Here we are, folks: the end of the road! When last we left our gargantuan Predator, he looked like this …
But what self-respecting hunter goes out without his gun? Originally, before I latched onto the Predator idea so strongly, I’d planned to have the cannons in pairs on his shoulders, much like a battleship cannon battery. But the dry-fit looked too static at best, and rather awkward at worst. The Predator idea solved that, but there was a new problem: the quad-cannon was too bulky for his shoulder. No problem! The cannon itself is only ROF 3, and it was actually throwing me that the thing had four barrels. I’m a visual guy, and the four barrels kept making me think that I got one shot plus another three bought with Fury (d’oh). Fix!
I took one of the loose barrels and affixed it to the center of the molded pair of barrels, cutting ropes where I needed. I drilled into the sides to create valves, which looked great to start with, but ended up being a terrible idea when it came time to put it all together. The plastic tubing I was going to use for the hose was interfered with by the overhang on the Mammoth’s big old headplate/helmet (still massive, even after grinding it down), which also interfered with the glass vials I was using as blood tanks. This is, sadly, the penalty for using a piece that has to be put onto the model after the fact, rather than before priming and painting. So I sliced off the edges, but left nubs there I greenstuffed over. Ah well, I needed some decoration there any way.
Here we see a Gladiator’s gauntlet, cut down and pushed hard against the back. I wanted to basically add a bit of visual interest to the flat back, and I didn’t know I’d end up hacking off bits to make valves to try and fit it all together in the end. So what Frankenstein creation did I manage with?
As you can see, I drilled a new set of valves into the back of the cannon. The tubing itself ended up being yet another problem, as the original hoses looked far too thick to carry the blood (my engineering sixth sense argued that he’d drain his tanks in one shot). So I had to refigure it out on the fly, drilling into pins, etc. It was not a fun time. Add in that the new tubes had some weird slop glommed onto it that I had to simple-green away, the damn simple green wouldn’t all go out of the tubes etc., and it was … yeah. Yeah. Regardless, I got it done, only to discover that the ‘free-floating’ hoses looked odd. They stuck out too far, and I reasoned that, like any modern military, the Crimson Harvest would use clamps to keep those puppies in place. My last-minute solution worked fairly well. I cut the top off a Vallejo paint bottle (one of my multiple empties) and used it as the base. I have a stock of empty French Roast K-cups from my Keurig coffee maker (I love them, they serve for multiple cheap uses once you reclaim them), so I cut one of those down, and used the natural springiness of the plastic to actually form a sort-of clip that I superglued in place. In the end, the hoses held, and looked far more battle-worthy. Despite the problems with positioning the glass vials, I managed to get the head, the cannon, the hoses, and the future blood tanks to all sit where they were supposed to. I even pre-drilled the holes for the Titan tusks I was painting to clamp the hoses into place. So what did I end up with?
The final pre-glass-tank version of the Mammoth Predator! When I attached the shoulder cannon, I built an assembly around it to make it look like there was a complicated set of machinery that could twist it like a Pred’s gun, using mainly beads donated by my wife, plastic tubes, and greenstuff. In the end, my inner engineering critic told me the gun’s barrel was far too large for a blood sprayer, so I used more of the beads to make a nozzle setup. All things considered, I think he looks pretty damn good, and I’m 99% happy with how he came out. With conversions, anything over 90% happy is awesome-time, as you are by nature changing a static object to your new vision. He’s still tournament legal, even with the two tubes and change of greenstuff sculpted onto him. Oh, and I think he looks badass. So yeah, that’s important too 🙂
Next time, we paint him!