Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Part 1: The Spartan Challenge - Building a tank the Spartan Way!

If you research this online you will find plenty of horror stories and I can tell you after building one of these badboys it ain't for the faint hearted - if you are new to resin, put this back on the shelf and try something smaller first! I would also recommend the Forgeworld guide to Spartan building - no doubt recorded in response to the troubles we were all having...

I have heard that the design is improving. For example I also built a Sicarian at the same time which put itself together and looks lovely so it's not impossible for Forgeworld to get this to work. But their Spartan production process needs some fine tuning. There were two main problem areas for me: 

1. Tracks
These things are not at one with the machine spirit. I dry fitted them multiple times, some times they would all fit fine, others they wouldn't - I still can't explain it! In the end I trimmed a bit off two of the tracks on each side and ended up with a nice snug fit. 

It wasn't that hard so I think some of the Internet fuss is a bit much at times. That said we are paying a lot and it doesn't seem too much to ask for a set of tracks that fit! The tracks on the Sicarian are built into the chassis which looks great still and hasn't got the hassle - I think this is the way to go for FW tanks. 

2. Fitting chasis to track units
This is fitting the main body of the tank to the sides. The main body of the tank comes in three pieces (top, bottom, rear) leaving the sides open. The sides are large pieces of resin and fit with grooves onto the main body o the tank. Problem is the shape of my main body was different to the grooves of the side pieces. It took a lot of cutting and slicing to get them to fit together. Then some serious filling with milliput to tidy up the gaps. 

Watch out for this if you are building. The position I glued the pieces in was a contributing factor but ultimately the resin sections were not aligned as they came out of the box.

In the end the tank goes together beautifully and it looks stunning when finished.

Ultimately the tank reflects its namesake; it is tough to put together, can wound you badly and doesn't go down without a fight! 

I will keep you posted on progress and the appraoches I am using, happy modelling!

Update from Dave:
To add to Rich's update above, I have been working furiously on my own Spartan.

To reiterate Rich's comments about the tracks, they are a bit of a bugger to fit. You dry fit them and they look great, then you come to stick them they miraculously change configuration! Nothing a hairdryer, a hobby knife and a bit of green-stuff can't fix, but it still took time. I think FW have re-built the mould so that the tracks are cast on to the chassis now, which should remove that headache and about an hour of build time.

To be honest, the bit I found most annoying was the cables for the lascannons. These have to be heated and bent in to position whilst sticking them. I've put two Spartans together now and had at least 4 cables stuck to my fingers with superglue!!

Anyway, once you've powered through these issues, the tank looks amazing! It's huge! These are my new transports of choice. What else will get 20 space marines into battle unscathed?!

Anyway, I have been painting away. This challenge has really motivated me to get it painted. Below is a picture of the tank at the end of week one. I have base coated and applied a two-stage dry-brushed highlight so far. Rich prefers his airbrush, which looks great, but at this moment I have nowhere to set one up so am staying old skool!

Anyway, that's all for now, thanks for reading.

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