Saturday, April 11, 2015

Monowheel Space Marine Bike Conversion

This is one of those ideas that has been floating at the back of my head for a very long time. But it wasn't until I started thinking about my 30k Alpha Legion force that I decided it was high time to execute it. For those not following my Alpha Legion build, the general idea is to leave no model unconverted. In addition to that, I also have my Alpha Legion marines using many and varied weapons and accessories. The narrative is that they are well beyond the regular forge worlds that they can resupply at and have taken to salvaging what weapons they can and redeploying them - through some reverse engineering if necessary. This is exemplified by my heavy support squad with missile launchers. Instead of regular missile launchers, I decided that this squad would have Eldar Wraithlord missiles. Functionally, they look like missile launchers, but they are distinctly xenos, in spite of the purity seals, oaths of the moment, and veteran cruxes attached to them.

The first thing I'm going to say is that this is not a conversion for those who are just starting out with converting. Do some kit bashing before trying this one out to get a feel for things. Equally, its not hugely advanced either, so give it a go if you're feeling like it! The first image is the final product, so that you can get a feel for what I made. Its a converted space marine bike contained inside a plastic hoop - the mono wheel. 

The parts for the conversion are simple enough. Just a single space marine bike, some plasma guns (or bolters if you prefer) on the sides, and a plastic hoop. The plastic hoop is clearly not a games workshop / citadel miniatures part though! I sourced it from Claire's Accessories in the UK (pictured). Claire's Accessories is basically a chain store in most high streets that caters (mostly) to younger women and girls, selling mainly ear-rings, necklaces, and bangles. These plastic hoops were bought as a set of six bangles (plus some rings) for very young kids. The price was GBP4.50 - therefore very affordable, and gives me enough pieces to make six mono wheel bikes out of. For those in other countries without Claire's Accessories on their doorsteps, you're looking for bangles that have a 60mm diameter -- just like the larger citadel plastic bases. Indeed, I reckon you could attempt this conversion by gluing together two 60mm bases and making a few tweaks to what I'm going to write about below. But it'd be a lot harder as you'd have to cut out the centres of the bases to do anything like what I've done below. Not impossible, just a lot trickier. Hence, go for plastic bangles if at all possible. Hairband plastic might also work I think, but I never tried that.

Front Wheel
The first part of the conversion is simply enough: just detach the front wheel guard from the main body of the space marine bike. File down any rough ends as although they won't show so well in the final product, the will look ugly if seen from certain angles. Importantly, I've not assembled the wheel for this conversion -- put the wheels from the main sprue in your bits box for another model another day -- we're not using them here.

Once both sides have had this treatment done, glue them together and add the bottom plate of the bike to them (the bit with the foot rest for the space marine driver), and add the handle bars. 

At this point, you have a choice, depending on the radius of the bangle you're using. You might like to cut out a little rectangle from the back of the bike to make it appear like it allows the mono wheel to "spin" through. Or you might like to split the front part (the bit with the headlight) in to two sections completely, either side of the headlight. For this bike, I decided to keep just slice the headlight off and leave the front part as one whole bit, the same as the back part. This will mean it will look like the rear wheel axle is providing much of the "thrust" to the mono wheel. Admittedly, to be a bit more convincing, I'd have an extra wheel (one that looks as if it doesn't spin) alongside the spinning one. But hey, this is 30k (or 40k?!), so the technology is advanced and might use antigravitics to aid the spinning of the wheel, at least narratively speaking.

The next stage is to slice down the front wheel guards that you chopped off the front of the bike in the first step. They need to have their axles removed, as well as some of the guard to permit a space marine's legs to still be in the right place once these pieces are glued in place. The picture above shows what I've done to the front headlight bit, as well as the two wheel guards so you can see what I'm talking about. The bits are a bit rough here and have been filed down to the right smoothness in the next shot.

I glue the windshield in to the normal place on the bike now, and leave it to dry. Once fully dried and secure in its position, I then attach the old wheel guards directly underneath it. Notice that the wheel guards are just the right height to span the gap between the bottom of the windshield and the top of the footrest part. Also in the picture is a set of space marine rider legs. I added these legs in to position just to ensure that I had the correct gap for them to rest on the footrest. This is absolutely essential to the final conversion. I thoroughly recommend that you do some dry fitting with the space marine legs in place before gluing the wheel guards in to position. It might be necessary to trim some more "fat" off the wheel guards to make them look convincing and ensure that the space marine can comfortably rest his feet in the required position. Of course, all this assumes that the space marine will be sitting - if you're going for a more dynamic conversion with the space marine leaning out of the side of the bike then this will not be strictly necessary! But its good to at least be clean about these kind of things, to my mind.

The Monowheel
The next step is probably the hardest -- fitting the mono wheel itself. I start by splitting the wheel in to two differently sized parts, as shown. This is necessary as I found that the 60mm diameter of the wheel is simply too large for the kind of conversion I was gunning for. The lower segment will be used as the bottom of the wheel, and the upper (larger) segment will be cut down a bit further and bent in to place to attach back to the lower (smaller) segment. Ensure at this stage that the cuts are flat - take the time to do the filing (or careful slicing with your modelling blade) at this point - its worth it later on.

I drilled a hole through the centre of the smaller segment next. This will provide not only a pin in to the base of the miniature, but will pin up to the bike itself, allowing for some positioning, and dynamism to be built in. The pin is inserted through the square looking block at the very bottom of the bike to attach to the mono wheel. 

Now, the final problem is to chop down the larger bangle segment to the correct size. The image above gives an idea and illustration of the problem present. The broad idea is to chop off enough of the larger bangle segment to make the overall curvature of the loop tighter and the radius smaller. The final diameter is closer to 50mm than 60mm, so if you can find smaller bangles, this would be a much better option. Equally, my experience of hunting for bangles in shops is that most of them seem to be about the same size (because everyone's wrists are the same size, right???!! One size fits all, and all that).

You'll need to add two more pins - one in either side of the smaller segment - to put the final loop in place. You will find that curving the larger segment of the bangle results in a bit of springy tension (the bangle wants to keep its original curvature!). Hence, once the pins are in place and the glue is applied, you will need to keep hold of the bangle in its new radius of curvature position to ensure that the final loop remains in place. I couldn't rubber band this new sized loop, as the glue got in the way and spoilt the bangle - but you're welcome to try that.

The final step is to add some guns to either side of the bike. I used plasma guns, because this squad will be a speedy plasma gun suicide one - able to bring the lovely S7 plasma to where its needed and pose a threat to even terminators. The final image shows the bike with two chaos space marine plasma guns on each of the old wheel guard pieces. I've taken off the obviously chaotic bits, but left the spikes at the front, just to ensure the final bike looks at least a little bit more threatening! They needed to be filed down on one side to ensure that they were flush with the bike, but otherwise this was an easy step to do. I might add some oaths of the moment / purity seals, but otherwise, its job done at this point and we have a Monowheel Space Marine Bike to play around with!

I hope you've enjoyed this conversion tutorial and would be pleased to hear what you think. I intend on making several more of these for my Alpha Legion force, and I'll be posing some dynamic looking marines on them at a later point in time.

1 comment:

NafNaf said...

That is a great idea. I am looking forward to seeing them finished.

Nice walk through for the conversion too :)

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