Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tutorial - Custom Lasgun Sniper Rifle

Some time back I made a set of Imperial Guard snipers with custom lasgun sniper rifles and ghillie suits.  I thought it about time to breakdown how I put those guys together.  I'll start today with a tutorial on how to make your own sniper rifles from standard Imperial Guard lasguns and some styrene tubing.

The Tools

The tools you will need are pictured above.  I recommend plastic weld over superglue.  It will provide a permanent bond but doesn't bond instantly, or to you, so you have a bit more leeway than you get with superglue.  The razor saw and miter box are not required but highly recommended.  If you plan on making frequent conversions or scratch builds you will need them eventually.  A drill and hobby knife are a must as well as a good set of various sized drill bits.  A pair of good tweezers will come in handy when placing small parts.


You're going to need some styrene tubing.  Each of the sizes shown here will be used to complete this project.
You will also need one, or more, Games Workshop Imperial Guard lasguns.  I like this version because we will be using the bayonet lug on the underside of the frame.

The Barrel

Start by removing the stock barrel from the front of the lasgun with your hobby knife.  Be careful not to remove the bayonet lug at the bottom of the frame.
After removing the barrel, drill out the former location of the barrel with a 1/16" bit.  You don't have to go very deep, just enough for the styrene tube to hold still later.
It was at this point that I also removed the small round protrusion that was just under the barrel. 
We will be using the 1/16" for the barrel and the 3/32" for the muzzle break and the heat shield.
The 3/32" tube is hollow but will need to be drilled out with a 1/16" bit to allow us to slip the muzzle break and heat shield onto the barrel.
To make the barrel, cut a section of 1/16" rod to the length of your choosing.  Remember, this is a sniper rifle so it should be relatively long in relation to the total length of the finished rifle.
The muzzle break is created by cutting a small section of the 3/32" tube off at a 45 degree angle.  For added detail, cut vents into the sides of the muzzle break.  This is easier to do with the razor saw as it is wide enough to create a groove with a single cut. When done, slip it onto the end of the 1/16" rod and glue in place.
With the main portion of the barrel complete, it needs some more detail.  Cut a section of 3/32" tube a bit short enough that when it is slipped over the barrel there will be a small section of 1/16" rod protruding from the rear, and visible between the end of the heat shield and muzzle break.
Using a 3/64" bit I drilled ventilation holes down the sides, top, and bottom of the 3/32" tube.  Make sure that the side holes are offset from the top and bottom ones so that they are placed halfway in between each other.
Slip the heat shield over the barrel and glue in place.  Now that the barrel is complete you can set it into the front of the lasgun and glue into place.It looks good, but needs more, don't you think?


What sniper rifle is complete without a scope?  Here I used a small piece of 1/16" rod for the body of the scope.  I cut that to the overall length I wanted for the scope.  I used 3/32" tube for the front and rear scope rings as well as a centerpiece for the dials.  The rear scope ring was cut at a 45 degree angle for aesthetics.

The front scope hood was made with a small piece of 1/8" tube which had been drilled out to a 3/32" diameter and cut at a 45 degree angle.  You could make this longer if you wished, or even add another step up with a piece of 3/16" tube.
The adjustment dials are small discs cut off the end of 3/36" rod.

This looks great as is, but it's still missing something don't you think?


I grabbed a small scrap piece of .5mm styrene sheet and used my hobby knife to cut out a bipod.  This part was pretty simple.  You could make one longer or collapsed if you wish.  The only part of this which was measured was the notch at the top.  That was cut to fit the bayonet lug on the bottom of the lasgun.


There it is. All done. Using these simple materials and tools there are many different possible variations all at your fingertips.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hobby Progress - Imperial Guard - Catachan Regiment

I have a tendency to purchase more plastic crack than I can possibly finish at any given time.  That isn't such a bad thing considering how distracted I get by random new projects.  I spent this last week getting some of my Catachan army completed.  All models were painted with a combination of GW, generic craft paints, and Army Painter paints and washes.
Imperial Guard Commissar with Plasma Pistol
The above commissar was missing his left arm when I got him in some bits I had ordered from ebay.  I fixed that with a generic Cadian arm, a chainsword, and for the epaulette, some green stuff.

Catachan Lieutenant

Imperial Guard Commissar

Catachan Heavy Bolter Team

Catchan guardsmen with lasguns and meltagun

Catachan Captain with Powerfist and Boltgun

left: custom 'Sly' Marbo   Right:  Catchan guardsman with plasma gun
I'm thinking about painting Marbo's berrett red to keep with the theme of the Catachan 2nd regiment.

three catachan missile teams
The sandbags for the missile teams and the heavy bolter team are resin casts of some sandbags I made a long time ago out of super sculpey.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chapter House Studios - Chimera Wheeled Conversion Kit Review

UPDATE: Click here to see the finished product.

After the release of the Codex: Inquisition I knew I wanted to build a show quality Inquisitorial Chimera.  In order to achieve the standout quality I was looking for I knew I was going to be adding some aftermarket bits to the standard Chimera from Games Workshop.  I chose the Chimera Wheeled Conversion Kit from Chapter House Studios.

At $18.50 it was priced right for the size of the kit.  And at first look is well cast and had very little flashing and only one very small bubble on one wheel, which will be hidden from view when completed.

The master model was clearly a 3D print which was polished up with a little putty and sanding.  That being said there are some parts along the top edge where either the master model wasn't cleaned up very well or they have some serious lines in the mold.

These lines where not easy to clean up and required a bit of "carving" with my x-acto knife to bring back in line with the rest of the model.  I had to be very careful not to remove the rivets.

I had already read reviews of this kit at Codicium Aeternum and WarFrog's Hobby Blog so I knew that there was going to be some work involved.  Both of them complained in their blogs about the poor fit of the kit.  This had been explained by Chapter House representatives as a result of the conversion being designed for the older Chimera model.  While it can still be used on the new model without any modifications, it just looks a bit off.

Taped into position the asymmetry of the kit becomes apparent.  This also created an odd ridge along the sides of the rear hull where the kit extended over the model edges by about 1.5-2mm.  I didn't grab a picture of this but it can been seen to some extent on the Chapter House website, as can the rest of the perceived misalignment discussed here and in other reviews.

Given that this kit is shown on the Chapter House website assembled just as it would out of the box, it is my impression that they're choice was one of aesthetics.  And while I prefer WarFrog's finished version to that shown by Chapter House.  I think mine is going to fall somewhere in between.

For persons like myself, who are hobbyists first, gamers second, this kit will require some skills to assemble/modify in a way which is pleasing to the eye and satisfying to our level of perfection.  For those with fewer hobby skills the kit will still work out of the box, will still make your model a unique addition to your army, just understand that it will look like an aftermarket kit when finished.

Right about now you may be wondering where my pictures are of the modifications and finished product.  Well that will come later in my Inquisitorial Chimera build posts.  I couldn't just order the Chapter House kit and call it a day!  I've got some Forgeworld, some scratch built and what I think will become one of my future product lines in the works for this.  Stay tuned.