Chaos Thunderhawk: Jan 2003

Black Crusade Chaos Thunderhawk
During Warmaster Matt's planning and scheming of the Black Crusade project last year, he came up with the idea of having three traitor Thunderhawks flying over the giantic 18' display base. A few months later I, in a rare bout of complete insanity, volunteered to build them.

At the time, Forgeworld had not yet released their new resin kit and so I waited with bated breath for any scraps or pictures of what the new model would look like. When it came out late last year, I was blown away by the awesome job Tim Addock did with updating the Thunderhawk. Short of shelling out the $700+ cost for one model, I wondered how in the world I was going to make Matt's mad vision of the Black Crusade air superiority come true.

Luckily for me, I love to convert miniatures and scratch build vehicles, so this was the ultimate challenge for me. I also got a big reprieve from Matt when he said that one instead of three 'Hawks would be okay for the display base.

To start, I downloaded all of the reference material and pictures I could find about the new resin kit. With only two official measurements, I had to invent a whole system of measurements based on guess-estimation and reverse-engineering. After a week of crunching numbers and drawing schematics and plans on paper, I came up with detailed sketch of how I was going to build my Thunderhawk. But of course, everyone knows that while something can look great on paper, when it comes to actual reality, nothing ever works as it's supposed to.

The first problem that emerged was the sheer level of details and parts that would be involved. To avoid going crazy with trying to measure up to the resin model, I decided to simplify the design and tone down the amount of details on the Thunderhawk. If I finished early however, I could always go back and embellish it further. So my first draft was refined and I began the actual construction.

Utilizing sheets of .08mm plasticard, I carved out all of the major parts of the fuselage. To connect everything I used 'L' angled styrene strips to connect parts that joined at right angels and slightly bent them to connect parts with obtuse angles. I also had to make sure to cut out holes and slots for doors, turrets, canards, tail and wings.

For the wings, I overlaid more plasticard on top of two layers of 3/16" foamcore. I plan to repeat this process for the tail and carnards. But I ran into some problems in that the foam core was slighlty uneven in some areas thus not all of the plasticard fit together swimmingly. What will save me here though, is one of the golden rules of converting: a decent paint job will hide 99% of your mistakes. With that in mind, I moved onto the engines.

For each engine, I cut up two plastic contact lens solution bottles and reglued them together into slotted spaces on the main wing to create a lengthier body. I carved out the bottom of the each engine bottle to create the air intake. Behind the intake, I glued sixteen angled 4.8mm 'L' strips onto a plasticard circle and attached a missile nosecone bit from an old F-16 model kit I had as a kid to create the turbofans. To complete each engine, a grooved conical cap from three bottles of mouthwash will form the exhaust port.

The last three portions of the Thunderhawks construction: landing gear, weaponry, and details, are the easiest to do. The landing gear depending on whether I will have them up or down is just more work with plasticard rods and sheets. The same goes with the details. The weaponry is perhaps the easiest part of the job as it can be all lifted from pre-existing GW kits, namely the Land Raider turret sprues or Leman Russ sponsoons. Unfortunately, I didn't have any to spare and so a lot of club members came to my aid here and donated any spares they had to the cause. For the battle cannon or laser destructor, I'll have to use plastic tubes of varying diameters.

So how far along am I with this project? A lot further than I am with my Word Bearer army ! I'm about halfway done and should have it ready to be handed off to whomever will paint it by mid-February. By then I'll add some pictures of the Thunderhawk to this update too.


Created by: system. Last Modification: Monday 26 of January, 2009 01:20:32 AM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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