View Full Version : Scratchbulding a 40K manta vs thunderhawk diorama

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21-08-2008, 03:09
New Stuff
The manta & thunderhawk kept my attention pretty long but inevitably it shifted elsewhere.

Some ultramarines stuff (mainly dreadnaughts) shows up from about post # 592 (Page # 30) on. Starting May 1 my main focus is squats (IG) this starts about Post # 698 (Page # 35).

Note there will still be some tau stuff and other misc crap mixed in from time to time.

Thanks for watchin.

Original Post
So Long story short... I recently packed up and moved away from columbus ohio for the sunny middle of north carolina. I left behind a gamer in OH that was my main man as far as scratchbuilding is concerened. SO we decided a long distance project was required. We searched the net and brought in one or two others (who live nowhere near us). As a sort of "Scratchbuilding brain trust".

So we mused over what would be our project... terrain, new titan? For a while we stopped on the harbinger, however its an easy shape and too limited in its role. It aslo lacks any offical 40k rules.

SO it was decided... the manta...

For a few reasons but the main ones or thus.

A) so few people have one, mearly being in the presence of one is awsome. Owning one in insaine. I herd tell that forgeworld has only sold 30some of these fellas and after searching the net high and low i have only found 1 guy to has attempted to scratchbuild one in they style of the forgeworld model.

B) its a challange. Between me and the guy in ohio we have 4 or 5 titans under our belt and about as many superheavy tanks. However they are all imperial. All boxy... time for something organic and new.

C) Never really been done before. Like i said i found one guy and we will probably be taking a different building route then him. We will be in the style of the forgeworld model and maybe putting out templates (if such a thing is possible) similar to the ones you find on the net for everything else.

Now to the nuts and bolts.
Im not sure how 3 or 4 guys spread collectivly around the world will work on one project together... we may end up with 3 mantas, or mearly 1 manta and 2 other guys testing templates and building methods. As to building methods we got a few idea but havent really worked that out ether.

so to give you an idea of what we are up against, the forgeworld site list the dimensions @ 34" wingspan 25" length. With this in mind i took every picture i could find and drew up a plan view in CAD, it took 8 sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper taped together.

To give you an idea of size here are 4 pictures of my paper model taped on the wall. The first me holding up a guardsmen, then a rhino, then the aquilla lander i made form the battle for macragge terrain, then the top of a warhound titan.

Also note i stand about 6' tall so my elbow to fingers is maybe about 18" or so. This should give you a good idea of scale.



21-08-2008, 03:12

As always LackOf, I have to bo down to the next level you take it each time you start a new project. I will sit back in awe as you and your "trust" work some magic.


21-08-2008, 04:40
This will definitely be a difficult project you got on your hands. though I might say, Of all the people who could try this, you of all I can see succeeding in a great model/coffee table lol... good luck and have fun. Subscribed!

21-08-2008, 04:51
@Redstarone thats one of the main reasons i love doing projects like this. In most cases its something that hasnt been tried or atleast not tried very often, or in a different fashion.

In a way its feels like pushing the bounderies.

21-08-2008, 05:41
Lackof, I demand templates, and am willing to assist you in anyway that I can, which probably ain't much...

I have one very big favor to ask though, please please PLEASE make it bigger. The FW version is what I like to call "condensed scale." It should have been much larger, and doesn't look to match the artwork at all, and to a lesser extent the epic scale model...

21-08-2008, 08:07
you are insane.

Klaus, not Santa
21-08-2008, 09:05
Wow! I was never aware how huge this bugger really is.
It is Gigantic!
Well, good look!

21-08-2008, 09:26

Your crazy... defintely crazy.

Having seen a real forgeworld one of these, i know how insanely large it is, and i can not imagine the difficulty your going to have to get the organic curves into the body work.

That said... who better than to take on a feat such as this.

Im looking forward to seeing progress...

I hope the house move has gone smoothly, and Carolina is treating you as well as Ohio did.


My name is Daniel and i am a wargamer

21-08-2008, 09:28
This is going... to be epic... or should i say Apocalyptic!

21-08-2008, 09:34
This will be really interesting! :)

21-08-2008, 11:42
Absolutely awesome idea. We will be watching, good luck.

21-08-2008, 12:38
Chaos omega you should post or link some artwork so i can get an idea of what your saying about scale and style.


21-08-2008, 12:43
good luck with this, once done it will be ace.

21-08-2008, 13:06
Oh wow. Will definately follow this log.

If you manage to pull this off... wow... just wow...

Btw, now I found some use for my basic CAD skills I got through school... :]


21-08-2008, 13:57
Hey lack, where in NC are you? I am in Raleigh and always looking for a game. Shoot me an email if you are close. askhofzinser[at]gmail[dot]com

21-08-2008, 15:54
I will copy your work - just go ahead and lead me the way :-) :angel:

21-08-2008, 21:20
Did some work on the 3D model. Lots to post tonight.

21-08-2008, 21:27
Will be interesting to see your construction materials and techniques.

Bugbait out.

21-08-2008, 22:54
@hofzinser... i also live in raliegh. Im currently going down to allfunngames about every monday or everyother monday. Where do you goto to game.

Ok now for a kinda update.
There has been much discussion among the brain trust about construction methods.

One of the ideas was to basicly make "ribs" with plasticard or foamcore then cover in plasticard. But to thin or ribs too far apart and the plasticard might bend when touched. So i invisioned something a bit different.

This is the building method i invisioned. Instead of putting thin ribs as 1" spaces with air between i imagined 1" thick "ribs" stacked together with no gap. This would then be covered with a plasticard "skin" of thin bendable plasticard. WE are trying to stick with common building materials so your "average gamer" could interpret templates and build one without much hastle.

Here is a picture of what i invisioned. foamcore, insulation foam carved to fit. wood downs and toothpicks for strength then plasticard skin. Woodglue & pva works awsome for foam & foamcore but the current discussion is what type of glue to hold down the skin... current leader is low temp hot glue.



Easy E
22-08-2008, 00:08
Pfffft... I'm building one too. Oh wait, you're not talking about AI scale are you?

I say good luck to you and Eater. I am very sorry you moved away from each other as AI stuff just doesn't feel the same anymore.

22-08-2008, 00:37
I think that you should try a long piece of the blue foam with the wooden rod and try adding a pound or two of weight just to see what it does under some weight load.

22-08-2008, 01:26
How about basic shape cut from 3mm mdf/light ply, use a hole saw to make holes to lighten it up, covered top and bottom with blue/white foam, carve/sand into shape and either plaster over or pva+card + polyurethane varnish top coat to harden, I do like working with plaster, its very strong!

Bugbait out

22-08-2008, 01:32
We miss you up here man, I still have to show you some of that resin casting junk

22-08-2008, 03:06
Ok picture time...

First a quick lession on what i imagine the history of autocad is.

Autocad was made some umpteen years ago to draw lines. One day basicly someone decided they wanted a 3D program. The company who makes autocad wanted to continue to use the autoCAD name to make money so they incorperated 3D into it instead of making a new program. That being said when autocad was first made it was never intended to to do 3D, even moreso it was never intended to do organic looking 3D shapes like the manta.

Its kind of like fitting a supercharged V8 enginne into a geo metro or something, it will eventualy go fast and do what you want it too but it will require alot of hard work on your part and alot of angry noises & shakes from your car.

This is like organic 3D shapes in autocad.. lots of work and cursing on the cad guys part and lots of funny noises and other things on the computers part.

i have caught myself many times saying the words "your my darn computer and you will do what i tell you to", while brandishing my angryfist.

Anyhoot. That being said. It is work and will take some time. And some of the images may have excessive lines and things that look out of place.
Step 1 is to get a rought model that i can work from and take section cuts, So here is what i did today


22-08-2008, 04:18
well, considering what you're using to make it...on the computer... I would say you've done a great job. I remember back in 1998 at Siggraph...the boys at the Maya booth were shocked to learn that my Yamaha YZF-R1 had been made in Maya..and not Alias....

If you're looking for a alternative... there are quite a few awesome 3D programs out there with trial downloads and some that are just totally free.

Looking good though...I will certainly be watching this one.

Joe Kutz
22-08-2008, 05:17
I had done a Manta for a customer a couple years ago (right after the Taros Campaign book came out).

When I did that, I used Max to create a 3D model. Took cross sections every 2 inches of the 3D model - both up and down and side to side. I printed out those cross sections at full size and transfered them to masonite. I cut out each section on the scroll saw. Once I had those all done - I glued them together with some 1 3/4" rigid foam in between them (Certifoam - carves better and squishes less than pink or blue but it is slightly heavier).

Once that was done, it was pretty quick to use the masonite ribs as guides to carve down to. The very edges (wing tips, nose) were a bit tricky since it was hard to get a guide that filled in the area very well - but not too bad. After everything was carved up, I used a vinyl resin to give it all an even hard coat.

Anywho, after that - I carved panel lines and detailed it out with the little stuff like doors and hatches. Went together fairly well.

I will recommend spending a good amount of time with the 3D model. There were a lot of problems that I didn't notice on my first go around till I was already half done. If I would have spent more time on the model - I would have been able to save myself several hours or tweaking in order to make it right.

Eater of Small Things
22-08-2008, 17:11
The 3D design work looks great, man! Way to go! :D

Are you sure you can't make this like the other template projects? I think the Reaver had just as many curved surfaces. I'm momentarily convinced we can build it in the same manner.

22-08-2008, 20:49
If you made a good 3d model, you could just pay a ridiculous amount of money to get it prototyped :wink:

Chaos omega you should post or link some artwork so i can get an idea of what your saying about scale and style.


Take a look in the Tau codex (both of them) there are more than a few images of the Manta. From the topside it looks fine, but if you look at it from the front, you immediately notice that it has a large "belly" in the cargo area. This is not present in the artwork.

Also take a look at the epic model. The"belly" is still there, but it flows slightly better with the epic mod

22-08-2008, 21:18
I only have access to the most recent tau book and only found 1 shot of the manta in there but i get your point. SOrry to say ours will have a "belly". Also the art and FW model has the "neck and head" area tilting forward... its hard to explain but if you look at it close enough in the pictures you can get what im talking about. Anyway ours wont have that. THe basic idea is that ours will be built up from a single sheet of 3/16" MDF/Plywood/Foamcore board. This made the tilting very difficult.

The brain trust is currently considering making 3 mantas, the current train of thought is once we work out the schematics each one of us will be build one using different consturction methods.

Current options.

Solid Foam w/ Plasticard or card "skin"
Foamcore or plasticard "ribs" w/ plasticard or card "skin"
Solid foam with putty "skin"
Solid foam with fuiberglass "skin"
Solid foam with some form of paint on epoxy or something else "skin"

In the video below the dark blue is a single sheet of foamcore or whatever. WIth the light blue being build up on top or bottom of it.

Updated Images of manta
http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c398/jsvironfurnace/Manta%20Scratchbuild/th_MVideo18222008.jpg (http://s31.photobucket.com/albums/c398/jsvironfurnace/Manta%20Scratchbuild/?action=view&current=MVideo18222008.flv)

-Any other thoughts?

Easy E
23-08-2008, 00:04
Wow, and I just use Paint. Meanwhile you guys are pulling out cad programs, 3d modelling, and other high tech toys. I really gotta get caught up with the way things are done now a days.

I think the slight forward and down curve in the "head and neck" of the Manta will pose a difficult problem to crack. However, I'm sure you boys are more than up for the challenge.

23-08-2008, 05:59
Just a random thought. This flying wing was made out of blue foam board, an electric motor and some servos.
Flying Manta anyone?;)

Eater of Small Things
23-08-2008, 06:03
No worries, Easy. MS-Paint still has its uses. And if you're building an AI-scale manta, I demand to see images! It could be a mascot of sorts.

@Lack0fJeff: I talked with David tonight, the guy who fixed my PC and plays BF2, and we played around with the idea of using LED's. Since the model is going to be so large, we may implement landing lights for the Ohio Manta. It may be a good way to suggest interior spaces without actually carving them out. Think internal red glow for the cockpit and blue under the wings as landing lights. What do you think? Are LED's too much of a gimmick?

*edit* Whoa, Tom. Real flying Manta. That's ingenius!

23-08-2008, 07:04
LED's... I approve.

Flying manta not so much. The idea is initualy awsome till it crashes in an apoc game, and its shear size means it wrecks itself and about 30,000 points of models.

flying manta could lead the the phrase "i had to grab my manta and run" being uttered after more then a few battles

23-08-2008, 07:59
First off, this is a grand project that you all deserve a round of applause.

Suggestions wise; I can offer none. lol.


23-08-2008, 08:57
Very, very nice Lack.

My buddy just bought a prototyping machine if you want to do some of the areas on it (it's not delivered yet).

Or for the head, if you get me the STL file I could get a quote on having it next-day prototyped out commercially.

Also, NC? You don't say, I'm headed that way regularly before too long.

23-08-2008, 17:09
i work at a company that makes RC models,

i can get you the servos, wires, batteries, reciever and etc easily if youd like to go ahead with the flying manta model :D

i have been thinking about building a flying orky defcopta with the stuff we got around here,

but a flying 40K sized manta, that would be awesomeness!


23-08-2008, 17:33
i have been thinking about building a flying orky defcopta with the stuff we got around here,
Now that would be a sight.
I'm watching this intently.

23-08-2008, 21:01
One question....Where did you find the 2D template??? And do you send me ?? (just for built one for me...)

Good luck for your project

25-08-2008, 22:01
More work has been done.
This video actualy shows the cut lines for the "ribs" or the 1" foam sections.
Blue @ center is still the foamcore.

Goal is to work on design more and begin construction first thing next week
@little - i drew up the 2d template from numerous pictures i found on the net.

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c398/jsvironfurnace/Manta%20Scratchbuild/th_MVideo28252008.jpg (http://s31.photobucket.com/albums/c398/jsvironfurnace/Manta%20Scratchbuild/?action=view&current=MVideo28252008.flv)

25-08-2008, 22:16
Your are a bloody nutter I have to say. And I hope this work purely because it looks so cool :D

I'll be watching this just for when you start building


The Laughing God
26-08-2008, 03:47
I wanna see the end project of this. It looks like you have a good start.

Good luck,

26-08-2008, 12:46
Looking a great project chaps, been away a few days so just catching up. looking forward to seeing the finished model, was going to knock one up a while ago (I still might if I find some spare time) but space is limited and to be honest I aint a real fan of the little space monkeys :D

I havent read the entire post but a rough shaping using polystrene then final shaping using decorators filler was the approach I used for shaping the domed carapace on my warlord, it would probably be a good approach to the curves on this beast. This of course couldnt be used if you went for the flying one!

26-08-2008, 14:44
...flying manta could lead the the phrase "i had to grab my manta and run" being uttered after more then a few battles

ROTFL! That just made my morning! Cool project, sorry to lose a local boy to the South, but Eater came in to my store yesterday so at least we still have part of the project back in the heart of it all... Keep up the good work!

Eater of Small Things
26-08-2008, 17:26
Looking a great project chaps, been away a few days so just catching up. looking forward to seeing the finished model, was going to knock one up a while ago (I still might if I find some spare time) but space is limited and to be honest I aint a real fan of the little space monkeys :D

Thanks man. Initially we wanted to recruit you for this because of some of the techniques you use, not to mention that you build superheavies crazy-fast. No worries though. We'll grab you for consultation when we start the Imperator titan templates. :D

ROTFL! That just made my morning! Cool project, sorry to lose a local boy to the South, but Eater came in to my store yesterday so at least we still have part of the project back in the heart of it all... Keep up the good work!

Thanks for the support!

Yeah, I give him crap all the time about leaving Ohio, but Lack0f is a loner who wanders dusty trails, only stopping in a town long enough to get in a game of Aeronautica and maybe build some titan templates. And then like the wind, he is gone.

@Lack0f: I dig the newest plans and movie, but I feel like the degree of the wing tips may be a bit too steep based on a couple of images that I've seen. I'll try to show you what I'm talking about later.

27-08-2008, 05:27
I did more work but no real updates today.
Hopefully construction will begin on Friday.

I did figure out that bulldog UK is a crafty fellow.
He somehow managed to scratch build a copy of my dog.

The first two pictures are of my dog. Pictures 3 and 4 are of his which i shamelessly lifted from his website without permission.

My dog ironically is named Baden, after Lord Baden Powell which is someone from bulldog's homeland.



27-08-2008, 05:29
Two more pictures, first one being an action shot for good measure. The second one showing me and the eaterofsmallthings in deep 40k conversation over a game of worms 3D (game cube), while baden eats the eaters foot.... how ironic.


27-08-2008, 07:38
Can someone scratchbuild me one of those dogs? Preferably in the hammock pose?

28-08-2008, 07:02
ROFLMAO, it's amazing what you can make with a little paper mache, glue and black paint! :D

28-08-2008, 09:19
This project is goning to totally rock, I can't wait! I second Bulldog's recommendation on using filler for the smooth edges, and I recommend getting the ones in powder form (I used the Polyfiller brand) which have to be mixed with water.

What I've noticed was that the ready mix variety only dried when exposed to air meaning you couldn't add large amounts at a time and took ages to dry, the powder form seemed to chemically react and hardened over 3-4 hours, I was paricularly suprised about this as I had used it to create a hill (as is I only used large blobs of filler!). Obviously test your filler when you get it.

I've also had some experience making a Tau vehicle, so I can add advice where I can. Here is my Tau Tigershark, it was mainly artcard and superglue to build with polyfiller on the edges.


29-08-2008, 04:11
slaaneshi thats a sweet lookin aircraft.

Ok now "real tangible stuff"

So the the largest size blue foam any hardware store ive been able to find in my area sells is 1/2" thick. I have not picked any up yet, so i started making the udnerside out of foamcore. I have left 1" inbetween the ribs to i can go back in and fill in with blue foam later. After that i hope to cover the thing in sheet styrene, gap filler as required.... Atleast thats the running plan.

So i started underneath with the cargo area. I'm not sure it will actually fit a devilfish, but it will be a big open area that looks like it can carry stuff. I also am going to be leaving the front access ramp open.

I guess thats about all for now. Hopefully will get blue foam and do more work later.

EDIT: I just noticed the last picture the "belly" is on the manta in backwards... long day... big door goes at the back, small door at the front. Dont worry its not attached yet. Still lots of work to do. Currently pondering the use of LED's in the main cargo area.


KlutzyKultist of Kaoz
29-08-2008, 06:32
WOW. . . . . . Just WOW. Lackof you are one crazy bugga' you know that right. Well i hope to see more insanity.

29-08-2008, 08:50
dude, y'know I always look forward to you completing your works so I can get the templates and build one (I must have passed your reaver and 'hound plans to literally dozens of people) but this time I think I'm just along for the ride. I reckon this project will prove wayyyyy beyond what I can replicate.

At some point you need to visit Bulldoguk and have the mother of all apoc games!

30-08-2008, 03:50
Found blue foam in a box.
Built more stuff, you can see the front lower access ramp.


30-08-2008, 13:51
Are there going to be templates for those "ribs" ? Dimensions would be nice. Keep up your awesome work!

30-08-2008, 15:39
Templates will probably be forthcoming at the end of the project.

31-08-2008, 05:24
This section is done, I will probably paint the interior before i attach it. At some point in the future i will be seeking large amounts of plasticard.


31-08-2008, 07:26
Oh my lord... that is a beast!!! How will you attach it to a stand? Will it be attached to a stand at all? It'd be one hell of an awesome centre piece for an apocalypse game...

You could do a 'grounded' piece, and have troops coming out the 'ramps'... in their dozens... *drool* I can just see Krootox lumbering out of them now...


05-09-2008, 04:13
More work done. My lower cargo bay was too short so "i raised the roof"... may still not fit a tank, but im done messing with it. Also to everyone, the templates are not done, i well let you know when they are. No more e-mails or PM's Please. I also began work on the upper half of the manta.


05-09-2008, 05:29
WOW! Amazing work! I am in awe! :eek:

Are you going to be putting the additonal tau models into the "cargo" hold as the forge world model pictures have?

Very inspiring!


05-09-2008, 06:01
Lookin dope.

...I can see your dog's lipstick

05-09-2008, 08:16
Damn you Lackof, damn you to hell and back! Just when I thought I could retire and have a rest you say you will be releasing templates. GODS BALLS MAN, that means I will have to build one, then comes the support vehicles then the troops, then something for them to fight.............. ggggaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Looking the dogs danglers m8 ;)

05-09-2008, 17:21
@ Eastern. Im not sure what im going to do with the upper cargo area yet.

@ Bulldog. Thats how FW/GW really snares us... Superheavy transports.

"Ok you bought the gorgon (Manta, thunderhawk.. ect)"
"Now you have to fill it with with 20-50-180 some troops"

08-09-2008, 02:24
More work done. Nothing really big to report.


KlutzyKultist of Kaoz
08-09-2008, 07:58
This just made my eyes explode.

08-09-2008, 08:15
lol agreed my eyes have also exploded.


08-09-2008, 08:27
Its sort of funny to think that forgeworld charges you about $2000 USD for one of those, and you have a very neat design for about..well $15 right there! Way to go m8!

fiore hellheart
08-09-2008, 17:56
More work done. Nothing really big to report.

i struggle to see how anything to do with a manta can even go anywhere close to being called nothing really big. i mean come on, its huge, any how cool work on it. cant wait to see it finished.

09-09-2008, 04:25
Thanks guys, i did some work today but not a whole lot.
Not enough to warrant photos, hopefully will get more done tomorrow.

@Hellheart i see your point.

09-09-2008, 18:53
i have seen many crazy people but you are on of the nuttiest

10-09-2008, 04:10
Thanks ALl.

So now im in the real "difficult part" of the foam construction.

As i expected the front third of the top, and the front quarter of the bottom i think will be the most difficult foam work. One day i will need to buy myself a hot wire cutter. Maybe the fact that i dont have one makes this project all the more impressive.

Some of the very front peices are just roughed out, more detail will come laters


fiore hellheart
10-09-2008, 15:44
Thanks ALl.
One day i will need to buy myself a hot wire cutter. Maybe the fact that i dont have one makes this project all the more impressive.

could help but this is still amzingly ace

Some of the very front peices are just roughed out, more detail will come laters

who cares it still lookes like a manta and is ace

10-09-2008, 16:59
I really just dont know what to say.

I've been away for a fortnight and missed my warseer fill.

I keep seeing various peoples progress, a squad done here, a character painted etc. A conversion of doom...


you log onto this thread.

Jesus... what incredible work.

EPIC means something completely different in wargames terminology, but the true immensity of this is epic in every sense of the word as i know it.

Its huge, and the level of work you have done since the initial 3d cad drawings is amazing.

Yes, it is rough at the moment, Wire cuters can produce a nice shiny smooth finish but on something such as this i know its hard... but in essence you can see exactly how its coming together.

Your work is truely inspiring... You see so many titans, super heavys etc... but this actualy is the most awe inspiring thing warseer has got on it at the moment.

Kudos to you...


My name is Daniel and i am a wargamer

10-09-2008, 18:33
As must be done with all of Lackof's threads...


10-09-2008, 20:23
Wow, thats fantastic. It almost makes me want to collect tau...but I'm lazy...

11-09-2008, 04:18
Thanks all. I really home the rest of the "brain trust" will get started constructing their mantas. Alas on to the news. I began construction of the most difficult part (the front). Everything you can see in the first & Second picture is glued into place. The 3rd and 4th pictures show the rest of the front roughed out. I also have roughed out all the pieces for the bottom front (they are piled on the table somewhere). But anyway... I also think im going to place a large stiff sheet of plasticard under the foamcore in the front to keep it ridged and from bending. Hopefully it wont be put under any stress but you cant be too sure.

I think thats all. As always criticism helps.


11-09-2008, 04:25
Double Post o well.

3 more things to note. The eater has apologized for the lack of manta projection in the midwest and assured me it would be forth coming.

Secondly, the blue foam you typically buy in 1/2" sheets is actuality .55" thick. (it says so right on the foam). Anyway i ran into a issue at the front of the manta where i had a few cut sections left. I just left them off and will carve to fit. I dont think its any big deal.

3rdly. I need someone who knows alot (and by alot i mean EVERYTHING) there is to know about acrobat reader to PM me.


16-09-2008, 04:18
Ok more stuff done, i have for the most part finished the "center" sections of both top and bottom, and am now starting the tedious work of sloping the outside wings down to the edges. I hope to have all the foam work done on this center section done by saturday night. My goal is to magnatize the "fins" where the wings curve up so they wont be prone to breaking off.

Here are updated pictures. The second one is just showing my "mounting" system. I have 2 tubes near the back and one in the front center (just in front of the ramp) so it will stand on 3 "pins" (or rods, or whatever).


16-09-2008, 04:36
I love the last photo for some reason; it reminds me of those movie scenes where the gigantic space ship flies by the viewer's face, and it's just there... LOOMING

Brilliant work as usual. Keep it up!


16-09-2008, 04:41
Looks very good. Have you thought about how you are going to make weapons?

Also, sorry I have not been able to work on a manta. Text books took all my spare money.:cries:

16-09-2008, 05:14
Accursed College.... you two make me cry.

16-09-2008, 08:04
Tommy WILL be making a Manta if he can find time, even if I have to prop it up a little!

This level of genius and insanity shall NOT go unmatched by him!


17-09-2008, 04:27
Yeah man, get him workin. If i were still in ohio i know the eater would be on his game.

Anyway here is nightly update. I didnt get any work done this weekend, it was a long weekend that involved going to the beach friday, sailboating at the lake saturday, and then hiking on sunday. Needless to say there was no manta building.

So here are the photos.

First one is of the bottom. I am building up the outer wings runing the foam & foamcore transversly across the wings in hopes it will make them stronger. Im thinking of magantizing the "outer wing fins" (where the wing curves up) so they are less prone to breaking off.

Picture 2 shows my the foamcore shell of my "control area", and pictures 3 and 4 show it loose fit into place.

My ultimate goal is to have all the foam work done on this peice done by the end of this weekend.


Light of the Emperor
17-09-2008, 05:00
Sheer madness...but I love it! Its great seeing this thing get built from the inside out. Are you gonna sand the foam to create curves or are you planning on using plaster?

17-09-2008, 05:42
@ Light of the Emperor.

The current plan is to sand then cover the foam in a plasticard "skin".
I like this idea over plaster right now.

BUT.... Im not exactly sure how i will accomplish this yet.

Issue # 1 - Bending plasticard
Possible solutions include using thin plasticard & heat. This is pretty easy.

Issue #2 - Attaching Plasticard
This one is a little tricker, im not sure if wood glue will do the trick. Super glue eats the foam a bit, but might work i have had a little sucess in trials. Hot glue also melts the foam. Maybe use a low temp glue gun? Im also musing over the idea of epoxy. OR applying a thin coat of plaster, sanding that, then gluing the plasticard down.

Thoughts anyone?

17-09-2008, 07:27
Looking good lackof. Personally I would recommend the filler approach, no need for plastic card either, once its smoothed and sanded just size it with a few coats of watered down PVA glue, this will seal it and harden it off ready to take paint, this is how I did the carapace of the Warlord. More importantly its much less hassle and you should be able to acheive nice smooth curves and joins, looking forward to the updates!

17-09-2008, 07:48
Lackof, maybe you could use red car Bondo as a filler first,
then after sanding you could use the epoxy filler for a hard surface and smother finish.
The epoxy filler is not meant to be used to fill large gaps.

Oh yeah, if you seal it with the epoxy, you can then use the manta as a boogie board the next time you go to the lake.

17-09-2008, 10:14
Well you could go with large vacuumform or drawforming to skin it.

17-09-2008, 12:28
@ Bulldog the only probelm is atleast on the underside i didnt put blue foam everywhere. Im currently thinking im going to do a mix. Plasticard attached via liuqid nails or some epoxy on the easy surfaces, then use plaster on the more complex shapes. Atleast thats the current thought.

@Tommy - do you have a link to this epoxy filler you are talking about. I saw the liquid form of what i think your talking about at a hobby store. But it was like 40$ for a half gallon.

17-09-2008, 12:53
Try this link, you need West System epoxy filler type 407 Low Density Filler.
This is just the micro beads that you add to the epoxy.
You have to buy the epoxy separately. It will be about $50 to $60 all together.
Check some of the auto parts and marines boat shops in your area too.

17-09-2008, 13:33
Dont get ahead of yourself fellas, way too complicated! Just use the standard decorators filler (powdered or pre-mixed) from your local hardware store!

It's what I will be using on mine!

Take a tip from the WWII german tank designers, dont over engineer!

17-09-2008, 14:15
I personally would love to see a plasticard skin of some sort. Either larg sheets heated and bent to fit or smaller cut shapes attached like the tiles on the space shuttle, LiquidNails would definitly be the way to go there.

Barring that, I think BulldogUK is on the right track here. Keep it simple, nice easy filler sanded smooth.

17-09-2008, 17:44
Ok another idea, and just food for thought.

What about cardboard (GASP!). Alot of people shy away from it for various reasons... I know the eater loves using the stuff as its mostly free. But we know for a fact if you wood glue carbdoard to styrofoam the 2 will never come loose from each other... ever....

I would agree with bull dog... i think the stuff tommy showed me went right over my head, and with out lots of both research & practice i would probably end up doing more harm then good (To both my manta and wallet).

Current List of options. (In the order i like them from best to worst)
1) Liquid nails & Plasticard Skin.
2) Liquid nails & Plasticard Skin easy parts, Plaster & Sand Hard Parts
3) Wood Glue & Thin Carboard skin
4) Plaster & Sand then glue down plasticard Skin on plaster
5) Foam out entire manta then plaster & Sand entire model.

Light of the Emperor
17-09-2008, 19:37
Thin cardboard will probably warp with paint or humidty. Parts of my cityfight table bend because I used thin cardboard for roofs and such.

I think what Bulldog said would work best. Combining card and plaster gives you different textures which isn't something you want for the sleek tau exteriors.

17-09-2008, 23:08
i reckon pva and card could work great, I've used it without probs and I know you guys did too.

I think Bulldog made a lot of his stuff with good old card as well.

Eater of Small Things
18-09-2008, 21:46
Current List of options. (In the order i like them from best to worst)
1) Liquid nails & Plasticard Skin.
2) Liquid nails & Plasticard Skin easy parts, Plaster & Sand Hard Parts
3) Wood Glue & Thin Carboard skin
4) Plaster & Sand then glue down plasticard Skin on plaster
5) Foam out entire manta then plaster & Sand entire model.

I'd say no to Liquid Nails. It takes way too long to set up, and then dries in solid beaded lumps between the two materials. Not to mention it says on the side of the tube that it causes cancer in the state of California. (yeah, don't let the dog eat it)

Since you've already filled out the interior shapes, I think a thin coating of spackle or plaster should work, but I do wonder if it would be more likely to crack over time.

Personally, I'm planning Manta Ohio to be cardboard/foam-core ribs, with thin plasticard or cardboard on the surfaces. I'm gambling by leaving some of the interior hollow-- but it should be should be fine unless someone decides to jump on it.

18-09-2008, 22:35
Personally, I'd use Bondo on something this big, get a good layer going, let it dry for a couple days then get to it with different grades of sandpaper.

Most auto-shops carry bondo as well as a sandpaper kit that will start with very course and work your way to very fine, which would be perfect for something like this.

18-09-2008, 22:42
might i suggest using a "skim coat",aka body putty,NOT to be confused with body filler,its what is often used over body filler to hide very small imperfections in autobody.When I worked as a model builder doing scale naval models for wave tank testing thats what we used to cove over the fiberglass sheet.......we used ALOT,as each model was about 25-35 feet long.....

Its a yellow colour,sands REALLY easily,and is semi flexable,and is pretty durable.

íf your interested I can try and figure out the actualy brand name of the stuff.

but if you go with teh plasticard method,use 5 minute epoxy,won't react with the foam,and is pretty cheap......ish...

19-09-2008, 01:31
@Valo, im interested in this stuff. Id like any info you can give me. WHen i googled "skim coat" i got lots of drywall sites. Is it similar or a certain type of drywall plaster?

19-09-2008, 01:48
Ok here are the daily (almost) updates. The bottom is 97% finished. Though it will require more work if i go the plaster or skimcoat method... if i go plasticard the bottom is as previously stated practically done.

There is a photo of the top (with a rhino for scale) and a couple views of the intriour & command deck area (which is being glued down as we speak).

That is all.

19-09-2008, 03:07
Holy moly! Looking real good.

I've actually tried paper machie before. The process of soaking little bits of newspaper in watered down pva glue and applying it to a surface. It dries hard, and can be sanded. The result came out pretty decent. Not to sure if it is smooth enough for the Tau imagery though.

Off course, back then I wasn't a working stiff and needed to really budget the project. Hence the uber cheap labour intensive and messy alternative.

How heavy is it at the moment? Looks to weigh a ton!

Any thoughts on how you are going to base the fellow? I reakon at least 3 struts to hold it in the air.


19-09-2008, 04:07

-thanks man, i herd paper machie molds after time. THis may or may not be true. I havent researched it yet. However i will say this.

-The more i read about bondo the more i think its the way to go.

Ill try to weigh it tomorrow or at least get an estimate.
I already have 3 points to put rods in like tripod.

19-09-2008, 05:54
Not to mention it says on the side of the tube that it causes cancer in the state of California. (yeah, don't let the dog eat it)

But you don't live in California, so you should be fine.

Actually there is an odd law here in California, that because of the fear of lawsuits,
a cancer warning is placed on almost everthing in the state including all restaurants.
This law has become a joke here and everyone but the lawyers ignores it.
So I wouldn't worry about the warning.

19-09-2008, 09:41
Having experienced the savage sunshine of California... It wont be long before you see the sun printed with... Causes Cancer...

Lack of...

Re Bondo... Its great. 3M created a truely great product in Bondo.

That said... Your Manta is huge! In terms of costs... it could cost a small fortune to cover the entire thing in Bondo.


My name is Daniel and i am a wargamer

19-09-2008, 17:57
On bondo and my latest thoughts.

I found a quart of the lightweight bondo for abotu 12-13$. @ .03342 Cubic Feet per quart i can get 6.42 Square feet out of a quart of bondo @ 1/16" thick.

The manta will end up being about 3' x 2' (not taking into account the contours). This would probably require atleast 2 quarts of bondo MINIMUM to cover the entire manta.

Bondo = about 2.00$ per square Foot
Using the The .04" plasticard i ordered i can cover a square foot for about 0.65$
Using the The .02" plasticard i ordered i can cover a square foot for about 0.31$

SO if i covered it with .02" plasticard it would cost about 1/6th the cost of bondo.

So current idea is to cover the large flat parts with plasticard and save myself some cash, then fill out the harder areas and bondo it. I dont think it will be that big of a difference in texture or whatnot and this may allow me to get away with only 1 quart of bondo.

Plasticard should come in mail today i will experiment with blue foam & glue and see how well it holds.


Eater of Small Things
19-09-2008, 18:19
I need to go looking through some of the older project threads to be sure, but Easy E uses some kind of sculpting putty in a lot of his projects that dries with a nice surface texture. May be worth looking into, especially if it's inexpensive.

Looking forward to seeing how that new order of plasticard works out.

19-09-2008, 18:28
Honestly, I'd slice it into sub-assemblies and draw-form plastic over as much of it as possible, Lack0f. Then you can scribe it like you would plastic, and it follows the simple curves easier. The intakes would be the hard part, those I'd bondo up.

19-09-2008, 21:04
Lackof,Checked today on the putty,the name is Goldstar filler,they are canadian,and the specific stuff I was talking about is called Thincoat plus.

Something this size,you could probably get away with a mix of platicard and body filler if you feather edged(very smooth transition.....for those who don't have any autobody experience)at the point where the filler is tied into where the plastic is....that combined with a nice etch primer and youd hardly notice any seems.

19-09-2008, 21:20
Valo, you have a link? Im having trouble googeling it.

19-09-2008, 21:28
I just googleized it myself and couldent find anything either....hmm...

any autobody supply shop should have a matching product,just remember,you want lightweight filler,not fiberglass filler,the stuff they commonly call "kitty hair",as it has fiberglass stands in it.

Eater of Small Things
19-09-2008, 22:13
We were discussing the idea of the cockpit earlier on googletalk IM, and for just for fun I made up a photoshop rendering of the two-tiered sections on the forward dorsal.


20-09-2008, 14:30
- what your talking about sounds exactly like bondo. Thanks for the info man, much apricated.

- Looks chill, not much more to say. I think i will build the "spine" after the fact on top of the bondo. (Atleast thats the plan) i need to do a test and see how well stuff supergules to bondo. Does anyone have any experince with this?

@ Faolan
-Draw forming / vacuforming would be cool however.......... it would require
A) cut up the manta to work smaller sections
B) Build another vacuforming machine because i gave my small one i made to theeaterofsmallthings.

And even then im not sure the plasticard will stay on the foam. I only vacuformed one thing and the poasticard just poped right off, meaning i would stuff have to find a way to glue the plasticard down. Im just not sure its worth it with so many alternatives.

Also a side note... my plasticard came and im experiementing with it and woodglue / hot glue, however the wife stole my camera and went to virginia this weekend so there will be no pictures unitll sunday when the camera returns

20-09-2008, 17:14
Thoroughly impressed by the work here!
The scale and ambition on these projects is stunning, the best of luck with the rest of the work from here.
Oh, and a small tip: I'm almost certain that you know this, what with being scratchbuilders extraordinare, but if you want a plasticard skin, you could try to score the underside with some rough sandpaper. That should give the glue, PVA or otherwise, enough hold to, well, hold.
I'll be keeping an eye on the log! :)

Terminator jax
20-09-2008, 17:21
good luck with the manta

looking good so far

21-09-2008, 01:25
wood glue on plasticard = failure.

21-09-2008, 01:42
PVA type wood glues need a porous surface to grab hold of.
Lackof, try using non-foaming polymer wood glue.
I have used it to hold metal models together and it stays slightly flexible.
All hardware stores carry it, just make sure it is non-forming and read the directions, as some of this stuff is water activated.
Did you try US plastic for the plasticard?

21-09-2008, 15:20
Tommygun, ill check it out. I may also look into gorrila glue & 5 minute epoxy.

and yes i tried it on the US plastic Plasticard.

21-09-2008, 15:22
gorilla glue foams up like a bugger, goes all over the shop mate, just like shaving foam :) just thought i would warn you.

21-09-2008, 18:59
well thats no good. I did see like a 1/2 oz bottle or something in a catolog for like 2$ so i could try that and just see what i think withoutwaisting too much $

21-09-2008, 20:07
At work we use a 2 part polyurethane glue, its amazing, sticks anything to anything, doesnt foam or anything, might be worth looking into.

22-09-2008, 21:43
OK wife was out of town all weekend with the digital camera, but here are pictures of my work thru last night. Picture #1, is the plasticard i ordered from US Plastics. Its huge (as you can see from my manta) and a sheet of .02" was only like 7$. Picture #2 & 3 show how far ive gotten on the actual manta. Im having to fill in alot of the areas i was planning on leaving open now that the plan has shifted from plasticard to bondo & watnots.


fiore hellheart
23-09-2008, 19:10
wow :eek:, that pic makes your manta look diddy, even though its not. how big is the the sheet 8 X 4? any way your progress is amazing , and pulled of really well

23-09-2008, 22:11
actually the plasticard 3.5' x 6'

Light of the Emperor
23-09-2008, 22:54
Wow that is a big sheet. Didn't even know it came in that size! If only that stuff could be vaccumformed onto the model...

Looking forward to the next steps.

24-09-2008, 02:11
That would be awesome but making a vacuformer that big would be a lot of work. I used to have one that could do things up to the size of maybe 4" x 8". But the manta is a whole different animal.

24-09-2008, 06:54
Well, which is why I advocate subsectioning it and then simply heat-drawforming it.

Admittedly, you'd need to buy yet MORE plastic of the right type for that.

24-09-2008, 13:23

noticed some giving advice on using body filler.

this is what you need to get it nice, but remember some fillers will disolve the surface of the foam, so you end up with there being a 1mm gap between the faom and the inside of the filler (learnt this recently, very annoying), and so the model will be very fragile and you'll easilly damage the surface.

so, do a test piece, or make sure you seal if before you add the filler, maybe PVA will work.

hope this helps, looks great so far


fiore hellheart
25-09-2008, 17:28
actually the plasticard 3.5' x 6'

hmm seems bigger, still verry large though, cant wait for the next update.

27-09-2008, 01:52
Ok did some work on the Fins. Not to look at now but here is the update thus far.muchhttp://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c398/jsvironfurnace/Manta%20Scratchbuild/20080926-Picture01.jpg

28-09-2008, 06:14
Had lots of free time this weekend & Got lots of work done, also started the manta's "sister" project. Hope to have tons of pictures up tommorow.

28-09-2008, 08:51
Looking forward to it lack0f. Very inspiring blog here!

28-09-2008, 15:21
Ok here is the "sister" project to my tau manta.... a thunderhawk being blowin up in flight by said manta. At first i was going to have the railgun shot coming dead on and thus breaking up the entire front half of the thunderhawk however this was a bit ambitious and so i decided a side shot was better keeping the front quarter, and rear half together with the middle blown out. Im thinking of using great stuff expandable foam to model the explosions.


28-09-2008, 15:22
Here is what i did with the manta base. I did work on the "fins" but forgot to nab a picture.


Raven Down
28-09-2008, 15:33
Quite the Impressive Sight to Behold

28-09-2008, 23:21
its a flyin manta!!!! holy gods!

impresive, truly impresive,

i wanna blow it up now! :D


29-09-2008, 00:37
Great Scott! It flies!

Great stuff! Can't wait to see the manta blasting away and gunning down the thunderhawk!

Love the base! Stunning, absoulutely stunning!

So have you settled on the "surface" material yet? Plasti card and bondo was it?


29-09-2008, 03:48

you should do some SM or IG pointing up and screaming on the base.

This thing is slowly pulling me to the Greater Good. must resist...stay with the Great Devourer

29-09-2008, 04:08
to show the size of it...you should use epic sized men on the ground

that is...unless you are going to actually have tau visible

29-09-2008, 05:57
How are you going to attach the thunderhawk? Are you going to build a second base or what?

Also, I would recommend using putty and lots of sanding over plasticard, but I haven't worked with really thin plasticard much so what do I know?:p

29-09-2008, 10:51
Awesome stuff. we are not worthy.

29-09-2008, 15:00
Awesome!!! FINISH IT!

29-09-2008, 21:31
Thanks All, to answer questions.
-Yes im still going plasticard & bondo mix
-The thunderhawk is getting its own base.

And speaking of scale think about it this way. I think i could stand my warhound on the manta base underneath the manta. Its kind of funny how the manta has put things in prespective as far as models go. Im sure anyone with something this size (reaver, warlord, manta, maybe even bio titan) can atest to, once you get this big EVERYTHING seams small.

When i started scratchbuilding the thunderhawk i got the main hull of it put together the first words out of my mouth were. "ehhh... seams kind of small"

Commodore Perry
29-09-2008, 22:08
<And even then im not sure the plasticard will stay on the foam. I only vacuformed one thing and the poasticard just poped right off, meaning i would stuff have to find a way to glue the plasticard down. Im just not sure its worth it with so many alternatives>

3M's Spray 90.
Use it. Learn it. Love it.

Holds ANYTHING together, if you follow the directions.
It does not eat foam.
We used to use it to glue foam padding in helms in the SCA. even after several years the foam was neigh on impossible to remove intact.

The only problem - a spray can, all be it a hefty one, is close to $20 us. looking at the manta pics you would need probably 2 cans.

Comadore Perry.

29-09-2008, 23:44
"The only problem - a spray can, all be it a hefty one, is close to $20 us. looking at the manta pics you would need probably 2 cans."

$40 of spray glue versus $1000 to buy a forgeworld Manta - no contest.

30-09-2008, 03:35
Wholly Crap! That is awesome! Keep up the ridiculously great work. I'm watching, I swear.

30-09-2008, 03:57
thats definately very big. and definately very awesome.

02-10-2008, 12:41
I was in lowes (hardware store) last night and saw a can of the 3M's Spray 90 hi strength adhesive. A note to anyone reading this log IT DOES EAT BLUE FOAM. I think its now time to try 5 minute expoxy.

Aslo i have done a ton of work on the thunderhawk, and after my trip to lowes last night i have about 95% of the materials i need to finish it.

I must try to find time to nab pictures.

I wanna be Me
02-10-2008, 13:45
I was in lowes (hardware store) last night and saw a can of the 3M's Spray 90 hi strength adhesive. A note to anyone reading this log IT DOES EAT BLUE FOAM. I think its now time to try 5 minute expoxy.

Aslo i have done a ton of work on the thunderhawk, and after my trip to lowes last night i have about 95% of the materials i need to finish it.

I must try to find time to nab pictures.

god mate, i was like omfg did he manage to destroy it, but then realiced you had tested it out on some other stuff, clever boy :D

02-10-2008, 14:38
Yes i used scrap test peices to test the spray 90.

No Cause for allarm. The Manta is Undamaged. Carry about your business.

02-10-2008, 18:03
wehre did the plans fore the thunderhwak came from?
do you got a pare to put some wehre or sent them to me?

and it looks awsome!

Chaos Mortal
02-10-2008, 20:00
just found this thread.... WOW

02-10-2008, 20:12
:DGreat Thread + project.

Have you considered thin glass rods to hold the Mantra from its base. I have seen it done on CardBoard /Foam ThunderHawk to great effect.LION

02-10-2008, 21:07
I made the thunderhawk from scratch, Its acctualy just a scaled up copy of the plans i put together when i made my aeronautica (epic) scale thunderhawks.

See Here for all the awsome AI stuff (mine and others)

Here are pictures of my thunderhawk. Hopefully will be finished by mid next week at latest. Idea is to make the pannels look like they are exploding outward then hit the cavity with great stuff expanding foam.... whallla!, Space ship explosion in a can.

Last 2 pictures are to show that i have done little with the manta, save some work on the "Fins"


02-10-2008, 21:11
Probably too late to mention this but balsa planking is a nice way to make aircraft skin - > Planking linky (http://p-38.corpcomp.com/new_page_1.htm) there is a picture down the bottom of this page that shows how thin strips of balsa can be glued to the formers. If you use an amonia based window cleaner to spray the wood then it bends easily.

Like the crashed Thawk, that is on my things to do list as well.

Bugbait out

03-10-2008, 04:21
Thunderhawk Update.


Brother_Chaplian Raimo
03-10-2008, 04:35
That is one impressive (exploding) piece of scratchbuilding, to say nothing of the Manta. You, sir, win the prestigious Ridiculous Project of the Year award.

03-10-2008, 22:57
can you give me the measure from the thunderhawk?

and i like the explosion it reminders me to the horus heresy book fulgrim with the shot down thunder hawk during the final assault on the lear temple.


05-10-2008, 06:04
as always boss, looking good. How the new locale treating you?

05-10-2008, 13:03
looks awsome. Have you made plans for your thawk? I followed some old ones for mine but your plan sets are always a lot more user friendly.

06-10-2008, 11:45
The Manta is coming along nicely and the curvature of the fins is just right. I don't believe how easily and quickly you knocked up a Thawk, the exploding idea is prety neat too, imagine buying a forgeworld one to do the same thing!!! People would have to call the docs to put you in a loony bin.

Great stuff can't wait to see this project finished!

06-10-2008, 17:29
Thanks all, nothing realy need to report. I was at the beach all weekend.

As far as T-Hawk plans/dimensions, goto Forgeworlds website for the wingspan & length, and no i dont have any plans to make templates.

However my goal is to get the thunderhawk to the 99% completed stage by this weekend, then begin heavy work on the manta.

07-10-2008, 05:11
OK a thunderhawk update with honast to goodness pictures. Still a fair amount of work to do but here it is. I put the first little bit of great stuff on tonight, will probably make a pass with it tommorrow on my lunch break. Not sure when next pictures will be up. With the exception of the heavy bolter & lascannon bitz i need to obtain i expect to have this done by noonish on saturday. Also note that its going to be a "Deathwatch T-Hawk". I figured that would go best vs the tau manta.

I did finish up a deal tonight for 16 burst cannons & 3 ion cannons so im a good way to obtaining all my bitz for the manta (which i should get back to working on heavily on sat/sun)


07-10-2008, 06:59
I this meant to be a static terrain peice or is it snapshot in time? it appears to be in the process of crashing with bits in motion and falling off, looks a bit matrixy to me, but as long as you are happy then Im happy too!

Bugbait out

07-10-2008, 12:33
Snapshot right after the explosion/fireball.

The eater pointed that out to me as well, though i really couldnt figure out any way to do it better, there is very little precident for this type of model for me to follow.

07-10-2008, 12:40
I'm loving the manta - wonderful piece of work.

The exploding Thunderhawk is annoying me. The source of my irritation is nothing more than disbelief at how you can put together such a good looking model without plans so darned quickly, when I'm struggling to make progress on my own t-hawk, and frankly it's just rude of you to build not only a t-hawk, but an exploding one at that.

People with l33t skills like you make me sick, you really do :-p

Seriously though - awesome stuff. I have a set of your warhound plans printed off and ready to roll, and it's good to see more from you.

07-10-2008, 21:32
Sorry Doggus, ill try to build the next project more slowly.

OK now here is an update. Its Explosion Time.
Imagine the plasticard rod has green stuff on it and resembles the contrails from a heavy rail gun shot.


07-10-2008, 21:47


the only thing I would like to see here is the contrails are fading out towards the top of the rod...

07-10-2008, 22:27
Wow looks awesome, good idea with the explosion!!

08-10-2008, 06:11
I get it now!!!!
Painting the "flash" will challenging!

Very cool idea and execution!!

Bugbait out

08-10-2008, 12:26



My name is Daniel and i am a wargamer

08-10-2008, 12:33
I cut up some of the explosion and did some work over it, im about 95% happy with the explosion now. My goal tonight is to knock out the vents on the back of the engines.

I also test painted some great stuff. Pictures later.

08-10-2008, 18:35
11/10! Poor, poor T-hawk... it never had a chance!

Just a question about the contrails...how are you going to do them? If I understand railgun tech at all, the shots ignite the air along their path leaving white-ish lines. Sounds like it could be tricky.

Have you considered maybe having the contrail carry right through and past the model? It might emphasize the speed of the round nicely.

I didn't think you could top your titan projects, but so far it looks like you're blowing those right out of the water with this one!

08-10-2008, 20:52
Testing painting smoke & Fire on the great stuff. THoughts?


Eater of Small Things
08-10-2008, 21:22
I dig it.

You may need to play some Battlefield 2 for inspiration though. You know... to research explosions. :D

08-10-2008, 21:51
That is the singly greatest of Gods sweet creations I have ever seen! Keep it coming!

08-10-2008, 22:00
I wouldnt paint any smoke at all. it seems like the explosion hasnt expanded enough to turn into smoke, might end up looking weird.

08-10-2008, 22:07
Im with hemogoblin, its still flash not yet smoke.
I would think it would be intensly bright at this stage, cant hollow it out and put a light source in there?

Bugbait out

Light of the Emperor
08-10-2008, 22:12
There's gotta be some videos out there (youtube?) that show an explosion in slow motion. You can pause at any interval you like and paint it that way.

08-10-2008, 22:30
Like this you mean?

That manta looks sweet. The thunderhawk also. top notch stuff.

08-10-2008, 23:23
The fire looks great! The smoke doesn't seem to fit...not sure why...
*agrees with hemogoblin and bugbait_nz.

Unite All Action
08-10-2008, 23:35
I cannot believe someone would even try to build such a thing never mind actually,doing it to such a high standard that you are achieving all in all brilliant job

08-10-2008, 23:42
Orion - i would be down for some BF2 later on.

Everyone else, im not doing smoke & fire, i was just testing out different paint schemes on the great stuff. I could see this stuff making cool "smoke" & "Destroyed vehicle" counters. As well as possibly large rocks for terrain.

I think i need more yellow in the explosion but overall i'm pretty happy with it.
I may try to do up another test one later on.

09-10-2008, 01:05
I like the color palette on the explosion, but I disagree a bit with some of the guys above. There should be some bits of smoke color, just not half and half. Small gray areas will help to give it a bit more texture and dynamism.

09-10-2008, 01:29
a quick image search on google for the word "explosion" seems to suggest that while there's no smoke without fire, invariably, there is also no fire without smoke. Most of the pictures of suitable explosions appear to have areas of black in amongst the fire ball.

09-10-2008, 02:48
Moar contrast - go to black with the smoke, and bright yellow/white for the majority of the explosion

09-10-2008, 04:29
The great thing is that explosion colours vary by both the heat (leading to the 'cleanliness' of combustion) and atmospheric gasses that are available to be consumed/displaced.

If you went for an extremely hot explosion in the blue visual range, smoke isn't very necessary (check out a blue flame sometime, there's some smoke but it's visually negligible), whereas for a red/yellow (what we commonly see) there'd be a lot of smoke.

Personally I'd say that given where the impact is, Lack, you could easily get away without an explosion or smoke/fire and just put a ton of scrappy bits over the foam to simulate a huge cloud of tiny debris that'd accompany it - since you wouldn't have an explosion unless/until (1) the heat was so great it caused the plasteel and ceramite to ignite rapidly and instantly, or (2) you hit the fuel line or ammo feed - neither of which would be there at the point of impact.

Just a few ideas.

09-10-2008, 05:55
This is a brilliant idea but I think that you need to work on the fire a bit...the yellow needs to be brighter like in the car explosion

other than that...its amazing

09-10-2008, 11:40
You sir, are a madman.

Very nice work here.

Keep it up!

09-10-2008, 13:31
this log is absolutely brilliant
and i agree with Ganymene; you're completely insane

09-10-2008, 15:21
Faolon that thought crossed my mind that there is nothing really in that area of the thunderhawk to explode, however i decided to go on with the flame/fireball cause it looks too cool to cover up.

Call it an artistic rendering or whatever.

Lame Duck
09-10-2008, 18:45
Definately the right choice.

A really bright yellow->red fire, so there's absolutely no confusion. The smoke would look like a massive rock.

10-10-2008, 20:34
I have watched your threads for a while now, and am a huge fan of your templates, but this has gone into overdrive, I mean the scale it's just amazing. keep up the brilliant work.

My Titan and TH thread

11-10-2008, 07:33
...Personally I'd say that given where the impact is, Lack, you could easily get away without an explosion or smoke/fire and just put a ton of scrappy bits over the foam to simulate a huge cloud of tiny debris that'd accompany it...

Ooo, tiny-bits-of-debris seconded!

13-10-2008, 03:06
Ok... i haven't dont that much recently. However i've been obtaining weapons for both the manta & thunderhawk. However i put some work into both of them today. The thunderhawk is at about 90% completed with all it lacking is the supports, weapons, rivets and iconography.... basicly this means all the "heavy construction" is done.

I also am currently gluing a some plasticard down to the manta. As you can tell from the pile of engineering & math books piled on it. Hopefully more and better pictures on the manta tomorrow.


13-10-2008, 04:41
The Manta has Extra Amrour!

*har har...groan*

13-10-2008, 11:00
Title changed.

13-10-2008, 12:15
I also am currently gluing a some plasticard down to the manta. As you can tell from the pile of engineering & math books piled on it.

I would say about $600 to $800 dollars worth of text books.;)

13-10-2008, 12:52
Tommygun - Of that i have no doubt.

13-10-2008, 14:01
I figure to get a manta flying you need at least some knowledge of...


Those are some monster text books though... i kind of feel a bit sorry for the Manta carrying all that weight


My name is Daniel and i am a wargamer

13-10-2008, 14:03
Stunning! Simply stunning!

I remember being lucky enough to see your Warhound in the flesh, and it looks like you're going to outdo yourself

I salute you!

13-10-2008, 15:15
Luftwaffles, who are you and when did i meet you?

At everyone else. Sense the textbooks have drawn some conversation here is what they are.

Early transcendental calculus - 5th ed (Calculus semesters #1-3)
Elementary linear algebra - 4th ed (Calculus semester #4)
Fundamentals of physics - 6th ed (Physics with calculus semesters 1-2)
Mechanics of materials - 3rd ed (How strong stuff is)
Eng Mechanics Statics - 5th (Things that dont move with calculus)
Eng Mechanics Dynamics - 5th (Things that do move with calculus)
Steel Construction Manuel - 10th (how to keep buildings from falling over)
2 Paper backs from the dresden files series
4 paper backs from the horus heresy series

Now granted im 3 years removed from college and havn't used any calculus sense then, as such it is all pretty much forgotten. Tonight when i take the books off ill get a weight on them.

13-10-2008, 15:51
Lack of...

Thats a nerdy book pile if ever i've seen one. I'm in the office and have a book shelf of 'nerdy' books next to me, and im honestly pleased to say... i dont think mine even touches yours for Uber Geekdom... congrats!

I'm really looking forward to the books coming off actually. Seeing how the plasticard has taken and how youve gone about fitting it.

I assume you have used PVA as adhesive, because of the styrene construct.

Have you decided on a filler basis for the organic curves et al yet?


My name is Daniel and i am a wargamer

13-10-2008, 21:08
more to come later,
Here are some pictures to hold yall over once i took the books off.


14-10-2008, 04:08
Ok here is some details and more stuff. As you can see from the pictures above i decided that the intake for the engines was a little fragile. As such i created plasticard cones & glued them into place inside and then cut them to the right size.

As far as glue i found this stuff at lowes, it was the only thing that mentioned having the ability to glue "foam board" or anything similar on its packaging. (see photo) its about the same as sun tan lotion in terms of runny-ness and whatnot. It actually looks exactly like sun-screen and could be used as a cruel prank. It holds really well but in testing i found the plasticard could still be pealed up (like a sticker). however this wasnt a problem with the glue so much as a thin layer of the foam was coming with the plasticard. to solve this problem i ran a small bead of hotglue around the edge of all my plasticard i had glued down, and cut it smooth. The bondo will also probably help in this department. there are some gaps where i can feel some give in the plasticard, but that is because i used thin plasticard and didnt get my glue foam 100% even.

I however love the way it looks and put the bottom pieces on tonight. Not sure when ill get around to working with the bondo, but that should be exciting. I also did alittle more thunderhawk work... mainly details but nothing too exciting. I also thought about weighting all my text books, but decided it was too much work to carry them all into the bathroom to put them on the scale, and i really wasn't that interested.


14-10-2008, 09:57
Lack of...

Has to be said, looking at the pictures its turned out really well indeed.

The level of finish looks spot on... perfectly smooth, and now you have finished the edges with the glue gun, hopefully, it isnt going anywhere either.

I keep smiling at the books you have stacked up! Is it wrong that i rather leaf through the engineering book than the Horus Heresy novel?

Nearly time for making the curves isnt it?


My name is Daniel and i am a wargamer

14-10-2008, 10:38
...you also chose the appropriate weight with Halliday-Resnick-Walker ;)

Lister of Smee
14-10-2008, 12:31
thats some intense maths right there, nothing like abit of differentiation to set off madness like this...

14-10-2008, 13:00
fantastic, i can't wait to see this all finished and painted up. it's probably a bit late now, but to get a nice smooth profile on the manta, why not coat it in car body filler, that way you can get all the compound curves you like! :D

Bob Hunk
14-10-2008, 13:44
Wow, this looks great! :) And I too have used Halliday-Resnick-Walker as a large mass for holding down stuff whilst making models. ;)

14-10-2008, 14:38
Once i put a few more of the plasticard sheets on The next 2 steps after that will be using wood putty or something similar to fill the large holes i have left, then bondo (car body filler) to give it a smooth even coat. The only reason i used plasticard is that it was much cheaper $/SF to cover the large flat surfaces.

14-10-2008, 15:06
This isn't madness...

This... is... MANTA!!!

Looking magnificent!

14-10-2008, 22:30
After a discussion with the eater i ran a cost report on the manta. (note this is just what is actuality on the manta to date). Doesnt include anything i bought then didnt use or anything that i bought for the thunderhawk.

wood Glue 2.98 +/-
"Plasticard Glue" 2.98 +/-
Sheet of 1/2" Blue Foam 9.54
Sheet of .02"x40"x72 plasticard 6.10 + shipping
Glue Sticks 4.99 +/-
Pack of Superglue 1.98 +/-
Sheet of 20x30x1/8"foam core board 0.99
Sheet of 20x30x1/8"foam core board 0.99
Sheet of 20x30x1/8"foam core board 0.99

I found the foamcore boards on sale at micheals. I still have about 40-50% of the blue foam as well as 40-50% .02" thick plasticard lying about. I have however exhuasted about everything else.

For a total of 31.54$ +/- Plus shipping.

14-10-2008, 22:48
that is an excellent price it's a shame you can't sell those you'd be in business.

15-10-2008, 10:32
When you consider the man hours Mr Lack of has put in... i suspect the price might be just a little bit more!

I assume the health insurance required just to lift up those books must cost a fortune!!!!

Always makes me smile! Text book heavier than the manta itself....

I went swiming last night... and there was a kid swimming in the shallow end of the pool with a float... and it made me think.... i bet that manta would make a good float! God i need to get out more...


My name is Daniel and i am a wargamer

15-10-2008, 14:40
Lack, all I can say about this besides another "wow" is "where exactly are you, and would you like me to find you a suitably qualified mental healthcare professional?"

15-10-2008, 14:48
I was expecting it to be more of an entire sheet placed across the thing...rather than just sections of it...

17-10-2008, 16:53
Hey LAck of....

Was wondering how it was coming along.

Havent had an update in at least 20 minutes ;) .... so obviously... im missing it!


My name is Daniel and i am a wargamer

17-10-2008, 17:57
this is a very impressive log. amazing stuff, shame it's too big for a GD diorama entry.

20-10-2008, 01:08
Had a wedding where i was the best man this weekend, was gone from friday morning to sunday night, lots of drinking, lots of fun, no manta building. More later on this week maybe.

20-10-2008, 04:00
Some best man you were, you shouldn't have let them go through with it!

20-10-2008, 04:13
haha @ faolan.
Cannot wait for the update!

20-10-2008, 04:38
looking good hoss. I've been working on your trukks lately btw

20-10-2008, 09:20
How inconsiderate of your friends to not postpone their wedding for your modeling! ;)

Seriously though, this is one of the most impressive things that I've seen. Truly an inspiration to those of us who are just starting out.

22-10-2008, 03:19
Ok did some work finally tonight after about a 7 or 8 day break. I put a second sheet of plasticard on top of each of the wings to create the grooves. I really like how this looks and will probably do it on the bottom as well. The bottom may not be seen all that much but it would be a nice touch. The thunderhawk is proceeding pretty well and should hopefully be ready for painting some time in the next 2 weeks.

Here are pictures


22-10-2008, 10:45
The wings look awesome!

Paint? Two weeks? Sweet! :D

Can't wait. Keep up the good work.

22-10-2008, 17:10
looks awesome great a work

mr gelmir
22-10-2008, 18:34
really nice work until now, I loved looking at this one. will the foam be covered with some sort of filler?
looking out for update

24-10-2008, 04:41
First things first, i did alot of plasticarding tonight on the underside of the manta (see picture #1)

On to the fun stuff.... Filler.... Ok i went to lowes and was going to pick up some bondo for automobiles. I instead saw some bondo for home/misc use, so i got that instead. 1 gallon for 20 some $ (see picture #2). you mix about 2-3 oz with 1.5" long bead of hardner. (see picture #3). Then apply (Picture #4). I just mixed on a scrap peice of cardboard with peice of plasticard as a mixing/applying tool.


24-10-2008, 04:46
Bondo Results.... Ok bondo eats blue foam, but it only eats about 1/8" of it then it hardens like normal. Im considering laying down a layer of watered down woodglue on the blue foam to "shield it". If not i can just apply 2 layers of bondo, the first layer eats away 1/8" then hardens, the second layer is to get it to look right. The first 2 pictures are 2 peices of test foam.

THe one thing i can say about bondo is that it is hard like a rock. I mean this stuff is killer. After the 2 pictures of the foam is a video of me stabbing at the bondo with a peice of .06" thick plasticard, then a box cutter. Check it.

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c398/jsvironfurnace/Manta%20Scratchbuild/th_20081023-Movie01.jpg (http://s31.photobucket.com/albums/c398/jsvironfurnace/Manta%20Scratchbuild/?action=view&current=20081023-Movie01.flv)

24-10-2008, 04:49
Sorry bout 3rd post but....

TO make sure noone missed it, any thoughts on watered down wood glue or PVA to shield the blue foam from being eaten by the bondo?


24-10-2008, 04:58
Should work alright. Just take care that the PVA isn't too thin and that you absolutely leave no holes in the coverage. Good luck.

24-10-2008, 04:59
Maybe plain old acrylic house paint would be OK as a shield, how warm does the bondo get once you have mixed in the accelerator?

Bugbait out

24-10-2008, 05:00
Wow, that is looking great. I have no idea how to remedy your problem though. Sorry...

24-10-2008, 05:06
@Sigur - even if i leave some cracks the bondo stops eating after a short distance, then i can just put a 2nd layer on top where required, im not sure i have any PVA. I do have a limited amount of wood glue though.

@Bug bait - THe eater also suggested acrylic, and says you can water it down, i have a tone of acrylic paint. I didnt notice any temp change, of course i wasnt sticking my hand in it or anything.

As i told the eater my goal is to do another test using wood glue & acrylic, and PVA if i can find some then hopefully decide on a course of action by tomorrow right. Meaning i can coat them manta in required material if needed tommorow right. THen i shall spend all day saturday watching football and puting bondo on the manta, the goal being to completely cover it by nightfall saturday night.

24-10-2008, 09:46
deinatly go the route of sealing it rather than just layer it over the melted area.

you will find under the bondo there is a gap of up to 1mm between the melted foam and the underside of the bondo.

this makes it quite easy to damage, it may be hard, but its also brittle and would crack should it hit, you could end up with huge sections coming away.

bondo does get warm, especialy if u put it on thickly.

wood glue is basically pva (so is acrylic ) so that should work fine, but i would do a test just to make sure, just glad you took my advice and did a test before you slapped it on the manta. prob worth doing a couple coats of sealer if you are watering it down much.

remeber when working with bondo, smooth it on, let it harden totally, the sand it, then repeat 2-3 times, its very unlikely you'll get it perfect in 1 coat. old credit cards are good for smoothing it.


24-10-2008, 10:56
Lackof, the plasticard came out much better than I thought it would.
The only thing I can say about the wood glue is use the yellow type.
The white glue comes apart with age.
As far as using two layers of Bondo, I would be worried that over time it will still react chemically.
I would hate to see the Manta start to come apart after several years.
I have had a few scratch built projects turn to dust after 10 years because I used incompatible products.

P.S., Do you have any other videos of you stabbing things?

24-10-2008, 12:32
@Tommygun - no but i may be able to cook something up.

24-10-2008, 15:23
More thoughts.
This is especialy for dangerious brian as he seams to be the authority on bondo.

-I agree 100% (and alway have) about testing things before using it on the actual project. A number of things in this thread havent worked. (the whole gluing plasitcard to blue foam incident for example)

-I broke apart one of my test board and there is a small gap in some places. Im not sure if it is acctualy 1 mm. It is very tiny though, maybe 1/2 of a mm. I will try to nab some pictures later.

-Is it the "eatting" of the blue foam because of tempature or a chemical reaction?

-Does the bondo smell ever go away?

-Durring my lunch break i will test different mixtures of acrylic & water. Any idea on a good ratio?

-Pictures to come later.

-I also purchased my las-cannons off the warstore, as well as heavy bolters of e-bay. Both should be here soon. I also got a new can of black primer, so as soon as the goodies show up im painting a thunderhawk.

24-10-2008, 15:54
I can answer the bondo smell question - yes, but it takes a while.

I'm not ENTIRELY sure, but I am pretty sure that the eating of the foam is due to a chemical reaction - same reason you can't spraypaint most foams.

24-10-2008, 16:33
Thats what i figured, i thought i would have noticed it getting warm enough to melt the foam (like hot glue does).

24-10-2008, 17:22
As for your unasked of "how long does it take to stop smelling?", I answer with "how long does it take the new couch/tv/car/mattress to stop stinking?"

It could well be a while, pal. On the other hand, painting it should help some. For your sanity, and health, got a covered porch or something to put it out on?

24-10-2008, 17:28
Definitely cover the blue foam with glue (PVA or wood glue) rather than acrylic paint, since if your bondo is sticking to paint it could easily come away.

Other options would be to paint or spray a matte varnish over the foam, testing first, of course. Testors Dullcote?

This is a magnificent project, btw - thanks for sharing it :)


25-10-2008, 03:18
Ok i decided to go with acrylic paint, i did a test run and it worked fine (first 2 pictures). Notice the lack of air bubbles in the bondo. The third picture shows the gap bondo normaly leaves in the foam and the 4th picture shows the painted manta.


25-10-2008, 03:26
Here are some pictures of the tau force i am slowly building up. Not that it will be a human auxiliary force. Also note that i am all for "fluff" and background. However if you are a fluff nazi and dont aprove of the tau giving railguns and devilfish to humans & ogryns then turn away now. Maybe in a majority of the galaxy the tau would never consider strapping railguns onto an ogryn but in my corner of the 40k universe they did.

So first up is my "etherial" otherwise known as a heroic senior officer. Ive alway loved this model and never had anything to do with them rather then just look at them. I think the las-pistols have a very tau feal to them. I basicly took 2 of these guys and combined them into 1, swaping out legs/arms/head as i saw fit. The backpack is also consructed from the guys suitcase which i thought was a neat thing.

On the devilfish i wanted a sleaker look, i lifted this from some guy on www.coolminiornot.com. Basicly trim the front down. Im not sure if he dropped the engines but i like the look of that too.

And lastly a bad picture of my "broadsides". Otherwise known as "armoured ogryns" around the base. These guys will have the smart missiles on the shoulders and shorter railguns, one on each arm in a similar fasion to the Forgeworld ones.


25-10-2008, 04:05
Dude im loving the Ogryns! I think it's a good take on Tau merges with other races, and should be a very cool, one of a kind army. Look forward to seeing more of them.

25-10-2008, 11:31
More thoughts.
This is especialy for dangerious brian as he seams to be the authority on bondo.
-I broke apart one of my test board and there is a small gap in some places. Im not sure if it is acctualy 1 mm. It is very tiny though, maybe 1/2 of a mm. I will try to nab some pictures later.

i think the gap may vary on the bondo used, maybe 1mm was a over estimate, but either way, you dont want large sections of bondo, not actualy stuck to anything, it'd be like egg shell, hard, but brittle, a good knock and whole sections would come away.
on the tests i did, the bondo was only actualy fixed to the foam around teh edges, the whole middle section was just "floating".

-Is it the "eatting" of the blue foam because of tempature or a chemical reaction?

as someone said, its chemical, like spraying/superglue onto foam, if it got hot enough to melt foam, 1-2 layers of pva would not realy help :-p

-Does the bondo smell ever go away?

now this on i have a super secret trick to pretty much totaly get rid of the smell :cool: not only on your models but helps keep the smell in your work area down.

oh ok then i'll tell you;) , now, as you are calling it bondo (in uk we call it body filler) i'll assume you are not from the UK.

Do you guy have Fabreeze (spray to put on fabricks to get rid of smells) over there?

anyway, if you do, just give the hardened filler a spray with it (if you have lumps left over sitting around in the open spray them to)
also if you are using wet and dry paper with water to sand, spray it while u are sanding (as well as washing paper in the water) this helps greatly in smell reduction

-Durring my lunch break i will test different mixtures of acrylic & water. Any idea on a good ratio?

this varies alot on the paint/glue you use, as cheaper stuff tend to already be watered down.
the reason you add the water is to help it spread around easier, in most cases you just need a small amount of water.


seeing your tests persoanly i'd give it another couple coats of paint/glue just to be on the safe side
anyway, hope this helps

think the broad-gryns are a fun idea :) my only concearn is they'd break the rail guns all the time when they were beating the opponents of the heads with them, lol
i quite like the idea of giving them all some kinda of device wired into their brain to make thm a bit more sensible, heh.

25-10-2008, 11:40
I do love your Ethereal, this is a great concept army. I really can't wait to see more.

Especially the finished Manta *is jealous*

25-10-2008, 16:43
the ogryns are a great idea, make sure some tau hardware is wired into their heads to explain their non ogryn behavior. Top idea and looking like its gonna be a very unique and very good army.

25-10-2008, 20:28
Bondo is now on manta, pictures will be put up later with more detailed explanations. Im going to let it sit out in the shed and look at it with fresh eyes here in 5 or 6 hours.

25-10-2008, 20:40
Gotta say this is an AWESOME project, just like just about every project you churn out! (After exams I'm building a Titan using your template! So big thanks for that!) The Exploding Thunderhawk is amazing, and the Manta is nothing short of huge.

I do want to ask how you're going to combine the two aircraft in a single "event"-diorama... Is the manta wiping away all resistance (I assume the Thawk was shot by the Manta) ahead of it with its huge weaponry? Will there be other things exploding? And how will you paint the explosion(s) - just conventional white-yellow-orange-red explosions or with some exotic Tau weaponry touches (like blue flashes from the projectile impact)?

I can't wait to see it painted O.o...

Peace out man!

25-10-2008, 21:18