Not many people are crazy enough to attempt scratchbuilding a model as huge as a Tau Manta for Warhammer 40k Apocalypse …but we definitely are!
Follow our journey as we build our own version of the largest Warhammer 40k model available.
It all started with a Warhammer 40k Apocalypse game in which each player was going to be fielding 3,000 points.
One of the players was new to the game and only had a 1,000 point Tau army, and so we thought an easy way to spend a whole load of points would be on a super heavy vehicle.
Looking on the Forge World website we realized that the Tau Manta would be perfect, its bristling with guns and is almost an army in its own right, but the £960 price tag put it far out of our reach.
No doubt the Forge World model is beautifully detailed both inside and out, better than anything we could knock up before the Apocalypse game, BUT since we were looking for a quick and cheap option, we decided to scratchbuild our Manta using household & craft materials.
We started by working out the dimensions of the official model which are 25 inches long and a 34 inch wingspan, this thing is huge! We then drew out an actual size outline of a Manta on several smaller sheets of foamboard that we had fixed together to make one large sheet, and then we cut it out. We were tempted to leave it like that and just have the outline of the Manta flying around the board, but we soon decided to go the whole hog and make it 3D.
After finishing off a few bowls of cereal we had plenty of card for making our 3D shapes and details. We didn’t worry too much about measuring things exactly, or copying the details of the actual model, we just built the rough shapes we wanted out of the cereal box card and glued it all together with PVA glue.
Since the Tau Manta comes equipped with a devastating array of weaponry we needed to find something to represent that on our model. in this case we went for cotton bud tubes for the many barreled burst cannons and parts of pens for the larger cannons. As you can see below, at this point it was well on its way to being ready for an Apocalypse battle, and had only cost us a few pounds for some foamboard.
Once we had the shape of our Manta built, we gave the whole thing several coats of watered down PVA glue to seal it. This was especially important since we had used foamboard in its construction and spray paint destroys foam. Once it was dry we sprayed the whole model with grey primer as shown below.
Looking pretty good! Below you can see some more shots of our card and foamboard Manta.
In the next couple of pictures we included a Space Marine Razorback and a single Space Marine from Warhammer 40k just to show you how big this thing is!
Since The Tau Manta is a super heavy flyer, we knocked up a giant flight stand for our model from some random junk we had laying around and primered that grey too.
Well you can imagine our opponents faces when we turned up with this. It totally dwarfed the other super heavies on the table and was great fun to use in game.
We found that we were able to build our Manta in a very short space of time compared to other projects we had worked on in the past, primarily because we didn’t worry about getting every detail correct or planning every part, we just dived in. It’s surprising what you can do if you motivate yourself and use your time well, why not give your own wargaming project a go, and let us know how you get on?
We’re not going to stop with the Manta, here at Graven Games we’ve got a whole load of ideas for conversions and scratchbuilds and we look forward to sharing them with you in the near future.