Monday, October 15, 2012

Kit review: HelDrake Part 1

Initial thoughts:

HelDrake box art
The HelDrake has been a model I’ve been dreading and dreaming of since I first heard of Chaos getting a “Dragon” more than a year and a half ago. The idea of a Chaos dragon is an enticing one, and combine that with 40K Dark Goth... well the idea of it is enticing to no end. But then I have to remind myself that this is a GamesWorkshop kit. GamesWorkshop has historically not shown to be terribly great with dragon models (The current Dragon models being the departure from this). So… we’ve got a company that’s making a mecha-dragon who has repeatedly shown itself to be largely hit or miss with making Dragon models that is going to be making a chaotic mecha-dragon… I really don’t know what to think.

So when the HelDrake was released there was no question about my getting it if for no other reason than to see how GW went about creating a “Chaos Mecha-dragon” . One thing I am going to be very upfront about is the base. I AM NOT going to use the Games Workshop flight base. I have used it on 3 other models even going so far as to modify my HellShrieker design to make use of it. And I am utterly and completely fed up with it. No matter what I’ve tried the base is only a so-so option for mounting the flying models That come to prevalence in the last couple months.  Instead I am using the 6” flight stand on a scenic base purchased from Dragon Forge Studios.  I’ll be honest, if you’re going to be building a flying model I highly recommend spending the $14 to get a base and flight stand from Dragon Forge. It will be $14 well spent. 

So, let’s get started. 


I purchased the HelDrake the same time I bought the Fiend model, which I reviewed previously.  I opened the box, and much like the Fiend and Storm Talon models I was depressed at the relatively large amount of empty space in the box. Even in the relatively shallow box, the vast majority of the model occupies less than ½ the inner space. The one and only  part that rises above that line is in fact the flight stand and even then that’s because it rests atop the other parts.
A shot of the HelDrake parts in the box showing the ammount of dead space in the box.

The model itself comprises 2 sprues. Unlike the Storm Raven model the part density is fairly high and I didn’t feel cheated on that point. It honestly does feel more like a real model with real options to it.

Construction: Day one

So I unboxed the model and washed the parts to remove any mold reside. As I stated I am absolutely refusing to ever make use of the GW Flight Stand if I can possibly avoid it. So that was the first thing I had to attend to. So I took a piece of ½” PVC piping, tested it’s fit with the acrylic rod and was happy to find it fits rather well. I quickly cut off a piece about ¼” deep and using a lump of green stuff and some superglue attached the improvised mount to the inside of the body. Using a combination of hobby knife and files I carved out the hole for the mounting rod. Since I’m working with green stuff, I need to let it dry so I went to work on the other part of the body.
I decided to mount the body on a 6" Flight stand rather then the crumby GamesWorkshop flight stand. Here you can see the PVC piping I installed in the body to accomidate the flight stand.

One thing I do have to give GW credit is numbering both the instructions and the parts on the sprue. After dealing with the Fiend model this was a welcome change of pace.  However, the early instructions for building the body are somewhat unclear with details. I’ll show you why.
The instructions show attaching the first set of wings to the main body:
the instructions are somewhat unclear about placing the winglets as it makes them appear to be lined up with the edge of the body.
The winglets are actually meant to be free floating relative to the body.

But the parts themselves look somewhat different then the illustrations. The instructions make it look like the edges of the Wings line up with the edges of the body. Looking at the parts themselves you’re left wondering if you’re building it correctly. I finally had to resort to going to the 360 spinner on the Gameworkshop site to see what that showed. The model image did show that these wings do not  actually line up with the edges of the body.

Now I’ve worked with Green stuff enough to know that when I need to wait for it to dry properly before I move on with it. And that’s what I need to do now. Leave it to set over night. So that is exactly what I did. When I returned to it the next morning the green stuff had hardened pretty well and I was able to assemble the central body. I don’t know why, but seeing the model at this stage just kind of tells me “This would make a great conversion for a Disc of Tzeentch!” I’m not sure why or what else would be needed to accomplish it, but there is that mental note for you to chew on.

So far this model is looking to be a decided step above the Fiend kit. Firstly, the instructions are a lot clearer. It’s amazing how the addition of numbers can make that work huh? The second thing is how cleanly the parts go together thus far. Excluding the winglets alignment question there’s little question about if a part has been assembled properly.

I must confess to feeling a certain air of mystery while building this kit. Unlike the Fiend, where you could already tell where everything was going to go by step two, the HelDrake is much more involved kit with many parts working on top of one another. There’s a lot of “How does become that thing on the front of the box?” about its construction.


Post a Comment