Chaos Warhound Scout Titan – Part 3 – Final

Part 3

My Chaos Warhound Titan is finished. But the project, as a whole, was not. I still had to polish off the final pieces for the base and get everything assembled. I had been working on the diorama base at the same time I was working on the Titan. In some respects, I was working on the diorama more. This has been a project that has evolved drastically from its original concept. Part 3 of this series(and the final part) is about the diorama’s creation, the story it is telling, and more about the Warhound itself. 

From Scenic Base to Something Bigger

As I mentioned in parts 1 and 2, the original idea for this project was to use an oval wooden plaque as a base for this titan. I had found a perfect sized one on Amazon. To fill out the base, I had bought some terrain on eBay that would work perfectly. After I repainted them, of course. It wasn’t that they looked bad, as you can see. I just wanted to have everything painted by my hand. So I could look at the finished project and say, ”that was all me”.

The idea, from inception, was to have my titan standing in the ruins of an imperial church. And the terrain that I bought fit that aesthetic. I mean, It is a chaos titan. Why wouldn’t it be standing in a ruined imperial church? But as the titan came together, I started to “not feel” what I was seeing when I looked at the base. A lot of this stemmed from the fact that when I was modeling the legs and torso portion of the model, I somehow made the left leg almost one inch higher than the right. And it was not something that I could fix. As I had epoxied all the joints as well as pinned and epoxied the hip connections. This was permanent.

My temporary fix was to use cork. I use cork regularly in basing[examples below]. Usually simulating stone. Occasionally, I will use it as relief. Cutting the edges to simulate a hill’s incline, and then paint over it with texture paint like I would a regular base. Cork is really easy to work with and is really versatile. But I just wasn’t feeling using cork for this project. As I looked at the above scene, it seems like a big waste of space.

Deredeo Dreadnought posed standing on a stone(cork) wall.
Late 90’s Ghaz standing on some stone(cork).
Knight Tyrant perched over an encampment between some massive stones(cork again…)

I spent a lot of time staring at that scene with the oval base. It was raising more questions than solutions. And then I had one of those ‘light bulb idea’ moments. You know, like you see in cartoons when the character has a bright idea, and a light bulb appears over the characters head. Mine was triggered by a sound. My 3D printer was whirring as it picked up speed on something that I was printing. Why couldn’t I print my own terrain for this base? I was worried about a lot of dead space, and I needed something for the titan to stand on. The terrain I had bought didn’t have a large enough surface area for the massive titans foot. My mind went to work. 

Everyone Is A Maker. Only I Am A Printer*

*Prusa Research motto

Like apparently many other people, I had taken up 3D printing as a COVID hobby. Coincidentally, around the same time that I started the titan project actually. It was something I had been very interested in doing for a real long time. Probably close to ten years at that point. The problem was always the price. It was never a cheap thing to get into back then. With machines costing thousands of dollars. And there was not much information out there at the time either. I also did not have any space for a machine. So I threw the interest away, and never really paid attention to the consumer level machines that had been more or less flooding the market over the recent years.

You can now buy a totally viable machine for around $250. The summer of 2020, in the middle of a pandemic seemed like the perfect time to give it a shot. I did some research, watched a ton of YouTube videos, and found a machine with good enough reviews. During the pandemic, it took over a week for it to be delivered even with Amazon Prime, so I continued to learn about printing while I waited. When it arrived, I immediately set to work learning the nuances and pitfalls of FDM Printing. And there are a lot of each. 

FDM stands for fused deposition modeling. These machines use spools of filament to make models and objects by melting the materials and extruding it layer by layer.

For most of the summer I had been printing upgrades for the printer itself. Stuff like light bar holders and filament guides. I was also printing terrain for Blackstone Fortress. Not because I needed it. But because I could.

However, things were not going smoothly. As time went by I was finding that this machine was incredibly hands on and prone to failures. Like a 3 times out of 5 pace worth of failures. Now, I was expecting that. It was one reason I wanted to get into 3D printing in the first place. There is a lot to play around with. Particularly in the settings. A lot of trial and error. But this machine was having a lot of the latter. For starters I had to replace the part cooling fan almost immediately. Like, it worked exactly once, and then never again. Apparently it shorted out after the first use. This fan is an important component.

I had to cut wires and actually solder a new one into the old wires. Sure, I could have just spliced the wires and wrapped them with electrical tape and called it good. But I am paranoid as all hell of electrical fires. And these 3D printers do have a history of starting house fires. So soldering these components was my ’warm fuzzy’. But I hadn’t soldered anything since around high school. So I was quite nervous. Luckily after watching a video or two for a refresher, I was able to properly, and safely, install the new fan. And it made a difference almost immediately.

Then other things went wrong. It was becoming increasingly difficult to keep the print bed level. And getting harder with every print. Even after replacing the print bed springs. The print bed needs to be manually leveled by twisting the 4 knobs under the bed. This reduces or increases tension on the springs, thus raising or lowering bed. Pitfalls of a cheap machine, I guess. Newer and more expensive machines have auto bed leveling mechanisms. I was getting upset and ready to give up on this machine. The failures were getting more numerous. But I was not ready to give up on 3D printing. I soon found myself shopping for a better machine.

That is how I found Prusa Research. Their machines came highly recommended by almost every reviewer I had found. I would put their products on the upper echelon of the prosumer spectrum, in terms of quality. I chose the Prusa Mini, a small footprint printer with big capabilities. Perfect for my space limitations. The problem(well, inconvenience) was that there was about an 8 week wait list for shipments on new orders. Prusa makes all of their own parts, and 3D printing was booming during the pandemic. So it was going to take time. 

Fast forward those 8+ weeks. It would just so happened that this new machine would arrive 2 days prior to the aforementioned ‘big idea’ ‘light bulb’ moment I had for my titan project. Shipped directly from Prusa Research in the Czech Republic by DHL(I love DHL. So much better than FedEx or UPS). This machine would no doubt streamline the process of building this base. Aside from a startup issue that I had out of the box, it was running like a fine tuned watch. I began to feel better and better about buying a new machine almost immediately.

[By the way, that start up issue was fixed thanks to the beyond stellar 24/7 customer support Prusa Research provides. Seriously, two and a half hours in a live chat room with a tech in the Czech Republic troubleshooting stuff. It was in no way annoying. And I am being 100% sincere. Dude was awesome. We were chatting about various things as we waited for various tests and whatnot. The issue I was having turned out to be a known issue with this model( the mini was new machine at the time), and they were already in the process of identifying fixes. The printer would not pass the startup self checks due to an alignment issue with the X and Z axis assembly. We used an “experimental” fix, that just so happened to work out perfectly. And this issue has since been rectified with an upgrade kit(about a year later).]

And yes, it has an auto bed level system.

Before I got started printing diorama pieces, I spent a few days printing test models and getting familiar with the new machine and software. This Prusa printer was nothing like the made-in-China p.o.s. I had cut my teeth on. This machine is a pleasure to use. Not maintenance or fuss-free, but pretty damn close. Once I had the do’s and don’ts downs, I started working on printing things I could use for my Titan. All while finishing the paint job for the titan.

Diorama Base

Tools, Materials, and Paints

  • Original Prusa Mini 3D Printer. Prusa printers are not exactly cheap, compared to some you can find on the market. But you are paying for a quality, well tested product. They literally send a benchmark report of the tested product with the machine. This thing is a workhorse. I love it. If I had more space, I would buy another one. I cannot even fathom how many hours I have printed with this little wonder since I bought it. For this project alone I easily put well over 200 print hours into it in testing and printing the final products. 
  • Prusament Mystic Green PLA Filament and Prusament Vanilla White PLA Filament. Prusament is Prusa Research’s own-brand filament. There are tons of filaments on the market. Amazon even has their own filament. But truthfully speaking, most of them out there are total crap. They have tangled spools, impurities, and various other defects. Prusament is no fuss, and I have had zero problems with it. The spools have QR codes that you can scan to see the benchmarks for the filament. The software has preloaded specifications for each type of Prusament. So it’s more or less plug and play. I print almost exclusively with Prusa’s brand nowadays. For this project, I started test pieces with the Mystic Green, but was running short of it because I had done a lot of printing of various other things. I used almost the whole 1kg spool of Vanilla White for this project. The color really didn’t matter though. As everything was getting painted.
  • Prusa Slicer. A simple and stable GCODE slicing software. Tailored by Prusa for Prusa machines, but capable of being used with most REPRAP printers. Specifically Marlin based machines.
  • Milwaukee Drill and PORTER-CABLE Forstner Bits. I had a plan for mounting the titan. One that required boring out part of the wooden base. More on that later.
  • 1.25 inch strike plate. Bought for the above mentioned plan. I only needed 1 or two. But they were only sold in bulk on Amazon. And seeing as this project was during the height of the pandemic, I wasn’t exactly going to Home Depot for a couple metal discs.
  • 1 inch Magnet. I found a great magnet shop online. They sell single units and also have bulk prices. Their shipping was real fast too. 
  • SIlver Sharpie Marker
  • Painters Tape
  • Citadel PVA Glue. More or less Elmer’s glue. The same stuff most of us used in grade school. Great for terrain application. 
  • Mercury Adhesives Super Glue. Previously discussed in Part 1.
  • Sandpaper 
Citadel Spray: Chaos BlackCitadel Layer: Runelord Brass
Vallejo Air: Sea GreyCitadel Layer: Kislev Flesh
Army Painter: Dirt SplatterCitadel Layer: Ungor Flesh
Citadel Base: Celestra GreyCitadel Layer: Dawnstone
Citadel Base: LeadbelcherCitadel Layer: Wild Rider Red
Citadel Base: Iron WarriorsCitadel Layer: Screaming Skull
Citadel Base: Averland SunsetCitadel Dry: Dawnstone
Citadel Base: Abbadon BlackCitadel Dry: Terminatus Stone
Citadel Base: Mephiston RedCitadel Dry: Necron Compound
Citadel Base: Rakarth FleshCItadel Shade: Agrax Earthshade
Citadel Base: Corvus BlackCItadel Shade: Nuln Oil
Citadel Base: WraitboneCitadel Shade: Reikland Fleshshade
Citadel Base: Mournfang BrownCitadel Shade: Carroburg Crimson
Citadel Layer: Doombull BrownCitadel Technical: Armageddon Dunes
Citadel Layer: Pallid Wych FleshCitadel Technical: Armageddon Dust
Citadel Layer: Liberator GoldCitadel Technical: Stormshield
Citadel Layer: Brass Scorpion

3D Model Credits

All 3D printing STL files were downloaded from Thingiverse, an online repository for creators and makers, hosted by MakerBot. All models are used under Creative Commons licenses and no money has been made, nor will be made from these designs. 

  • Scatter Terrain Altar by user brumbaer. A really great looking piece. I was very lucky as It was exactly what I was looking for. The dimensions of this model were altered to fit my needs.
  • OpenForge Ruined Corner Tile by user devonjones. The OpenForge stuff I found was pretty cool. Perfect for table top and RPG games. This user’s designs are outstanding. He had exactly what I needed. The dimensions were slightly altered to get what I wanted. Specifically the height to achieve stability under the titan.
  • Scattered Stone Work Bricks by user onebitpixel. It was a lot harder than expected to find individual bricks. I thought about just using a generic rectangle shape. But that wouldn’t look too realistic.
  • Ministorum Priest – Autogun and Laspistol by user Spig. I needed a priest, but I was not feeling any of the options I could find from GW or other game systems. This model worked great. I only had one particular issue with this model. I will address that later on. 
  • A door stop in form of a big wedge by user CreativeTools. This is kind of funny. I needed a way to bridge the distance between the wood base and the floor of the church. I couldn’t find any stairs that worked. So I turned to this door stop, as I am not quite adept at creating 3D models. Even basic shapes. Yet. The dimensions were altered to fit my needs.


As I mentioned before, my image for the base was to have the titan stepping on the ruins of an Imperial church. And that would not change, even with my new direction. If anything it had emboldened the thought. The first thing I searched for was and altar. I thought that maybe I could salvage the terrain I had purchased from eBay and maybe incorporate the cork idea. Maybe, make the entire base the inside of a church. 

This was my first print specifically done for this base. A lesser quality speed print(that still took like 8 hours). This large ruined altar was perfect. But I was having trouble finding a good size to print to make it seem realistic to the size of the titan. The above picture was massive. About two primaris space marines(probably) could lay on that thing. Or for different perspective, if I stood this up, it was about as tall as the titans legs. Well, past the knees at least.

I was also coming to various conclusions. The first was that my idea about making the whole base a church scene would not work. The other was that the eBay terrain would have to be scrapped. I started scouring Thingiverse for other options, and found some great ruins. I was also testing different altars.

The OpenForge floor tiles were definitely working for me. That altar, not so much. It was scrapped quickly. The first altar I found was the right one. It even had the Imperial Aquila on it. And while the floor tiles were working, that would be the galaxy’s smallest church. Also, I would need some kind of ruined walls. This project was getting bigger by the hour. And those hours were being measured by my Prusa Mini.

This print took over 18 hours. It was actually my longest print to date. I took a nap mid day so that I could be up when this finished. I tried running both printers at the same time so I could try to knock out more in less time. But my cheap printer was getting on my last nerve. I would be retiring it very soon after the above picture was taken. So, all of the work would remain on the more than capable bed of my Mini. And it was continuing to perform admirably.

I felt like I was onto something with the above setup. The altar was the perfect size and the ruins were exactly what I was looking for. The floor height was perfect to keep the titan stable. Though maybe the church needed to be bigger. And that oval base… it just wasn’t going to work… Much like when I hit the roadblock prior to my 3D printed terrain idea, I sat staring at the above scene for some time, working things out. When the dust settled between my ears, I had purchased a new wooden plaque from Amazon. This time, a rectangle one. The dimensions were almost the same as the oval one, only slightly bigger. The most obvious difference being that you get all that space back that you lose with the shape of an oval.

This is it! We have a winner! This wooden plaque was the missing piece. I was so set on using that oval plaque because it resembled the bases that the knights use that I really hadn’t even considered using a rectangle one. Now I had enough room for the church scene, and then some.

Wait… And then some?

It was here that the whole base idea took a major left turn. While the new plaque gave me more space to comfortably fit everything on it. It, well, gave me More Space to put everything on it. I now had a surplus of dead space. I needed more stuff to fill out the base now. This is the point where this project went from a scenic base to a full blown diorama. 

I immediately began to get flooded with ideas. I needed pillars, ruined walls outside the church, and bricks. I was going to need a lot of bricks. This titan had just stomped down on this already ruined building. Stonework was going to be sent everywhere. So I went and searched for some bricks. And bricks, did I find. I also found the walls I would need.

As they finished printing, I laid everything out on the base to mock up the scene. Well, with the exception of the bricks. I put those in a paper cup. Didn’t want to lose any. I just about had everything at this point. Or so I thought… This was a diorama now, right? Not just a scenic base. It is a diorama with a giant war machine at the center of it. Dioramas tell a story. Something important was missing. And it wasn’t more terrain. 

It was actual characters that were missing! Why would this church be abandoned? Why wouldn’t there be someone holding down the fort(er… church)? I needed a priest!

But one model wouldn’t be enough to tell this story that was taking shape in my head(Or maybe it would have been. Who’s to say? I just felt like it needed more). I needed a squad of Chaos Space Marines at the feet of this titan. That would convey the scale and scope of what was happening in the scene. It just so happened that I had all of the marines from the Shadowspear box that was released some time ago still laying around. Built, but unpainted. And it also just so happened that I had no immediate use for them. As my Iron warriors were pretty much complete. And all modeled with the old pattern chaos armor, using the Iron Warriors upgrade kits. I did it that way to resemble the old 30K style armor. These newer Shadowspear models coming to support my diorama would of course be painted as Iron Warriors. After all, I had chosen Legos Krytos specifically because of their relationship with the Iron Warriors, all those months back.

The Cannoness was a placeholder. A priest was proving difficult to find. And a couple of these marines would be swapped out for better poses.

Seeing as the Shadowspear models were all mono-pose, I had to choose carefully which ones I wanted to use. I also needed to decide how many I would use. Too many, and the base would be too busy. I placed everything I had ready on the base to weigh my options. I settled with a small 5 man marine squad. All 5 of the chosen models had a specific role on the base, and they were chosen based on their poses. I was lucky that these particular mono-pose marines were very fitting to my vision. With these pieces in place, the printing almost concluded, and the titan itself nearing completion, it was time to get painting all of this scenery. For that process, I dug my airbrush booth back out. It got a lot of work during the pandemic.

I used Chaos Black as a primer this time, vice my go-to Grey Seer. Chaos Black would give a nice dark base to the Vallejo Air Sea Grey I was going to spray on top. Later, I would wash everything with Nuln Oil, and then dry brush with Dawnstone. The altar and columns would be painted with Dawnstone, Celestra grey, Nuln Oil, and Terminatus Stone dry brush.

I was now starting to think about what kind of technical paints I was going to use when the time came. It was between the Armageddon dirts or the Stirland muds. I ended up choosing the Armageddon pairing. Though I could have lightened them up with dry brushing, the Stirland muds were just way too dark. I was more than aware I would need a lot of this stuff, so I ordered about 5 of each.

Armageddon Left. Stirland Right. Both were treated with Agrax Earthshade. I tried to brighten up the Stirland one with a drybrushing.

The wood base itself was pretty much ready for painting. Though a couple of the edges were rough. So I took some sandpaper and quickly smoothed out the roughness. I used multiple coats of Chaos Black to prime it. Wood absorbs this model paint. So it took about 3 solid coats to achieve good coverage. 

When the time came to paint the edges of the base, I painted them with Abbadon Black by hand.

With that done, It was time to select the final positioning for all of the terrain pieces. I would mark those outlines with a silver sharpie. I also needed to mark where I wanted the titan to be standing. In my original plan, the one using the oval base, I was going to mount the titan on the base permanently. I had plans on mounting it by using long pins and epoxying them into the base and bottom of the feet. I’ve seen similar things done online. Some even using long wood screws. But as this project evolved, I decided to scrap the pins and to just magnetize the titan to the base. That way I could remove the titan from the base and use it in a game later on. Well, some day. 

To achieve this, I needed a nice strong magnet, something for it to attract, and a way to mount the magnet. I found a great magnet shop online. I was surprised at how many magnets they had, and how much information that had about everything. Admittedly, my knowledge of magnets was limited to what I learned in (probably)4th grade. The one I selected has a minimum of a 40 pound pull. That’s damned strong.

I bought a few of the same magnet, you know, just in case. One day while I was moving them, the two attracted each other. From easily more than a foot. There was a loud clap as it pinched my finger. Sparks flied. Scared the crap out of me. Hurt pretty bad too. I once again sacrificed blood to the chaos gods hobbying. The magnets attraction was so strong that one of them actual cracked and chipped. It was… rough to separate them. So, needless to say, regardless of its weight, this massive hunk of glued and epoxied resin would be firmly anchored. I would make that anchor using a steel strike plate glued to the bottom of the right foot.

To install the magnet in the base, I picked up some forstner bits for my drill. These bits are great. They bore out perfect holes and leave clean cavities behind. The only thing I had to do was make sure I got the depth perfect. It needed to be deep enough for the magnet and the strike plate. Too deep, and the plate would not adhere perfectly to the magnet(though it would try… Strong damn magnet). Too shallow and the titan would adhere, but would be kind of levitating and unstable. I accomplished this by measuring the height of the magnet and strike plate together using a caliper, and then comparing the result to the forstner bit itself. I marked the outside of the bit with a black sharpie at the depth I needed. But that ended up being useless. The bit was doing some hefty rpms. I couldn’t see the black marking all too easily. Also the friction from the wood rubbed the black marking off of the bit. The whole process was kind of comedic. Hell, I laughed. I ended up just eyeballing it.

Lucky for me, I got it right. But, if I had not, I had a spare wood plaque ready for a round two.

Adding the strike plate to the titan led me to realize something(again). I still had not painted the bottom of the feet. Oops(again). I remember realizing this all the way back when I finished the lower half of the body. We’re talking months ago at this point. But I still hadn’t painted these feet. I had to get on that. And boy, was it awkward holding that whole lower assembly upside down. 

It’s not pretty. But it works.

With all of that taken care of(finally). Before painting could continue on the wood base, I had to do one last check of everything in their place. And that was going smoothly. Until I got to the wedge that I was using as a ramp into the church, that is. The size of this ramp kind of made no sense to me, now that I saw it all coming together. I needed to reprint it, but much smaller. This “ramp” was actually a door stop that I had completely resized using the slicer software. I wanted to use stairs, but was having trouble finding what I needed. It wasn’t exactly like the church was on the 2nd floor. But using one step didn’t quite look great. I also thought about modeling some cork, but that wouldn’t really match the 3D printed pieces I was using.

Why would there be a ramp up to a wall?

While the new, smaller, ramp section was being printed, I got to work putting the undercoat on the wood base. I first wrapped the edges that I had painted by hand with painters tape, and then airbrushed thinned down Army Painter Dirt Splatter over the whole surface area. I always use this color under my brown colored texture paints. It blends in pretty well.

Before gluing everything down, there was a final mock-up. The new ramp made much more sense. A doorway needs a ramp. A whole wall does not. With everything looking good, I finally glued everything into place. There was a certain level of anxiety there. And by ‘certain level’, I mean I was pretty damn anxious. If I screwed this up, we were talking well over a hundred hours of printing and work down the drain. I was relieved when it all came together.

While the glue thoroughly set, I turned my attention to the most tedious of jobs yet, painting all those 3D printed bricks. These were all painted using the same method as the church ruins. But it was exhausting. I had to shade and dry brush each individual one by hand. I mean, they are not detailed or intricate. It’s just… there are so many… tiny… pieces…

It was now texture paint time. But prior to doing that, I wrapped the edges once more with painters tape. Because I didn’t want the shade to seep down the sides. Even though the rims of the base were painted black, the shade oil would still screw that up and make subsequent layers of paint look off.

I spread out almost 4 bottles of Armageddon Dust and 1 bottle of Armageddon Dunes using throw away craft brushes and modeling tools. I got that stuff all over the place and myself. Kind of felt like a kid playing with mud after a storm all over again. I purposely left the spot that the titan would be standing unpainted. That way it would stay level on the base. All of these texture paints were going to take some time to dry, so I finally started painting the Shadowspear Marines as an Iron Warriors squad. The all-important priest model had been chosen, but was not in my hands yet. I found a 3D printable model that looked good enough. The problem was I could not print it with my filament printer. It needed to be printed in resin. I contracted out Tyson for that job.

For shading the dirt, I turned to the trusty Agrax Earthshade. It would take almost a whole bottle to soak this diorama. And it would take almost two days to dry thoroughly. I purposely laid it on thick in places. Almost pooling it. During that time, I would finish the Iron Warriors Squad, install the altar, and paint some random scatter bits(guns, grenades, etc). Oh, and I would actually finish the star of this scene, the titan itself. [See Part 2]

Really happy with how this squad came out.
The priest that Tyson printed for me would arrive around this time. So I had to take care of him. As well as carefully remove the Iron Warriors from their bases.

The priest was the final piece of the puzzle. But seeing that the model was still on the supports, I had to carefully cut them off and then cure the model in sunlight for a little while. All those connection points still had uncured resin deposits. Once that was done, I selected which priest I was going to use. There were two. One had a pistol in a holster. The other didn’t. That decision would actually be made easier when I accidentally snapped off the muzzle from one of the models’ autogun. The remaining priest would, in the next year, become a(temporary)preacher model for my Adepta Sororitas.

[note on this priest model. I mentioned much earlier that I had one particular issue with this priest model. And that issue is it’s size. It is the same stature as a space marine. The picture below is using a 32mm base. An Adeptus Ministorum priest usually comes on a 25mm base. It kind of bothers me, but it kind of doesn’t at the same time. It works well enough for me and the scene.  Also, even though I have an Adepta Sororitas army, I am not very versed with Adeptus Ministorum lore. At least aside from Sisters of Battle lore. So I wonder if priests could be genetically modified to be larger than the average human. That wouldn’t surprise me if it were so. A big imposing preacher spreading the word of the Emperor.]

During this phase I also glued on a ton of Army Painter grass tufts and some bricks. I used about two and a half packages of those tufts. Adding them one by one. I was drenched in sweat by the time I was finished. So tedious. Only slightly less tedious than the bricks were. I also dry brushed the texture paint.

“We are in the endgame now” -Steven Strange.

The last steps were to install each of the individual models, add the columns, add the scatter bits(guns and grenades), spread out some more bricks, remove the painters tape, add the titan, and then finally sink into my chair feeling relieved that this was all finished. I was pretty tired. I put in a marathon session when I saw the finish line so close.

“I DID IT!” and “DONE!” I said to myself as I almost passed out. Actually, I said it in Japanese. I often talk to myself in Japanese.

It was done. Finally.

Hammers Ruin and Prayers Unheard

I began this project in late June. It was middle/late November when I finished. Almost 5 months exactly. When I committed to this project I made an internal promise to not rush it. And I think I kept that promise. Various factors helped me keep that promise. The biggest was work. I was working midnights. So, during those times it was impossible to work on this project. But that is not to say that I wasn’t thinking about it. In fact, during those nights at work, when I had the time, I would be doing research. Legions, paint schemes, names, stories. I spent a good deal of time devoted to brainstorming this project. Early on I had decided on the name of this titan. Hammers Ruin. I had picked this name around the same time I had made the decision to have it crushing an imperial church. It’s feet coming down like a hammer. Leaving ruin in its wake. 

When I transitioned from just a scenic base to a diorama, particularly when I realized I needed to add extra models, I developed the concept for the story being told. This diorama is titled Prayers Unheard. And the focus of the whole scene is twofold. The titan obviously being most prevalent. But the story itself is actually about  the priest. The lone, nameless, and fanatically loyalist model visible.

In his last moments, as a chaos bombardment and invasion of this unknown war-torn world  occurs, he prays for the emperor’s protection. However, instead of the emperor’s light coming to protect this loyal servant, a God-Engine bearing heretical markings appears before his eyes, as his already ruined church is further destroyed. The arrival of the titan leaves the Priest broken. In more ways than one. Not far behind the titan is a sweeper squad of Iron Warriors. Part of the vanguard.  Searching for prey while pushing towards their unknown destination. 

One slow night at work, I actually wrote all of this into a cheesy short story from the priest’s point of view. Because, why not? I went to all the trouble to establish this scene. Might as well give it some backstory. It goes a little something like this:

Prayers Unheard

    The orbital bombardment started hours prior. Monstrosities of metal streaked the burning sky shortly thereafter. Some were once in the proud service of the God-Emperor of Mankind. Some daemonic, with eyes glowing and emitting infernal sounds. Heretics.

And the prayers are spoken.

The sounds of war in the distance are getting closer. The ground starts to rumble in slow but steady intervals. Always the same mechanical pace. Never slowing. Never hastening. As the tremors get stronger, the sounds of metal clanging can be heard. Immediately after a tremor. Chains… Heavy chains. 

And the prayers must be spoken.

Now there are explosions of sound accompanying the tremors and chains. Weaponry. Massive weaponry. The air seems to vibrate with every salvo. It’s close now. The already wrecked walls, crumbling more. The mechanical sound of actuators and pneumatics come. It is all so deafening. Noise. Constant noise. 

And the prayers grow louder.

A massive shadow envelops everything just before an explosion. Dust and stonework flies everywhere. Nothing can be seen. Nothing can be heard. The senses are in disarray. Up and down are the same.

And the prayers are screamed.

The tremors have stopped. The salvos have stopped. Only the mechanical sounds remain. When the dust thins, and some senses return, a massive apparatus comes into view. A God Engine! Deeply scarred and damaged from countless battles. Corroded… It appears to be rotting. Heretical markings are all over its once revered livery. Legio Krytos. The God Breakers. 

And the prayers are now maniacal. 

The mind is broken. The church is broken. Faith is broken. All is broken. A dull chant now comes from nearby, “Iron within”. Though nothing is heard. The ears are ringing. The chainsword seemingly whirs to life on its own. The hand waves it violently at the hulking, now stationary monstrosity. Death to all heretics. The God-Emperor protects.

And the prayers went unheard.

The sounds of the titans massive weaponry return to life. Preparing for another salvo. The air begins to vibrate again. Stones fall, the ground rustles nearby, and there is a single shot. 

“Iron without”

And the prayers… went unheard…

As in the story, in the unnamed priest’s final moments his mind snaps. He believes his chainsword and faith are enough to fell this traitor monstrosity in front of him. His fanaticism and destroyed senses prevent him from seeing and hearing the actual cause of his demise. A bolt pistol round to the back of the head.

As the Priest meets his end, the remaining members of the squad continue searching for stragglers. While they take care of the leftovers, Hammers Ruin and a single Iron Warrior with an autocannon keep their attention down range. At their true target.

The Shadowspear box marines really had some great poses. While this pose really isn’t anything special for a heavy weapon marine, it worked perfectly for what I wanted.

Final Thoughts

This project took about 5 months from start to finish. I was definitely working at a slow comfortable pace. Even before I decided on the bigger base, this was an expensive model. So, there was no way I was going to make a mistake that would jeopardize, well, anything. In the early months of building and painting, I must have been averaging around 2 hours a day on this. And that time was spread out. Towards the end, around when I was finishing painting the titan itself, I was also working on the diorama. So I would be spending much more time at the desk per day. Even though I was working slowly, I still made mistakes. Luckily none of them were showstoppers.

The amount of time I spent in research mode, I cannot even fathom. I was looking stuff up for hours on end, at all hours of the day. Though usually in the early hours of the morning while at work. As I had a lot of down time during the height of the pandemic. There are so many great resources out there for lore and whatnot. And I’m not just talking about the books. All of the Wiki’s and whatnot are really well maintained. Back when I first started in 40K, the internet was sparse. So we got our lore and whatnot from the limited info provided in the rule books. Later came the novels and websites. The 40K universe is so deep now. 

When I look at everything, I occasionally wonder if I should have done something a different way, or if I missed something. For the most part, the answers are no. But yes, I did miss a couple things. Like not painting the plasma muzzle on the Blastgun. Not sure how I missed that. But I did also forget to paint the bottom of the feet, like, multiple times. But in the end, I really am happy with the way everything is now.

In five months, of course there were frustrations and well, actual pain. I wrecked my nose with resin dust(no matter how many precautions I took) and the smell of epoxy. I sliced my fingers open a couple times. Just about crushed another finger with the super strong magnets. And I also managed to stab myself with plastic cutters. An older but still very useful set was getting stuck a lot. While I was trying to clean them up I accidentally bent the spring mechanism. When I tried to put the spring back in place, everything slipped and I jammed the pointed end directly into my fingernail cuticle. This all happened while my wife was working on a Zoom call. In the same room. I let out one expletive before I realized and ran to the bathroom. I stood there bleeding into the bathroom sink for quite a while as I was trying to stop the blood. Needless to say, I was done for the day after that. Probably should have went to the hospital. Hurt like hell for a few days.

Blood-letting aside, I had a blast with this whole project. From shopping to preparation, all the way to the last days of assembling the diorama. And, in thinking about it now, had I not made that mistake with left leg, this project would be completely different. The titan would just be standing on an oval base with some scenery on it. So I really feel like that hiccup drew a great deal of creativity out of me. Something I have been missing for a long time. That said, I do not relish the idea of doing it again any time soon. Though, someday I would like to build a partner titan for Hammers Ruin. I even have the name picked out. It would be interesting to build a diorama for that one as well. Set on the same world, during the same siege, but in a different area. Maybe a cityscape for that one. I have Hammers Ruin’s scene displayed here and I stop to look at it often. But I definitely do not have room for another one now. 

Well, there it is. Hammers Ruin and Prayers Unheard from day one, all the way to day last. At the time of typing this, this was the most challenging and fulfilling project I have ever attempted. And I think I will still feel great about it for years to come. I am rather glad that I captured the whole process with pictures, so I could properly document it step by step later. Typing this series has been a great trip down memory lane. And this will also help me later. If I decide to build that partner Warhound.

Thanks for reading!

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]


All of these are true except for one:

Robert is: a Hobbyist, a Music Lover, an RPG Gamer, a Mustard Lover, Chaotic Neutral, a Japanese Speaker, a Veteran, an Otaku, a Table Tennis Player, an Anime Fan, an Aviation Professional, a New York Rangers Fan, a Chaos Lover With Loyalist Tendencies.

More about Robert | Robert’s contributions