Modeling: Chimera

While trolling around the depths of my hard drive I found this today. Following two hours or reformatting I got it to this stage! I hope this gives everyone some great ideas for stuff to do to their tanks, over the years I have taken some great inspiration from this article which was on the GW US Site years ago... Legal stuff at the bottom!

Lasgun Ports

Before assembling the main hull of the Chimera, there was one thing that I had to deal with first: the lasgun ports. Instead of having all the weapons in their fixed positions outside of the vehicle, I decided to glue a piece of plasticard to the inside of the hull to cover the ports. Covering the lasgun ports created more room for hull storage.

Heavy Bolter

I changed the hull-mounted heavy bolter. GW had produced other heavy bolters since the Chimera kit that looked much meaner than this bit – it had to go. I simply clipped off the heavy flamer from the Imperial Vehicle Accessory sprue and cut the muzzle from the cowl. I shaved the cowl smooth and level. I chose a heavy bolter from the Imperial Guard Heavy Weapon sprue, which I cut nearly in half – right between the ammo feed point (about 1 mm behind this area, actually) and the Imperial Eagle (I had to shave a tiny bit of wing off of the gun). I glued this gun to the cowl, which in turn I glued in place on the front armor of the Chimera.

Spare Road Wheel

Many tracked vehicles carry extra wheels and sections of track for quick repairs between skirmishes. Due to their size, these items are very rarely carried within the vehicle (since five or more crew members must squeeze within the belly of the great metal beast). Instead, they are often bolted, screwed, or strapped to the tank’s exterior.

There really isn’t that much available space on the Chimera for a spare road wheel, especially in the rear section of the tank (since I chose to add a 55-gallon drum to that area). Thus, I decided to make use of the front armor, which fits with how US and UK Sherman tank crews did it during WWII. I glued the spare road wheel dead center above the heavy bolter and then wrapped thin strips of plasticard (gluing as I wrapped) around the wheel. Any time plasticard is wrapped and glued in place, be prepared to hold it in place as the plastic glue melts the two surfaces together (avoid gluing your fingers, though).

Extra Track

The extra track itself was very simple to make. I just found a suitable length of track from the sprue and trimmed it down with an X-Acto knife. I glued the track down to the downward-facing front armor. Easy part done! The mechanism to "hold" it in place was much more difficult. I used two strips of plasticard, which I warped at the ends and glued in place over the track. I glued two sets of rivets (four in total) to the ends of these flat bars. On top of this assembly, I glued on two thin strips of plastic rod, over which I added four slightly curved anchors. I added rivets to these anchors as well, albeit the smaller variety. Finally, I added two locking pins and a length of fine jewelry chain.

Gas Cap

I used a leather hole punch to cut out a small disk of plasticard. I drilled through the center of this disk with a pin vise and a large drill bit. I glued the disk down to the top of the hull and cut a very thin piece of plasticard rod to a length that matched the thickness of the plasticard disk. I glued this piece into the hole on the gas cap. This little detail will gave me an excuse to stain my tank’s paint finish like a fuel spill when it comes time to airbrush the finished model.

Engine Vent

While the Chimera already has two exhaust ports (on either side of the side armor), I thought the transport needed some sort of vent to keep heat from building up. While I wanted to use something from the Predator, its vent was too big by at least 1/4”. I tried scratch building one, but that wasn’t all that convincing, either. Thus, I cheated. I used the grill from a WWII US 2 1/2-Ton Cargo Truck, 1:35 scale model made by Tamiya. I cut down the grill to fit a thin piece of plasticard and glued both into place. I finished off the engine vent with larger rivets at the four corners of the plate.

Weld Lines

Weld lines are easy to add to all of our kits, and they look good. When tanks are manufactured, some parts are cast in one piece, while others sections need to be welded together on the production line. Since the Forge Worlds of the Imperium must pump out fighting vehicles at an astounding rate, I’m almost certain that you’d see some rough welds on these mass-produced war machines.

I used a specially built tool to melt weld lines into my Chimera. Basically, it’s just a steel pin surrounded in tissue and then wrapped with tape. If you are worried about this tissue and tape igniting, you can instead drive a nail through a small block of wood an use that as the handle. I heated the exposed tip of the tool with a hot air gun (normally used to melt foam or bend plasticard – please be safe while working with the hot air gun) and pressed the pin into the tank to form a weld line in select areas. Use safety gloves to avoid scorching your fingers. I chose to add this detailing along the top of the Chimera’s hull, around the turret seat (tank hull top), and lower hull (front).

Side ArmourFor the sides of the tank, first I wanted to create a narrower profile than the standard Chimera. I assembled the sides following Step 1 from the Assembly Instructions with two changes. First, with clippers and an X-Acto knife in hand, I trimmed down the “F”-shaped side boxes so that they were now flush with the flat, un-detailed surface of the tank side. Next, I glued both of these trimmed pieces down with polystyrene cement (plastic glue).

Later, it occurred to me that the mechanism that put the drive wheels into motion and propelled the tank forward might have been housed within these boxes. I checked a very early issue of Inferno for a cutaway diagram and found that I was right. It was okay, though – I was happy with my decision, and the mechanism could have been housed in a much smaller area, maybe beneath the driver and gunner. I was just glad to be rid of those blocky boxes! Removing them gave me room to add the side skirt extra armor.

Track Guards

I thought is was a little odd that the track guards on the Chimera (and therefore the Basilisk) only covered a little over half of the tracks. To improve this coverage, I clipped out the three sections that made up the kit’s packaged track guard. I set aside the long, angled rear piece for the time being. Then, I took a spare Imperial Vehicle Equipment sprue I had lying around and clipped out another long section. I cut away the center ridge to get two short pieces – one for either side of the track guard. I dry-fit everything before I brought out the glue. Then, I glued down the angled front-sloped armor, the long guard, and the extra short trimmed piece. Then, I made a very small (3/16” long) section of guard by cutting another long guard down to size. I glued this piece in place at the rear of the track along with the final rear-sloped armor. I repeated this process on the other side of the tank.

Headlamps and Headlamp Cages

Headlamps: Drawing upon both German and US WWII headlamps for inspiration, I used the sensors from the Predator side sponsons for the lights. They were the closest thing I could find to a German Notek light without having to scratch-build one. I cut a thin piece of plastic rod into two small pieces and cut each end at a 45-degree angle. I drilled a hole into the center of the front-sloped track guard that was large enough to accommodate the plastic stem. I glued the plastic stems into the lamps and then into the guards at the same level and angle.

Headlamp Cages: The M4A3 Sherman tank inspired the cages. I constructed them from 1 1/4” paper clips. I used the inner hoop of each clip for the main part of the cage. I made the two braces from small, straight sections of the clip and super glued them in place. With my pin vise, I drilled out holes in the tread guards for the cages and glued them in place with super glue.

Tow Cable

I snagged the tow cable from the Space Marine Predator kit. Since I had limited space available on either track guard, this Space Marine bit was perfect since it had a smaller footprint than the Imperial Guard version.

Entrenching Tools

Most military vehicles carry a variety of tools to either dig the vehicle out of treacherous ground or construct some hasty earthwork defenses. I used the shovel and the pick mattock from the Imperial Vehicle Equipment sprue. I glued the shovel in place as is, but I noticed in many reference photos that the pick was often in two pieces and anchored to the tank. I cut the head off of the pick and drilled a hole through the hub. I added a small bit of paperclip to the handle to look like the connecting peg

Track Guard Hinges

I observed that the German Panzer Kpfw IV Ausf. H had hinges on the front track guards. I figured that they might have added them to allow easy access to the vehicle's tracks for repairs – of course, my Chimera needed them as well. I created them from two small rectangular pieces of thin plasticard. I trimmed down the area they were to be seated in with an X-Acto knife and then glued them in place with plastic glue. I left a very slight gap between both pieces. I cut a short piece of plastic rod and glued it in place between both rectangles of plasticard. Finally, I cut down a very thin plastic rod and used the slices for rivets.

Side SkirtsI pulled the idea for the side skirts from the German Panzer Kpfw IV Ausf. H, which was equipped with extra armor plates later in WWII (1944-45). I thought it made for great extra armor (see p. 36 of Codex: Imperial Guard), so I set about creating my own.

Special Note: Don't glue your side skirts to your tank yet! You'll need to leave them off to allow yourself room to paint your conversion.



I constructed the skirts from 1-mm thick plasticard. Each side skirt measured 4 1/2” long by 1 3/8” high. Each panel of the skirt measured a 1” wide except for the front piece, which was only 1/2” wide. The skirts taper at the front and rear, although the 1/2” front piece is the most dramatic of the angles. To assemble the skirts (remember, one must be a mirror image of the other), I cut out the general shape and then cut the plasticard into segments. I detailed these segments with a small notch and then reassembled them with polystyrene cement.

Once the skirts had hardened into one piece, I cut out strips (3 1/2” x 1/8”) of plasticard as well as tiny (1/8”) triangles and rectangles (1/16” x 1/8”) and assembled the hinges (as shown in the image, right) so that the supports had something to latch onto.


Unfortunately, adherence to historical references had to give way to modeling practicality when it came to the skirt support struts. Most Panzer struts were open-air frameworks, but I ditched that concept for a solid (and hopefully durable) version. I made each support (there are eight in total) from three pieces plus rivets: a small ledge-hanger (which I glued directly to the tank's armor), the "A"-shaped support, and a thin (1/2”) arm. Look at the photo to see how I brought all these pieces together. I placed each of the supports 1” apart, and I mirrored this pattern in the placement of the hinges on the insides of the skirts.


I placed rivets on the very front and outside of both skirts. Again, I copied this layout directly from the Pz Kpfw IV Ausf. H tank. I made the smallest rivets on my Chimera from a very fine (approximately 0.5 mm in width) plastic rod.

I found the easiest way to work with this fine rod was to cut it to size on a dark surface (preferably a cutting mat). Put a puddle of plastic glue on a non-absorbent surface and then use a paper clip to dip into the puddle and deposit a small amount in the area you want to apply the rivet. Then, use the tip of a sharp X-Acto blade to gently spear the rivet and transfer it to the area of glue on the tank.

Turret ConstructionTo start with, I basically assembled a typical Predator turret. First, I assembled the autocannon and front armor. Before I glued the two halves together (top and bottom), I cut both halves of the autocannon with an X-Acto knife right after the hump (see photo above center). Then, I glued everything together, including the lascannon fuel cells (above right) on the rear armor.

Turret/Hull Join and Pin

Before I tackled all the fragile parts of the turret, I wanted to make sure everything sat correctly on the hull. I discovered that the Chimera turret seat was a little too wide in diameter for the Predator turret. With an X-Acto knife in hand, I carefully widened the hole on the underside of the turret while checking for fit every once in a while to make sure that I didn’t shave off too much plastic and inadvertently create a loose join.
Once I was satisfied, I tracked down a 3-mm diameter piece of plastic rod. I attached this rod to the interior of the turret and anchored it in place with super glue.

Weld Lines/Front Armour Detail

I applied weld lines in the same manner as the hull. I added this detail around the circular join on the underside of the turret as well as around the cowled sensor on the front armor, the interior of the hatch, and around the base of the cupola.

I noticed that the M4A3 Sherman had three strange holes on the turret’s front armor. It occurred to me that they were not battle damage, but instead large screw or bolt holes that anchored the gun mounting in place. Thus, I added this last bit detail to my turret's armor plating.

Armament: Multi LaserTo build the multi-laser, I had some vague idea of how I wanted it to look but had to find the components to make it a reality. Part of the gun came already finished: I had the base of the autocannon remaining on the turret. I cut off the end of the lascannon from the Imperial Guard Heavy Weapon sprue and set it aside. I located some 1.5-mm diameter plastic rod and cut three 3/4”-long pieces. I glued two of these pieces together in parallel with plastic glue and put them aside to set. Once these dried, I glued the third piece into place along the crevasse between the other two – in the end, it should look like a sort of triangular bar. Then, I glued the lascannon muzzle and plastic rods together and glued them to the autocannon base.

Then, I found a nice thick piece of sprue frame. I cut this frame bit to a length of 3 cm and shaved down the rear, front, and sides (to a blunt point) until I was pleased with the results. Since most hobbyists have tons of extra sprue frames on hand, you can definitely try a few versions until you're happy. I used this piece as the multi-laser brace, which I glued to the bottom of the gun assembly. In order to create a tight bond, you may need to cut a tiny, rectangular piece of plasticard and glue this piece to the tip of the brace.
Finally, I added details. I glued thin riveted pieces of plasticard to the autocannon base and a small “U”-shaped piece of plasticard to the underside of the brace to imitate a molded lascannon bit.

Armament: Pintle-Mounted Heavy Stubber

The M4A3 Sherman inspired the construction and placement of this weapon. First, I cut a short piece of paper clip to act as the pintle and glued this bit into a small hole on the underside of the heavy stubber. I glued a small square of plasticard to the top of the turret. Once the glue had dried, I used a pin vise and drilled down into the plasticard, but not deep enough to penetrate the turret. I glued the pintle into place on the square of plasticard to finish the heavy stubber.

Whip AerialI thought that making an aerial would be interesting, and if I wanted to spend the points, I could use the Improved Comms upgrade (p. 36, Codex: Imperial Guard) to explain it. Unfortunately, I was running out of space. The top of the turret was taken up by the pintle-mounted weapon, and I didn’t want the antenna to block its field of fire. Then it hit me: with a little work, I could attach an aerial to the side of the turret right behind the cupola. I used the top part of the mortar stand from the Imperial Guard Heavy Weapon sprue as a support arm and glued it to the side of the turret. Then, I clipped off the base of the plastic aerial from the Imperial Vehicle Equipment sprue and drilled a small hole in the top to accommodate a length of slightly bowed wire. I trimmed the base of the plastic aerial on either side of the rivets and then glued it into place on the support arm.

Open Cupola and Tank Commander

I assembled the turret’s cupola (which I pulled from the Chimera kit, not the Predator) as normal. However, I did shave down the circular base of the cupola so that it was seated closer to the turret and cut off the short arms (far right) that would normally form the pintle-mount. I chose the crew member that stood with his arms clear of the hatch and equipped his open hand with binoculars. I took the pointing arm from the Cadian Heavy Weapon Crew sprue.

StowageWhen I started building this tank, I had decided that the crew was in an extended campaign that involved a great deal of cross-country travel. Thus, I saw little need to keep the top hatch clear for use. Leaving the hatch sealed gave me a ton of room for "stowage." Stowage is a military term for equipment, gear, crates of food, and the like that is strapped down or somehow secured during travel.

Jerry Cans

A steel "Jerry can" was a flat-sided container designed by the Germans (which was recognized as superior by the US and British forces and therefore copied during the North African campaign) to hold 5 gallons of fuel or water. Usually, these containers were strapped to the outside of an armored vehicle to alleviate the need for constant refueling.
I made two different stowage devices to store the crew’s ample supply of Jerry cans from the Imperial Vehicle Equipment sprue. I made the first one to look like a metal and leather case (shown in the first three images above) built to hold two cans. I constructed this case from very thin (and flexible) plasticard. I made it from four pieces that include a metal base, sides, and back, plus a thin strap. I attached this case to the side of the power cells of the Chimera’s main armament.

I joined the other stowed Jerry cans in a staggered manner with plastic glue and then glued them down to the rear section of the top hatch. I added anchor rings from the Space Marine Predator kit on either side of the line of Jerry cans (between two gun ports). Then, I glued a thin piece of plasticard between them to act as a strap to hold them down.

55-Gallon Drum

Assembling the 55-gallon drum was very simple, but I wanted to add a little more detail. I dented it with an X-Acto knife by carving different-sized gouges into the plastic surface. I made a very large dent on either side of the top-most strap. To make this strap look convincing, I had to cut it as though it was pulled taut over this dent. I glued down a plate made of thin plasticard to the tank guard and added small rivets. Then, I glued the drum in place after I trimmed down the feet a little.

Canvas Tarp

I had fun adding the tarp to this Chimera – plus, it was easy. I cut out a very thin rectangle of cloth and folded in the edges on themselves after I applied a thin line of white (PVA) glue. Then, I dabbed super glue on the highest and lowest points on the rear of the tank. I draped the cloth over the glued area and pressed it into shape. Once the super glue had dried, I painted the entire piece of cloth with a thinned layer of white glue.

SandbagsI took the sandbags from the Cadian Heavy Weapon Crew sprue. I clipped off the knife and removed the mold lines. I shaved down the obstructing details on the Chimera's hull and glued the sand bags in place.

Rucksacks, Backpacks and Personal Effects

I used the backpacks and bedrolls straight from the Cadian Heavy Weapons Crew sprue, the Imperial Vehicle Equipment sprue, or the Cadian Trooper plastics and attached them to the sides of the turret. I glued a spare helmet onto the backpack.

The rucksacks were a real challenge. I pressed green stuff between my fingers until I got a very rough cylinder about 3/4” in length. Then, I pinched the “top” and folded it over. Next, I pressed a thin piece of putty onto the bag to form a buckle and strap. Once the green stuff dried, I added the rucksacks to the skirt with super glue.

The Finished Chimera:Front:


Left Side:

Right Side:



This tutorial was created by Games Workshop and has since been removed from their websites. It has been reproduced here (from the depths of Tallarn’s Hard Drive) without their permission for the benefit of the hobbyist. No challenge to their status is intended.