Monday, May 14, 2012

[Rudeboy Redscorps] Red Scorpions Praetorian, a Space Marines Predator variant.

Hey hey,

I thought I would showcase a conversion I did a little while back for the MWC conversions comp. As staff we couldn't really enter, Ron and I might have had some sort of a battle for a staff favourite but we never really got around to it so I thought I would just do a quick showcase here and give a short explanation of what went into it.

The idea came to me because I have been building a few WWII 1/35th scale models plus playing a TONNE of World of Tanks lately and I love the silhouette of things like the T-34, Panther and the Tiger, iconic shapes for armoured fighting vehicles of WWII. I wanted to recreate the predatory look that they had, forward turrets, sloped armour (T-34/Panther) and long barreled main guns with a big beefy engine in the back.

I was rummaging around in my bits box and found a few Land Raider engines which if mounted inline it actually almost fit into the rear hatch of the Rhino chassis perfectly, I only had to cut down the sides a little and it mounted flush. I then went and cut down a Predator hatch so the air vent section sat in front of the engine area (am imagining this to be the air intakes/filter), it's displayed in this pic as hatches but I changed my mind and flipped it. With all that space taken up I then moved the turret ring (cut from another Predator hatch) forward, cutting out the right shape from the drivers hatches, recessing and gluing it in place ready for greenstuffing around the edges:

I probably need to say at this point that I don't measure, plan or sketch anything, I just mock it up then start cutting so I can't give you exacts on how much you have to take off or anything, one side lost a bit more than the other but that's easy for you to figure out with a test fit. You're better of not cutting enough than cutting to much.

So with the engine and turret positions sorted, the next bit I wanted to work on was getting the rear mounted exhausts (similar style to a Panther or Tiger tank) sorted, I cut them from the sides of the Rhino chassis (cutting in from the outside-in along the edge and shaving them flat underneath) and fitted them onto the back hatch. They actually needed to have a plasticard spacer mounted underneath them as they didn't sit flush, you will see the white plasticard under the exhausts in this pic coming up. Loved this bit, at this point I was really excited about the shape!

I also got to work on the gun barrel. I went down to my LHS with the Autocannon barrel measurements (I lied, so I measured once!) and found an appropriately sized alloy tube. I then went about getting another two thicknesses of alloy tubing to sleeve over the top of the barrel to give it some visual interest and realism. I test fitted all of these parts in the store and was pretty happy with how it went together, the OD's and ID's matched up perfectly.

While I was there I also looked at some turned 1/35th alloy barrels but I wasn't happy with using something that was $45 for this conversion and the DIY approach suited the conversion contest anyway. The new barrel was seated using an appropriately sized drill bit to bore out the hole from the old Autocannon barrel (6mm in my case), inserted and glued in place:

I will follow that pic up with some other stuff I did, I made the perforated hatch to the engine bay from the remaining piece of Predator hatch, I cut the guts out and turned it into a frame backed up with some hobby gauge mesh from my LHS. I also GS'd the drivers hatches flush around the turret ring and the top was almost done at this stage save for detailing.

Next on the drawing board was the front end. I wanted something that looked like AV13+, something that had a bit more slope/bulk and a drivers hatch. I was always intending to build this kit without sponsons or side hatches and the crew needed some way to get in. I cut the existing front plate up and combined it with some custom plasticard bits. I then made a plasticard lower glacis plate to meet the new slope and more forward armour. I made a custom drivers hatch and cut down the normal two window plate into a single window and shaved the back down so the angle looked right for the front plate.

After this stage I filled the sides with GS and sanded it all flat, here is a pic of the front though:

Onto the sides, a lack of hatches/sponsons and exhausts meant I could just add a flat plate over all of the holes I had cut, then add my detail onto the top of that, nice and simple but I had to match the sides up to eachother a few times to make sure the dimensions were the same.

Side note: If I did this conversion over I would probably add a few stepped down plates to mix it up a bit underneath the stowage but I am still happy with what I have done here and only really thought about that once the model was completed and primed.

I added all the stowage (tracks, fuel tanks, back packs, storage containers etc..) and recovery cables plus a few spare details from 1/35th kits to give it a bit more visual interest than a standard kit would allow, not really required but you can always benefit from doing that little bit extra. The recovery cables were made using the ends from the Space Marine kit but with bicycle brake cable wire and brass etch tie downs to give it some more realism. The track hangers were made from bits of brass etch with paper clip pins through the tracks:

I could have probably gone further with the baskets for the jerry cans, making some brass ones, but I wanted to keep the conversion as simple as possible so if people were to attempt it they would be able to use what they had in their Predator Kit, plus plasticard and some alloy tubing.

You can see the sanded down front with some more detail added in this pic also:

So that was pretty much it for the conversion! Add your chapters logos, salt to taste and you're ready to paint! One thing I forgot to photograph before paint was the addition of handles, I added handles to the cupola, front hatch and tool box, you can see them below.

Here are a couple of WIP pics of the paint work so far, I have painted the engine first as I wanted to see how it looked through the mesh and have just started the block in the yellow prior to the rest of the normal paint work and my usual dirty/damaged/dusty look that most of you know. I went pretty bold on the highlighting and detail of the engine so it shows up a little better through the black mesh, normally I would have spent a bit more time making it subtle but in this case it would detract from the look.

To see more of my work and check in later in the week/early next week for the finished product, head over to my Red Scorpions blog and hit follow: REDSCORPS' HOBBYWORKS

WIP paint pics:

Thanks very much for reading if you made it this far. Get brave and start cutting some stuff up, if you have any questions about this or there is something I have not covered please feel free to get in touch with me via the comments section on either of my two blogs.


P.s. Total conversion time would have been under 6 hours including the build, not a huge job.


  1. I like this conversion. Very nice work. I might have to try this out. I have something similar in my Desert Eagles army but based on the old rhino/predator kit and it would go nicely with my old new theme.

  2. Holy $#!^. I love this. I have a friend who is more of a modeler of WWII than 40k. This is exactly what he was talking about when we were discussing how to make tanks more like the panther and tiger. Thank you sooo much. now I just need to cross a leman russ with some plasticard to make a mark tankfrom WWI, and a pred with some plasticard to make an abrams/challenger. You have inspired me.

  3. The engine in the back is incredibly cool. What an awesome take on the classic predator, nice work.

  4. Glad you guys liked it and I'm glad it could give some inspiration for other conversions. Make sure you link is to the WIP/finished pics of your take on this if you do give it a shot.

    Finished pics are up on the Redscorps Blog now.

  5. Thanks I am going to try this it is really neat work. Great use of LR engine that when in the LR remain unseen. You have made great use of that piece of kit by putting it on top where the aestheitc appeal is obvious and makes for a nice looking tank on the table top. I really don't play my predator because I have never liked its look and you have solved that problem for me. Thanks a lot 'inspiration' is the word! You energized my predator solution for me, I'm blown away:)