If you followed the Thunderhawk assembly blog entries last October, then you’ll know I love using power tools. Today I got to play with some power tools and start construction of my Thunderhawk’s base. Read on for a step by step account.
In the first picture above you can see I’ve chosen a plywood base. I used wood glue to stick two pieces of 5mm thick ply together. Make sure you stick them together so the grains run in different directions. I left this to dry for a week. I measured up the base, drew on some guidelines to find the centre and drew a circle. Using my trusty old jigsaw I carefully cut the circle out. I angled the blade so I would get a tapered base edge.
With the base cut out, I drilled a pilot hole in the centre. I don’t have a work bench, so I used my garden bench. Close enough! I just made sure I drilled between the slats.
I recently purchased a 20mm forstner bit. It is fantastic! Using the pilot hole as a guide I bore out a 20mm wide hole. You can get larger bits, so they’re perfect for display bases for your round slotta bases.
I made sure I didn’t drill all the way through, so when I glued the acrylic rod to the base it would have a large contact area to adhere to. It’s not a snug fit so I pushed modelling putty into the hole first with some superglue. This creates a strong snug join which gives me a degree of flexibility allowing me to make sure the rod is perfectly straight and upright.
I’ve mentioned previously about a desert base with a toy dinosaur skeleton sticking out of the sand, but I’ve had a change of heart and instead have decided on secret underground chaos base. Chequer plate steel, entry hatch, ventilation and sewage pipes.
I landscaped the base with Fimo clay which air dries. I used this stuff on my hierophant bases and discovered that when it cures, it shrinks. My bases suffered and started to curl upwards or the clay would lift off of the wood. As mentioned earlier, I’ve glued 2 sheets of plywood together with the grains running in different directions, I’m confident this base will remain perfectly flat. However, I won’t add sand to this base until it has cured properly in over a weeks time. If the clay lifts off the wood I’ll patch up with putty before sanding and painting. You’ll notice I masking taped the flying stand before covering the base in Fimo clay. Once painted I’ll peel this off.
I bought my acrylic rod from here. I had a brainwave on how to mount my hawk to the flying stand and it involved hacksawing the top of the pole at roughly 45º.
Using my 20mm forstner bit I bore a hole into base of the thunder hawk. Then I drilled 2 holes either side of the hull to glue a metal rod. I used a coat hanger for the rod. With the top of the flying stand being angled I can alter the ships position just by rotating the base. It can be perfectly level, or banking slightly left or right or it can can nose diving! I’m really pleased with my idea. Because it’s not fixed I can take the ship off the stand and place it on the battlefield.
Here’s a quick snap of the bluebird flying nice and level. It’s really sturdy and rigid and doesn’t wobble at all. I may shorten the height of this flying stand. It’s pretty high. It’s twice the height of my Storm Raven.
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Genius idea with the support pole for the variety of angles.
How balanced is it with the weight of the thunderhawk?
I've got it on sweet spot, so really balanced. The model is heavy and the base is pretty weighty too.
I'll take some more pics of different angles when it's completed, it won't do nose up climbing for some reason. I think my metal rod is about 5 mm too far forward to allow for a nose up position, but this is cool, because it's spot on for perfectly level flight. I quite like the nose down position because the turbo laser is level when the nose is down. It looks like it's going for a titan killing shot!
Thanks for the good article and the detailed list of materials and where to get them.
I have a question about the internals of the thunderhawk mounting. You state: Then I drilled 2 holes either side of the hull to glue a metal rod. I used a coat hanger for the rod.
I'd like more detail on the drilling. It seems that the side of the fuselage is holding the weight of the model. Are they really thick enough / strong enough to hold that weight? Also the rod, that's just in the side, that doesn't go into the wings etc? It seems that those two rods are from the prior article about mounting the wings, though I may be mistaken.
Seem to be these ones, but unsure:
Oh, one more question, why use two sections of 5mm plywood and not just one thick 10mm one?
Hi Phil, you're right the holes I used were from the original wing mounting guide. I mentioned in that original guide that I didn't need to use both rods as the single rear rod is strong enough to support the wings. This new rod using the old holes I drilled doesn't go into the wings. It's flush with the body. It's been up in the air since sunday and shows no signs of coming down. No stress fractures or cracks.
The reason I used 2 x5mm pieces of board are explained in this guide, but to briefly recap it is so I can glue them with the wood grains going in different directions making for a piece of wood that is solid and more likely to stay flat after shrinking clay or being coated in pva glue have been added. It's belt and braces stuff, but I did say my phant bases experienced warping so I just wanted to avoid that with this.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.
I see, thanks for the clarification. I'm hoping to pick one up after I finish my marine company. It's nice to see such a detailed guide and have a good interaction with an expert.
No expert here mate. Just an enthusiastic hobbyist who doesn't mind having a go. I enjoy the interaction. It's no different to talking to hobby mates at the gaming club and sharing ideas.
- Inquistor Steinmann
Excellent article – well written and very informative. Given its size I think the T'hawk looks to be about the right height on its current flying stand, especially if its as secure as you say. And thanks for pointing out a good use of a Forstner bit for cutting slottabase holes in display boards… I'll be using that tip soon!
- Neil C
Garfy, can you give anymore specifics about drilling a hole in the bottom of the Thunderhawk with a forstner bit? I will be getting a Thunderhawk soon and the prospect of drilling the bottom worries me. Is there no danger of splitting the resin?
Hi Neil, this special drill bit kind of skims the top layer off gradually. It's difficult to explain, but it's not like a normal drill. All I did was drill a small pilot hole with a 4mm drill bit for wood then drilled from the inside out. No damage what so ever.
- Neil C
Ok cool. That's reassuring, thanks. It would be gutting to spend that much on a model and wreck it trying to make a hole for the stand! 🙂
Great work on the Thunderhawk btw. I've been keeping up with a keen interest.
Garfy, did you clamp down the hull? noob is noob.
and when making a hole in a thunderhawk, I wouldn't want it spinning in place!!
Thanks Neil for the kind words. Means a lot. It's helping me get through this beast of a project.
No clamp required Phill. Use the drill slowly. No hammer action or first spinning required. It's only resin, take it easy and nobody gets hurt 😉
Wow,it was looking really good before, but seeing it flying with the Stormraven and Stormtalon right next to it looks amazing. Plus the base looks like it's going to be great. Very nice.
Hi Garfy, I obtained a thunderhawk recently and I have been struggling with the wings, I see in this photo here: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-eX5NXEOQdFQ/UGd250Q4mXI/AAAAAAAACLc/AiB-Nf8gXXM/s1600/IMG_0833.JPG your wings do not sit perfectly flush with the hull, is that intentional or just for the photograph?
I've just checked my thunder hawk and they do push up real close. The gap isn't as bad as the photograph you mentioned. I wanted removable wings so even a small gap is unavoidable.
Thank you. It's good to know to not expect perfection, that saves a lot of frustration.
What diameter is the base by the way?
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I would suggest leaving it higher than your storm rvens, that way they can fit under it and you are less likely to find yourself having stuff bunching up or getting in the way of eachother.
Also it is so big it will dominate the area around it being so high up.
Just make sure it is stable 😀