NB: This post will be a bit of a work in progress as I spot details that need to be clarified or receive queries.
Back in early 2019, I spent a while thoroughly enjoying building and storymaking around a Forgeworld Revenant Titan. I even blogged about it – https://thesilentjudge.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/so-jae-decided-to-build-an-eldar-titan/
I enjoyed doing that so much, it gave me lots of project ideas as well as several story threads (which I will follow up on, one day). So, when an opportunity to pick up a battered but complete Phantom Titan came along, I jumped at the chance. I toyed with the idea of doing a Warlock conversion, but as well as being a crappy painter, I can’t scratchbuild well. Conversion and adaptation are my forte. A Warlock conversion required a specialised head that, after a lot of consideration, I had to admit there was nothing I could adapt one from.
Fast forward barely ten days and, by sheer chance, I acquired an original Merlyn Warlock Titan head, which had been made and released for the Armorcast Phantom Titan. Game on, I thought. (So blase… So clueless.)
When the Phantom turned up, I had a moment. You know, a full-on ‘what the f*ck have I gotten myself into?’ thing. I thought the Revenant had prepared me… There is no comparison. The Phantom Titan is ridiculously, laughably, gloriously, unrepentantly huge. And I had the temerity to think I could just casually modify it to take an old titan head that’s bigger than a Revenant Titan’s upper torso?
I took a day to consider. Either concede and sell the lot off, or get my arse in gear and have a go. In the end, I couldn’t resist. I had to try. I also decided to take a lot of photos, documenting the successes and failures. This is the story so far (I haven’t commented on every picture, it being a build process. I will highlight any details that may be of interest/use, though.)
NOTE: IF YOU HAVE RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS, WORKING WITH RESIN (ESPECIALLY OLDER MIXES LIKE MERLYN/ARMORCAST) REQUIRES A RESPIRATOR. NOT A MASK, A PROPER RESPIRATOR. I NEARLY ENDED UP IN HOSPITAL. DON’T RISK IT.
The titan I got is a genuine Forgeworld item, but came with no instructions. I found a couple of pages on the net, and this imgur entry was also a significant help: https://imgur.com/r/Eldar/EAb41Gd
And away I went –
The classic Warlock build totes a psychic lance and power fist. While the lance wasn’t too much of a problem, getting a decent fist without hunting down and then mutilating an Armorcast original bothered me until I found a Dreamforge articulated claw.
The claw went well, and I started to get a grip on the base that this monster would require. I’d been intendeding to use a picture frame like for the Revenant base, but the Phantom is just too heavy. In the end, I found a chunk of oak that had been lying around from some abandoned project. That became the base.
My intention to have the titan standing with one foot on the Necron-style pyramid I’d found proved to be a non-starter. I just didn’t like the angles that it would place the feet/legs at without the pyramid being stove in, and I liked it too much to mess it up.
I picked up a couple of packets of HO-gauge railway diorama concrete roadway sections and spent a tedious evening designing, laying out, and then glueing crazy paving down.
I still wanted to have one of the feet raised. A chance eBay purchase of a Necron monolith gave me an idea. That Monolith spent a half-hour being carefully heat gunned into collapse. The footprint space was slowly pressed into the softened mass using the top of a claw hammer.
Having read about the problem people had with putting/keeping the nine-part feet together, I reverted to old school methods and used Araldite Rapid, turning each foot into a solid block after working out the position they needed to be in. I proved the fixing when I dropped one of them from a metre up onto tiles: it bounced and landed otherwise unharmed.
What with the drying times of greenstuff and purplestuff, I found myself able to run several build threads simultaneously, working on details while a major component cured.
Component-wise, I picked up half a dozen eBay bit boxes to provided detail pieces. The smaller soulstones and necron crystals are by Spellcrow, and the purple soulstones are repurposed acrylic craft jewellery.
Structural rods are 4mm brass, fixing rods are 3mm brass. Complex or loaded fixings use threaded 3mm rod for extra grip. All are locked in using Araldite Rapid. Structural joints will usually have a purplestuff liner in addition to rods.
The psychic lance tube is 2mm wall acryclic pipe.
Most of this build was done by eye. However, the last photo here shows what happens when the eye and the hand don’t synchronise. The rod through the pelvis emerged visibly. After a little consideration, I decided that re-drilling would weaken the critical part, so I decided to add an equivalent assembly on the other side rolled up out of greenstuff, so the twin rods would appear as just a part of this ancient titan.
Unbeknownst to me, the resin tiles I’d got to act as stacked spacers for the shoulders actually varied in thickness. This little detail became glaringly obvious when I first tried to align the holofin arrays. After a lot of swearing, I tore the duff spacers off, fetched a ruler, and spent a thrilling while sorting and measuring resin tiles. Then I carefully built new spacers.
Grinding down the bases of the holofins as the curvature no longer fitted the neck armour, I started off using thin greenstuff to create the side panels.
Which turned out to be a non-starter. The slightest knock and the little panels fell off! So I went back to old school methods again, using Araldite Rapid and layered paper.
I thought about what I was trying to portray and eventually decided that having everything lining up perfectly on the torso and shoulder joints didn’t reflect a gigantic titan on the move. So I let the pieces settle as they would, only re-doing if the piece drifted a long way past acceptable variance.
The Warlock Titan is even more of a top heavy beast than the Phantom. Given the needs of manoeuvrability, I decided it could do with an extra boost to provide dynamic balancing.
So I repurposed the jump jet pod from a Revenant, along with the ventral intakes.
And that’s where I paused the build, as the next phase requires taking the whole thing apart into major sections and detailing every piece (smaller soulstones on the powerfist, smoothing surplus epoxy, etc). The titan projects are to give me a couple of weeks off from writing. So far, this Warlock has taken me around four months.
Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it’s meant to be a distraction, not a cause of it’s own. My non-writing hobbies are just that: things I do to stop myself writing. (I could write all the time, and the quality would gradually decline – even the ridiculously prolific storymaking engine in my head needs time to spin back up.)
On top of that, the consequences of working resin in a confined environment are not beneficial for me. So this titan build will resume in Summer 2021 when I can work in the kitchen with the back door open.