Sunday, 4 March 2007

Scratchbuilding Tutorial: Part I


Now we are going to talk about scratchbuilding techniques. In fact, there is no point in making molds if you don't have a nice master model to cast!

I am going to do a T34-like tank for use it in Warhammer 40K or other wargames. I will base it on the KV-II I made before, so I'll just made a turret and a hull, using the same tracks as the other tank.

I'll start working in the turret, so I look for reference pictures in Google. This one is particulary useful to base my model.

I make then a quick sketch on paper, looking for the actual model dimensions.

Once I am happy with the design, I transfer the corners of the drawing to a polystyrene sheet using a pin.

I transfer just one half of the drawing, this is to avoid any errors I could have made drawing freehand. Then I join the points with lines over the polystyrene.

I transfer the drawing to the other half, measuring carefully

I cut the drawing from the styrene sheet to work more comfortably.

I cut the turret base. Cutting styrene is easier than you think, just put a steel ruler on the line and mark once or twice the styrene with your cutter. It's better to not use the cutting edge for this, use the other side of the blade, you'll notice that you'll make cleaner marks. Once the styrene is marked, twist it, the styrene will snap just over the marked line.

I also sanded the piece a bit.

In order to build the sloped armor I going to make an inner structure to support it. I cut a straight tire of styrene and make marks at its side with my cutter.

I use those marls to cut the styrene with my chopper. This is a must for every scratchbuilder around. A real time saver that uses very little space at your workbench.

Those are all the pieces I need.

I glue them in place with polysterene cement.

I'll cut now some little reinforts.

And put them in place.

Once it dries it will be surprisingly strong.

I notice now that the turret is going to bee to high. This kind of things happen continuously, so don't be afraid of sometimes throwing everything and start again for the beginning.

By chance this is not going to be one of those cases.

I marked the extra heigh by placing a pen in my desk, raising the turret a little and turning it.

I cut the styrene following the line.

I sand the top a little and continue on.

I cut anoth styrene tire, this is goin to be the sloped armor. I mark it to know the angle its going to need to meet the other pieces.

I cut the angle of each new piece.

We cut another five pieces.

I have glued all pieces in place, put another piece in the base and filled everything with Tamiya's putty. When using this kint of putty you must wet your tools in acetone continuously.

I cover every imperfection with putty. I am trying to get a textured finish, so I apply the putty in a roughly way.

Once dry, I sand the turret, giving it round shaped angles. It is possible that you need to sand too much and open cracks in the angles. Don't worry, I will cover them with more putty.

It is time to add even more putty. I will use now Squadron's putty, wich I feel its a little better for filling spaces. I continue giving the turret an irregular texture.

More sanding...

And we are ready to go on the next step.

Tomorrow I'll put the top, add more texture and a fake welding line.



Kugelblitz said...

Hey don't think the lack of comments means this isn't interesting. I will be reading everything carefully. Enjoying it as well. Thank you for the work!

Ultrawerke said...

Thank you very much, those are nice comments!

I'll try to keep it updated with more tuts and tricks. Stay tuned!

Rob said...

Great blog! really enjoy your work!

can i ask though, where did you get the chopper/cutter!?!

Keep up the great work!


Oooh, an i'll make sure i click some ads so you get a few pence too! ;o)

Ultrawerke said...

Regarding the chopper, I got it from from Burbank House of Hobbies when I visited Los Angeles some years ago.

They are really nice people. They where most helpful during my visit, and have a really great online shop too (if you don't find something, do not hesitate to call them and ask):

Dallas said...

Hi there. Your work is amazing! I am totally inspired. I am working on a Nurgle traitor guard army, and wanted to make some custom vehicles, so went looking on the net for some ideas. But I had no idea that people were making stuff as good as what you are doing. I am seriously impressed. I need to make one of those punches to make the little rivets.

I have started making a tank already. I have half made the sides, and one of the sponsons before I even know what I want it to look like!

Do you have an article on how to make tracks and treads? Or do you buy them? I will finish reading the articles first. I just wanted to say great work and keep it up.

Edwin said...


I have just read your blog with great interest. I can only hope that I'll ever be able to make such cool things.

Just started on a bit of a scratchbuilding adventure myself. Trying to scratchbuild/kitbash a Looted Armageddon Pattern Basilisk.

Now I was wondering what is a good thickness plasticard for this job? It doesnt saw in the blog, but I like the look of the tickness you used. I just made a mockup out of 2mm card and that looks about right to me. (I think 1mm might be a bit too thin).

But on the other end, cheapskate as I am, the price for 2mm is about twice the price for 1mm. So I could obviously get more sheets for the same price. (which translates into more projects (custom killa kans, mega armoured nobz, etc. etc.)).

So I was hoping any of you could help me out on this one? What tickness did you use for this project?

Thanks a lot!

Buzby74 said...

I had no idea before how to work with styrene, this is a very usful tutorial.

Thank you for taking tthe time to do this. I myself will be using these techniques in my KitBashing hobby.

Buzby74 said...

What was the square cutting device called please, I would like to get one.


Buzby74 said...

I had no idea before how to work with styrene, this is a very usful tutorial.

Thank you for taking tthe time to do this. I myself will be using these techniques in my KitBashing hobby.

Buzby74 said...

I had no idea before how to work with styrene, this is a very usful tutorial.

Thank you for taking tthe time to do this. I myself will be using these techniques in my KitBashing hobby.

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