"What is mercy? Does it taste like marrow?" - Phage, Tyranid Hive Mind

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Assembly Notes: Carnifex

Use Pictures!

You should look up pictures of the model in the Tyranid Codex as well as keep the box the model came in close by. The picture on the cover of the box and the pictures in the Codex will help guide you as to the intended posture and appearance, which can be very helpful, even if you want to convert the model.



Method #1



Remove all flash and scrub the parts clean with dish soap and water.

Note: You can substitute epoxy resin putty or your favorite adhesive for "glue" as you see fit.

A. Assembling the legs and pelvis

I like to use pins, putty, and superglues to assemble these pieces. See the Pinning for the technique.

  1. Pin the feet to the base and the legs to the pelvis.
  2. Test the pin lengths and insure that they are the proper length and orientation.
  3. Superglue pins in the feet and legs.
    1. Grip a pin with smooth needle nose pliers.
    2. Apply some superglue (gel or liquid) to the tip of the pin
    3. Insert the pin into the leg (or foot) and let it dry.
    4. Repeat until both feet and legs have pins secured in them.
  4. Prepare a pea-sized ball of putty.
  5. Place a tiny ball of putty in the socket of one leg, pressing it down so that the pin pokes through.
  6. Apply some superglue to the tip of the pin.
  7. Insert the pin into the hip of the pelvis and press it into the proper orientation
  8. Hold the position until the initial curing is finished (15-60 seconds).
  9. Repeat with the other leg.
  10. Trim away excess putty.
  11. Smooth/sculpt putty as needed.
  12. Wait for putty to cure.

B. Assembling the Torso and Pelvis

I strongly recommend that you fill the torso with epoxy resin putty for this joint. You can mask the gaps and it will also be a very strong bond.

  1. Matche the backplate and chest piece together to get an idea of the amount of gap to fiill.
  2. Mix a small amount of putty, enough to make a large pea-sized ball of putty for each torso you plan to assemble.
  3. Depending on the putty you use, you might want to wait for it to cure for 10 or 15 minutes until it gets a little bit more rubbery, that's how long I would wait for Milliput Standard Yellow/Gray.
  4. Press the putty into the center interior of the backplate and spread it out a little to the sides where it will match to the chest piece.
  5. Mash them together very hard with your hands. The excess putty should squeeze out. If it does not, pull them apart, pull the putty back out, make a larger ball and try again.
  6. Trim the excess gently with a knife and double ball stylus. The final tool used on a surface should be the double ball stylus. You will need to use water to get a smooth finish on the putty, but very little water. I alternate back and forth between the two ball sizes as needed.
  7. Use the stylus to ride the fold of the neck into the putty to create smooth transitions from the metal pieces to the putty and create neck folds. I start with the large ball and move to the smaller ball. If the putty is too soft, you might want to let it cure for 5 or 10 minutes and try again. Don't forget to re-moisten the stylus with water as you go to keep the putty from sticking to it. However, remember that too much water will turn the putty into a useless mush.
  8. Repeat the same process with the pelvis.
Compare the original folds sculpted into the back with those I created with putty. I am no sculptor, this was pretty easy to do. You just need patience.


C. Put pins in the hips and feet

Because the torso is so heavy and it is leaning forward such that it's center of mass is not over the pelvis, I decided to use a pin for strucural integrity. See my page on pinning. I put pins in both hip knobs and drilled appropriate holes in the hips of the legs. I also put pins into the feet.

D. Prepare the base

I used a washer for my base because I use magnets to secure my minis and the Carnifex is a large heavy miniature with a center of mass poorly balanced in front of its body. The plastic base was too thin and weak to hold a pin well enough for my tastes. So I went to the same place that I bought my 1" diameter washers and picked up an appropriate-sized washer.

What is an appropriate size? The "official" GW base is 60 mm in diameter. Unfortunately, I could not get metric sizes at my local store. I had a choice of slightly smaller or larger. I chose slightly smaller because if someone gets picky I can always play as though the base is a hair larger, but it's pretty hard to trim a solid steel washer down in the middle of a game. The washer I use is 57.5 mm in diameter.

Pour a little paint onto your palette, preferably a dark one. Loosely assemble the Carnifex and align the legs properly. Hold it over the washer and decide on the orientation you will finally want. Dip the foot pins into the paint and touch them to the washer in the desired orientation. You should now have spots marked where the foot pins will go. Wash off the feet.

Drill holes in the washer where you marked it. Test the pins and adjust as needed until the pins can be inserted reasonably easily.

E. Attaching Body to the Legs and Base

OK, by now you should have pins in the hips and feet and appropriate holes in the washer and legs. Grab a ball stylus, pin, and/or whatever you like to use to work with putty in small areas. Mix up some epoxy resin putty (I use Milliput), a pea-sized ball is adequate. You should have tested all of the pin joints and their fitting by now, do not bypass this, you will regret it.

Note: you do not need to use putty at this stage. You can just use superglue.

There are so many ways to adhere objects together. In this particular case, I used putty, aided by superglue. In the long run, I have found 5-minute epoxy works best overall for a strong hold and if used properly it can be exploited for tiny gap filling of joints that are joined with epoxy.

Press a small ball of putty over the pin and using a tool or even your fingernail, press it down so that the pin sticks out a little bit.

If you are not using putty, then move on to the next step.

Apply some cyanoacrylate glue, e.g. superglue to the pin. Superglue can accelerate the curing of putty, so be careful.

Now you should press the leg mostly into place and position it properly. To facilitate this, I then apply superglue to the foot pins and insert them into the washer.

At this stage, if you are using putty, then position the torso and legs in their final position, squeeze them into place and trim away the excess putty. Keep the stylus moist as you work. You can put down some superglue to accelrate curing. Press and hold for a few minutes.

If you are just using superglue, you can use a trick of sorts. Rotate the torso slightly forward, this pushes the hip joints open and you can apply some more superglue. Then rotate the torso back into its proper position to close the joints once again. Press and hold for a few minutes.

Now I just hang the carnifex upside down by its washer. I hang it off my light with another washer to keep it in place. I showed the sprue and wooden post setup as a possible alternative. This may not be a necessary step, but the way the hip joints respond to rotation of the torso, I think this is less likely to allow sagging of the torso, as compared to a standing position, to compromise the hip joints. After about 30-60 minutes, it should be plenty good to go. Luckily, gluing the feet in at the same time makes this whole process much more likely to work right without difficulty.

I cannot say this is the best method, just the method I tried, and it worked.

F. Attaching the Mandible

I just superglued these in place. If they come off I can always repair them or reinforce them. Until then, I will just try and resist the urge to hold him by his mandibles <grin>.

G. Attaching the Arms

This part is pretty easy, jsut pick the arms you like, drill holes, and glue them to the pins. My advice is to decide on the positions of all of the limbs before gluing any of them, especially if you have a gun. That gun eats up a lot of space and gets in the way. Drilling the limbs to exactly match a desired arm position can be a real pain, so alternatively, you can use 5-minute epoxy, which I did with my second Carnifex.

Making a Cool Base

He can kill just about anything, but he tends to die long before he can smell his food. So I thought a fast mover would be a good choice. A Space Marine Biker! So I cut some the front wheel off of a Space Marine Bike and clipped a small amount off of a Space Marine Biker head. I pinned both for stability, put putty on the base, inserted the pieces. Played with the putty some more and voila!


Attaching Biomorph #1 - Extended Carapace

This was a hard decision. I could not find anywhere that looked good so I went with the back. The details are on my Conversions - Extended Carapace page.