Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mini-Tutorial: DIY Twin-Linked Brainleech Devourers (part 1)

In a first for this blog, I attempt to post something actually useful!

This morning I decided to jump in and get started on my brainleech devourers. Previously, I had scoured the net for inspiration, and found a lot of great resources. Of course, now that Forgeworld makes their own, there is always the option to buy them. However I still find them to look a bit flimsy, and besides they are super expensive and hard to come by.

With my research complete I decided I wanted to use Crushing Claws as the base for my conversion. I first saw this idea used on a showcase that GW had featured on their online blog (now gone). However, a bit of Google Image searching paid off, and here is a link to the owner's Hive Fleet Titan flickr feed. There are a lot of great conversion ideas on there, and I don't assume to come anywhere close to his skill level.

Using his conversion as a base, one thing I wanted to try was keep the upper "carapace" of the CC's, to give the devourers a bit more of a meaty feel,and also add to the length. Keep in mind this is still a WIP, and is missing all the green-stuff and a few extra bits for flavour.

Required Materials:
  • 2x Crushing Claws (I used the carnifex ones, but the Tervigon ones would likely do as well, though I wouldn't try the tervigon ones on a Hive Tyrand as I think they'd look too big)
  • 4x Termigant Devourers arms, plus 2x Devourer support arms if you want to use the tubing for additional flair (EDIT: trying to separate these tubes from the arm itself is stupidly frustrating - I just ended up using the two small tubes on the Devourer arm itself)
  • Other bits, spikes, etc. as needed
  • Green Stuff
  • Sharp hobby knife
  • Pin vice + various sizes of drill bits
  • Copper wire (or other suitable material for pinning)
  • Plastic cement (and possibly superglue for the copper wire if needed)
  • Blue-tac for fitting and planning

First thing I did was remove the upper "claw" portion, using a hobby knife (careful!) and a selection of drill bits. I tried to "hollow out" the inside as best as I could, mainly by making pilot holes and then drilling out progressively larger holes. This was followed up by cleanup with the hobby knife.

Hopefully these pictures give a good idea of what I mean. As you can see in the lower picture, I tried to dig "into" the flesh a bit, to give a fair amount of space inside for the devourer to sit. There is no specific trick to this, just a bit of dry fitting and adjusting as required.

From that point, I started working on the devourer arms themselves. I cut them off the arm right before the two small upper chitin plates. For the upper peice, this profile is essentially what you need, short of a few minor areas that may need to be shaped or trimmed. The lower devourer begins the same way, but then the two chitin plates are shaved off to make it fit between the upper devourer and lower claw. See pics below for reference:

The first picture gives an idea of the top piece. A few subtle things I had to do was shave a bit off the upper tip of the devourer so it fit snugly into the claw cavity, as well as shave a bit off of the bottom (behind the 3 small "teeth") in order to accomodate the lower piece. The flat part with the pin sticking downwards is what attaches to the lower devourer (see hole in middle of the lower picture). Again, there is no exact science here, just dry fitting until the peices seem to fit well. I used blue tac to help with positioning, if that helps.

The second picture gives an idea of what I did to the lower devourer. In hindsight I didn't have to take off the spike, but either way this area will be filled in by Green Stuff so it doesn't make a difference. That is the other point I wanted to make - don't worry so much at this point about clean cuts, as most/all of the flesh around the devourers will have to be modeled by Green Stuff.

Finally, I drilled a small hole in the back of the upper devourer and aligned it with the claw itself with a pin. This is probably unnecessary, as there are enough contact points to simply use plastic cement, but as this was my first crack at it I thought it was a good idea.

After a bit of experimentation, my basic brainleech devourer skeleton is complete:

As you can see there is are a fair amount of gaps to fill, but overall I am happy with the result. Next post (possibly today, depending on time) will by my Green Stuff work!.

That's it for now!

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