HoP Idol II Challenge: Warhammer “Railgun” Conversion WIP

Well kiddos, it’s about that time again.  This week’s first challenge entry comes from Neil of the ever fantastic blog “The Dice Gods are Hungry.”  Check out the insanity of building a railgun fit for the dark ages.
In
an underground domain grubby, smelly, furry-faced monsters clad in
dirty rags shuffle around plotting the destruction and enslavement of
the world above whilst building weapons of mass destruction.  No, I’m not talking about Al Qaeda-I’m talking about the Skaven of course!
More specifically, I’m talking about my latest warp lightning cannon conversion dubbed ‘the railgun’.

It all began about a year ago with my first scratch-build.  At
the time I was hunting around for a cheap alternative to the
extortionate warp lightning cannon/plague claw catapult kit and happened
to spot a surplus Empire great cannon sat on the shelf.  A
rummage through my bits box later, and having plucked a stone from my
garden for the warpstone chunk, I had a WLC conversion ready to go!
And that first ‘big’ conversion was like a gateway drug.  Everything, every single model now needed to be different in some way, however small to satisfy my addiction.  Multi part plastic kits helped.  Kit-bashing helped for a while too.  But as with all small time drugs the hits had less and less effect…and I needed something stronger.
I
made a frontal assault ramp rhino, I added greenstuff to a horse until
it could pass for a rat ogre bonebreaker (at a stretch) and created a
wood elf forest dragon out of the dark elf kit.  But it wasn’t enough.
It all came to a head when I was looking at the pile of accessories leftover from assembling my dwarf organ gun.  There were several strange items and a complete cannon just sat there looking at me.  Whispering to me. ‘Use me’ it said…..
Just
off to the side was the chassis of the old out of production snotling
pump wagon (yes, I’d been pushing it around going ‘vroom, vrooooom’ and
narrowly avoiding freshly-glued dwarf warriors) and the clichéd
lightning strike/bulb above head moment occurred…I could make another
WLC!
The criteria?  Bigger, better than the last one and in some way obviously copied off the dwarves.  Wracking
my brains I had a vision of those huge German artillery pieces that
were mounted on trains in WW1-Just the kind of thing those dastardly
clan skryre engineers would do, something to put the fear of the horned
rat into the humans.
Settling on this concept, the first issue to confront was the tracks.  They needed to contain the pump wagons’ wheels but look suitably ramshackle at the same time.  I
eventually settled on the edge pieces of games workshop movement trays
for the rails and plague monk staffs for the sleepers. When gluing the
sleepers into place I didn’t care whether they were straight or not as
it would help the aesthetic.
Then came my first compromise.  I didn’t have the patience to come up with a moving train cart, so the pump wagon base was stuck down too.  I
added sections of banner tops to the central hubs of the wagon wheels
to create the connecting rods that force the wheels to turn.  But if there are connecting rods, there needs to be an engine.  A warp-powered engine!
As
it turned out, the dwarf warriors’ musician trumpets made fantastic
intake and exhaust pipes and I stuck these to the two hexagonal
‘buckets’ left over from building dwarf cannons to make an engine.
The cannon gave me a small headache though.  It just didn’t look ‘Skaven-y’.  Some
minor butchery ensued and left standing amidst a whirlwind of plastic
shavings was a slightly improved version of the cannon.  If
you look too closely at the picture it may seem as though I’ve stuck a
telescope sideways on top of the cannon and added a spiky bit off a
Skaven bell, but it was a lot more complicated than that.  Honest.
The
left over ammunition racks from two organ guns became the frame for the
cannon, which I mounted as far forwards as possible on the chassis with
a view to installing an engineer at the controls.
After
sprinkling some rats around the tracks, and adding a couple of banner
tops so you know it’s a Skaven contraption, something didn’t sit right
with me.  How did the cannon get its power? 
There was no room left for a chunk of warpstone, the traditional power supply, but it needed to be more than a plundered cannon.  So, why not use the engine to power the gun?  I
lucked out rummaging through my spares and found the cable off the hell
pit abomination, which was the perfect size to link the cannon and the
engine.  The great horned rat was smiling on me!
With the whole lot glued together (and with my fingers surgically removed.  I fucking hate superglue.  In fact the only thing worse than using superglue on metal is using it on finecast.  Don’t get me started on finecast…) it sat proud on my conversion table and it looks pretty awesome to me.  It’s thematic, it’s different, it’s characterful.
It’s not finished though.
I obviously need to turn the exhaust pipe to face away from the crew, but it just doesn’t seem complete to me.  Greenstuff
will be liberally applied to fill in the gaps in the base
(incidentally, the base was created out of three cavalry bases) but I
look at it and think there’s a certain something missing.
Which is where you come in.  All
of you intelligent, good looking readers can hopefully come up with
some suggestions and ideas between you to help me finish this bad boy.  Go on, post your comments for me and I might even get it painted by Christmas!

Thanks for reading

Neil

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