Building a Behemoth

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behemoth4sNeil designed and built a Behemoth based on two plastic elephant models and a load of epoxy putty.

Read this article to see how he went about creating this great looking model for his Hordes of the Things (HOTT) skeleton army. The finished undead Behemoth looks great. The tips are widely useful as they can be applied to any conversion.


What’s That in the Back of the Cupboard?

behemoth1Recently I have started playing HOTT (Hordes of the Things). For my first army I decided to dig out a box of the old Citadel skeleton army.

This had been gathering dust in the back of the cupboard for the past ten years, waiting for me to paint up a Warhammer Fantasy undead army. When considering a HOTT army, have a look at what figures you may have spare in drawers and cupboards. With a little imagination, you will be surprised what you can put together without having to buy much more.

The boxed set contained about 30 naked skeleton infantry (including archers) plus 10 cavalry/knights with no armour or clothing. This was just enough for me to put together a HOTT army.

I could have painted the army fairly quickly as they were, but I decided the figures needed a bit of decoration before putting them on the battlefield. I decided to give most of the infantry and knights chainmail armour and ragged clothing. This was achieved using the famous “green stuff” epoxy putty from Citadel.

I had always wanted to have a skeleton elephant/mammoth in my proposed Warhammer skeleton army and so of course I wanted one for my HOTT undead army.

 

Start the Behemoth

behemoth2With that in mind I set about planning my HOTT behemoth. I decided fairly quickly that a skeleton elephant would not be the best option as it would be quite labor intensive to sculpt one up.

I couldn’t find any commercially available ones in the Citadel exaggerated 28mm scale. So I decided on a zombie elephant. This was a better option as I could take a normal elephant and convert it with some green stuff.

I was able to pick up two plastic toy elephants for a couple of dollars each which looked like they would suit the scale. If the elephant was a little on the large size it wouldn’t matter as it was a behemoth after all! I picked one for my zombie elephant and then took to it with my scalpel blade, cutting out bits of its body where I wanted to expose the inner organs. I cut away joint areas where the bone would have broken through the rotting flesh.

The elephant was hollow on the inside which cut down a lot on its weight but presented a problem because it left me no surface to build up my green stuff organs and bones. I had to use putty rolled into sheets and stuck to the elephant from the inside. This proved a bit tricky and took a few days as I had to wait for the bits of putty to harden before I could move onto the next hole but finally the holes were all plugged and I could start sculpting the exposed bones and organs. I found some anatomical pictures of the position of elephant organs and skeletal structure off the net and used them as a reference during the sculpting.

Using Epoxy Putty

behemoth3There are a few tips to keep in mind when working with green stuff. Green stuff is just another form of epoxy putty on the market and is the preferred putty used by miniature sculptors.

Like all epoxy putties it is made up of two parts usually different colors that you mix together in equal amounts. Once mixed a chemical reaction take place that eventually hardens the putty.

One advantage of green stuff is that it is a little flexible when cured which helps when making molds of the putty during the miniature making process. You can vary the amount of each colour to slow or speed up the rate of hardening process which can assist you when sculpting.

The trick to sculpting with green stuff is to start small. Add small bits of green stuff at a time to build up the rough shape of what you want to sculpt, if you add too much just cut it off and start again. You are just trying to get the desired shape. Once you have the shape then you can smooth the putty using a paintbrush and some water or spit. You brush the putty and it quickly smoothes up. Once it is smooth you can add texture to the putty making it look like fur or chain mail or clothing.

When the putty is first made up it is very sticky which is good for covering wire armatures when sculpting figures or sticking to white metal for filling gaps or making conversions but loses its stickiness as it hardens. It is easier to smooth once it starts to harden so you want to have your rough shape sorted out during the sticky phase.

behemoth5Green stuff is good for sculpting clothing, hair or fur, chain mail. It is not that good for sculpting swords or blades and sometimes guns. For those pieces it is better to use milliputt, another putty which is more brittle and can be sanded very smooth and can give a sharp edge to a sword.

The pictures show the elephant during the various stages. At one stage I ran out of green stuff and used milliputt for the elephant’s blanket.

I wanted a howdah for skeleton archers to fire down from. This was scratch built using a piece of foam board and toothpicks glued to the back of the elephant using 5 minute Araldite and then covered with green stuff sculpted to resemble bones,wood and strips of leather. Chains were sculpted holding the howdah to the elephant’s back. The elephant was stuck to a thick card base and I textured the base using a paper clay putty called Das.

Once the sculpting was finished I painted the entire model black for an undercoat ready for painting. The painting of the elephant proved quite difficult to get the right effect as there aren’t too many pictures in books or on the net of rotting elephants for reference. I tried a few paint schemes trying to get the effect of the elephant’s grey skin turning slightly green.

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