by: Andras [ ]
While this is certainly an aspect of the hobby that is rarely featured in scale model magazines, miniatures/vehicles for wargaming can provide some seriously interesting subject for us.
I quite like the Warhammer 40k universe and regularly paint the odd figure here and there. The cost of larger vehicles unfortunately is very high, especially the resin Forgeworld offerings; when it comes to decide between a small Leman Russ tank or a 1/35 King Tiger with full interior that is considerably cheaper, not surprisingly I go with the latter. (Let’s not even mention the $400 battle titans.)
I have recently stumbled upon Wargaming Exclusive. This company makes conversions and figures for the WH40K setting (with subtly different names), and I could not resist their Chaos Rhino conversion. The company seems to be specializing in providing alternative figures, conversions and vehicles for the WH40K players. They offer some civilian cars as well, which is very much unique for the WH40K universe; civilians are generally overlooked in this galaxy where there’s only war and grimdark. They look like Steampunk cars, so they are easily reusable in other SF/Steampunk environment. Some of their offerings are actually much better than the “official” conversions; the Thousand Sons conversions and the Chaos terminators are especially great. This particular conversion is for a (probably) Death Guard Rhino, which is corrupted by the Lord of Decay- hence the pustules and blisters and cysts (not to mention the tentacles, horns, talons and other… things that stick out of this vehicle). The price is reasonably low, and it requires a Games Workshop Rhino or Chaos Rhino as a base vehicle. (I bought a built one on ebay quite cheap.)
The KitThe model arrived in a very nice black box; quite professionally packed. It does not contain many parts, and the assembly is really straightforward. You essentially need to replace the side, the top and the front armor plates, and the folding door on the back. (You can buy tracks separately from the company if you feel like replacing the kit tracks as well.) The fit is relatively good, but filler will be necessary between the side and top panels; fortunately in this case you can be creative, and form additional horns, protrusions, etc. to mask off the seams. The right side- where the open hatch is with the skeleton inside- is quite deep, which necessitates some surgery on the interior side wall. You will need to cut the metal door with the frame, so that the resin piece can fit into its place.
Some of the original kit is still visible, and the contrast between the old and the new parts is quite large. Perhaps texturing these regions with some putty would help; this is what I did on the lower front plate. There is so little of the original vehicle still visible, and the contrast is so large, I can’t help to think it would have been better just to make the whole vehicle out of resin, instead of creating a conversion.
The set does not provide a commander’s cupola; you will need to use the plastic one that comes with the Rhino. This is not an ideal solution; the cupola that came with my kit did not fit because of all the tentacles and whatnot on the top. It also looks quite out of place since it is not visibly corrupted like the rest of the model; you would expect every part of the Rhino to be uniformly touched by the warp. I simply reused the hatches only, and made a couple of tentacles and cysts out of green stuff. If you feel patient you can transform the cupola with the use of putty, creating the necessary signs of demonic possession.
The folding door is also somewhat weird. In a vehicle like this you’d expect that most internal space is taken up by indescribable horrors spawned by the warp. Yet the inside of the folding door (interestingly the door has the exhaust pipes on them, which are apparently open into the crew compartment) is perfectly clean, not to mention the crew compartment, which is unchanged from the original vehicle. I understand that providing a full interior would be a big thing to ask, and for wargaming purposes you need to be able to transport a squad, but if you are only building this kit as a display model, you might want to seal the door off.
ConclusionThe assembly took about an hour. I have base-coated the whole tank with Tamiya Hull Red, and will proceed to paint it after the Christmas holidays- which probably will take considerably more time to give it justice. The detail is astonishing; torn armor plates, pustules, cysts, horns, spikes and skeletal remains everywhere- this armored carrier is a true harbinger of doom, and a true servant of Nurgle. It will strike terror into the heart of every Imperial citizen, and probably your family members as well.
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