Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Stormtrooper Scout Car WIP

I'm still having lots of fun with my DreamForge Eisenkern Stormtroopers and one idea I've been doodling around with is the idea of giving them a ride.  There was a stretch goal during the kickstarter campaign to produce some vehicles like an APC, artillery, and ant-tank vehicle but I didn't pledge for them for a couple of reasons.  First, they will be BIG.  Listed at 7.25" (L), 3.25" (W) and 2.25" (H) that's getting close to land raider sized.  Second, at the time of the kickstarter I wasn't certain how the kits were going to turn out and the vehicles were more than I was willing to risk.  I might still purchase them when they come out, but for now I want to come up with something else.

So, looking for alternatives, I went with what I already had on hand rather than ordering something.  Here's some things I rejected:

Old Crow - I really like Old Crow's style, but being closer to 28mm models than 30mm, they look just a little too small next to the figures.

Warhammer 40K - No, just no.  I might steal a turret off of a Space Marine Predator for some future project, but that's all that fits.

AT-43 ONI - I managed to pick up a bunch of the armored fighting vehicles from the ONI faction of AT-43 before Rackham went in the crapper.  I might use some in the future, but as they are closed vehicles, with no TC or drivers hatch, there's not much to tie them in.

1/43 Diecast Cars - I picked up some cheap civilian H2 hummers a while back and they showed promise, but they were just a hair too big.  Again, I might use them in the future but they are sidelined for now.

So what was I left with?  Halo warthogs.  I have a two different kinds on hand.  The first is the Wizkids version from the Halo Actionclix line and the second from McFarlane's first vehicle series.  Both are now out of production but you can still find them both for around $14 a piece +/-.

With my estimation of the Stormtroopers being 1/51 scale, the Wizkids version was actually dead on at 1/51 while the McFarlane version was a little small at 1/58.  In the end what tipped the balance was ease of conversion.  The   Wizkids version is glued together and damn near impossible to get apart with breaking or cutting something.  The McFarlane version is screwed together and comes apart (and goes back together) with ease.  Plus the ones I have I managed to pick up cheap at $5 a piece a few years ago.

Breaking down the vehicle was the first step, which was easy, mostly unscrewing eight screws.  I did have to use a hobby knife to take off the windshield part.  There are two posts on the back that are glued and I couldn't get apart.  Here's the parts line up.

So far, my only progress has been to get a driver.  I first tried to use legs from the Stormtrooper box.  If you use the left and right legs from the mirror image kneeling legs, you can get a lower body in a sitting position.  Unfortunately the legs were too big to fit in the cockpit and the angle didn't really fit with the seat.  Back to the bits box I went.  When I bought the hogs in the first place, I also bought a bunch of leg pieces from a GW Imperial Guard Sentinel Kit.  They actually fit much better than the Stormtrooper legs.  You have to cut off the feet and cut out the center console between his legs, but I can build that back with green stuff later.

To the legs I added a standard torso, head and shoulder pads.  The arms and hands came out of the accessory set.  The whole thing was pretty fiddly because the seats have a serious Detroit lean to them.  In the end I managed to get it together and keep it just under the top of the roll bars.

What's German for Yeehaa!

Next up I need to clean up the legs.  I need to green stuff the center where I cut out the console and I think I'll shave off the cargo pocket on the outer thigh and use a press mold to add in the same detail as the stormtrooper thighs.

After that I need to get to the passenger.  I'm thinking of giving him an SMG firing leftie.  After that I am noodling through what to do in the back.  I can add the quad MG from a Heavy weapons kit or I can add a standing stormtrooper firing an MG from a pintle mount.

I think the biggest challenge will be to keep it from looking like the iconic warthog that it is.  I think festooning it with stowage, adding doodads (front pusher bar, grab handles, pioneer tools etc) and giving it a new paint job should help get it looking at least a little distinctive.

More to come, vroom vroom.

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