Monday, April 20, 2009

By request: Mechanized Rough Riders

Much as I enjoy cavalry, I thought I'd do something different with the Rough Riders in the new army. I wanted to do guard bikers, and after poking around I decided to base them on a "Dok Butcha's Konvershun Klinic" article that used to be available on the GW:UK site (unfortunately I cannot seem to find the online article following the site update last year).

The raw materials to create the bikes is as follows:

  • Dark Eldar Reaver Jetbikes
  • Guard Heavy Weapons Sprue
  • Guard Tank Accessories Sprue
  • Small Wheels (I used the wheels from the old Guard heavy weapons platforms like these)

The main fairing of the bike is made from the body of a Dark Eldar Reaver Jetbike. I began by cutting out the jet nozzle from the rear of the chassis and filing it down. The front and rear forks that hold the wheels are made from the bipod and tripod legs from the Guard heavy weapons sprues. The front forks are from the bipod, and the rear forks are the two long legs from the tripod. Assembling this stage took a little patience, as it's fiddly and fragile.

Once I had the wheels, forks and frame assembled, I added an imperial eagle (or winged skull in a couple cases) to the front of the fairing, and used the head of the shovel on the heavy weapons team sprue to form the front fender. I also added a little stowage here and there to cover up the occasional gap and to add a little flavor to the bikes.

The riders were a bit of a challenge. I started by bisecting several pairs of cadian legs (as none of the existing poses would fit astride the bikes as-is), and then mixing and matching the left and right legs until I found pairs that would form the poses that I liked. I positioned the leg pairs spread astride the bike, and then filled in the gaps with greenstuff.

The torsos and arms were all adjusted through the use of a bit of greenstuff here and there as well. The 'pointing' right arm from the heavy weapons squad worked pretty well to hold on to the bike's handlebars, though to make things easier I did a couple riders either dismounted, or leaning on the bikes while they fired their weapons.

As fun as the unit was to build, one thing it is not is cheap. The parts (back when GW actually had a useful bits service) cost about $130 for the five-man unit. While I intend to build a further 10 man squad of bikers, I'm taking the easy way out and plan on utilizing the bikes with integral legs available from Ramshackle Games here. I have a set on order to see how they'll work, but as yet they have not arrived. My intention is to use the 5-man squad as the tank-hunting unit (they all have melta-bombs and include a melta gun), and the new 10-man squad will be more traditionally armed with hunting lances. Further updates to come once the new bikes arrive!


  1. I look forward to seeing the new bikes when they arrive!

  2. Indeed - I just got the confirmation that the order had shipped, and I'll document the whole process of building the new unit.

  3. I've a few similar bikes like this in the works, with a bit of different twist to them. One has a sidecar. Am planning to do a couple more bikes and will document mine then as well. Hopefully, I'll be able to get the sidecar bits so I can show that one as well. All GW parts.
    Agreed they're a bit pricey unless you get lucky, and some parts can be a pain to put together. Looking forward to seeing how the Ramshackle versions work out.

  4. that is an awesome conversion. Great idea and really well done with nice posing. Very inspiring.
    Mike at Santa Cruz Warhammer

  5. Sweet,

    And thanks. I like the look of that 'bike with legs' too...

    I wonder if I'll ever dig out my ol' Cadian roughriders again?