Now, if you're a marine player of any kind, and 75% of you are, (Thanks GW!) then you're probably at least passingly interested in playing 30k. If you've been a marine player for a decade or more, and you're a first founding legion, chances are, you've already amassed all the toys you need to play 30k. Kudos.
For everyone else though, there's a problem. That problem is called being an adult. Being an adult means that you have to have disposable income to spend on toy soldiers, and sometimes, when you see the price tag on forgeworld models in British Pounds Sterling, you get this sharp twitch of pain in your butt, where your wallet used to be.
Sometimes, you tell your wife how much that Reaver titan on your desk actually costs, and you end up sleeping on the couch that night. Sometimes, you walk into a dark alley behind the Forgeworld studio and you find a couple of rubber molds mugging a defenseless credit card.
Of course, not everyone has those kind of problems. Some people stay single, don't have kids, or they have good jobs that let them buy all the toys they want. That's great for them. I'm not talking to them. I'm talking to all the average jerks who thought it would be cool to go into business for themselves and open up a bits store because they love the hobby, only to have Tom Kirby slam a car door on their fingers a couple years later. (That's just a friendly cheap shot at MBG if you haven't been paying attention to GW politics lately.)
Budget Betrayal: Play 30k without paying 30k- Finding the cheapest airline tickets
So for our first little look at figuring out ways to play 30k without a forgeworld price tag, let's talk about the storm eagle, your main flyer in 30k, and one that also became available to loyal marines and CSM in 40k through imperial armor in their flyer book.
Stormy himself is 90 pounds and shipping and handling from the good old mother country if you buy him from Forgeworld. That's not that bad compared to some other Forgeworld goodies, but I think we can do better... Unless you're Australian. If you're Australian, 90GBP is looking pretty good right now.
Our buddy Rob on the other hand, who lives in the good old USA, will be perfectly happy to sell you a Blood Angel storm raven for 66 bucks, the storm raven being the kit that the storm eagle is based on.
So, provided we can figure out a way to make that ugly brick into a storm eagle, that's just one more cool model we get to add to our army list.
Fortunately, there is a way- Lets look at some pics of my first Storm Eagle frankenstein, Angel of Chemos.
Forgive the average paintwork. I phoned this sucker in because I hate painting vehicles. I naturally also painted in the window to avoid the hassle of painting the air crew, because I am lazy.
The key differences between a storm raven are and a storm eagle are pretty straight forward.
1) The storm eagle doesn't have that ridiculous roof turret. Easy fix- Don't glue it on. I used a round base to fill the turret hole.
2) Missile racks. The Storm Eagle has a double pod of big missiles on the roof in the back. I think the ideal missile battery to use would be a whirlwind launcher, but hey, didn't have it lying around. I went with havoc launchers, which are a little flaccid compared to how big the vengeance launcher is supposed to be, but they get the job done. if I could do it again, I would skip the havocs though and scare up some other missiles. Havoc launchers are solid gold in chaos armies and are an upgrade on pretty much every vehicle in 30k as well, and one that is always worth it. If you own spare havoc launchers, you're doing something wrong.
3) The extra length on the fuselage that changes a storm raven into a storm "Hey this thing actually looks like a flying brick instead of a flying potato!"
Now, I know the question from the audience here is, "What are the new dimensions of the converted birdie, does it match, and is it easy to do?"
Well the good news is, as I've said before, is that I'm lazy. So if it was hard, believe me, I'd skip it.
Fortunately, it isn't. In order to turn a raven to an eagle, it takes 3 inches. I've measured it off and compared it side by side to a legitimate forgeworld eagle, and it comes out great. The best part? That's pretty much all of the work right there.
To build a Storm Eagle-Raven, simply construct the fuselage assembly as normal, but don't glue on the wings or the back panel of the fuselage.
Next, get some Styrene sheet, or if you have it on hand, the warhammer regiment tray kits. I prefer the sheet styrene, its cheaper. Its also called "plasticard" for all you kids that use all the dumb names GW gives every hobby supply when they license and re-brand it. You can find it at pretty much any real hobby store- By that I mean, they actually have to sell hobby supplies like model kits, railroading stuff, etc. Most comic/game shops and GWs won't have it.
Chop out your styrene or basing tray into two 3x3" squares, and carefully glue them to the top and bottom fuselage of the raven, to extend it. Then, glue the rear panel of the fuselage onto the ends of these. You should now have an incredibly flimsy and fragile looking wingless storm raven limo. The next stage is to cut some more styrene to fit, and panel off the empty space, which will reinforce it and strengthen it up. The nice part is that if you screw this up and it doesn't look so good, its not a big deal- All of those parts are going to be hiding under the wings when you glue them on, and the Emperor, in his wisdom, decided to give us big, fat, brick like wings to hide our mistakes under. Thanks dad!
To give you a better idea of what I'm talking about, let's have a look at my second storm raveagle, which has learned from some of the mistakes of the first and hasn't been ruined by my apathetic paint job yet.
For this second one, you can see some aesthetic changes that mostly serve to cover up mistakes and pretty up the bird. I got a pair of valkyrie rocket pods for the vengeance launcher from a friend, and while they're still not quite as powerful looking as what the vengeance launcher is supposed to be, they do look a little more sexy and business-like than the havoc launcher set up on Angel, so I consider it a win.
I also used the regiment tray kit to panel off some of the fuselage and beef up the profile of the roof a little more, covering up the fuselage extension piece, and paneling over the sockets where the wings attach on the storm raven. It helped to smarten up that space marine 'flying brick' look that we all love so much.
The final upgrade was that I took the 2 discarded intake manifolds from the stormraven kits and put them on the side of the fuselage. This is a non-canon addition, but I like how it looks and it gave the bird a little more mass and some hot rod effect. Most importantly though, it covers up the paneling work on the sides of the fuselage.
Alright, so how did it work out in the end? Well, let's have a look at the raw totals, we'll say without S&H.
Forgeworld Storm Eagle gunship- 90GBP, googled to the current exchange rate, $137 American, for one bird.
Now, compare the shopping list to the frankenstein eagle.
Stormraven gunship from Spikey Bits (free plug) $66. bag of styrene sheet from a hobby shop. $3. Total damage- right under 70 bucks before tax. Provided you got the missiles hanging around for your vengeance launcher. That's about half a forgeworld bird, and you don't have to get it shipped from foggy old London town. Not bad for a day's work.
Lets see how it looks when we throw a whirlwind in the mix to get that fat stack of pie plate hatred.
66 for the gunship from Rob, 46 for the Whirlwind, 3 for the styrene, that's $115, and you're getting a leftover rhino for your marines. Not beating the forgeworld stuff by much this time, but if you needed that rhino for your marine army anyways, you're still winning.