Scratchbuild/Papercraft – Warhammer 40K Space Marines Drop Pod

After our game groups previous game night (and the incredible spanking my Ultramarines were handed by the unruley Ork hoards) I have begun the search for new strategies.  One strategy I stumbled up on involves the use of Drop Pods.

“Awesome, this looks like a fun strategy!” I said to myself as I went off to look at getting a half dozen or so Drop Pods.  Much to my dismay, in order to grab 5-6 drop pods even used from Ebay I would be looking at $150+ for what may be a gread strategy, but at the same time may end up blowing up in my face!

In comes my scratch-build mentality!

     Armed with much google-fu I quickly found templates for a Drop Pod and got to work on building my first of many to come (as well as Rhino’s, Predators, Landraiders, Dreadnoughts, Stormtalons and more)!

These templates included absolutely no instructions so I also made sure I found someone who had built one of these beasts with the same templates.  This was a huge help in figuring out what went together!

Materials required;

  • A sharp knife (utility or exacto – use a new blade!)
  • Metal ruler (for making straight cuts)
  • Cutting mat (incredibly handy for cutting clean)
  • Tacky glue (regular white PVA glue would work)
  • Card stock and a printer
  • Foam board
  • Spray adhesive

Start with printing out the templates onto regular paper in your printer.  Page 1 (with the fins and doors) need to be printed 5 times and page 2 needs to be printed once.  Take these printouts and stick them to your cardstock using your spray adhesive.  Let this dry fully (usually an hour or more) before moving on.

The next step depends on what you want to work on first and how you organize yourself, but I decided to start with the base.

Carefully and meticulously  cutting each of the base pieces from the cardstock and setting them in order before going further allows time to make sure you’re putting the right pieces together!  A lot of the templates were easy to figure out and again, looking at photos of one that was already made helped greatly.  Cut lines are solid, fold lines are dashed and there are other lines that are meant for alignment purposes.  A dashed/dotted line with an X on it means it folds the opposite direction (so do your scoring on the backside).

Anywhere that needs to be folded should be carefully (and shallowly) scored to make for an easy, clean fold.

Here you will see the base cut out and assembled, along with the doors started (and more sheets ready to cut).

For the fins/”wings” I glued the piece that says “2.5mm balsa” onto foam board and cut it out of that.  This provides some extra stability and a good thickness to the fins that you wouldnt get otherwise.

Cut out and assemble the door pieces while it is still flat!  Cut each door out and score the fold lines.  Then cut and glue the raised pieces on top of this before folding.  I found that if you fold before putting the raised pieces on it makes it much more difficult to get everything lined up properly.

For the fins there are a lot of little pieces on the template.  I ignored all of the extra little squares and rectangles myself.  You can use them if you want but I just thought they were too small and fiddly to deal with.  Pay attention to the order the pieces are laid out in the template.  They match up properly and if you mix them up it won’t go together right.  Assemble the fins from the foam board piece up (the outside piece on the template is placed on first and then move in from there).

Here you will see the base, top turbine (on the same sheet as the base), doors and fins assembled and ready to go.

Before you go any further, now would be a good time to mention;  Spray paint eats foam!  As such it would be a good idea to cover all exposed foam with strips of paper and coat it with a thin layer of PVA/White Glue before going any further.  I say do it now while everything is still in pieces as it’s a lot easier to get at before assembly!

Now it’s time to start assembling this beast and making it look like something recognizable!

The page with the doors and fins has a piece under the doors that at first I did not know what it was (as the visual example I was using did not make use of it).  It turns out it’s the gears/hinges for the doors!  Assemble them and put them in the slots on the base (as seen above).  They are not in this next picture because I failed to take a picture at this point.  (this is from the visual example I used).



Glue each fin to the top turbine assembly and to the base (lines are provided for alignment on the base) and let it dry.  You may have to hold on to this for a little bit while the glue sets in place so that the fins don’t slide out of place.

You could put the door hinges on at this point as well as the slots are still open and accessable.

When this is ready, you can move on to gluing the doors in place.  Sadly this scratch build does not have opening doors .. but for a grand total cost of about $2-3 each I personally can live with that small inconvenience!





And, once the doors are glued on .. we have a recognizable Space marines Drop Pod!!  This piece (being my first) took me a total of about 4-5 hours to print, cut and assemble in order to get to the stage it is at below.

Next up .. Priming and painting!  (and fingers crossed that it looks as good if not better after!)

** UPDATE : October 5, 2012) **

Many days later …

I have now nearly finished building and painting a set of 4 Drop Pods!  One more to go for my full Drop Pod Marines list but the last one can wait until I get a few more projects completed.

After the above series of steps I coated the entire drop pod in a solution of watered down PVA/White glue.  This was to seal the paper and help protect it while I painted.

I spray-primered the entire piece in flat black primer (visible areas + bottom) and allowed the primer time to dry.  Then it was time to move on to painting.

As my Marines force is plain old Ultramarines the color choice was farily simple;

Basecoat – blue
Pod base – Dark Gray followed by Metalic Silver followed up with a black wash (not yet done in this picture)
Metalic bits – Dark Gray followed by Metalic Silver
Recessed areas of the “Wings” – White with black fineline marker details
Recessed areas on the doors and upper “wing” – black
Details – as you see – yellow/black caution stripes and white Ultramarines symbols on the doors.

The pictured pod is about 90% complete.  I still need to add the metalic silver to all metal pieces and the base and the black wash to the base, then put on some entry scaring and perhaps some battle damage but otherwise finished!
(And my goodness are pictures ever unforgiving – they show you where every ugly scar is in your paint job!  Honestly these look even better in person than they do in picture!  I swear!)

If you have more TIME than MONEY and the patience to do so, you too can make your own Drop Pods!  I don’t know if they’d be “tournament legal” (unlikely) or even accepted at any Games Workshop store but certainly your friends and local gaming shop should be ok with these considering the amount of time and effort that goes into building even just one!