If you have been following any of the twitter micro updates over the weekend, you will have seen I have shifted attention back onto the Ultramarines. In particular Forgeworld’s newly released Heresy era Land Raider, the Proteus.
I’ll be honest, my initial thoughts when I first saw the model the week before UK Games Day was less than stellar. I am so pleased I didn’t go purely on my first impressions however as the Proteus is a bit of a diamond in the rough. As a way of re-introducing the original 80’s Land Raider back into the 40K canon it is a clever design, capturing all of the original iconic silhouette whilst featuring enough detail and panel hooks to allude at the future form it would eventually de-evolve into.
The model is also pretty solid. Seriously solid in fact with each of the side track sections to the hull cast in a single block. If you get this kit be prepared to break out the model saw and sanding block/files as you will need them. The heavy-duty track links in particular require a bit of cleaning attention. Compared to the plastic kit, it feels somewhat more compact, but that just adds to the impression of it being more of an assault tank than its boxier offspring. Interior detailing is minimal, but there nonetheless should you wish to paint it. There is not a lot of opportunity to view it however as there is no front exit hatch like the plastic kit, only the two side doors and chances are you are going to seal them in place anyway.
Despite all of that I did choose to paint the interior as I follow something of a modeller’s house rule that if the designer added it, I will paint it, even if that means nobody knows it is there except for me.
The instructions that come with the Proteus can be a little minimalist at times (basically it is a single sheet of badly photocopied A4) that mostly lists the parts leaving you to figure out where they go in the main. As always Forgeworld assumes a degree of modelling experience for most of it’s kits which I don’t think is a bad thing. Fortunately, the Proteus is pretty self-explanatory and the only moderately complicated section is the gun gimbal assembly, which once you have the parts in front of you should be obvious how it goes together.
No doubt once I get to it I’ll put some photos up here, but for now I am purely concentrating on the hull and tracks.
It has been a while since I have really settled down to a new Forgeworld tank having spent so long recently on either Lord of the Rings, infantry kit-bashes or Dreadfleet, so it was refreshing to have to do a bit of forward planning and dry-fitting again. If I had to level any criticism at the Proteus it would be with regards to the dimensions of the door spaces which for some unfathomable reason are just that bit too fething large for Forgeworld’s own chapter specific resin Land Raider doors. The blank doors that come with the kit fit much better. But then again, they would as they are also ever-so-slightly larger than the plastic ones that the resin versions are based on! A bit of an own goal that one I feel, but not something that spoils the kit, just a minor frustration.
After digging out some brass etched detailing and trying it on the supplied ‘blanks’, trying out the chapter specific ones, switching back to the blanks again and trying a mix of the two for good measure, I eventually decided I much preferred the chapter specific ones (unsurprisingly).
A bit of judicious padding with some plastic sheet and some careful trimming, sanding and buffing solved the draft problem, but it is something to be aware of should you also be intending to use Forgeworld’s own doors on the Proteus. It is possible I just had a set that had seriously shrunk during casting, but the gap was so large I am doubtful it was just that. I should point out at this stage I also magnetised the doors and frame so they could be removed after painting to see the interior.
The kit needed little else in the way of additional detailing, however to help tie it in with the look of the rest of my Ultramarines I included a few brass etched markings and some purity seals on the exhaust assembly. The rest of the marking will be either painted on at a later point, or added as decals and weathered in.
The things I left off at this stage to do separately were; all of the tracks (I have plans for those involving lots of mud), the gun assemblies, top hatch and secondary weapon and finally the front ram. The ram specifically I left off as it was a lot easier to get at the road wheel covers and front detailing for painting. The extremely deep profile and undercutting at the front and rear of the hull also made it tricky to paint, even with the airbrush so I wanted to remove as much clutter as possible until I had the bulk of the base colours and initial weathering sealed in place.
The Proteus has a couple of minor gap issues when assembling the hull and tracks. To be honest that is not entirely unexpected the size of the parts being cast and in the main it goes together remarkably straight and true with little fuss. These were resolved easily post-assembly with green stuff where the gap was significant, and by significant I am only talking 0.5mm to 1.0mm here.
Where there were just some minor hairlines I used some of Games Workshop’s new liquid green stuff to quite literally paint over the cracks. The jury is still out on their gap filling paste as I haven’t used it enough yet to get to grips with its property and behaviour. I will say it sands and buffs down very smooth so is certainly very good for its intended purpose, which I suspect is filling small air pockets in resin. Anything larger than that I would probably recommend regular green stuff (other epoxy modelling putties are available) as I have reservations about the resilience of the paste for any serious hole plugging.
It is very easy to work with however, not so much because it can be brushed on, but more because it can easily be wiped away with a damp brush when it invariably goes exactly where you don’t want it to! Overall I think it is another useful tool to have in your arsenal, but don’t make the mistake of seeing it as a replacement for regular modelling putty, it just isn’t up to those kinds of tasks. I think it is another material I need to use a bit more to get a feel for its strengths and weaknesses so to speak.
Now at the priming and painting stage I will hopefully get to spend a bit more time on the Proteus later in week with the airbrush and at the very least get the base colours down for the hull and road wheels. It is important to get the latter painted early as they are nigh on impossible to get at once the tracks are in place. Until then though, have a great week.