While showing my recent cardboard vehicles in various Facebook groups, I received a lot of requests for a tutorial on how to make these models and here it is. 😀
For this tutorial I created another Grot Tank, based on the Grot Tank Kommanda shown before, but with some differences to avoid ending up with the same model twice.
- Cardboard (any cornflakes box will do just fine)
- Super glue / PVA glue
- Pins with metal head (you can get them cheap at variety stores)
- Crafting knife
- Tank bitz
You can find many good templates on the internet or just make your own. I normally start with scribbling some possible shapes of the vehicle’s sides as these are the most distinct shapes. Once you found a shape you like, transfer it on a sheet of paper or directly onto cardboard and then add the necessary rectangles to get full template out of your side shape. I don’t add tabs to my templates, as you can add them free-handed when transferring the template onto cardboard. Now you should have something like this, the last one was used for the tutorial tank:
Cutting out the tank’s template, bending and glueing the tabs gave me a basic shape to work with. The template left the bottom of the tutorial tank open. Sometimes it’s easier to leave gaps or even whole plates aside when assembling the chassis, just cut out a fitting plate and close the opening. 🙂
First armour layer
After the chassis is completed, the first layer of ramshackle armour has to be applied. This adds stability to the currently thin hull, conceals gaps or glueing mistakes and gives you a good base for additional layers. The first layer should match the outlines of the hull, so just place the chassis on some leftover cardboard and trace its outlines.
Until now the chassis doesn’t look like that much, but the next step will help much for that – the tracks. I always use original tracks from various sources out of several reasons.
- Tracks are difficult: They are highly detailed pieces and give not that little trouble to build them.
- Cardboard limitations: To achieve the above detail, cardboard might not be the best material. You can achieve reasonable results with cardboard and toothpicks, but plasticard and tubes will be much more rewarding to work with.
- Custom vs. original: A cardboard tank’s final look is strongly connected to the use of original parts. They diverse attention from less detailed areas and let the whole model look better among your grots.
I found some bogey wheels and tracks from old Imperial Guard tanks. After some cutting and a lot of dry-fitting the tutorial tank finally got its tracked propulsion. The tracks add a lot to the model’s bulk as well as enhance its overall look. But see for yourself. 🙂
Additional armour layers
To add more bulk and detail to the hull, just take some of your cardboard leftovers (there should be plenty on your desk by now), cut them into random shapes and glue them all over the chassis. 🙂 Just make sure to either leave enough space in the corners for your rivets, otherwise you will run into problems when drilling the rivet holes (which you can already see on these pictures). I also attached the turret’s mounting (25mm base with 3mm neodym magnet) to the chassis.
Every tank needs some kind of engine, for which I used leftovers from the Tank Kommanda’s cannons and added an exhaust pipe made out of brass and aluminium pipes. Use anything from your bitzbox that looks remotely like an engine block or even some kind of energy cells (in case your grots scavanged some Tesla cars for their tank project).
For turrets there are several approaches. You could use a template and build it from scratch, use pre-shaped things like bottle / paint pot caps or (if the tank will be bigger) even original turrets from GW. I chose the template approach and drew a turret based on the killa kan’s body. Unfortunately I didn’t compensate for the cardboard’s thickness (always advised for smaller parts like turrets), ending up with a slightly warped turret base. However, after adding some additional armour plates, the shape got better. Finally I threw a bunch of bitz and superglue at the turret to finish it. 😀
I used a Defiler flamer, a CSM turret hatch, CSM & Imperial Guard searchlight parts, half a CSM smoke launcher, Sentinel heavy flamer fuel tank and an antenna from the Icarus lascannon.
Rivets & glyphs
After drilling all these rivet holes, it’s now time to add a whole bunch of pin needles to the chassis. In some cases, you can easily stick the whole needle into the tank, for smaller parts you’ll have to trim them down a bit. This might take some time (the tutorial tank has 114 rivets…), but is worth the effort. Sometimes it’s necessary to attach some rivets earlier, if your additional parts (like the engine) would get in the way. To complete the tank cut out some orky glyphs out of your cardboard leftovers and distribute them over the hull.
After a fine amount of time, the tutorial tank is finally finished and ready to get painted. It’s more compact than the Duck of Doom and way smaller than the Grot Tank Kommanda. Indeed, the skorcha turret is exchangeable with the the duck’s grotzooka turret thanks to the magnets. I hope this tutorial gave you some insight in my building process and may even inspire cardboard conversion of your own (and make sure to show some pictures, if you do so^^). The tutorial will probably receive some fine tuning in the future, if you have questions or miss something in it, just tell me in the comments. 🙂