I actually based mine more off the most recent Epic scale model (which itself is based on their metal 40K scale model, which is a more detailed interpretation of the original Epic model. Confused yet?). I really liked the chunkiness and the angles of the Epic scale wings. Oddly enough, the cool downward angle of the wings has been totally lost in GW's latest interpretation- the Forge World resin cast Thunderhawk. Yes, that's right, Forge World has finally created a decent size Thunderhawk of their own, in resin this time (click here for seperate picture). It's quite nice actually, especially the beautiful interior detail. My only complaints are the blocked out center window on the cockpit (visibility what?), the undersized engines (how else can you get a brick to fly), and the planar wings. You can see how the larger resin model compares to the old metal one by clicking here. Looks like theirs is about as big as mine!
1. MOVING PARTS. Since most of the parts are from toys and model kits, the upper wings move up and down, the cockpit hatch opens, the crew go in and out, the front ramp lowers, all 4 twin heavy bolters rotate and elevate, the battle cannon elevates, the brake flaps move, the missiles can be removed from the launcher boxes, and of course, the red LED light on top actually blinks thanks to a battery pack concealed in the upper body. Whew!
2. SCALE. I made sure my Thunderhawk was large enough to accomodate not just 30 Space Marines, but a whole Rhino as well! CLICK HERE TO SEE THE BOARDING RHINO. True, it's only big enough for the old style Rhino, but it's still fun to deploy an APC from a drop ship (any Aliens fan will agree), even if it wasn't part of the original GW design for the Thunderhawk.
3. WEAPONS. I equipped the Thunderhawk with the correct weapons as per GW's original Epic stats- 4x twin heavy bolter, 1x Battle Cannon, optional missiles. Since mine is larger, the weapons look smaller, but it seems more realistic this way, and less like a toy.
In the pic you can see the Heavy Bolter below, a targeting dome on top, and the rocket launchers underneath. The main difference on my ship is that the Heavy Bolters are mounted on the underside of the wings, rather than the side, so they can shoot downward. Also, the Heavy Bolters on the side of the body can actually rotate up and down as well as swing in and out. Lastly, rather than use Marine crews for the wing and body weapons (as GW did via the Whirlwind gunner piece), I installed auto-targeters made from some dome shapes I cut off a toy with the Land Raider Lascannon targeters attached on top. A neat feature of the wing guns is that you can rotate the guns underneath by turning the dome on top- they are connected through the wing!
4. COCKPIT. Though a subtle element on the Thunderhawk,
a lot of pain and suffering went into doing this element right...
Since I wasn't restricted to metal castings like Games Workshop when they made their metal Thunderhawk, I had no excuses for not having a clear canopy and working cockpit hatch. I modified a cockpit from a Battlefield: Earth toy (a piece of junk but a nice cockpit shape) to form the hatch and glass. The cockpit was made from a jeep toy for the seats, with control panels taken from the Land Raider interior detail, and crew from the metal land speeder model. This was inset into the front of the fuselage to form the cockpit. The crew are removeable- I put brass pins into them and drilled holes in the seats, so they would stay put during dramatic maneuvers (even adults have a hard time not whooshing around with this thing when they get their hands on it, you know).
5. INSANE DETAIL. The detailing process went on for quite a while. I was beginning to regret making the ship so big, but several large panels of detail from model kits eased the job. Not even the Forge World kit has as much detail in my opinion- though it does nicely match the "Marine" aesthetic seen on the new Land Raider and Rhino kits. I still stand by my detailing though, gives it an almost Gothic look.
This is a rear angle view showing the back of the engines, wings, and landing gear, giving some idea of the level of detail on the model.
The engines already had loads of detail, thanks to their source (podracer toy). All I did was cut off the rear cones, put a diffuser nozzle in their place (made of a filtration unit from a fish tank), shorten the nose cones on the front, and round the front of the cowling to make them look more aerodynamic and closer to Games Workshop's original Thunderhawk engines.
The "guts" of the wings were detailed to imply extra intakes and secondary engines as an attempt to justify the thickness of the wings (not much aerodynamic about a Thunderhawk- must be all that thrust that keeps it aloft!). The top and bottom of the wing surfaces were detailed with action fleet X-wing toy wing parts, tank kit bits, model kit bits, strip styrene (plasticard cut into strips), and sheet lead cut with novelty scissors and punched with hole punches. The details on the sides of the ship were done mostly with panels from a Millenium Falcon model kit, cut to fit. Since the body was built from sheet styrene plasticard, I could use plastic solvent cement to glue on almost all the details since most of the toy and all of the model parts were made of styrene. This was much faster, cheaper, and safer than having to use superglue for attaching detail (which inevitably ends up going on crooked, or not at all as it is now glued to your left thumb).
Even the landing gear, nice as it was (I angled some gear from the Millenium
Falcon toy), recieved extra detailing. Plenty of pipes and hoses were added
around the lifter engine and main engines too.
THE BEAST IN IT'S HANGAR, PREPARING FOR WAR.
THE SIDE VIEW SHOWS JUST HOW BIG IT IS
For more shots of the Thunderhawk in action, be sure to visit the Mechwarrior Gaming Table.
WARNING! THE FOLLOWING SHOTS
ARE MASSIVE (AVERAGING 150k APIECE).
Those of you with fast servers may enjoy the full glory of these shots...
Robert Calfee's Black Templars Thunderhawk is based on mine, but has some interesting differences (aside from being black). Be sure to check it out!
Geraldo Luiz Monteiro's Scratch built Thunderhawk was inspired by mine, but he has done an impressive job of scratch building almost all of the main components- even the engines! Nice work!
Also, don't forget Forge
World's decent sized Thunderhawk
is available (in resin this time!) for those who must buy a Thunderhawk.
It is on their pre-order page already. Cost: about $700 including
On to the Construction Page!
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