Monday, May 2, 2011

Making Tracks: Valkyrie Assault Carrier

(Before you say anything, I am fully aware that this flying vehicle has no tracks to speak of, but I'm a sucker for consistency, and all the other vehicle posts are called Making Tracks, and this should be the sole exception.)

Last fall, I went to Games Workshop with a bunch of kits I had in the closet that didn't have a high likelihood of getting constructed int he next two years, and traded them for things I could use in my Valhallan army, and a handful of Black Library books.  One of these things was the Valkyrie Assault Carrier, a flying troop transport halfway between a Russian Hind-D helicopter and the dropship from aliens.  I started building it last Sunday and finished it last night.

I added the Valkyrie to my army for two reasons, the first being that it is handy to have something swift that can ferry troops around and perhaps seize an objective or secure a flank, and the second being that it does kind of look like a Russian Hind-D, especially with the big rocket drums under the wings.

In just about every way, this is the coolest GW kit I have ever built, and I don't mind telling you I have built a few of them over the years, especially while I worked for them.  Having been designed on computer (as opposed to building a larger 3-up prototype and creating the steel molds by means of tracing it with a pantograph machine), there is a great deal of detail, especially one the interior. 

Island Mike has already built one-and-a-half of these, and told me he regretted how little of the interior was visible after he was finished, so I was fully prepared to do very little to the inside.  Until I actually saw it.  Then it was, "well, I'll drybrush the interior with Boltgun Metal and pick out a couple of details."  And then it was "well, that looks dumb without paint, I'll get some colour on that too."  And then, "Well, if this gets some colour, that clearly has to have some too..."  And then suddenly it was kind of late Sunday night, but the interior was pretty much done.

Normally I have finished or nearly finished building the complete model before I put on the primer, but obviously that was impossible here. I primed the insides of the fuselage in black, painted them separately and then assembled them. Then I disassembled them and re-assembled them as I puzzled out the best order in which to join the walls, floor, roof and assault ramp.

I love the idea of the door gunners (and they are a brilliant fit with Island Mike's Air-Cav themed Jungle Fighters), and the sculpts are pretty good, giving you 5 different heads to choose between for 4 bodies.  I snapped these pictures with the understanding that once the roof and wings went on, it would be pretty hard to see in there.

I also needed to assemble and build the cockpit interior prior to building the rest of the model.  I haven't painted a cockpit since I was about fourteen, and that was probably a WWII era plane  (AT-6 Texan maybe?), so blinky lights and a video display were a new thing to me.  In the end, lots of colors, and a display that is maybe a little reminiscent of a certain arcade game I might have played at fourteen seemed to fit the bill.

Once these were done, I could construct the rest of the model, but before using the spray primer, I had to mask off the cockpit (no way in hell was I painting all those lights again) and put Post-It notes inside the sliding door so spray couldn't fly in through the viewport.

After the white primer had dried, I used Silly Putty to Mask out some areas for a camo scheme.  The green putty I had used on a number of my tanks ran out, so I had to go to the back up purple putty, and the result was a vehicle that would look right at home in either an Easter or Pride Day parade.

When all was said and done, no primer crept in through the windows, which is good, because the interior is more visible than I anticipated, although the lighting is pretty poor.

In all honestly, I am not very happy with how the ink wash turned out, as I think it makes the Valkyrie look less weathered and more just dirty.  It's not irredeemable, but the camo scheme is not as impressive-looking to me as it was prior to the ink wash.  Still, un-shaded white just looks stupid, so I am not sure what I might have done differently short of painting in every water channel and shading point by hand, and that just was not going to happen with the time constraints I had.  I did add a couple of details where I could, like pilot and backseater (RIO? Navigator? Weapons Officer?)call signs under the cockpit...

Not-quite NASCAR levels of decal usage...

And a safety stripe on the edge of the assault ramp (which it turns out, is a lot easier to paint at both larger or smaller scales):

Only after everything else was painted and varnished was I able to finish the model by gluing on the cockpit, which I have to say was a total chore, and end up requiring extreme measure in the form of superglue and accelerator, which I am praying will not end up fogging the cockpit glass.  (24 hours in, so far, so good!)

I wouldn't want to paint another one anytime soon, but if you have the opportunity to add a Valkyrie to your force, I heartily recommend it as an excellent modelling and painting experience.

With only a week of painting time left, the only question remaining is can I give this warbird a payload of elite soldiers before G&G VI?


  1. I was >this< close to putting that under his window, actually!

  2. That is a very cool model. I actually like it better than the Tau equivalent, and I'm normally pretty ambivalent on Imperial Guard stuff.

  3. I really like your colour scheme... I'm hunting around for inspiration to paint my own

  4. Replies
    1. Always good to hear from a fellow Ice Warrior! Looking back, I was disappointed at the time at how dirty-looking the final wash made it look, and wished I had left a bit more white visible. Now though, I am pretty happy with how weathered and well-used it looks. Thanks for your comment, and good luck with your Valhallans!