In the spirit of the season, I'd like to start off by saying thanks to all of you out there who have made this blog a part of your day, or week, or however often you come back. When starting off I'd thought I'd be just another voice in the wilderness, and the sense of community around the hobby blogs had just been astounding. I've learned a lot from reading and following your exploits in modelling and gaming, as I hope you have from mine, and I hope to continue to do so in the coming year.
Anyhow, thanks to a little extra free time during the Christmas-New Year's week, I was able to get a couple of projects out of the way, not the least of which were my first foray into the realm of pattern Rhino hulls for the Ultramarines. The project was initially spurred on by my purchase of a large bits lot that included some ancient metal Predator bits and an old Razorback turret (in addition to those old mk1 Landspeeders featured in an earlier post). As with other pattern hulls, the resulting tanks always turn out a bit taller than the originals if only due to the expedient of having armor skirts instead of exposed wheels:
My one regret from the model was that I wasn't able to fabricate any satisfactory exhausts, and had to go with these boxy ones that look a bit like old-style Jeep snorkels. Maybe I'll come upon another bit for the next set of them but this'll have to do for now. The round detailing bits are from Greatcoat Infantry sprues, in case you were wondering. Used sprues will always be the scratchbuilder's friend. ;)
They're a bit wider too, thanks in part to the width of the plastic i-beams I used for the track sections. The end result is a slightly larger, heavier-looking tank that looks more durable than Rhino actually is.
I resisted the urge to saw off the barrel from Leman Russ autocannon bit, since I rather like using twin-linked Lascannons (thank you, Vendettas) to bore through the armor of those pesky Ork battlewagons. The metal turret bits (yes, I have another one) sat way too low, however; so low that I had to build up the hull under them to get the turret to traverse past the pintle-mounted storm bolter. Luckily I never throw anything out, and had some Chimera hull bits that filled the bill perfectly. A little plasticard and some riveting later, and I had a rather pleasing set-back Predator with an offset turret.
The sponson mounts were from the same bits purchase, and didn't come with mounting arms, so I made do with rare earth magnets. In retrospect, I probably should've added an HK missile box to the side of the turret, but there's always the next one. That metal front plate was from the same lot as well, and had a Blood Angels blood drop that was easily hidden with a spare Ultramarines symbol. I wish I had more stowage bits, having shot my wad, so to speak, with my IG tanks. Oh well. Being ship-based, I suppose Marines need to travel light anyway.
Some newly-minted Devastators next to their new whip. Another benefit of the larger chassis is that it actually looks like it could accommodate half a dozen power armored Astartes. Ten... that's still pushing it.
The old-style metal Razorback turret sits high enough that a hull mount like the Pred's wasn't necessary, which is good, because I wanted to be able to remove the turret and have it read as a plain old Rhino. The hinges on the side and rear doors were inspired by the amazing card work of Klaus Fischer, a modelling deity in my book who's right up there alongside Dave Taylor. If you haven't clicked around his site, go and do so. His vehicle builds are absolutely amazing, particularly his airborne tanks and their working retractable weapons.
Weird to end with a plug, but I write these things off the cuff, so there you go. Thanks to everybody who made this such a great year, and for sticking with me. I wish you all the luck and success in the world, and better 2011.