Cardboard tank tutorial

Cardboard tank tutorial

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.


Needed equipment:

  • Cardboard (any cornflakes box will do just fine)
  • Super glue / PVA glue
  • Pins with metal head (you can get them cheap at variety stores)
  • Scissors
  • Crafting knife
  • Tank bitz
  • Templates


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:

The chassis

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.

Finished Tank

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. 🙂



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Posted by on 19. January 2017 in Heralds of Ruin, Tutorial, Warhammer 40k


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The Duck of Doom

The Duck of Doom

To distract me from the diminishing time to this semester’s exams, I have painted my duck-looking Grot Tank tonight. The colour scheme is identical to the other two vehicles for my Grot Rebels kill team, but I’m still amazed by how the paint job totally covers up the models cardboard origins. 🙂

Now all my team’s vehicles are ready for the gaming table, but I’m nonetheless going to build another Grot Tank based on the kommanda’s template (although less oversized this time).

The third tank allows me to field a whole Grot Tank Squadron in regular 40k and I have been asked to make a tutorial for the kommanda, which will be fine content for the blog.^^

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Posted by on 9. January 2017 in Heralds of Ruin, Warhammer 40k


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Pretty fly for an unpainted guy?

Pretty fly for an unpainted guy?

While working on my low-budget 1850 pts. Chaos Space Marine army (one big Favoured of Chaos formation + two Cyclopia Cabal formations) I needed a Daemon Prince of Nurgle – but it had to be both cheap and of course not looking cheap. My bitzbox was extremely helpful (as always) and provided a head + wings from my Plague Drone conversions as well as leftover Helbrute legs from my Dark Castellax. Arms and torso front were acquired during a 50% bitzsale nearly for free.

The groin had to be removed in order to get the Helbrute legs closer together and then all plastic parts except the wings were glued together to get the pose and general shape right. Afterwards I closed the back with some cardboard and started to sculpt the back with milliput, dry-fitting the wings several times during the process. Now the model only needs some boils and minor details / cleanup with green stuff before it gets its shoulder pads.

Working time aside, the Daemon Prince came at price of 2,50€ for the parts from and about 7,50€ for parts from earlier projects. And 10€ for a nice and individual Daemon Prince definitely fits into “low-budget”. 😀


Posted by on 30. December 2016 in Warhammer 40k


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Red is fasta!

Red is fasta!

Although Christmas being over, the colour fits both the holidays and the revolution, so the colour choice for my Kill Team vehicles was an easy one.

First time ever that I used sponge chipping as a technique and even if I need more practical experience, I love the effects on otherwise rather dull plain surfaces. Painting these two also infused me with a little more painting motivation, which I always need a lot when facing those mournful grey tides in my boxes and on all those shelves. 😀

Seeing the Tank Kommanda painted, the model would also be really interesting in any un-orky version of itself. And then of course as a whole tank company – any suggestions which rules to use for an army that could be made out of them? 🙂

Combining the brazen sweatband and a peg leg makes the Killa Kan look like some kind of piratical jogger with bad dental hygiene, but I can’t think of any grot who wouldn’t try to emulate this obvious ideal of beauty. 😉

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Posted by on 27. December 2016 in Heralds of Ruin


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More rebels for the revolution

More rebels for the revolution

After succeeding with my first cardboard vehicles, the “to-build-list” for my HoR kill team didn’t get that much shorter, so I went on. All of these still need more work, but I ran out of superglue. 😥

So I started with some of the gretchin footsloggers and realised that I had only taken one half of the gretchin sprues with me. Now I have to wait until after Christmas to build more of these nasty little greenskins.^^°

The Grot Tank came along easily, I used the leftover cannon from a Khador Heavy Warjack and saw only after assembling the whole model, that it’s basically a robo-duck. 😀
But at least a well-sized robo-duck, as you can see in the comparison shot with the Killa Kan.

Next up is a Mek Gun with kannon, based on an old Defiler cannon and an imperial dozer blade mounting again with more cardboard.

Last (and probably least according to the regular Ork) – the first three gretchins, one Ammo Runt with ‘More Dakka’ and two Grot Oilers or better welders.

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Posted by on 23. December 2016 in Heralds of Ruin


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Ramshackling to freedom

Ramshackling to freedom

After reading the Heralds of Ruin Kill Team rules for the Grot Rebels, I found myself with the urge to delve once again into scratchbuilding with cardboard. So I raided my cornflakes stash for some cardboard, added super glue, cheap pin needles from Woolworth and any suitable parts my bitzbox could offer to create my Grot Tank Kommanda and a peg-legged Killa Kan.

Years ago I started to build a cardboard Malcador, but never finished the project and didn’t work with cardboard ever since. It needs some experience to work with, but it’s a cheap and fun way to create orky vehicles while watching Netflix. 😀

The Tank Kommanda’s chassis is based on a grot tank template I found online. I printed and build the chassis without having any sizing guidelines, so whereas the spare Taurox’ tracks fit nicely, the tank got way too big for a regular grot tank. For the team leader an increased size seems manageable, but the regular tank needs to be a lot smaller. Nonetheless, I’m extremely satisfied with the overall look – with more ordered plates and without orky smbols, the tank would also fit in various imperial armies. 🙂

Doing a Killa Kan was a little more straightforward, as there are a lot of references and templates on the internet. The main issue with most of them where the legs and arms, so I defaulted on using existing bitz to distract again from the cardboard build. At first the lower back made some problems, but after getting some feedback in the HoR Facebook group, a small generator took the empty space.

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Posted by on 19. December 2016 in Heralds of Ruin


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The Colours of Nurgle

The Colours of Nurgle

Forced by a Kill Team tournament in my local GW store, I have started to paint some of my Nurgle Renegades. It has been a long time since I got so much brush work done (even though the models are still WIP). There is still much to do, the brass had only its base coat, the leather needs touch-ups and regular metal, details and black parts are still on the to-do list. Nonetheless I had a lot of fun to paint again and managed to watch a lot of episodes from various Netflix series at the same time. 🙂

My Kill Team list is a heresy itself, as I field the Renegades with the Solar Auxilia’s rules from 30k, but these were the only rules, where I could include artillery guns. The regular Vrak list allows neither Plague Zombies nor Thudd Guns due to the missing Ordnance Tyrant. Speaking of which, I’m happy to see my green stuff work doesn’t look that amateurish and blends well into the whole model.

Then there are my daemonic Thudd Guns and the zombie brutes. Painting all those boils takes some time, but is somehow disgustingly rewarding. 😀

And finally some of my regular Renegades. The Solar Auxilia troops need a standard bearer and vox-caster, the first got a simple plague bearer standard, while the second seems to have looted a gigantic stash of bells as his “communication device”. ^^
All the models are based on the regular cultists from Dark Vengeance with a lot of head and arm swaps, mixed with some spare parts from the Plaguebearers’ sprue.


Posted by on 19. October 2016 in Nurgle Renegades


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