FW Vanaheim pattern Basilisk conversion

This is a Guest Post by Jon

A friend asked for a tutorial on my basilisks, so here we go. I've never been a big fan of the stock gun shield on the basilisk -- it just says "Shoot Me!" and "Warning: Vehicle Subject to Rollover."

I much prefer something along the lines of the Vanaheim pattern from Forge World. I am however frugal (OK, Cheap). So I decided to build my own from styrene. Here's the step by step process I take.

Step 1: Failing to plan is planning to Fail
I build the basilisk up to the this point so that I can get the dimensions that I need to build the gun shield. I leave the tray for the gun unglued to make painting easier and for other nefarious reasons (more on that in a future post) You'll also not that I leave the tracks and track guards off at this point until I figure out how everything else is going to fit.

Now I use the dimensions to draw a 3-View drawing (front, top, sides) of the gun shield. I do this on the computer using Power-Point. There are problably other pieces of software that can do this better/easier (let me know!).

I copy the line defining the slope of the front armor then use format autoshape to rotate it until its vertical -- this tells me how tall the front shield plate needs to be. For this example, the Side Elevation of the shield is 1" tall but to account for the tilt, the front plate will be 1.1" tall. The widths transfer directly.

I continue the process for the side plates, using the slope lines for the sides from the front elevation to give me the height of the side plates. When I'm done, I now have templates for the front and side armor plates.

I now print out these templates -- if you have cardstock paper for your printer, this is a great use for it, otherwise, just print out on regular paper and glue to some cereal box cardboard.

Step 2: Dry-fitting is your friend
Before I cut any styrene, I cut out my templates, and dry-fit them together with scotch tape to the chassis. this lets me account for any gaps etc, (if you're building more than one of these be sure you update the drawings on the computer so you only get this pain once). Once I'm satisfied with the fit, I use the templates trace the pattern onto the Styrene.

Step 3: Cut to fit, paint to hide
I use 0.2 thickness styrene, though it's really a matter of preference. 0.2 is fairly rigid but still easy to cut. For blades, I use a snap-off blade that costs about a buck and and I can keep sharp between pieces by snapping off segments. Usual method for cutting applies: use the blade and a steel rule to scribe and then snap the plastic. Important note: you will want to cut to the inside of the lines to keep the dimensions of the piece from growing too much.

Step 4: Riveting Details
This step can be done either before or after gluing the shield to the chassis its a matter of taste and preference. You can either use thin sheet styrene (0.05-0.01) or styrene strips to build a frame around each of the plates. If you want rivets, there are a couple of methods, but here's what I do: I mark on the bak of the piece that's getting rivets where I want them. Now using a pin vise with a bit of the diameter I want the rivet, I turn the bit counter-clockwise (opposite the direction it's made to cut) with moderate pressure until the dimple forms on the opposite side. Experience will give you a feel you how many turns are needed to make the rivet. Once you have your rivets, glue the frame to its plate.

Step 5: Final assembly and gap-filling
Now I glue all the parts to the chassis. I build mine so that the shield goes over the tracks, so I cut sheet styrene so that it covers the tracks (so I don't have to build any more of the track than I have to!) in the interior. If there are any gaps, I use squadron green putty to fill. I've also used Evergreen angle strips to reinforce the interior.

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!


  1. Excellent tutorial mate, the rivet idea is outstanding. I've been looking into rivets for an upcoming project and your method is by far the simplest I've seen.

    Any chance of getting a pic of what the rivets end up looking like on a finished model?

  2. Although the track guard looks like an odd after-thought, this is one of the better looking conversions I've seen. I like the shield extending over the tracks, and the added storage area as well.

    I'm curious. Do all your chimeras leave off the side bump-outs, or whatever they're called?

  3. Stunning. Bookmarked for future use

  4. If you're really looking for something better to draft in, I recommend SolidWorks. It's about $100 for the student version but is excellent for doing this kind of work and more. (Well, really I'd recommend Wildcat ProE, but that's cost prohibitive for a private user.)

    Nice looking tank!

  5. Looks great, Ron! Fantastic conversion and a great little tutorial - I'll have to give it a try!

    Keep up the great work!

  6. Thanks, Ron. Don't mind at all, just tell me how you did it.

    @the other kevin. the Track Guards were planned actually to dress up the where the tracks go into the shield.

    As for the bump-outs, yes only, the first chimera I ever build has the bump outs. The rest have the skirts as shown here.

    Thanks to all for the kind words.

  7. Great tutorial thanks Jon. This give me some more things to think about for my next conversion.

  8. Outstanding! That's FTW!
    Here's my attempt:


  9. Oh, I especially admire your riveting technique.
    Simple and effective.
    I most certainly will steal that idea :)


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