Sunday, August 10, 2014

Vampire Counts: Terrorgheist/Zombie Dragon WIP

I've recently had the opportunity to play some games of Warhammer Fantasy due to a bit of a resurgence of interest at my local game shop. I've had my modest Vampire Counts army sitting around for the last 2 plus years doing nothing while I've enjoyed playing Warmachine/Hordes consistently in that time. I figured it was time for a change of pace and I've been devoting much of my hobby time lately to assembling, converting, and painting my undead army. I picked up the Zombie Dragon/Terrorgheist model last week and have been doing extensive work on it to make it my own.

This model can be built as either a Zombie Dragon or a Terrorgheist. My first thoughts after cutting the pieces off the sprue and cleaning all the mold lines, was that I wanted to make the model use able as either. I spent a considerable amount of time mocking the model up and working out how best to go about it. Magnetizing the two different neck and head assemblies seemed very feasible and I decided I wanted to stick to a pose similar to the stock Terrogheist pose but there was a problem with this.

The neck of the zombie dragon is a bit longer than the TG neck and is curved downwards considerably. This would be fine if I were constructing the model in an upright pose like the stock ZD pose. But constructing the model in the lower TG pose would have the ZD neck/head pretty much facing straight down. As I mentioned earlier the ZD neck is a bit longer than the TG neck; my solution was to remove enough material from the back of the neck in order to eliminate most of the curve. After much fiddling around, cutting, and test fitting, I came up with a satisfactory solution.

I did have to remove the saddle that a Vampire Lord would be mounted on, but I plan on reimplementing a new saddle on to the neck. I used 1/8 x 1/8 magnets to secure the necks in place on the body. By leaving 2/3 of the magnet protruding from the neck and embedding the magnet on the body deep enough to accommodate the other, it creates a nice, secure fit and hold.

The stock model pose looks great kind of perched on rocks but I wanted to really make the most of the massive 100 x 150 mm base size so I was thinking of having the model perched atop a ruined building instead to make use of all the room on the base and elevate the model to a more imposing posture. In the past I've always used blue insulating foam or foamcore with the paper removed for modeling stone structures. However, I needed a very sturdy structure in order to support the entire model and foam would most certainly not work at least as a supporting structure. I decided to make the basic structure out of plastic and then to wrap the plastic structure in sheets of foamcore cut to shape. That way it would be very sturdy but give me the freedom to use foam to model the stonework.

I managed to get the main body pinned to the plastic structure and then started in on figuring out a solution to magnetizing the wings in order to more easily store/transport the model. I'd seen some other ZD/TG models magnetize the wings where they meet the shoulders. This is a fine solution and I'm sure works great. I decided on a slightly different method. I ended up gluing the wings to the shoulders and magnetizing the rib cage/spine assembly that sort of wraps around the main body.

I used 1/8 x 1/16 inch magnets for this and put one set of magnets into the halves where the sternum connects and then a set of magnets where the spine meets up with the main body on the back/spine. This made for a surprisingly strong hold and works quite well. The next challenge was creating a magnetic joint at the left wrist. Again, I used 1/8 x 1/16 inch magnets and carefully drilled a pocket into the wing deep enough for one full magnet and roughly 2/3 of the one connected to the claw.

With all the magnetizing done and the main body pinned to the plastic structure, I got started on wrapping the plastic in foamcore with the paper removed. This was the easy part and enjoyable to watch it all start to take shape. I've got the basic shape of the ruined building and started in modeling the little broken archway that the model has it's front claw resting on. I'll be doing more work to the building and the base as a whole, but for now I've got a good bit done.