A couple of months back my boyfriend and I saw the Imperial Strongpoint in our local Games Workshop. It was just after the latest price increase but the sticky label on the front of the box still showed the old price so we thought we’d get one. Unfortunately that price was wrong but we still needed some scenery so we bought it anyway (and it’s hard to say no to the shop manager when he’s just tried to ring it through three times). Of course now it counts as a fortification, but it’s still something on the table that’s not a cardboard box or a wooden duck.
The box is enormous, so big in fact that the shop manager had to cobble together a carrying handle for the carrier bag as it filled the largest bag in store and inside are rather a lot of sprues, enough to make two Imperial Bastions and an Aegis Defence Line.
The box then sat in my apartment until Sunday when I decided that, yeah, I really should build it (and clear some space by getting rid of the box!). I looked at the instructions and panicked. Then I looked at them again and decided that they were no worse than the ones you get with flat pack furniture.
So I decided to build the Bastion and record my progress. Despite the terrifyingly large booklet it’s mostly quite straightforward. To make it you need clippers, a file, a scalpel, plastic cement, a pin vice, a vice and maybe some bulldog clips or elastic bands (although I only used the former and then only once).
First a note on plastic cement. I use Revell Contacta Liquid, but the same idea applies to all brands. To use plastic cement, place a line of cement on at least one of the surfaces you wish to bond, preferably both. Plastic cement works by melting the plastic (which is why it doesn’t work on resin or when you bond plastic with something else). By spreading cement on both surfaces you melt the top layer of both surfaces which makes a better bond. Sometimes it helps if you can agitate the join a bit, but that’s not always practical. The main thing you need to be with plastic cement is patient. In order to get a good bond you need to clamp both surfaces together, either with your fingers or with some sort of clamp/ an elastic band. It will bond nicely after a few seconds and set firmly after a couple of minutes. If you’re posing a model, you can alter the pose a bit after you’ve applied the glue, which can be very useful!
To build the bastion you will need quite a lot of space, which is why I worked on the floor. As it’s such a big model I took the pieces off the sprue as I worked, so as not to mix up the pieces.
Most of the bulk of the bastion is made up of a few big pieces. These are constructed in three stages, starting with the bottom layer. For this you need to first build the corner pieces and then, once you have all four ready, you need to glue them to the gun slit panels. I built mine up by connecting a corner to the right hand edge of a gun slit panel and waiting for the glue to set before joining two of these panels together (see picture below). Then, when these had set, I then joined together the two halves of the bottom layer. This makes it easier to control your corners! Once you’ve done that you can add a door. GW have been economical and provided one door with a different pattern on each side.
The next thing to do is build the heavy bolter emplacements for the next layer. Start by drilling out the barrels of the guns. There are only four of them and it does look better. You need a vice and a pin vice and a suitably sized drill bit. Place the bolt guns in the vice, barrel upwards. Mark the centre of the barrel and then simply drill down until just below the vents. I use a drill bit which is wide enough that the vents are also hollowed out, but if your bit is not wide enough it’s the work of seconds to clear the vents of excess plastic with a narrow drill bit. The plastic is quite soft so even if you don’t have a pin vice it’s possible to drill out the hole with just the loose bit (which I have to do with our thinnest bit as it’s too narrow for the pin vice).
The next job is to assemble the gun emplacements. Place the pegs of the bolter in the mount on the emplacement. Place a little bit of plastic cement on the edge of the mount and on the back panel, taking care not to get any glue on the pegs. This means that the guns are movable, which I like.
Next you need to put the emplacements in their windows. The emplacements clip into place. You can glue them there or, if like me you like to keep as many moving parts as possible actually movable, you can secure the pegs in place with a small piece of sprue.
Next I glued together two of the four panels that make up the middle layer. This is where I deviated from the instructions given. Do not glue together all four pieces. The instructions say to do so, but if you do, you’ll have a LOT of trouble trying to force the two layers together as the pegs won’t sit properly.
Gluing two panels together makes it easier to get the right angles right and then you can fit these pieces on top of the bottom layer quite easily and glue them together to finish the middle layer.
The last part of the main bastion is the top layer. Start with the floor. This consists of two rectangular pieces and four trapezium shaped bits. Start by gluing together the two rectangles to make a square. Place this on top of the bastion. Then fit the trapeziums in place. Next fit the top wall sections on top one at a time.
The next page of the instructions is confusing as I can’t see where the bits required to make the bastion into a Strongpoint actually fit. I’ve ignored them for now as they’re not important until I actually want to make a Strongpoint. I’m hoping that when the other Bastion and the Aegis defence line are put together I’ll be able to tell how they fit in (of course, if you know, please tell!)
So having finished the structure of the bastion you then need to build the accessories. You can top it with either an Icarus-pattern lascannon or a communications array. Fortunately the kit comes with a couple of stands so, if you put one on your bastion, the other one can go elsewhere on your board.
Both accessories are pretty straightforward to build. The lascannon is moveable. Glue together the stock (I used bulldogs clips here to make sure the stock glued together neatly) and clip the legs on the pegs. Then you can glue the legs to the base. Next you need to stick the barrel together and then glue it into the slot. Finally glue the vox, lamp and sights onto the cannon and then it’s done.
The communications array looks complicated but it’s actually very simple. Everything has its own, uniquely shaped slot. All you have to do is glue peg a into slot b.
The stands are also very straightforward to put together, so I won’t go into them.
The final thing to do is to decorate the bastion. The kit comes with skull lamp/vox units, corner gargoyles and traffic-light-like lamps/voxes. The manual suggests placing the standing lamp/vox units on top of the crenelations. However, the instruction writer seems to have forgotten that the top is bevelled so that the skulls won’t sit vertically. I placed them on top of the windows instead.
Well that’s the bastion. I might see if I can get my boyfriend to build the other one as I think that this one took something between two to three hours to build. I wasn’t timing myself, but it’s a big job and I still have to paint it.
In the next part of this series, which I hope to post this week, I’ll run through building the Aegis Defence Line. Eventually I hope that I can add a painting guide too but that might take a little bit longer!