Monday, January 3, 2011

Making Tracks: Leman Russ Tank

The latest addition to my Valhallan armoured element is a second Leman Russ tank.  Unlike the Vanquisher I built previously, this one uses the standard Russ battle cannon, so it is not limited to an anti-vehicle role.  In fact, since it has a hull-mounted heavy bolter and two more in side sponsons as well as a heavy stubber on the turret,  it's actually better suited to anti-personnel work, and should make an ideal 'objective clearing device'.  Since I wanted a proper Latinish Imperium name for the final tank, I wanted this one to be a bit more generic, and ended up calling it Cold Comfort as a reference to both its frozen homeworld and the cold steel of its armour.  (Cold Hard Truth was in the running right up until I painted the letter 'd' in cold, but it just felt too unwieldy.)

There are six different variants of the Leman Russ, and since my 22nd Valhallan Armoured regiment will have three of them by the time I'm finished, I wanted one of them to be the base model with a standard turret.  This vanilla Russ also makes a nice foundation for things like the two tank riders, the commander and a bulldozer blade.  The 'dozer blade makes it easier for the tank to move through difficult terrain like forests and such without becoming immobilized by throwing a track or some such.  The tank riders have no rules but I find them especially evocative, since there are historical examples of this from WWII Russia, and I think they bring a great deal of character to a stock model such as this one.

The Silly Putty masking technique is still working well for the initial camo, although shading the white portions does take a little bit of effort, and the consistency to the other vehicles may leave a little bit to be desired.  Still, I probably ended up spending more time on the three human figures than I did the rest of the tank. 

Some smaller accessories are meant as small telltales to the stoic preparedness of the Valhallans, such as the holstered pistol within reach of the tank commander, the packs and rucks affixed to it, and even the axe affixed to the front hull.  After all, 'Be Prepared' is the Boy Scout marching song, right comrade?

In addition to weathering, I wanted this tank to sport some battle damage.  The bullet holes under the driver's viewport were done by holding the tip of a nail in a candle flame with a pair of pliers and then pressing it into the plastic repeatedly. 

The larger shell craters were achieved in similar fashion, but used the heated head of the nail instead.  This gives a nice rippling affect like you might get from a HEAT round or plasma bolt that hit the armour at an oblique angle.

I do have to be careful in traversing the turret however; with the main gun at maximum elevation I can avoid knocking off the hunter/killer missile on the starboard sponson, but the turret rider will boot off the rider on the hull if it goes the other way!

This model took me longer to complete than I anticipated, but if I can finish off the last tank by the end of January, that will leave me February, March and April for the foot models and air support element.  I will need to stay focused if I want to have the army field-worthy in time for G&G VI, but if I can actually get a game in with the army before that, so much the better!

1 comment:

  1. Dude! That is freakin' brilliant! Really a great job. Love the guys on the back of the tank.