A while ago, Forge World released their take on the Deimos Pattern Predators. Basically a remake using the old-school bubble turret Predators used to have. When they released their new version this past week, I'd had enough.
The first time I saw one, I thought there had to be a way to make my own version of the same thing. An interchangeable turret that could be set down on top of a normal Predator chassis to give it that "old school" bubble look. Something you could build and retrofit an existing model with to give you that older model look.
When I sat down to build my experimental turret, the first thing I thought I could use was half of a ping-pong ball. I wasn't sure of the size, but I thought it would work. So I bought a small box of them for just over a dollar. If it didn't work out, it wouldn't be that big of a loss.
Turns out, they are a shade too small to work really well. Can it be done? Sure, but it looks a bit off overall in the scale department. That could be my plasticard skills, but if I could find something just a tiny bit larger, I think I'd really be onto something.
How I built the bubble turret
Let me start by saying I don't have any templates for this conversion. To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to pull it off. I went for broke and figured I'd do the best I could and then post what I came up with.
I started by cutting the ping pong ball in half. From there, I trimmed a little more off so it was slightly less than half of the ball. I took that piece and glued it on top of a 40mm base. I ended up greenstuffing the small offset gap all the way around the bottom.
From there, I built and added my gun and turret hatch. Both are cobbled together out of bits and plasticard. Since I couldn't find any suitable bits for the turret housing, I made it from plasticard. What a production that was. I don't do much plasticard work and this was a real challenge for me. It's lacking in a lot of ways, but someone with some real plasticard skills would have no trouble putting something like this together.
I have to say, despite my poor plasticard skills, it was a huge blast to actually make my own piece the way I wanted. Talk about liberating. You can just build exactly what you want without having to try and make something that's kinda close work in its place. I can see how this addictive.
It looks a little better once primed, but you can see all of the surface imperfections now. All in all, I'm going to call this one a win. As far as being proof that it can be done, someone with some skill should have no trouble at all making a couple of these for their army. And it sits right on top of a regular Predator chassis without any conversion work required.
Working with plasticard is both a science and an art. I think I need to pick something easier next time to try and build. This might have been a bit out of my league in terms of complexity. Nonetheless, it was a huge leap forward for me in terms of working with plasticard and building my skills.
Anyone need a spare Predator turret?
UPDATE: Here's what she looks like primed. Like I said, you can really see the minor surface imperfections. I think as my skills improve, I will get better at minimizing them and reducing the amount of cleanup work I have to do.
I think priming it puts it in a different light and it's a little easier to see it for the overall shape instead of the parts. The scale doesn't look so bad now. Still, if I could find something slightly larger, I think I'd be set.
And... I'm working on a side sponson now!
Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
A few other Forge World related posts
Modifying your Rhino to get the most from it
How to magnetize your Rhino chassis for the most options