Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Horus Heresy: Contemptor Dreadnought

By the manner of their deaths we shall know them.
It seems that a week can’t go by without Forge World releasing another new awesome model, one that makes it difficult to reason with yourself why you shouldn’t own it too. And with the release of the first Horus Heresy book, Betrayal, it has reached a fever pitch. But looking back, I feel it can be argued that the release of the Contemptor Dreadnought was a turning point (and foreshadowing for the Heresy) for Forge World in this regard. As soon as the kit was released, blogs from around the world exploded with their own versions of the dynamic armored behemoth.

The model was very well received, partially owing to its reimagining of the old concepts (the bulbous nature of it really harkens back to the original Rogue Trader design) and the model’s insane level of poseability (something largely unseen in Games Workshops larger models). This high degree of poseability comes at a high cost however. Aside from being fairly difficult to assemble, the model can very easily adopt an awkward pose despite one’s best intentions.  Before long, the grim defender of humanity can transform into a caricature of Space Marine might (maybe just skipping along or attempting some acrobatic marvel).

Having seen far too many Contemptors fall into this category, looking as if they are tumbling backwards or performing incredible feats of acrobatics bridging on absurdity, I knew I needed to approach the posing of mine with care.  And while this is a tenant that I try to be follow with all models, I felt this one in particular required added vigilance.

To begin, I wanted to establish a strong mental image of the character to help guide my hand. I eventually settled on trying to capture the Contemptor stalking through the corridors of a space hulk, exterminating any foul alien menace with gouts of fire (likely supported by fellow brethren donning terminator armor).

Concept in mind, I went about washing the components of the kit and cleaning them for assembly. Despite receiving a surprisingly nice cast of the model, I still spent a considerable amount of time fixing small blemishes with greenstuff. With the assembly, I opted to build the model from the base upward, starting with a Tech-Deck base from Dragon Forge design (highly recommended, great variety and design). Of the Tech-Deck bases they have available, I chose one that has a nice elevation change. This allowed me to position the Contemptor stepping downward, adding depth and perspective to the model while taking advantage of the poseability of the kit. After deciding on the placement of the feet (remember to have them largely facing the direction of movement!) I pinned each on the base via pin-vise for added stability. Next I slowly worked upward, dry-fitting each piece, checking and double checking the pose, and finally gluing the sections in place. 

Tech-Deck - 60 mm Version 2
Also, based on the expense of the model and the wide array of weapons available, I thought it wise to magnetize some of the different options. Here I was careful not to overdo it and jeopardize the overall character and presence of the model. With this in mind I chose to only magnetize the right arm and glue the other in place. This ensured that model would always be in the act of torrenting its foes with flames, while still offering some flexibility in its primary armament.

In terms of magnet placement, the model fortunately has a number of suitable places. Each of the different weapons share the same shoulder piece, making the circular surface under the shoulder an ideal magnet location. After gluing the first magnet on the underside of the shoulder I then went to work inserting the magnets in the arm joints of several of the weapon options for the model. This ended up being by far the most challenging and time consuming aspect of the building process. To insert the magnets I scraped out a circular cavity in the arm just large enough for the magnet using an x-acto knife. I experimented with a number of different magnets, but the ones I ended up using were disc shaped neodymium magnets with the dimensions of 1/4”x 1/32”.

Placement of magnet under the shoulder guard. 
Scraping out the cavities for the magnets was tricky, now for the autocannon...
When all was said and done I managed to finish assembling a second close combat weapon, a multi-melta, and an assault cannon (I still have an autocannon that needs to be assembled...). The assault cannon was the trickiest of the three to complete because the barrels I received from Forge World were horribly warped and miscast. Instead of trying to fix them I decided to simply replace them with 1/16” brass rods (this also allowed me to shorten the overall length of the barrels by a small margin, making the weapon look a little more compact).

Aligned for war!
I am very happy with how the model turned out, particularly with the pose and the magnetization. I feel that the Dragon Forge base adds a lot of personality to the model and has me excited to assemble more Space Marine models with them, particularly some Horus Heresy era terminators. And with all the new Heresy themed Contemptors being released (the World Eaters, Death Guard, and Emperor’s Children ones are all awesome), I am tempted to get another! As always, I am eager to hear your thoughts and opinions. Also if you have any other questions about the assembly process feel free to ask. 
Suffer not the unclean to live!
- Harlon Nayl


  1. This may seem like an uninformed question, but why haven't more companies incorporated magnets into their models for on the fly customization?

    1. I think it is largely because they want to sell more models rather then make things easier for the player. They would have to change around the design of the kits a little, making slot to insert the magnets, etc. And I do not think they really want to do it, he he. Battlefront gives you magnets for most of their Flame of War tanks, but that I feel is more of a storage issue and a way to fasten the turrets since they have not designed a locking mechanism. It would be nice if more companies considered it, at least for their larger vehicles though.