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Monday, March 21, 2016

Thunderhawk Gunship Scratchbuild - The Beginning

"A beginning is a very delicate time." - Frank Herbert

After shopping around on the Forge World website I realized I wanted some sort of super heavy to go with my many Imperial Armies. I wanted some big powerful centerpiece and I thought a titan would be awesome but it would have to be at least a Reaver or larger and it's just more than I can rationalize for my hobby budget. I then made the foolish decision to attempt a superheavy scratchbuild project. It was either going to be a titan or a Thunderhawk Gunship, and  after some deep thought and introspection, the latter seemed a lot more of a reasonable prospect for me to actually complete someday.

After digging around in some google searches I stumbled across the infamous Blackadder's Thunderhawk scratchbuild and it really spoke to me. Instead of trying to match Forge World's now somewhat archaic sculpt and dimensions he worked from some very detailed resized digital renderings. These images were much more inline with what I thought the proportions ought to be, and Blackadder is an awe inspiring miniature scale engineer. Having made my decision I dug in and got to work.

I scaled the images down to a size that seemed appropriate to me in terms of overall size. The 3D images I was working from had a much sleeker shape than FW's Thunderhawk with is just too short and stubby for me to be happy with. I think the official model clocks in at 19 inches in length, where mine will measure about 24 inches. The height of the fuselage will probably be a little shorter but it should look less like a shoe box with wings and more of a vaguely plausible flying machine. I had some old foam core floating around the workshop so I used that to build a rough hull matching the dimensions I wanted to go for. In retrospect this created a lot of extra work for me since the foam core I was using was slightly warped. There was a lot of bending and irritating glueing that had to happen to fix this but I've risen above to create a much more fleshed out hull.

My primary source for sheet styrene is from cheap $5 parking signs I purchased from Home Depot, they measure about 20 x 24 inches so you really get a lot for you're money. The only down side being the miscellaneous printing on one side of the sign. I've covered the foam hull with  this budget plasticard and have begun building out some of the structural portions of the hull like the nose, tail, and upper-hull turbolaser mount using only plasticard. It took a little while to collect all the materials I need for this which only cost me about $30 for enough various thickness plasticard to build almost everything but the engines and turbolaser, but now I'm making pretty rapid progress. I'm trying to get the basic hull shape built, then I'll be building the wings and various sub assemblies (engines, landing gear, cockpit, etc) separately and attaching them as I go. I think I'm also going to build the wings to be removable so I'll be able to move this beast around without snapping anything off.

In this last shot you can see how I'm building some of the structural parts of this model. Hopefully I'll have more to post soon.


  1. That is going to look sweet!

    Loving how it's coming together early on dude.

  2. I can't wait to see this one dude... looking good so far.