Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Modeling Tutorial: Fixing the Heavy Destroyer Cannon

Back in my day, straightening bent weapons on metal models was easy. These days, newfangled styrene plastic model kits don't need any straightening at all. But in those dark times between metal and plastic, we were treated to formerly metal parts being cast in resin. And if a resin component was warped, straightening it could be quite a chore. Case in point: The Necron Heavy Destroyer's cannon. Here's a tutorial for fixing it without worrying about straightening the resin itself.



The resin cannon in the Necron Heavy Destroyer ugrade kit is a disaster. I haven't seen a single one in the store that wasn't bent to a horrific degree. Even if the cannon was straight, the green rods still wouldn't fit into it properly, because there are no recesses for the nubs on the end of the rods, and the cavities are too short anyway! I'll show you how to replace the rails with styrene plastic strips, so you'll have a straight cannon with a perfect fit for the green rods.



If you purchase the upgrade kit, don't focus on the bend in the rails; make sure that the muzzle and the body of the gun are in relatively good shape. Make sure there are no obvious bubbles, and that all the parts are well formed.


Clean the flash off the cannon as normal. If there are any slight bends in the flanges (in mine, the butt-end of the cannon was a little crooked), those can be straightened with boiling water. Simply boil some water, dip the part (taking care not to burn yourself) and then straighten the crooked piece.


The rails are difficult to straighten because they have almost no support, and the piece can't be laid flat due to the flanges on each side of the gun.


To replace the rails, use styrene plastic strips. The closest match that I found was Plastruct #90743, 1mm x 1.5mm strips.


Start by clipping the rails off of the gun. Keep the gun's body, the middle bracket, and the muzzle.


Smooth the parts where the rails were cut away. Use a sharp hobby knife to slice or scrape the pieces smooth. You shouldn't need to sand the pieces, but if you do, make sure you wear a dust mask and use a "wet sanding" technique (dip the parts in water and sand them while wet to keep the dust contained). Resin dust is toxic if inhaled.


Next, mark the center of each piece and drill a small, shallow hole with a pin vise. A .85mm bit will do. Then, widen the hole with a .90mm drill bit. Using the small hole as a guide will keep the larger bit from drifting off center.


Drill these holes on the gun, the muzzle, and each side of the center bracket. Make the holes just deep enough to fit the nubs on the ends of the green plastic rods.


Attach the shoulder mount, and drill a small hole so you can pin it to a painting stand.


Pin the gun body, the muzzle, and the center bracket to a piece of cork, a wooden dowel, or a spare base so you can spray prime them.


While the primer is drying on the weapon parts, assemble the body of the Heavy Destroyer.


Paint all the weapon parts before assembling them. See my Necron Speed Painting tutorial for a quick and easy painting guide. Prime and paint one of the styrene strips (you'll need about 5-6 inches of length) to match the gun color.


Now comes the weapon assembly– Before gluing anything, use your hobby knife to scrape the paint off of the attachment points to ensure a secure bond for the super glue. Clear off the holes, and attachment points for the ends of the rods, and scrape a little paint off of the underside of the styrene strip and the ends where they will attach to the rods and cannon pieces.

Note: Make sure you use super glue, not plastic cement, because you're gluing styrene, resin, and whatever hard plastic the green rods are made out of.

Start by gluing the first rod into the gun body, making sure that the seams are aligned at the top and bottom, and the "bur" where it was clipped from the sprue is facing up. Then, apply a little glue to the underside of the styrene strip and glue it along the top of the rod.



As you work, check along the length of the gun to make sure things are centered and line up straight with the gun's body.


Glue another piece of the strip to the bottom of the rod.


Once these pieces are set and the glue has dried, use a sharp knife to trim the ends of the styrene strips so they are flush with the end of the rod. Then glue the center bracket in place at the end.


Repeat this process with the next barrel section, adding the rod, and each strip.



Trim the second set of strips flush with the end of the front rod, and then glue the muzzle in place.


Wait for the super glue to thoroughly dry so you don't get any in your brush, and touch up the metal color on the rails and gun parts wherever any bare plastic or resin is exposed.

And that's it! Here's the rebuilt resin cannon, side by side with an original metal cannon. The new plastic rails are pretty sturdy as well (at least as sturdy as the spindly resin pieces would be).



Now your Heavy Destroyer's aim will be straight and true! Although, he won't be able to shoot around corners anymore...


'Til next time!


  1. That's a lot of work for something which should have been right from the start. Nevertheless, it's a great way to save an otherwise terrible piece.

    1. I agree. I think the Destroyers and Warriors are due for an update in general because they are so old and plain compared to the newer Necron kits. (That will probably mean an end to the green rods, though, because I don't think any of the new kits come with them...)

  2. Nice save of some really terrible pieces. When GW comes back around to Necrons, I am sure there will be an update of the various metal/resin kits, but warriors may be with us forever... (unless they add a second variant to the box and jack the price up!)

    1. My local shop owner heard a rumor about updating Necron kits a while back, but so far nothing has come to light. If they update anything, Warriors will get updated too. They are in a weird place of being a 12-man kit for a unit that can have up to 20. They could be a dual Warrior/ Flayed One set because they use the same body type. Just swap out the arms, and have "capes" of skin that can go over the torsos. Done and done!

    2. Plastic flayed ones (that are not terrible) would be a great kit, although their posture needs to be different as well as the capes and hands. With GW you never know!

    3. For the Warrior/Flayed One kit, I'm imagining universal legs, then 2 sets of arms (Warrior's w/ gauss blaster and Flayed One's with blades and skin). 2 different head types. Then a universal torso front, and 2 back types, the Flayed one having the skin and different connection points at the hips and neck that create more "hunch" in the model's pose. Then maybe some spare skin bits that could drape over the shoulders or legs.

      I think it's doable.


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