was a slight gap in the back, so I packed it out with some thin plasticard and glued away.  After attaching both ends I shaped the top corners. If I was able to go back and re-do I would have shaped it like the one in the datasheet, but no matter, I think it still looks good.

You can see that in the bottom corner on each side there is a void.  Normally the end plate would tuck behind the front of the shield.  I decided to use the Privateer Press "grey stuff" that I bought on a whim a while ago.  This stuff sets up a lot faster than Green Stuff in my experience and is easier to carve and sand when setting up and when fully set. It behaves very like injection moulded plastic when fully set up, although a little softer and easier to cut.

After I had applied the grey stuff, I went over all of the white styrene with a liberal coat of Liquid Green Stuff to fill in whatever was needed after all of the work was done.  I decided that I didn't like the winged skull so I cut that off, and glued on a large chapter insignia from the Ravenwing upgrade kit.

I did find this to be a challenge.  More so than making a home for the exhaust fans, but certainly more enjoyable because the shield is one of the defining pieces of the Land Raider Ares.  I think the most challenging part is to come - assembling the Land Raider and attaching the demolisher cannon.  Photos and bloggage when it happens - hopefully in a week or so depending on how much time I get to look at it.

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