This time you will get a tutorial on how to build some twisted Castellax battle-automata for the Dark Mechanicum.
As soon as Forge World released its second Horus Heresy book, I abandoned any ambitions on making the Dark Mechanicum happen with some “count-as” rules in Warhammer 40k and hopped on the 30k train instead. With the current third book we got the suitable armylist for a horde of daemonforged battle-automata and their sinister constructors.
So I needed some Castellax (or better a lot of them) as a base for my Mechanicum force. But while the official models are surely neat, they were on the one hand not chaotic and warp-tainted looking enough for my taste and on the other hand expensive as hell. Even with the 10% discount on the bundle, a single model would cost me £32.40, what finally drove me into building my own version of the Castellax and at last gave me an opportunity to use all those crappy Helbrutes from various Dark Vengeance sets.
For one Castellax you need:
- 1 Dark Vengeance Helbrute kit (~7,00€ from forums – never pay more than 9,00€)
- 1 Robogear Spider kit (~3,00€ on ebay)
- 1 Dark Eldar Talos/Cronos Mask (~0,50€ in bitz stores)
- 1 (Chaos) Space Marine vehicle cupola
- 1 additional “arm” (I used an excess Forgefiend leg)
- 1 ranged weapon of choice (I used an excess Hades autocannon as Mauler bolt cannon)
- optional: additional bitz like mechanical tentacles or similar weird close combat weapons
- putty and (liquid) green stuff
Thus, if you have to buy everything, the Castellax will cost about 15,00€.
Step 1: Take out the saw
The DV Helbrute gives us the upper body and one arm, but needs some sawing to get rid of those legs and other useless parts. Remove anything that’s marked red and carefully make some straight cuts to remove the arms along the red lines. You could leave the green highlighted tentacles, but dependant on the model’s pose they might interfere with the left arm.
Due to the limited space on 60mm bases we need to abandon two of the Spider’s legs and therefore have to trim the legs’ socket. As usual everything red has to go.
Step 2: Glue it together
Once you’re done with all the sawing, it is time to build the core of your Castellax. Glue the Helbrute torso & front plate together and place the upper body on the Spider’s socket. Add any four of the legs according to the used base. On my first try I also glued the arms to the model in this step, but I recommend doing that later for a better handling in the meantime. Your Castellax should now look similar to this one:
The right arm is based on the Forgefiend’s small left leg and one of its Hades autocannons. I magnetised the barrels for future weapon swaps. The melee arm got some tentacles from the Cronos parasite engine and a shoulder from Forgefiend leftovers. The pose on this one was very static for my first try, but compared to Forge World’s original it nearly bursts with dynamic.
Step 3: Filling the gaps
To fill all those holes and gaps use some miliput or similar putty and give it either a flesh-like or mechanical surface. The rough junction between upper and lower body is easily smoothened with half a spare Space Marine vehicle cupola. Finally the head is inserted and a small plate covers the socket’s previously cut edge.
Step 4: Finalising
Lastly smooth the model with liquid green stuff where needed and add a bunch of cables (got mine from a scrapped telephone cable). Congratulations – you now have your first custom Castellax battle-automaton.
If you have any questions or suggestions left, feel free to use the comment section. More pics of my other and more advanced battle-automata will follow soon.