One of the first plastic vehicle kits was the venerable Rhino troop transport for the Space Marines. This model was adapted to form the main battle tank for the Space Marines - the Predator. The original Predator kit was all plastic, though it would morph into a mixed plastic / white metal kit in the 90's and would again morph into an all new plastic kit with the release of the updated (i.e. current pattern) Rhino chassis. Oddly enough, Forgeworld now offers an updated version of the "classic" predator design as the Deimos Pattern Predator.
As cool as the Deimos Pattern version looks, I loathe to spend money I don't have to - especially when a Deimos Pattern Predator costs north of $75 (U.S.). I used to play a lot of Warhammer 40K back in the day, and started around 1988 when the system was just getting started. As an enterprising college and later graduate student, I built up quite a collection of partial kits in trade over the years. Now that my son is of an age to paint his own miniatures, and has taken a shine to the Ultramarines, I've decided to create my first new Warhammer 40K army in over a decade - the Space Wolves.
Digging through my old box of bits, I found pieces of an original predator kit still in reasonable shape. I'd acquired the predator from a friend who... well, wasn't the best painter in the world, so I cleaned up the painted pieces and added them to a fresh Rhino chassis. Unfortunately some parts of the kit were missing.
The turret was there, but the connecting rod that attached the turret to the hull was missing - so I added a new aluminum rod with some epoxy for strength. I also added a new muzzle brake for the gun since the original had been broken off.
I had two fresh lascannons for the sponsons, but the parts holding the lascannons in the sponsons were long since gone. I simply made up some pieces using my chopper and some sheet styrene:
These were then glued (CAREFULLY) onto the backs of the sponsons.
Finally I carved down the the new styrene pieces so they were flush with the rest of the sponson. While waiting for the sponsons to dry, I went ahead and assembled and sanded the infamous two part spiked cow catcher of doom.
I still have several detail pieces to add to the tank, but it is starting to take shape. I'm adding a few Space Wolf gubbins from the more modern kits to help give it a bit of visual uniqueness.
Once the assembly is complete, I'm planning on giving it a modulated paint job with some modern weathering techniques on top of that. I'll continue to post updates as I make progress on this project.