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Warhammer 40k - Scratch built Baneblade (from old White Dwarf article)

Recently I've been putting together a number of Warhammer 40k armies using just figures and models from the first edition of the game, Rogue Trader (so up to 1993) but that fit with the current 9th edition rules. Then I'll be talking about each of them for my YouTube channel, so far I just have a Dark Angels marine army video up. Right now I'm focusing on the Imperial Guard which means when it comes to vehicles there is only the "egg walker" sentinel kit since at that time the guard used rhinos, land raiders and predators just like the marines. However, I remembered that one of the old Modelling Workshop articles in White Dwarf magazine during this period covered how to scratch build a Baneblade super heavy tank and after I managed to find the article online I've decided to give this a go and post it here.
This is what the finished model is meant to look like:

The model does need some very old parts that aren't made any more but I think I have most of these covered from my bits box, plus a lucky find on eBay of a badly converted and painted rhino that has extra exhaust pipes and headlights I think I can remove. The only thing I know I need to work around is the use of display bases that were much taller than regular gaming bases but I'll see what's needed when I come to that point.

To start with the article provides some templates but there seems to be an error in some of the track assembly ones:


Where the upper template says BT11 it should be the same width as where the lower one says BT4. I didn't notice this until I'd already cut these out of plastic and glued on the detail plates so I had to pry the BT11 plate off and shorten it as well as the full sixed plate.
I now have these though for the left and right side outer and upper track assemblies:

I've also found some old hexagonal bases and glued them together for the sponson mounted turrets:
I've glued the top of the track sections to the outsides now and cut the inside plates.
Notice that the back end doesn't seem to match the slope of the top. Maybe this is for a reason or maybe another template is out and it will need trimming.
I've also added on the sponsons to each side.

Now I'm moving onto the main hull, starting with the hull beneath the main turret and according to the instructions the upper and lower surfaces need to be spaced out using three pairs of bases glued together. Fortunately I have a lot of those lying around.

Annoyingly though, looking at the templates for the pieces to go around the sides a number look totally the wring size. Hopefully it's the angle I'm looking at them from.
I dispensed with the templates for the top hull entirely and just cut pieces to fit. You can see here a couple of the templates next to the parts that I ended up making and how different the shapes are.

And here is the upper hull just taped to the track sections while I figure out how everything should fit:

Now I'm onto the hull in front of this and have cut a few pieces for the right hand side:
For the left side of the hull I'm supposed to use part of a Rhino/Predator chassis. Thanks to the badly converted rhino I got off eBay I have one of these but I'm loath to use it on a conversion so instead I've made something similar from plasticard:
The forward hull plates actually fit quite nicely once I'd figured out that the line drawing in the instructions didn't match the picture of the finished model. One thing I noticed though was that the left and right front plates could have been a single piece. The grey strip at the front is a length of sprure:
This is all glued in place and now starting to look more like a Baneblade should.
Cutting out the pieces for the engine block and exhaust I again found that the templates were wrong, especially the side templates for the exhaust so I had to come up with the correct sizes myself:
You can see the paper templates for the exhaust side in his picture. To the left is the original template and to the right the one I modified.
Gluing these in place revealed large holes that are not mentioned in the instructions and there are no templates to fill. A problem with my cutting perhaps? In any case I had to cut pieces to fill them. You can also see the hatch detail I've added to the upper hull.
I've now built the main turret. Here I encountered two problems. The first was that the floor and roof were to be spaced out using a display base and secondly of course some of the templates were obviously not right. The two upper pieces seem to have been swapped and the sides of the gun mounts are totally the wrong shape. It really isn't surprising that I have never seen one of these built in real life. To get around these I made the gun mounting first (cutting shapes other than the front one myself without templates) since that had a fixed height and used it to judge the overall height of the turret. Then I used a stack of small bases to provide internal support. Then for the sides of the turret I just measured and cut the plasticard to size without bothering with the templates.
I don't have a large round shield for the cuppola ring so I just bent a strip of plasticard around the hole I'd cut in the round base.
The gun barrel is longer than the instructions suggest so I might cut it down a bit later.
The front turret is supposed to be made from another display base, so lacking any of these I've created mine using a stack of ordinary 25mm round bases and a piece of 2mm thick plasticard instead. You'll notice that I've also cut down the main gun as I said I might.
That finishes the basic structure so now I'm onto the detail work. For a lot of this I'm using the old pieces from my bits box that are shown in the instructions. One difference is that the figure I'm going to be using for the commander isn't an old officer figure. I don't have a spare one and don't fancy buying one just to cut it in half. Instead I have a badly damaged Rogue Trader vintage regular plastic guardsman that came as part of a job lot of guard and squats so I'll be using him instead. A lesson not to throw out even badly damaged figures there.
One piece I don't have is the front plate from the original predator kit marked with an aquila so here I'm going to cheat and glue a more modern brass aquila to a piece of plasticard.
This will be glued at front of the tank, just in front of the main hull cannon mount.
I've now added the details to the model.
The sharp eyed among you may notice that this tank is still missing something very important though. It still doesn't have any tracks. This is because the wooden dowel I ordered to make the wheels still hasn't turned up. What I do have though are some plastic washers that I have glued to plasticard to make the ends of the wheels and some plastic bases and spare hatches for the larger rear wheels. The instructions call for large round plastic shields to be used for the standard wheels but lacking these I've opted to use similarly sized washers instead.
The wooden dowel has finally arrived so now I've been able to put together the wheels. The front wheels are visible from both ends so they use two of the washers each.

I glued a length of balsawood inside the track sections to help align the wheels before gluing them in place and then wrapping a strip of thin plasticard over each set to form the base of the tarcks.

The instructions call for some plain and pretty widely spaced track links but I've decided not only to make the spacing narrower, the links that are visible will be made from two layers of thinner plasticard so that they can be given simple detail.
The track links are on and construction is done:


Now it's just a matter of my dodgy painting. I'll put images up in the Dragon's Domain board when I'm done.