July 21, 2009

Dwarf Gyrocopter & homemade movement trays

Working on a couple of little projects over last week - assembling and basing a friends Gyrocopter and building some Balsa Wood movement trays for my Dwarf army.

The Gyrocopter Project
As any Dwarf player will tell you the Gyro is a great looking model but a pain the butt to assemble. Basically if you don't pin it, it doesn't go together and more importantly stay together.
Along with the Gyro I also got a bunch of Orc & Goblin heads and a couple of Empire ones as well which were trophies Adams Gyro had captured throughout its career. These were to go on the base as a bit of decoration.

Step 1 - The Base
Pretty easy to do this bit. I got a new large base and glued a stone the same size to the top and then build a small step in one corner using small bricks. A rod to pin the Gyro went on through a hole I drilled into the stone. The stone was necessary not just for effect but also to act as support for the rod holding the Gyro.

Adams Gyro as I got it, and the base after my terrain was added to it

Step 2 - Dressing up the base
I had deliberately left one corner of the base free so I could stack all of the various trophy heads Adams Gyro had collected onto the base. The aim was to have them sitting directly under the Gyros landing gear. A couple of other heads went on the corners on the top step, including the big scary Ogre head.

Step 3 - Painting the base
I have to admit I really enjoyed painting the Orc heads on the base. The were just so much fun to do. Dark Green undercoat, followed by Badab Black Wash, Catachan Green highlighting, Goblin Green highlighting, Green Wash, Snot Green edging and finally some Mud Wash.

Step 4 - Pinning the rotors
The rotors are the hardest part of the Gyro to assemble. Basically as it comes in the kit you have 3 rotors one of which has the central hub thingy (not sure of the right term) built onto it. The remaining two blades are supposed to get glued into very tiny recesses in that hub and then magically stay in one piece. Problem is the recesses are too small and the blades too heavy.

The only choice open to you is to use a small drill head and drill very carefully into the base of each blade so you can insert a pin and then put that pin into another hole drilled into the recess. There are two problems here though (1) You can't drill to far into the hub otherwise the pin will go through into the hole in the middle were the whole rotor assembly attaches to the Gyro, and (2) the smallest pin you can get (by pin I mean metal bar) is only 0.5mm thinner than the blades you are drilling through. So you have to very carefully drill through the only thick part of the blade assembly, making sure you are dead straight or you go straight through the metal. The pin can also only go in about 4-5mm before it runs out of suffucient supporting metal to hold properly.

Once thats all done though its a matter of Superglue, some Greenstuff for additional support, a bit of Blue Tac on the ends to make thens dry eveningly and off you go.

Step 5 - Putting the rotors on and attaching the Gyro
The really easy part. Just a drill a larger hole in the base of the Gyro, use the hole that is already part of the model where the standard plastic stand goes. Drill another down the central axis of the rotor assembly, the larger sized pinning rods are exactly the right size. Then put the bits on a glue, although in this case I didn't glue the rotors on for two reasons (1) you can take them off for easier storage, and (2) if they aren't glued you can spin them around!!

The finished model

Homemade movement trays
I got this idea off a player called Nick Evans whose Wood Elves I have faced in my last two tournaments. Dropped down to the local model shop and picked up a few sheets of 100mm across, 3mm thick and a metre long and some 5mm x 5mm square rods for around $12-15. Sheets were $2-3 each, rods $1.60.

Step 1 - Measuring to size
The long sheets are wide enough to build movement trays 4 models deep and as wide as you like, so I focused on building some 10x1, 5x4 and 6x4 trays for my Quarrellers, Longbeards and Hammerers respectively.

Cutting to size is pretty easy. First put the square rods down on two edges, draw their outline then put down a 10x1, 5x4 or 6x4 size sheet to represent the models and draw around that. As I magnetise my models I used a sheet of magnets already at the right size - 10x1, 5x4 or 6x4 models - put that down as a guide and measured around it.

Key thing is to leave yourself a few mm's along either edge, if you make the fit to tight you will struggle to get the models in. Better to give yourself a bit of a gap along each edge so you know everything will fit, i.e., make it slightly bigger than you have to.

Step 2 - Cutting
Easy as pie just make sure you use a straight edge guide for cutting. If you cut with the grain the balsa wood comes off in nice straight pieces, against the grain you have to use a bit more pressure. Take your time as it can splinter.

Step 3 - Assembly
You will need to use Balsa Wood glue as it is the best adhesive for the purpose, this is in fact the most expensive part of the process as it costs about $12. But the tube is huge and will last forever, and I might buy some more balsa wood to make some houses are something. Once you have glued everything on press down hard, then put the entire tray down on a hard flat surface with something really heavy and flat on top of it. I put mine down on the kitchen bench with half a dozen books on top of them. Leave them for a few hours to dry, they will harden overnight, then paint.

10x1 model tray for Quarrellers

5x4 model tray for Longbeards

Also made some 5x2 model trays for smaller units of 10 Warriors, and also to cater for my Quarrellers if I rank them up. While the Hammerers are metal and quite heavy the Balsa wood is surprisingly strong and doesn't have a problem holding them up.

If you need more support then glue another sheet on the bottom of the tray with - AND THIS IS IMPORTANT - the grain going in the opposite direction to the existing piece. This should stop it bending.

I use magnetised bases on all of my models putting magnets down on the movement trays and on the base of each model. This raises the height of each model about 4-5mm higher than normal. Consequently, using the 5mmx5mm square rods for my base edges meant that the tops of my models bases were exactly even with the top of each edge.

However, if YOU DO NOT MAGNETISE your bases like me then you SHOULD USE SMALLER RODS otherwise your models bases will be several mm below the edges of your movement tray edges. If you can't find anything smaller than 5mm x 5mm then cut those in half length wise.

1 comment:

Darth Weasel said...

Well done. Have to admit, the part of the hobby I hate the most is assembling, largely because I suck at it. In fact, have had a Gyrocoptor for nearly 8 months and it still sits unassembled. Have a Shaggoth sitting there unpainted because...well, can't get it assembled. Pretty much stopped playing the dragon because I could not keep his wing on and other parts are starting to look like they could fall off. Have tried pinning and to call it an epic failure on my first few attempts means I am just being polite.

Some day when I am rich and famous I will just hire someone to assemble and paint my stuff so I can just game with it. :-)