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Resident Bronze Dragon Kasrkin
Heyo! Liam here, and I've been working on the titular project for a little while 3 years now.

In case you're not familiar, Warhammer 40k is a tabletop game by Games Workshop that is set in the dark future of the 41st Millennium, featuring a technologically stagnant, xenophobic galaxy-wide Imperium of Man that is beseiged on all fronts by aliens, demons, mutants, and heretics, and is barely held together only by faith in the God-Emperor of Man. Lore aside, the game itself is played using units represented by scale models that are assembled and painted by the player, who in turn has the freedom to customize their units as they see fit within game limitations.

With that in mind, this project is centered around customizing an Imperial Guard Leman Russ battle tank into a grav-tank version.


Lore-wise, the Imperial Guard is the largest military organization in the Imperium, comprised of normal human soldiers predominantly armed with laser rifles that are little more powerful than today's firearms. While not much goes for them individually against the monstrosities they fight against, they more than make up for it with heavily armoured vehicles and some of the biggest balls you'll find this side of the Eye of Terror.


The Leman Russ is the general purpose tank chassis used by the Imperial Guard, who make use of it for a variety of variations concerning its primary armament. Artistic-wise, it's the love-child of the Mk V and the M4 Sherman tanks.

Lore-wise, the Imperial Guard doesn't normally field vehicles that make use of anti-gravity technology - it's incredibly difficult to manufacture and maintain, restricting distribution to the superhuman Space Marines and the machine-cultists of the Adeptus Mechanicus. However, the setting is vast and vague enough that such oddities and more can exist.

Thus, in honour of the Soviet scientist who designed hovertanks back in the 1930s, I'm giving life to the Levkov-Pattern Grav-Russ.
Starting off, I already had in mind that this would be an Executioner variant - something about plasma cannons on a hovertank made sense to me - so I went out and bought myself a Leman Russ Demolisher kit, which included the necessary parts to build one alternatively. From there, I started working on the hull of the grav-tank-to-be.

With some carving with a modelling knife, I reversed the track housings and separated the turret ring from the sloped front of the tank. From there, I started including plasticard to build up a frontal extension, as well as set the turret ring back about 2" on the hull.

As the track housings aren't going to be used for their intended purpose, I've started cutting into them as shown below, keeping in mind the side profile of a Helghast Heavy Hovertank from the Killzone series.



Continuing on, I assembled the hull-mounted weapon housing before building a more gradual slope to the front with plasticard.

A minor error of mine at this stage forced me to remove a piece of the housing in order to properly insert the cylinder that the hull-mounted weapon will use as an axis.


Working my way further aft, I decided that I'd do away with the engine housing on the back of the normal Leman Russ, and after much scoring with the knife I finally had what I wanted. The issue I had now was how to support the main hull while I decide what to do further with the track housings. Two lengths of "I" beams, secured underneath the turret ring, was more than sufficient for what was required. Also not wanting to leave that part of the hull bland, I used the turret bustle piece for the Executioner to add more to the impression that this is a highly-advanced vehicle.



Oh boy. Yeah, it's been sitting for that long with no progress.

A lot has changed since then however. Games Workshop, as part of their promotion for 8th Edition, introduced the Primaris Repulsor grav-tank for the Space Marines.


Considering what I was trying to go for with the frankenjobbed Leman Russ chassis, I took one look at this and went "I want that hull!"

It was pricey, but well worth it.


Credit where credit is due, I have to hand it to Games Workshop for getting better at making kits that fit well, especially in the case of the Repulsor. I had little issue getting parts to fit, and even the side sponsons I nicked off of a Predator kit were easy to install (albeit with a 2mm-thick plasticard spacer to make the upper braces flush with the side door overhang).



Very little putty was required to clean up any unsightly gaps before I started going to town with the primer. For now, the repulsor plates are being handled separately until I'm done painting the rest of the model, and for that I'll need to first figure out what to do about the PD turrets, sponsons, and the main turret itself.

I've already got it in my head that, aside from the hull-mounted lascannon, this grav-russ executioner is destined to be a flying plasma brick, so I'll need to play around with what I can pull off with the sponsons.

Meanwhile, the main turret is my biggest concern. The repulsor's turret is not able to fit the Executioner's plasma destroyer without extensive reworking, and while the Leman Russ turret is my safest option on that front I don't find it adequately large enough in comparison to the rest of the model. At this point, it's looking like my best option is a slightly modified Baneblade turret.

All in all, it's a big leap forward over the past week compared to the previous three years.


Resident Bronze Dragon Kasrkin
With the hull more or less out of the way for now, went ahead with working on the side sponsons, particularly since I already had the parts available to assemble them.

From the predator kit, the heavy bolter and lascannon side sponsons are two-piece assemblies (not including the pivot that secures it to the hull), whereby each half of the sponson - both weapon and housing - is a single piece. I still want plasma cannons however, and so began my little sub-project.
First order of business was to remove the lascannons, followed by hollowing out a 10mm x 5mm slot, so that the housing can be used for the Leman Russ' sponson weapons.



As much as I wanted to get away with as little work done on the LR sponson weapons as possible, I still had to nick off a few details for it to fit.










This was a fun little challenge overall, and one that's working quite beautifully I might add. As it stands, the sponsons have quite the clearance from where the repulsor plating will be mounted, and the original door wells are deep enough for them to cover a full 180-degree arc along the side of the hull.

And now to figure out what to do about the damn turrets...