Monday, May 14, 2012

Dreadclaw Scratchbuild WIP, Part Deux… files included!

Low Angle

Well, the plasticard cutting part of my Dreadclaw build is done so I thought it about time to post the files and the progress.  It’s not an expertly done job by any means, but it gets the point across.  As a first effort I think I’ve done OK, so far.

Please visit the GSI Downloads page for the most up-to-date files.  You’ll have to print at least 4 copies at 100% (aka “actual size”) scaling.  Use 11”x17” paper.

Let me say up front that I’m not trying to copy the design of the FW Dreadclaw.  I like the general idea of the model and its capabilities but I’m not super hot on the model itself.  I can’t place why… I’m just not.  Plus, there is the price.  To just try this thing out on the table would cost about $200 (US).  BTW, that price includes the model and the book but not shipping from the UK.  (Holy crap!)

So, I decided to build an approximation of one and use the store copy of the IA2 book over at Frontline until I actually decide if it’s worth it.  Frankly, this thing is going to have to win me nearly every game for me to plunk down $140 per model.  That price is insanity!  I think just buying the book and building my own will end up being the route I take.

I’ve used my WIP Dreadclaw in a couple of games so far and I’m pretty happy with it.  Not a $140 kind of happy; more like a $40 happy.  I’m able to get my super choppy Khorne Dreadstar where I need it, which is right in the lap of my opponents.  Currently the Dreadstar (Dreadclaw + Death Star = Dreadstar) consists of:
1x Dreadclaw
1x Khorne Lord with Power Weapon and Melta-bombs (I had some points to blow)
1x Skull Champion with Power Weapon
8x Khorne Berzerkers
This gives me 10 power weapon and 24 CCW attacks on the charge!  Not too shabby.  As long as I’m able to hit first, I can be pretty confident that the opposing squad is toast.  Unless it is a giant high model count tar pit, of course.

The first game I used the Dreadstar (that time with 2x Khorne Lords and no Skull Champ) it killed 4 squads in 3 turns.  The only downside to this loadout as it is currently configured is that it’s very expensive: 409 points.  But if you compare that to the same set of dudes in a Land Raider (564 points total) it’s actually a pretty good deal considering you don’t have to drive across the table to engage the enemy.  Plus, it frees up some points to add in something like a Dreadnought, a Predator, or beef up a different squad.

Building It

Test Fit 1

The key for me was getting it done ASAP with minimal layout effort.  Which meant I needed a pre-formed chassis so this Dreadclaw is built around a 16 oz. sour cream container.  The top of the container is about 2.75” in diameter and the bottom is about 3.5”.  The bottom section where the iris is housed is the inverted top of a plastic jar of peaches.  Those two pieces are held together with gap filler.
This has a good side: it adds structural strength.

…And a bad side: the foam expanded inside the Dreadclaw for 4 days!  I actually had to drill a pressure relief hole in the top and the bottom to keep it from ballooning up and possibly exploding.  The pressure got so high that the thing was bowed out on all sides and rock hard.
Once the gap filler finally cured, it did exactly what it was supposed to do: make the sour cream container a rigid body.

Wing Hook

The wings are designed with a hook-like apparatus (inside the blue circles, above) that is supposed to grab the lower edge of the container.  When the wings are finally hooked under the rim of the container and glued to the top plate they are a very secure assembly.  The hook section is important so be careful that you cut it correctly.
These are my abbreviated and nearly complete instructions:
1.  Prepare the container for painting by sanding it with fine grit sandpaper.  You may also have to cut down the diameter of the lip around the container a bit for aesthetic purposes.

2.  Print out the patterns on 11”x17” paper.  Use a scaling of 100% (aka “actual size”).

3.  Cut the peach jar so it fits inside the bottom of the container.  Set the cap to the peach jar aside.

Base Components
4.  Place the peach jar top inside the sour cream container and gap filler them together.
Filler Application
5.  Release the pressure every 8-12 hours by poking the curing filler or drilling holes in places that will be covered with plasticard later.  Don’t allow the filler to expand out of the peach jar opening.  Just keep poking and shaping until the curing is complete. 
6.  Cut all of your parts out using the technique from my previous post, Precision Plasticard Cutting Made Easy.  The part letter, the plasticard thickness, and the number of parts you should cut are indicated on the file pattern.  If there is a notch that another part fits into, cut it small so you can put the thing together without glue.  This will allow you to add detail and see how it all fits before you start gluing.
Leave all the paper patterns on until just before you glue just in case you want to add extra detail or need reference marks or something.
If you are going to use the rivet holes I included, drill shallow holes before you remove the paper pattern.  To make the rivets I used the back of each plate of a Tentacle Maker to roll a few very thin green stuff tubes.  I let them completely cure and then cut them into very small cylinders.  The little cylinders are glued into the shallow drill holes.

7.  Glue the B parts to the A parts to make the wings.  make sure to line up the hook sections so that they match.

Wing and Side 
8.  Glue your 4 wings to 4 of the E parts.

Velcro Clamps

9.  Hook your wing and side assemblies under the lip of the container and glue them to the top plate.  It’s easiest to glue opposing sides.  I had some velcro strapping nearby so I used one of those and a couple of sponges as a clamping assembly.  The pin vise is stuck through the top as an alignment too.  The vent hole for the gap filler was dead center so I just drilled a second hole in the center of the top plate, D, and used the pin vise to keep things aligned while the glue dried.
The container was painted with Rustoleum “plastic” paint.  Apparently there are solvents in it that help it bond to plastic.  I painted it separately because those same solvents could eat the styrene of the plasticard.  Better to paint the separately than ruin a build I spent a lot of time on just because I wanted to kill two birds with one can of paint.

Side Detail

10.  Glue 4 more E parts between the wings.  I did have to use small screws to help hold these middle panels in place.  NOTE: all of the E part patterns were laid out large so you can trim to fit should your container be of slightly different dimensions.  The version you see here didn’t incorporate that enhancement so some of the panels in the photos may look ill fitting. 
I used a few shoulder pads to represent the vectored nozzles.  I think it works well enough.
 Crown Wings 
11.  Glue the crown wings, part C, into the top plate, D.  You’ll notice I added some edging on the inside edge of the crown wings.

Iris Pattern on PCard
Iris and Claws
12.  The iris door, part F,  will take some finagling on your part as the way you put it together has a lot to do with how well the components are cut and the thickness of the card used.  My best advice here is use the thinnest sheet of plasticard you can and very sharp scissors.  Cut two of the iris circles apart completely and keep the third circle intact as base structure for the door.  Glue the cut door pieces to the intact third circle.
Industrial Hole Punch
13.  I’m adding the claws, part G, at the bottom, as you can see from some of the pics above.  I wanted to have a hinge looking mechanism so I punched some holes in 0.060” plasticard using a 4” vise and a paper hole punch.  You’ll have to be pretty strong to punch them bare handed.  Being as old and weak as I am, I had to come up with an alternative method.  It works really good and takes minimal effort.

Take the holes, cut them in half, and glue them to the sides of the claws.  These claws will go around the rim of the container.  I’ll likely have to milliput them in place because glue really doesn’t stick well to paint and food grade plastic.
Hole Punch and Dclaw


As you can see, I’ve added some GW & Robogear parts as well as some Tentacle Maker hoses and rivets here and there.  It still needs a lot more detail and a decent paint job.  I have a couple sheets of raised rivet decals from Micro-Mark on the way, too.  If they work as well as I hope, I plan on riveting the heck out of this thing.  Wish me luck!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ron! Working on the rivets now. I'll post the finished product shortly.

  2. Replies
    1. Huh, link's broken. Here's a link to the downloads page, Lukasz...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...