Skaven Doom Wheel – part ‘kit-bash’ / part scratch build
I love the idea of a doom wheel, but I wanted (as so often I do) to build my own version. And so I began the enjoyable odyssey that making such a mechanical model involves.
I wanted a machine with steam powered locomotion, not scuttling rats like the official model, using (of course) warpstone to heat the steam. I loved the idea that the locomotion itself then generates the power that sparks other warpstone shards to generate lightning. I also wanted a kind of ‘steam-punk’ look.
I needed some bits for the big wheel, so I started with three plastic Pringles tops. Having hoarded a ridiculous amount of ‘rubbish’ (mostly plastic) in many a bits-box, I found a circular thing which fitted neatly inside the lids, which had kind of gear wheel teeth all around it – once part of a VHS video tape. Possibly. As the Pringle lids are waxy and averse to glue of any almost kind, I decided to sew the new component in. Oh, and this was a clever bit – I used masking tape (the paper kind) around the edge of the lids, so that there would be a paper surface to glue wood bits onto and not a waxy plastic ‘unstickable’ surface.
Now I hunted in bits boxes for anything like wheels, gears and any sort of appropriate looking component parts. I cut four sections out of one of the lids, taped up the four rungs thus created, and glued lollipop sticks on. I also began making a boiler type affair out of old lids from water bottles (milliputting the holes) and a funnel out of a GW cannon barrel. I used some wheels to make the main driving wheels that would carry a chain to make the doom wheel trundle round.
I fashioned a rear-platform for the operator to stand on, with the boiler and some control levers. For 45p I bought a thin strip of wood to cut to make the wheel rim, and I got extravagant and bought brass pins from the same modellers shop – that way they could be glued and pinned to the rim (the latter more for appearance’s sake). I made some kind of inner workings by cutting bits of plastic tube and stick, this being the machinery that turns motion into a generating spark for the warpstone to crackle its lightning.
Wood stain is great for lolly sticks and bits of wood, so I didn’t have to paint these sections. It also works well on the brass pin heads.
One warpstone shard was mounted on a rod extending out from between the two wheel sections, with a tube going to it to carry whatever it is skaven send down such tubes to light their warpstone (i.e. haven’t worked out the fluff for this part yet – just like the look of it).
Then I began the mounting for the blades that will stick out in front of the wheel, a frame which will attach to the axle and have two more pieces of warpstone at the sides. (Old skaven sprues provided this – a kind of claw and stone thing that was really to go on the top of standards).
I undercoated the workings and added inner (woodstained) spokes. Woodstained cardboard had to do for the outer rim of the non-gear-riddled wheel, as I could not be bothered carving wood to the same effect. Nor have I the skill. (I’d already cut myself once with a scalpel on this project – there’s a limit to how far I am prepared to suffer for my toy soldiers’ hobby!!).
Here it is completed (well, almost – I intended to ‘tune it up’ later).
Here is a side view showing the flank with the drive chain. There is a wheel on the engine housing behind the boiler, and from this a chain runs to the gear wheel on the axis of the big doom-wheel wheel. (I’m writing a bit like a skaven too, and it is not even deliberate.)
My Warpstone shards were not to everyone’s liking, nor my general approach to painting, but I’d been doing ‘cartoon’-style for so long I didn’t want to stop now. Besides it would fit in with my army better if it was painted like them.
From the front you can see it’s an unforgiving war machine. This should account for the impact hits. As for the S2 attacks, as this is not from giant rat driven but steam powered, bit instead when the lightning is not flaring out there is still a relatively weak warp-static dancing and flickering around between the three shards (thus in the forward arc) – shocks strong enough to deliver these weak-ish attacks.
Here is the other flank. Like I said before, steam (heated by warpstone dust) generates motive power via a boiler and an engine, but then internal gears inside the large wheel generate enough energy to spark the three shards of warpstone to life. The driver stands (as expected) on the steerage deck.
This rear(ish) view shows the two controls. A wheel allows the engineer to alter the steam power, and thus the speed. Well, it’s supposed to, but it’s all a bit random in truth (as per the rules). He can at least frantically try to reduce it by spinning it when it is going a bit too fast, and then when it is going too slow, he can spin wildly in the other direction. The lever at the side jolts the rear wheel and thus changes the engine’s direction.
(When I took the above photos I noticed I had forgotten to paint some bits, like the wheels on the end of the arms. But here they are painted.)