PAINTING AND CONVERTING - Exterminator

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As I start to wrap things up in my long journey of working on my guard army, I wanted to make sure I had the ability to field tanks if I wanted. Now, I have an old Russ chassis, but the odds of me fielding just one tank are pretty slim. As such, this seemed like the perfect time to add a new module to my chimera blank system. Basically, it would be a plasticard fixture that I could slide into my chimera-chassis blanks to make a Leman Russ.

It was obviously going to be a bit tricky to make this convincing as a TANK, rather than just another chimera-chassied vehicle. As such, not only did I draw inspiration from the regular Russ kit, but I also took a page from the Chi-Ha, and the USS Monitor.

Hopefully, the end result would be something that looked sufficiently tank-like, while still saving me money by fitting into the models I already had.

To start with, I went and got my chimeras and removed the manticore module. This left me with just the chimera blank:

I have to apologize in advance for the slightly blurrier nature of these pictures. My office isn't heated, so much of this was done in the kitchen, what with the sub-zero temperatures.

Anyways, the first step in any chimera blank module is the basic part that fits onto the chimera rails. The details will all be based on this part.

I decided to keep it relatively simple. It's basically just a box with some structural support in it.

Once this was in, it would be a matter of making something for the turret to sit on. On both the Russ chassis and the chi-ha (along with lots of other tanks for the period), is that there is sort of a skirt underneath the turret. This not only held the engine mount in, but also shielded the turret mechanisms. I decided to keep form and go for an octagonal skirt, with the chi-ha's long back on it.

After consulting with 5 physics graduate students, I was able to acquire the angle to cut the plasticard, and the end result was planning and prepping the pieces.

Which was then put together. This took a lot of time as more than once I found I'd overshot the boundaries of my base. In a fit of frustration, I glued it on as best I could and slid it in to make sure it still fit in properly.

With this done, it was time to finish off the base. This meant putting on a back to make things flush. I wanted it to hang down a bit, though, as I was a little unsatisfied by how flat it looked.

With a little work, I was able to get something that would nicely glue into the back.

With this done, it was time to get the turret done.

Originally, I wanted to run these as demolishers. Having played with it a couple of times, I discovered that, despite my love for the unit, it actually fit very poorly with the rest of my list. I engineered the turret to be interchangeable...

but then I thought I wouldn't ever want something else so I glued it in. Once I realised that I wanted something else, I had the choice of redoing the turret or doing a different one. As what I'd be making was an exterminator, the vehicle seemed like it wouldn't be as heavy, so I decided to make a new, lighter turret, based more on the chimera.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to do the exterminator cannon. I rolled over several ideas of a 4-barreled model, like a hydra. In the end, I decided to go with more of the actual exterminator model and just do it with two. How to make an exterminator look like it has two twin-linked weapons when it just has two weapons?

The idea I settled on was to have it be less of an autocannon tank and more of a flak tank. The idea is that the twin-linking comes from the sheer amount of shrapnel it put out. As such, I upscaled the barrels from little autocannons to something a little beefier.

I decided that in order to keep the turret slightly lighter, that I'd leave a few vision slits open for the gunner to see out of. This meant that I'd need to make a seperate roof. The only problem was that you could see that there was no one in the turret when you looked at it from the side. A bit of plasticard, GS, and an extra head, and the turret was coming along nicely.

This just left me to glue it all together, and add some details, and the tank was done.

Once I started painting, I realised that I could have done the top of the turret better, and the big piece on the top was actually less than flattering. As such, I quick went back in and put a hatch on.

I also had ideas to put some more detail on, but the holidays are coming up and I have to leave tomorrow morning, so it was either having less detail, or waiting until well into the new year to finish it off.

As such, I decided to keep it relatively simple. The end result looks sufficiently like a tank...

Once again, the pictures are a little cruddy, but the two giant cannons rule ass. I like how it sort of looks like a battleship turret.

I'm a little disappointed in the actual execution. I'm nowhere near as good at plasticard as I am with GS. Thankfully, everything is painted brown ;)

The other one of these modules is only half-done, but now that the concept is proofed, it should finish up pretty quickly. In any case, I now have another way to set up my chimera chassis to add extra options.