Thursday 15 November 2012

Flunkin' Design School...

Hi, All!

War Flunk - ready for crew... and battle!

I've had a few days off work this week, and in preparation for the big walker project I announced a little while ago, I thought I should try to get a few odds and ends finished and out of the way.

It turns out that I have been suffering from a bout of Modellers' Disease - the main symptom of which is the habitual buildup of unfinished ideas, each one abandoned in favour of a newer and more interesting one, until the workload becomes unmanagable...

Sound familiar to any of  you?

Anyway, I had let the Flunks I started some time ago languish on my shelf. "Enough!" I cried. Inwardly. And I set about finishing the big bull.

Stubby little horns are replaced with nice spiky ones...

Firstly: I wasn't happy with the stubby little horns around the 'fan' this big fellow displays. I wanted something far more impressive. Browsing my Big Box O' Bits, I found GW Elven archers sprues held the answer - nice ornate, pointy bows... Making sure I had enough identical ones, I cut these into halves, carefully removed the horns I had sculpted onto the Flunk and replaced them.

"Nice one," I cryeth. Inwardly.

A sheet of plastic board is textured as planking.

And then it was on to the howdah...

I might previously have made this from balsa, but for strength, I decided to use plastic. Using a sheet of 1mm thick styreme, I was able to get a wood grain effect by scraping the sheet all in one direction with very coarse sandpaper. Following this, I scored 4mm wide planks using the point of a sharp knife, dragged sideways. This created grooves without leaving an upward-turned edge.

A frame is constructed for the howdah.

Next, I built a frame for the howdah across the back of the Flunk. At this stage, the frame was removable.

Planking is applied.

Planking completed the basic shape and the howdah began to take form.

Balsa corners and brass reinforcings are added. The front gantry will eventually house the driver.

Now the structure of the howdah was reinforced with brass sheet, studded with rivets. Square panels were also added, by way of providing armour and decoration.

Two storeys high... with a rifleman for scale.

I wanted the structure to have two storeys. A tower was built for the centre and surrounded with a curtain of brass sheet to add a little more decoration and colour to the model.

The basic howdah, as the paint goes on. I opted for copper for the reinforcing. It's bright and colourful - as suits the Wutha F'Kahwi tribe.

And so began the painting...

Copper adorns the creature's horns and the howdah.

Once the planking and armour were painted, I glued the howdah in place and gave some thought to further detailing. The straps beneath the howdah were not enough on their own, so I added chains as well. This was a very fiddly process, but well worth the effort. You may recall I did something very similar for the swing-bridge in the neck of HMSW Gargantua.

Chains and rings... Time consuming and fiddly stuff.
The chains are glued in place.

...and painted.

It wasn't helpful to discover that somehow my pliers have become magnetised... The chain kept moving of its own accord...

Flunkee, undercoated.

With the howdah in place, I turned my attention to the means of steering the beast. A driver - or Flunkee, to give him his correct title - was put together and painted, and shackles and reins constructed around the Flunk's great horns.

Flunkee, in place - and in control!

The reins were made from brass foil, as with my earlier dinosaur cavalry. The shackles around the horns are also brass foil, but with the edges folded in to give a greater thickness.

The finished model.
A Hydrothermicopter's-eye view...

Finally, the reins et al were painted. And hey presto! A completed Flunk! Now all that remains is to provide a crew...

All in all, pretty good. One more project ticked off the list.

The great war-flunk thunders on...

That's all for now!

All the Best!


  1. For shame, Col. Your beastie looks great . . . but you failed utterly, sir.

    I mean, what is the rivet count?

    -- Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff. Tremendously sorry to disappoint you, Sir!

      I didn't keep a rivet count on this one, as:

      A - It's not (strictly speaking) a machine.

      B - All but six rivets were pressed into brass, rather than glued-on by hand. Which kind of negates them, I feel.


      As I have just returned home from my local watering hole, and since my goodwill is directly proportional to the number of pints I have imbibed (six, to be exact, unless my ability to count faltered at five...) I have just conducted a posthumous rivet count, so to speak...


      Rivet Count: 216!

      I trust this satisfies your rivet fetish and I can sleep soundly in the knowledge that I haven't unduly upset anyone.

      All the Best!

    2. I thank you most kindly, Colonel sir. I too shall now sleep contented in the knowledge that 216 rivets decorate the model.

      -- Jeff

    3. Thank the Miniature Gods for that! I'm knackered and want to go to bed!


  2. Tremendous work Colonel, but of all the beastly things that could have happened, magnetised pliers – the Miniature Gods can be so cruel!

    1. Thanks, Michael!

      Miniature Gods? Nonsense, man - I'm a scientist!

      It must have been aliens.

  3. Simply marvelous, as usual!
    The spiky 'horns' are far more adequate for 'fans' supposed to be an impressive / deterring 'display'.

    1. Thank you, Abdul.

      Yes - I'm much happier with the spiky fans. They seem to explode around the flunk's head - far more dazzling and scary.

      Glad you like them!

  4. A weird wild and wonderfully conceived and constructed, and colored Flunk. Your imagination and modeling ability overfloweth for sure!

    1. Thank you, Jay, for your kind alliteration!

      Much appreciated, as always!

  5. Wow!! A truly impressive piece of art, dear Colonel! Such a beast and its equipage would surely have drawn a poem from Kipling himself, had he but seen one. Hmm, I can see the title... "The Flunks of Wutha F'Kahwi (are Mighty to Behold)" =)

    1. A J, old chap! Good to hear from you!

      In the manner of Good Ol' Kip, I'm sipping a brandy as I write this...

      Very pleased that you like the Flunk. More to come, of course!

  6. Tremendous work Joe! Makes me want to finish my Mumak though!

    Thanks for showing the plastic plank detail - I would have sworn that was Balsa if you hadn't shown your 'how-to' guide...

    I love all the little details. My only critique - I still can't quite come to accept the beasts head... it just looks, well, odd! What if you added some kind of frontal central horn, a bit like a triceratops or the 'Beasts' that pulled Grond in Return of the King...

    1. Hi Scott!

      You're welcome for the 'how-to'. Plastic is far more reliable than balsa for this sort of thing.

      I accept your dislike of the flunk's head, but I can assure you (after years of field work, of course) that this is exactly what flunks look like...

  7. Absolutely utterly cool. Where your imagination dreams these beauties up from (and I use the word 'beauty' rather loosely in the flunks' homely case), I don't know.

    1. Thanks, Roly!

      Beauty? Beast? It's all subjective - as anyone who drinks with me on a regular basis will tell you!

  8. I hope you don't mind, but I have to choose five of my favorite blogs to give the Liebster Blog Award to and you are one of those five! There are absolutely no strings attached, awkward questions to answer or any obligation to take part on your part. I hope to post my chosen 5 tomorrow.

    1. Hi Michael!

      Thanks. It's an honour to be considered for an award - you're more than welcome to suggest my blog!

  9. Colonel, I've Liebsterized you! Check out my new post.

  10. Amazing! Unusual and great !