Release the Pods!

Ok, perhaps a slightly inappropriate title considering how hot it currently is in the UK 😉  The past week or so had seen me beginning to put together a Space Marine Drop Pod as it’s been far too hot to paint or do very much at all.  If you’ve never put a drop pod together I’ll start off by saying that it’s not for the faint hearted.  A drop pod has five ‘petal’ doors that due to the 6th edition “true line of sight” rules need to be constructed so that they will open.  This means that you can no longer glue them shut to ensure they all line up and the interior is so highly detailed you’re forced to paint it all up in multiple sub assemblies.  This added to the issue that you need to square everything up (in multiples of five), just makes the kit a complete mare, and I’ve seen many photos where the central console is glued together wonky or things glued together that are misaligned.

However I have persevered and it’s looking pretty good.  One tip I discovered is when gluing the door sections together, you need to do a lot of “overgluing”.  This is a technique that I use fairly frequently on plastic kits.  The principal is simple, you apply more polystyrene cement than you need, and allow it to “overflow” or squidge out from the two pieces when you put them together.  Once this has set fully (12+ hours) you can trim it off with a knife and scrape/file/sand it smooth.  This really only works with flat surfaces as polystyrene cement melts the plastic together, so overgluing something that is detailed will result in that detail melting away.  For the drop pod doors, I overglued all round the edge of the door and “hinge” and used five clothes pegs (the ones with the silicon grip) to secure everything in place overnight.  It’s critical that the pieces are lined up perfectly else you’ll have a bugger of a job when it comes to getting everything flush.  A bit of liquid green stuff sorted out any odd little gaps that appeared and smoothed everything together.  End result is the doors look look like they’re a single solid piece rather than two pieces glued together.

The other thing I’ve done is to glue a section of sprue onto the bottom piece of the drop pod and drilled a magnet into the base of the door and the extra bit of sprue so that the magnet helps to keep the doors closed until you go to open them.  It’s a fairly weak magnetic bond but just enough to hold it in place until you open up the doors, plus being positioned there means they’re very well hidden.  If you put a magnet into the tip of the door and top of the drop pod, the strength could be too much, resulting in damaging the door when you try and open it.

Using a spray can at close to midnight has meant that I’ve managed to undercoat the majority of the components.  For the things that are going to be silver (the inner mechanism, floor and top piece) I’ve used a very old can of Boltgun Metal to put the initial colour down and with a variety of washes and drybrushing, I’m making really good progress without too many heat related problems.  I need to mask off some pieces this evening and spray the metal parts of the upright fins and doors and then tomorrow I’ll likely reverse the masking and do the actual colour with my airbrush.  I’ve decided that it is going to be for my Space Wolves (and not my Death Guard), so it’s over to the blue grey.  I’m going to paint it up for my grey hunters so it will have red and black markings on and not yellow and black.  I’m thinking that I’ll do the top part of the drop pod red and black with the rest blue grey.

One thing I’m going to go out of my way to do, is to make all of the drop pod pack markings different to the packs that might be in them.  The theory behind this is quite simple and is a fluff reason.  Basically drop pods get fired to the surface of a planet from a transporter battle barge in orbit.  After a battle is complete, drop pods are collected by transported and taken back for repair before they get primed back into the launcher for use again.  The whole process would be simply too complicated and labour intensive to have a specific drop pod allocated for a specific unit.  Now comes the balancing act between fluff and what looks good.  Fluff wise, every drop pod would be an identical blue grey vehicle.  No variation at all.  Drop pods are however the tallest model that can be put on the gaming table by a Space Wolf army and as such tower over everything, so need some colour added.  The only packs that are unlikely to be drop podded onto the surface is Blood Claws (drop pod capacity is 10 and you tend to field 15 Blood Claws) and Long Fangs (best to not plop them into the middle of a warzone ;).  That said a Long Fang drop pod with missiles in it would be very in keeping.  But I deviate…  Ultimately you’re going to have Grey Hunter drop pods and Wolf Guard drop pods in appropriate numbers for each (i.e. less Wolf Guard).  So simply put, I’m going to paint up this drop pod with generic red and black markings 🙂

In my head I’m ultimately going to have 4 drop pods for my army.  3 for Grey Hunter packs and 1 for a Wolf Guard unit.  Long Fangs will receive a Razorback and the Blood Claws really need a Land Raider Crusader.  Throw into the mix some Land Speeders and you’ll end up with everything bar two drop pods on the table on turn one and then the remaining two drop pods arriving on turn two.

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