7. How do I model the Battlewagon's weapons?
Meanwhile, Gooba is still dealing with his recalcitrant customer.
"So wot does dis wun do?" asked the Goff Nob. His tone suggested that what little patience he might have had was now almost exhausted.
"Can't yer tell? It's a twin-linked big shoota," said Gooba.
"It don't look like dat to me," said the Nob. "It looks like one o' dem Fish'ed guns wiv loads of weedy barrels. It's not very proppa - 'ow about somefing a bit more Orky?"
"Orright, it's a Fish'ed gun. But I've made lots of improvements." Gooba was somewhat defensive. He was annoyed that the Goff had identified the looted burst cannon - he had thought that the plethora of pipes and cables he'd welded onto it would disguise its origins. "It's got a longer range, more ammo, and I've painted it blue. Go on, chief -try it."
"Roit, I will."
The Nob yanked the cocking handle. There was a whirring noise, and every Gretchin in the vicinity immediately dived for cover. The noise escalated to a high-pitched whine as the multiple barrels began to spin furiously. Gooba furtively crossed his fingers as the Nob pulled the trigger, releasing a torrent of bullets and a cacophony of noise. The Nob raked the entire area, shooting up everything in sight. Soon the fuel dump was ablaze and one of Gooba's best Warbikes was reduced to perforated junk. Cackling wildly, the Nob continued firing. Eventually, the ammo ran out, although the Nob gave the trigger a couple of hopeful pulls before accepting that the fun was over. Smoke rose from the overheated barrels as they slowed gradually to a standstill.
"Well?" asked Gooba. "Watcha fink?"
"I like it, but not in dat colour. Got wun in a check pattern?"
The photos in this article illustrate only some of the different ways of depicting Ork weapons. While there are many ways for coming up with weird and wonderful looking weapons, spare a thought for your opponents. They shouldn't have to scratch their heads too much trying to figure out what your Battlewagon is armed with. Even Ork weapons have some identifying features which you ought to include to make identification easier. These are mentioned below.
These weapons will often be fixed in such a way that they are entirely exposed, so they will be focal points of the model. They are a great opportunity to add interesting detail and to display both Ork and Grot crew figures. An easier way to mount the weapons is to have just the barrel protruding from the vehicle's armour. If you do this it's even more important to make sure that it's clear from the bit that's showing what the weapon is.
Twin-linked Big Shoota/Bolt-on Big Shoota
A big shoota is basically a heavy machine gun. This means it will have a long barrel and some kind of ammunition supply, such as a belt, drum or box magazine. Since it is meant to look relatively primitive, it will usually resemble a World War II-era weapon. The jacket around the barrel commonly features cooling holes, like those seen on the US Browning .30 cal or German MG 42, but it could have a solid jacket like the British Vickers or the Soviet Maxim.
Games Workshop produces a metal big shoota, intended for the Ork Dreadnought and Killer Kan models. Forge World produces a more detailed resin version, available in both single and twin-linked versions. Plastic big shootas are available in the Wartrak and Wartrukk kits, but are rather poor in comparison with more recent versions. They can be improved by replacing the barrels with longer ones and adding detail like ammunition belts, sights and grips. Big shootas are also easily converted from the plastic shootas that are included on the Ork Boyz sprue. Simply extend the shoota barrel by gluing another shoota barrel onto it (taking care to ensure that the two pieces match up convincingly). Then modify it further if you wish. The article "Cheap and Easy Big Shootas" further details this.
This photo shows different shoota mounts. The single weapon is from Forge World, while the twin-linked version is two metal guns joined together. Both have gunshields cut from spare vehicle parts.
A twin-linked big shoota made from a combination of plastic parts, including the skorcha from the Warbuggy. This is a fairly elaborate conversion, but a simpler version can be built quite easily.
Twin-linked Rokkit Launcha
A rokkit launcha is a crude rocket projector. Anything from a rocket on a stick to a multiple-barrelled launcher can be used to represent this weapon. The twin-linked version will obviously have two rokkits or twin barrels, although multiple warheads/barrels seem to be acceptable for representing this weapon.
Again, Games Workshop does make a metal rokkit launcha, intended for the Ork Dreadnought and Killer Kan. It requires some work to convert it into a weapon suited to a Battlewagon, but the rokkits and blast shield are easily removed. Forge World's resin version is easier to use (although it consists of a bank of 3 rokkits) and comes with a mounting bracket. There is also a metal version that was part of one of the GorkaMorka Warbuggy variants, which is still available from Mail Order. The ubiquitous plastic shoota can be converted into a rokkit launcha by cutting off the barrel and attaching a rokkit (and, preferably, some kind of blast shield to protect the firer!). Other possibilities are the Marine Dreadnought missile launcher, and the Havoc launcher from the Chaos vehicle accessory sprue. Looking further afield, you could consider the many sets of plastic aircraft underwing missiles that are available (1:48 scale is best).
A Forge World rokkit launcha, largely unmodified.
A rokkit launcher based on a Dreadnought missile launcher. Note how the original launcher is still identifiable, but has been converted to look as though the Orks have modified it to work the way they want it to.
Another approach to twin-linked rokkits to to have them in fixed mountings. Some opponents might argue that this would mean the rokkits can only be fired straight ahead, but it can look good, as this photo shows. These rokkits were converted from the plastic Whirlwind launcher.
A more unusual rokkit mounting, using a missile from a Forge World Ork flyer.
Skorchas are heavy flame-throwers. The distinguishing features are the nozzle (normally suitably blackened with soot) and some kind of fuel tank, preferably connected to the weapon by a hose.
Games Workshop's metal skorcha (also for the Dreadnought/Killer Kan) is relatively easy to adapt for a Battlewagon, as is the Forge World resin version. A skorcha can be converted from the various plastic Marine and Imperial Guard flamers available, although it would be preferable to use a heavy flamer because they are larger. The Catachan version of the plastic Sentinel includes a very nice heavy flamer, as does the Marine Dreadnought.
Sponsons are a good place to mount flamers. It gives them a clear field of fire. This is a typical sponson-mounted skorcha.
A slab of armour plate and a facemask are always a good idea with an unpredictable Ork flame thrower! This skorcha has a gunshield and the gunner is wearing protective headgear
Zzap guns are essentially a crude lascannon. The zzap gun will normally have a long barrel, usually with the lascannon-style cooling rings and flash hider on the end. The rest of the weapon will be some kind of generator; perhaps with dials, power cables and other electronic gizmos, perhaps connected to a power source.
The metal zzap gun produced by Games Workshop for their Ork artillery range is easily mounted in a vehicle. All you need to do is build some kind of platform for it. It looks better with some additional cabling. Forge World's resin zzap gun is much larger (and more expensive) but worth acquiring for a larger vehicle. A zzap gun can be scratchbuilt using one of the many lascannons included in Marine and Imperial Guard plastic vehicle kits.
A zzap gun in a typical open-topped position. This is the metal model, largely unmodified.
The Forge World zzap gun, with an added gun shield.
This zzap gun was converted from the plastic lascannon included in the Leman Russ kit, which is bigger than other versions available. The breech was built from various plastic parts. The gunshield is sheet styrene.
The kannon is a heavy-calibre conventional gun. Being an Ork weapon, it will tend to look more like a field gun from World War I or earlier, perhaps with a prominent recuperator housing and a sturdy cradle.
Games Workshop's metal kannon closely resembles an old-fashioned field gun, and comes with a gunshield. However, it is rather small and tends to look a little underwhelming when mounted in a large vehicle. Forge World's resin kannon is substantially bigger and more elaborate looking. A kannon is fairly easy to sratchbuild if you hide the breech by mounting it in a turret or poking out of the front armour. All you need is tubing. Even a few plastic wheels glued together will do, although it will look better if you add features like a fume extractor or recoil mechanism. If you want something more elaborate, look for a plastic kit depicting a large calibre artillery weapon.
A very simple kannon made from a plastic tube. The muzzle is a spare plastic wheel.
The lobba is usually depicted as a mortar. It will be similar to a kannon, but with a short, wide barrel and have a high elevation (i.e. it will be able to point upwards, so it can fire indirectly). It can also be a rocket launcher, either a single rocket (possible piloted by a suicidal Grot) or a cluster launcher like the World War II German Nebelwerfer. To avoid having it confused with a rokkit launcha, it should be relatively large and it should be clear that it's an indirect fire weapon.
The Games Workshop metal lobba is a rather puny little model, which looks like a medieval siege mortar. Forge World's lobba is better, and much larger. Scratchbuilding a lobba is similar to the kannon. If you want something more like a rocket launcher, then consider the Forge World resin Grot Bomb, or kits of weapons like the Nebelwerfer.
This lobba is based on the massive rocket projector that was carried by the Sturmtiger. Conveniently, the kit weapon already has a high elevation. It was made to look more Orky by boring out the middle and adding crude plates around the barrel.