• Eldar Revenant Titan from scratch

    The making of an Eldar Revenant Titan1.How it all began:    In an Italian board, Titans were coming out as mushrooms, and lots of people asked me to build one: at first I said "no thanks, I have too much of other stuff to do" (namely a big Khemiu tyranid commission; a , then he started a "scratch built titan competition", and I couldn't miss out.Everybody was doing warhounds of all sorts, mainly using templates made by LackOfBetterName’s, from Warseer, which resulted that all were pretty much lookalike; a couple were already doing a hierophant tyranid Titan, but I had enough with tyranids (having a big tyranid commission to accomplish by Christmas, so no nids for me); some others were making Ork Stompas, some were good, most bad; but no one was doing a Revenant Titan (mainly because eldar shapes are quite hard to achieve, being clean rounded silhouette, so no rivet of any kind could have covered any mistake; which I got to discover later on).So, since I had to go for social suicide, I decided I might as well do it good, and began the Revenant project.2.The project:    Just like any other work, I began the Revenant project by having a clear view of how the original ForgeWorld Revenant looked like. Though, unfortunately, no one I know owns a Revenant, so I had to make due with what I had: the titan pics from the ForgeWorld site.The fact I didn’t have any real-life reference to look at made the construction of the Titan quite hard, especially for certain parts like the chest, which, as I’ll explain later on, is a rounded cone shape, with an oval section at the post most part, and rounded in the bottom: gettin’ all these info by just looking at 2D pictures is quite hard, but, luckily, the ForgeWorld site has a lot of pics of the titan, so I could get a general idea of the big robot.After I got an idea of the titan, I printed the pics from the ForgeWorld site, in 1:1 scale and began drawing each section on paper.I started from the legs and feet, and I moved upward.Here you can see the first sketch design of the feet, calves, thighs and hips (fig.1)The drawings were done in 1:1 scale, using the prints from the FW site as reference.By the time I had to move on to the following section (chest/body; head, fins, pulsar cannons etc) I drew the single piece on paper, to get the idea of what I was doing.I find that drawing the things to, first, make you realize what you’re about to do, which might take up some time, but surely saves on materials, since you won’t have to redo things over and over.After the legs were drawn (and believe you me, the picture I showed previously is the definite one, but many others were made before that) I had to decide which material to use to make them.At first I wanted to self sculpt them from scratch, using milluput or procreate, but creating each section using putty meant using A LOT of putty, so I opted for cheaper materials. Luckly for me, I opened a drawer in my bathroom and found this (fig.2):my toothbrush.But we’ll talk about the making of the legs later on, for now, all you need to know is that, if you look around your house, you’ll find a lot of materials and stuff that are very useful for us scratchbuilders, but are “hiding” behind the general use we make of them (like toothbrushes).    To make another example, at a stage of my work with Revenant, while I was trying to make the Revenant’s head, I looked at my wife’s multi-use spray, which was this (fig.3):If you look closely to the blacklined portion, you’ll notice it looks just like a big wraithlord head. I then dropped the idea of having a Wraithlord-like Revenant, but the idea struck me, and it would have been good too.    There is only one rule to keep in mind, when using everyday stuff: at the end, the everyday material won’t have to be recognizable: you’ll have to hide the fact that once that object was a spray, a toothbrush, etc, otherwise, you’ll end up having a collage of junk, glued together.     So, bottom line: make a project, learn as much as you can of the model you’re going to make (even the background, so you know why the sculptors made certain choices –like the eldar gems; etc.); find suitable materials, which, by no means, such materials have to be noble or precious: you’ll be amazed by how many ordinary things can be useful by us hobbists; and, finally, add lots of details, which make an ordinary model a great model.[pagebreak]3.The materials:    What you’ll need is:1.Patiance: this is the most important thing of all. If you take your time, everything will fit; if you hurry things, you’ll risk doing something wrong, so be patient;2.Knives and cutters (be careful with these, since they must be very sharp). I use my Swiss handy knife for most of the cutting, and a cutter blade for the detailed cuts, but each has his own preferences;3.Putty: I used procreate (but you can use greenstuff, if you have it); milliput; brownstuff (but you can use milluput instead);4.Sculpting tools (I used both silicon and metal tools);5.Plasticard: I used several thicknesses ranging from 0,5 mm to 1mm;6.Toothbrushes (this will serve for the legs and arms);7.Lead holders for mechanic pencils (these will serve for the back fins);8.Donut shaped seals (these will serve to hold the plasticard in shape, for the shoulder pads);9.Metal (or plastic) rods lengthening at least 20 cm, with a 2mm diameter (this will serve for the pulast cannon);10.Plastic fischers for screws, of several sizes (these will serve for the reactors tubes);11.Two Stabilo highlighters (these will serve for the shoulder jetpacks);12.A big plastic pen (this will serve for the torso of the titan, connecting the hips, the chest and the groin);13.Molding and casting material (optional);14.Sandpaper;15.Glue;16.A Dremel tool;17.An Eldar war walker cockpit bit (optional).Remember: n.6 to 11 can be swapped with something else.The molding and  casting materials are quite expensive, and I used them because I wanted the titan to be exactly symmetrical, sculpting one piece and then making a cast of it, for symmetry; if you are good at sculpting two exactly same things (I’m not), you don’t need these.The war walker pilot is also optional: I wanted to make the head mask open, and show the pilot inside it, but it is not necessary to do.[pagebreak]4.Molding and casting:    I am in no way an expert in this field, so, like I did, I suggest you search the net for tutorials on how to make molds and casts (youtube is filled with them).But, in short, I’ll explain how I did my molds and my casts.For the molds, I bought a craft and hobby store a 2 part silicone epoxy putty, which as a working time of less than 2 minutes after the 2 parts have been joined together.The silicon won’t stick to the master model (the one we are making casts of) so no need to rub it with petroleum jelly; the silicon will bond to itself, though, so petroleum jelly will be needed for further use.So, to create a mold, just press the master half way in the silicon, helping yourself with a tool, to push the silicon inside any dent or hollow of the master. Let it set for 5-10 minutes, then gently brush on the master and the silicon some petroleum jelly; mix some 2 part silicon, and firmly push it, to make it adhere as much as possible to the master.When this is dry (after 10 minutes), open the silicon shell, take out the master, clean it from the petroleum jelly and pour the casting material.I used a 2 part poliuretanic resin, which is as fluid as olive oil. The resin sets in about 1 hour at about 20° Celsius. After the time has elapsed, open the shell, and carefully take out the cast.Like I said, this chapter doesn’t want to be a tutorial how to make molds and casts (which should get a tutorial all by itself); all I want to let you know is that it is not as hard as it seems, but it is something that can be done in your house without any hard-to-find material.5.The measurements of the Titan:    The original Forgeworld Titan is 30cm high, to the top of its head. My titan is a little smaller, standing 26 cm to the top of its head, since I accidentally printed the reference pics a little smaller than the 1:1 scale.    It doesn’t matter, after all, but if you want to know how long each section and body part is, just print the image in the preferred scale, and start measuring.    My titan’s measures are (90-60-90: perfect model shapes… just kidding):26 cm to the top of the head;32 cm to the top of the fins;8,5 cm the calves;8 cm the thighs;15,5 cm from the groin to the top of its head;7 cm from the chin to the top of its head;10,5 cm from the groin to the neck (the chin overlaps the chest for about 2cm);5,5 cm the chest;3 cm the hips;2 cm the groin;13 cm the pulsar cannon (not the generator);7 cm the pulsar generator;4 cm the arms.    All these measurements, though, are not at all written on stone: if you keep your reference pictures as you move along with the project, proportions will come naturally, so no need to follow them by the word (or by the number, I shall say).[pagebreak]6.The creation of the legs:    As I was saying, I grabbed my toothbrush, and cut it, at the appropriate length (about 7 cm), keeping in mind I would have added details and length later on, to make the calves.    Using plasticard and putty, I added some details (after all, you don’t want a toothbrush monster running around your battlefield), in order to create the hollow to sink the feet into. What I did was make a paper model and see the fit; after this was done, I transferred it to 0,5 mm plasticard and wrapped it around the toothbrush. Then, with procreate, I added depth to the calves, and, after quite a lot of smoothing out with sandpaper, this was the outcome (fig.4):           If you are good enough, you can follow the above mentioned process twice, for both legs; since I didn’t want to risk it, I made a mold and cast the second calf (fig.5)        (see chapter 4 for more info about casting).The cast was a bit rough, since I didn’t spread petroleum jelly that well, so I had to fix the cast with some procreate and smoothed with sandpaper.When these were done, I grabbed other two toothbrushes, cut them to the appropriate length (8 cm), to make the thighs (figs.6 and 7):The feet were done sculpting, from scratch two half cones, and adding details with a sculpting tool.Using some mockup paste, and making kneepads out of 1mm plasticard,I put the legs into shape and the proportions (the ball is there only to see the groin distance reference) (figs.8-10):(this is with a BFSP dwarf, for scale reasons).    I then placed my legs over the 1:1 scale pic of the FW Titan (fig.11):        In the next set of pictures, you’ll see I have pinned the legs, made the heels (with procreate), added details behind the knees, added the gems, and the ankle reactors, and put the legs in some random position (figs.12-15):[pagebreak]7.The creation of the hips and torso:    Like I said, the body and chest were some of the hardest parts to do, since the shape was very 3D, meaning it isn’t top-to-bottom symmetrical, with a cone-like shape;  with the upper part of a 4,5 cm diameter, and oval shaped; the bottom part is rounded and with a diameter of 2,5 cm.    The chest was done using 0,75mm plasticard. I made a paper template beforehand, that was bent and folded to match the shape I wanted to achieve.    The paper template was thrown away (I was so fed up with it, after I worked on it for about 3 hours), but it was a half moon shape, folded to make a cone. Here is a diagram of how I made the chest (fig.16):        The chest plates were done using 1mm plasticard, cut to a half moon shape and glued on the chest.    The groin was done using a toothbrush cover cut to the appropriate length; the hips were done using brownstuff. I used brownstuff ‘cause it is much stiffer than greenstuff and procreate, and, when dry, it become rockhard. I cut and made sharp angles, and I fixed some flaws and imperfections with sandpaper. I then glued the hips to the groin.    The groin and the chest were connected with a pen chassis (the blue part in the following picture). The hard part was figuring out how to connect the chest (which was, obviously, empty, inside) and the pen, so I made some plasticard connections inside the chest.    I on purposely left a bit of the pen chassis out, for the neck part.    When all was dry, I made two small wings using 0,75 mm plasticard, which will serve, later on, to hold the hip reactors.    Here is a picture of this last stage (fig.17):            and here are pics, showing the model, onto some reference pics (figs. 18-19):            The upper part of the torso was then filled with milliput and, when dry, I sanded it with my dremmell tool (keep in mind: milluput is very hard and strong, so, to sand it, use a big grain, and, preferably a dremmell tool, ‘cause with ordinary sandpaper you’ll take ages) (figs.20-23)As you can see, I added the shoulders with procreate and the shields (which, later on, were put aside, ‘cause too big and unfitting).[pagebreak]8.The creation of the weapons:    I am quite new to the 40K world, so I know very little of the different weapon types, and, needless to say, I didn’t know the difference between pulsars and the sonic lances. A friend suggested the pulsars were a lot better, so I opted for these.    This is where the metal (or plastic) rods come into play, since these will work as a base, around which I will build the pulsar cannon. I used a copper tube I found at a hobby store; but you can also use other materials, like a pen chassis: just make sure it is thin and rigid: the last thing you want is your weapon to bend and feel like a rubber weapon    The process is quite simple: I “broke” the pulsar shape into several geometric shapes (1 ball and 2 cones) (like you see in fig.21 diagram 1.), and created such shapes with putty around the metal rod; than, always with putty, I smoothed the ball and cone like shapes to blend more with the rod (like you see in fig.21 diagram 2.):        When the putty cured and was hard enough to sand it, I stuck the rod to my power drill, and turned it on: this turned out to be quite a simple and effective lathe. I then used sand paper to smooth out any uneven bumps.    Make sure you leave 2-3 cm from the back of the rod, which will be used as pins later on.This is the result (fig.22):     I decided to make a cast the pulsar I just made, for symmetry reasons, but, if you feel comfortable enough, you can scratch build the second one too.Now it was time for the pulsar power generator.I looked around for “things” I could use for it, but decided I should scratch sculpt it (which was a pain to do).Like the pulsar cannon, the generator was done in stages, making simple shapes, first, and moving on from there.As you can see from fig.23:diagram 1. I made a cigar-like shape using milliput;diagram 2. I added plasticard folded around the cigar;diagram 3. I smoother out the plasticard and added details using procreate;diagram 4. I added some details with procreate.I then drilled holes inside the newly created generator, and pinned the pulsar cannon, like you see here (fig.24) (like I said before: I made casts of the pulsar cannon and generator):These, later on, were pinned to the arms (fig.25)[pagebreak]9.The creation of the head:    Like I said at the beginning: since I had to go for social suicide, I might as well do it good, so I wanted the head to be open, in order to see the pilot inside it. Therefor, I ordered a warwalker pilot and cockpit from the new eldar warwalker model.    This is not necessary, as game wise and model wise, the Titan will look just as good, even if the head keeps locked and won’t open, but, believe you me, when I say that everyone just goes “Oooh””Wow!””Awsome!”, when I open it.    So, I got the cockpit dude, and placed it on the neck I on purposely left sticking out of the torso, using a small marble.    The head is one of those parts that took me the most effort and time.    It is not simple, ‘cause the head will have to be proportioned to the rest of the body unlike the other parts (if you have short legs, it won’t bother; but if your head looks too big or too small, it will show quite a lot).    After I put the cockpit in place where I wanted it, I started playing around with plasticard and putty, adding layers and giving the cockpit  the shape of the head.    It took me like 8 tries to get it right, so, if you’re not satisfied with it, keep trying, until you like what you have. There is little advice I can give, on this, apart: keep trying.    Here is the first head (actually, it is the 4th or 5th try) (fig.26):                    In the end the head was too bulky and big, and the “tail” was too long, so I cut the tail and put it in a up-right position (fig.27):        I still didn’t like it, so I de-assembled it, and began a new head from scratch    Without the face mask (fig.28)            and with the face mask (fig.29-30)                While I liked the head itself, I wasn’t satisfied with the mask: the titan looked like a crash test dummy, not menacing at all, and, above all, the mask was still too big.I since the old mask was obviously too big, I decided to use it as a mould: the cast that would have been cast, was sure to be smaller; in case it was still too big, I would have used it as a mould, again, and made a smaller one, 'till I'd get it right...So, here is the process: I pushed some grey stuff inside the old face mask (remember that putty will stick to itself, so be sure to spread some Vaseline  in it) and let it cure. When I pushed the newly created face, I fixed the flaws with putty and sandpaper, and this is the result (fig.31-33)            With a pencil I drew where the face details should be sculpted (you can see it in the last of the three pics).    This is the titan at this stage (fig.34-35):            To make the face details I drew on paper the mask and, after some fixing, I used the paper model as a template for the plasticard version (all the parts done in palsticard were done with a paper template previously cut and shaped: this helps for two reasons: firstly, that paper is much cheaper and easy to find than plasticard, so making a mistake and re-doing the model several times is not a big deal; secondly, that paper is a lot easier to work with, bend, cut, etc). With some glue, I attached the plasticard face on the mask, and with putty I made the frames around it (as always, the putty was sanded and fixed, after curing).    This is the outcome (fig.36-38):    Add a little gems here and there and you have yourself a nice looking Titan’s face.To make the hinge that makes the mask open and close, I had to opt for a magnet, glued to the chin of the Titan (i.e. under the feet of the pilot). Nothing too fancy, but it was the only thing I could do, since I should have thought about the hinge way before.[pagebreak]10.The creation of the final details: missile launchers; the fins; the back jetpacks, shoulder jetpacks; hip jetpacks; shields:    The missile launchers, as you can see by the pics (fig.39-41)        were done making a plasticard frame (1mm thickness) and filled with putty. The single missiles were done by pushing the putty with a little tube after the putty has cured a little.The back jetpacks were done with procreate, sculpting directly on the model. The reactor tubes are 2 fischers (the ones you generally use to screw things to the wall), cut at the right lengths and covered with putty.The fins are mechanical pencil lead holders (0,5 and 0,7mm). I got five of them and cut them to the right length. I glued them to two pieces of plasticard and added details with procreate to make the tip details, as you see in pics 42-43:The fins, just like everything else, were sanded and smoothed out.The shields and shoulder pads were done using 0,75 mm plasticard, bent and glued in place. I opted not to make inside details (even thought the original model has some).As always, I made paper templates, than transferred them to plasticard. As you can see, the shoulder pads are quite bent, so I had to prevent them to turn back flat (and plasticard will never loose that rubber-band effect). I usually bend plasticard by hand, helping me with a small electrician clamp. I never got the hand of heating plasticard into shape: for some reason I never quite got the needed control over melted plastic, so I decided to use this technique.So, like I said, in order to prevent the plasticard to go back flat, I glued the plasticard around a donut shaped plastic seal.You can see the picture here (fig.44):The hip jetpacks were done in milliput, with procreate details and tubes made with the fischers.The shoulder jetpacks were done twice. There is the first version, done in milliput, with procreate details (fig.45)(plus see the above pics)but these looked too “home made” and small; so I grabbed two Stabilo highlighters. I cut the chassis and attached the top. I added details with procreate and the tubes (using fischers) (fig.46-49)Hope I was of help, and to see some cool Revenant titans fill the net.The end.cheers
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Doc Zoff's Avatar
      Doc Zoff -
      This is a superb 'how to' article and a brilliant and innovative example of reusing everyday items and 'junk'. The advice to disguise familiar items to avoid a 'scrap collage' result is particularly useful, I remember early attempts to build rocket ships that were obviously plastic bottles and lolly sticks. I feel that the 'magic' happens when that first coat of primer is applied, when suddenly the unmatched appearance of the component parts becomes a single cohesive whole. It's the moment when the builder's faith and prayers re their own abilities is proven. Did this build remain unpainted as a visual example of scratch building or would you be able to post some 'final' photographs? I know you posted this article a while back, but as a new member I have just read and marvelled at it for the first time, so belated thanks for posting this and including the extremely useful diagrams.
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