Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Finished - Ork Wrecker Epic Post

I started this project almost a year ago. After a flurry of initial activity, I encountered difficulty in converting this 1:32 scale Army truck into a sufficiently Orky Speed Freak Wrecker. I started cutting up bits of plasticard into interesting shapes and gluing them on. I quickly found that this did not really make things look Orks and rather just kinda made it look like I had glued a bunch of crap onto the model. It was a mess. It like the more I did, the worse it looked. I initially tried to fix it by adding more armor plates, bits and gubbins but that really made it worse. Getting frustrated by converting it to an Orky Trukk, I set that project aside and tried to focus on other aspects of the conversion.

I wanted to magnetize the crap out of this vehicle to the point that as it became damaged, parts would come off of it. I wanted all the doors to work and the top of the cab to come off. I wanted the windshield to fold up and down. As the assembly went forward, I had to stop assembling the cab and paint the interior. The doors were held in by the top of the dashboard. To assemble it further, I would need to have the inside painted. Before I could finish painting the interior, I needed to get the driver and gunner assembled.

The Army Truck came with some goofy 1:32 scale dudes waving and standing around for the truck. I needed Orks to drive this bad little buggy so I had to try to convert some up. My initial idea was to use an Ork Boy and just convert him to drive the existing hardware of the wheel and stick shift. I kept running into problems trying to fit an Ork into this mini. 40k minis and vehicles are at different scales. The minis are bigger than they should be for the scale and the vehicles are much smaller. The Ork kept looking like a little kid that needed a booster seat. Again I got frustrated with this and set it aside.

Now I had 4 layers of projects holding each other up. This only adds to my frustration. I try to go on to work on other aspects of the project, but I am so disgusted with it that I can't even stand to look at the other bits. I set the vehicle back in the box and go on to work on other things. I wrote some new posts, paint some side projects and really just forgot about the Trukk.

After a while, I felt bad for this half-finished vehicle with such potential. I cleared all my little side projects and refused to start anything new until after I had either finished the Trukk or thrown it away. I started trying to take a fresh look at the project but could feel myself getting frustrated again. Rather than press on and risk getting disinterested, I started with something small.

I took the wheels and wanted to add some Orky armor to them. This was an easy project that was straight forward and even if I ended up trashing the project, I could use the converted wheels on other projects. All I did was take some plasticard and glue it to the wheels. While that is all had I do, I go above and beyond. I bought a leather punch and used that to make rivets of various sizes by punching them out of plasticard and gluing them to the armor plates. I also used my Dremel to carve groves and cut hunks out of the plates. I also tried to varry the size, shape and texture of the plates. I even added a smaller plate over the top of one of the larger ones. I found an Orgre Kingdoms belly shield and added it to a wheel.

Invigorated by my success with the wheels, I turned my attention back to the cab and driver. I tried to salvage my idea of moving doors, windshield and more articulated driver but in the end give up on the idea. That was the start of this project going the right way.

I gave up on making the driver looks like he was driving the wheel and stick and used a Deffkopta driver. I was hesitant to basically scrap a perfectly good Defkopta until I saw that I have 20 of them in storage. After realizing that, I felt better about using him as the driver. I disliked that he would be driving a Trukk with motorcycle handlebars but you can't win them all. Whatever, it is Orktek.

I sawed up the Defkopta and the driver fit pretty well. It took a little extra filing and fitting but he was a pretty good size for the space. His feet didn't reach the floor and the handlebars and most of his arm was hanging outside of the cab but it worked.

I gave up on the doors moving and dug the magnets that was supposed to hold them closed. That allowed me to paint the interior and glue the doors shut. Having the doors and the dash (because remember the top of the dash is what held down the doors) allowed me to try to assemble the windshield.

I wanted the windshield to fold up and down but I had no good place to put magnets and the bits where the windshield met the dash was really fiddly and weak. The plastic for this kit is both brittle and soft. Not sure how they did that but it is not hardy. I made the call that to prevent the windshield breaking off later, I was just going to glue it in place and b done with it. I added some armor plates to finish it off.

Problems are being solved left and right and I had a good steam of momentum for the project. The cab is mostly done in terms of assembly so it was time to start painting. I put down a basecoat of Mechrite Red and Ironbreaker. The model then got washed with Devlin Mud. I I touched up the red with Mechrite Red and then stippled on Evil Sunz Scarlet. I did something different than I normally do and rather than do hard edge highlight, I just stippled on the brighter red paying special attention to edges and leaving the recesses alone and therefore darker. This is a pretty rudimentary way to paint. In fact, this is how most beginners paint. It can turn out flat and lifeless if done improperly. I don't how masterfully I pulled it off because in places the illusion breaks down.

Cab is done. Undercarriage and engine are done (from before I gave up). Now let's turn our attention to the bed.

"Just paint it red and go." I can hear you saying. With all the detail, time and attention that I put into the rest of the model, if I just painted it red and ran with it, the bed would look out of sorts and wrong.

I started with the Trukk weapon system. I initially wanted the gunner to be sitting in the passenger seat but with how much room the driver took up, there was no room for another Ork in the cab. Plan B was going to use the standard Big Shoota from the Trukk kit and make a cupola sticking out of the roof of the cab. I scrapped that idea because the roof was going to obscure all my hard work on the interior of the cab. Plan C was going to have the shooter hanging out of the cab and using the passenger door as cover. I scrapped this because the conversion work would have been too expensive and I worried that the end result would be awkward.

None of these options would have allowed me to easily remove the shooter with a Weapon Destroyed result. I forget how I stumbled on the idea of a cupola on the bed of the Trukk, but I really liked the idea. This way I could use a single model to represent the wargear. I could swap it out when I changed weapons and could just pluck him out when/if the weapon got blown off.

I added a small bit of ferrous metal (in this case broken bits of hobby knives) to the floor of the cupola and sunk a magnet to the underside of the base of gunner. I had been putting magnets on both sides but wanted to try out the easy way. If you use one magnet and one metal bit, then it is impossible to get the polarity wrong.

It holds the little guy in there pretty well. I can turn the Trukk over and he won't fall out which is a successful test in my book. I picked an AoBR Big Shoota boy because if it failed, I did not want to be out anything with value and that choice kind of bit me in the butt. I knew how they were posed and thought that I could twist his head around far enough to make it look like was looking where he was shooting, but it failed. The dummy is looking out the side f the Trukk when he should be looking forward.

Next I turned my attentions toward the bed. This was a giant flat surface that needed to be Orked up big time. I started by doing the standard punching holes and digging gouges with the Dremel but it needed something more. I wanted to break up the horizontal lines when viewed from the side by putting some armor plated made form left over bits on the side. In retrospect, I could have used more plates and had them extend above the bed, but I did not know how much room the crane was going to need.

On to the crane! I sank a magnet into the base and used a turret from another vehicle to make sure that I had both the polarity and depth correct. Now this Trukk has become a mobile weapon platform. I finished the bed off by painting it all silver. I was going to do a mountain of scrap parts but scrapped that idea. There was a couple of holes in the bed that were for a clamp bit to be glued onto so I covered it with a glyph for fun. Added a splash of color.

The crane itself was an exercise in two steps forward, one step back. Seemed like every time I made progress, I would have to take something apart and backtrack.

It started with assembling the two arm bits. The manufacture of this kit made the outside of the inner arm precisely the same size as the inside of the outer arm. Once it is primed and painted, the inner arm would not move smoothly. It rubbed off all the paint and got stuck. I had to file down the inner arm by hand which took hours.

Then all the armor plates and gubbins that I stuck the the outer arm interfered with its movement. Since I paint then assemble, it involved removing some plates and painting the exposed plastic. Not a big stumbling block but still annoying. You try and make something look nice and move, and this is the thanks you get.

I also sank a magnet into the inner arm and three into the outer arm. This way I can position the arm in three fixed positions and never have to worry about it falling out. In a fit of whimsy and inspired by the other Ork Wrecker on the internet, I added a little Orky towing slogan to the arm that is revealed as you pull it out.

I added downward facing spikes thinking that the Orks could use the crane to slam them down like teeth into enemy vehicles to prevent them driving away. If I were to use a house rule for this, I would say that it is a Trukk with a Grabbin Claw, but it can only be used against vehicles with a lower total armor value (F+S+R) than the Trukk.

I made all the cables on the Trukk out of braided mason twine covered with super glue. It worked well if I untwisted the twine a bit as the glue dried. If it was pulled too tight then the braids would stand out less after painting. For Orky-purposes, it is hard to untwist it too much. If I were using this technique on an Imperial vehicle, I would be very careful to not make it looks like a mess of cables.

I also added an Ork Boy spiked should armor bit to the tip of the arm. Why? Because spikes and armor are Orky. If they were so inclined, the Orks could also use it as a Reinforced Ram.

I thought the driver was going to be hard, but a normal Boy, bent a little at the waist, fit pretty well. His feet did not reach the ground but short of rebuilding the entire seat, that was not going to be avoided. I used a couple of normal arms with the elbows tipped out a little bit to get the hands int eh right position. Because I tipped the elbows out, the shoulders did not align properly. Even if I had cut the shoulders to mount flush against the torso, the arms would not look natural. So I did what any hobbyist does when they make a mistake.

Cover it with a bit.

That is why this guy is wearing two shoulder armor plates. To cover my mistakes.

The two control levers in his hands are actually stainless steel needles that I use for pinning. I drilled into the hands and control panel, put a dab of glue on each and jammed the needle in. This did mean assembling the arm, needle and control panel at the same time which was pretty hard.

I added the step at the bottom for no real reason other than I thought it would look good. I added an armor plate to the back and a bullet shield to the front. I had made the vision slit in it before finishing the driver, and thought his eyeline was going to be lower than it ended up. As it stands now, he can see way over the top. I guess he uses the slit when he ducks. I added an ammo pouch t the side of the crane for him to keep some snacks in. You can't see them any more because the crane operator covers them up, but there are kill marks on the inside of the operator's cabin. I should have put them on higher if I wanted them to be seen.

I added a lot of Orky humor and whimsy to this mini. I put a skull on the stick shift. It is under the driver's elbow so it is hard to see. It was that or an 8 ball. Like any good truck driver, my Ork driver has his handy Shoota siting right next to him to fend off any unruly boarders. I thought of a house rule for this too. The drivers gets to fire Overwatch but has to take a Dangerous Terrain test for taking his eyes off the road. Not over-powered but super fun and fluffy.

The back of the Trukk has a license plate that says ORK1 (a call back to the Ghostbusters ECTO1). I added a bear trap bit from some Orgre box to the back end of the winch that came with the kit and I am horrified to think what the Orks would use that for. I wanted to ass some Ork ladies on the mud flaps but was my imagination was defeated on how to paint that.

I also added a bit of Orky passive-aggressiveness to the back end of the cab. The Ork driver is apparently tired of those snooty Eldar tailgaiting him. I painted it on after doing my basecoat but before stippling the final red on so that is why the area around the text looks discolored. I think it frames the text nicely though.

It was not until after I had finished the project that I noticed that my Trukk is almost twice the size of a GW Trukk. I posted this to a conversion page on Facebook and someone recommended that I could use it as a Battlewagon. While the footprint is comparable to a Battlewagon it is a poor proxy. It does not look like an armored fortress but more like a ramshackle Trukk. It also has none of the requisite wargear or ability to mount Battlewagon upgrades. No, it just an out of scale Trukk.

I could have cut down the front end and the bed, but that would have involved repositioning the intricate undercarriage and further conversions. I was not up for any further added frustrations. I don't know that I am going to attempt another conversion of army vehicle to Ork vehicle despite really wanting an Orky A-10 and B-32. It takes so much time to do the necessary work that I could have painted two Trukks in the time it took me to finish this one.

All told, I would call this a success. I really like the overall look of the finished product, the versatility of swapping the crane out for a turret weapon and most of all that it is finally over! The Trukk demands your attention on the table because of its size, but as you look closer at it, there is a plethora of detail to entertain and amuse. The splashes of yellow draw your eye around the model and the high level of detail keeps your attention. It is like a little treasure hunt. I am really looking forward to having a Flakka Trukk with little conversion needed. I could also house rule it up and make up rules for an Ork Razorback (another vehicle that I feel the Orks are missing). Most of all I am glad this giant headache of a project is over and that it turned out well.

I dislike how frustrating the project was and how long it took me to finish. In terms of things about the model that I dislike, there are few things. I dislike how out of scale the mini is and how some of the painting turned out. The driver looks a little out of place in the cab as if he is really shoehorned in there and the handlebars rather than a wheel kinda bugs me. There are areas when my stipple painting fell flat. For the most part I was able to do my highlighting in a very organic way by making raised or reflective surfaces brighter and recesses darker but around the cab and especially where the hood meets the body, it looks wrong. The colors get brighter for no reason where these pieces join.

To replace this model is easy. I think I paid $25 for it on eBay. The conversion work was expensive. It involves a least a Defkopta, a Boy, a Big Shoota Boy and a fist full of bits. All told just the bits about about $30 worth to replace. Accounting for time and plasticard is difficult but I would value it at $50 easily if not more. Painting is awesome and took quite a bit of time and is likely worth about $50 itself ($20 bench fee and roughly 10 hours). Total replacement value is about $155. I don't think that anyone would pay that much for it but I would not trade or sell it for less than that. Ideally to account for all the time (and inevitably replacing it) I would need $180 for it.

On the table next, I must finish my Daemonettes before starting any new big projects. I also have an idea for Shoota boys based on Feral Orks. I have a Necron flyer primed and ready to start but I am trying to clear my table of other projects before starting a large vehicle.

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