Part Five

8. How do I model the vehicle upgrades?

Being an Oiler is a dangerous business. Every morning it was Fidgit's job to take the roll-call of Oddballz' Gretchin. Today, the usual untidy group of oil stained and soot blackened Gretchin had gathered around him. Producing a makeshift clipboard consisting of a scrap of metal with a bit of string hanging from it, Fidgit pretended to read from the row of squiggles chalked down one side.


"Nope, he ain't here." squeaked a voice. "Da new bolt-on big shoota misfired.


"'E was standin' in front of it."

There was a chorus of snickering.


"Ain't been seen since we test-fired da stikkbomb chukka."


"Sucked into da turbo-boosta."

This remark prompted a sharp intake of breath from the Gretchin. Farkit's end had been particularly messy, and bits of him were still turning up in unexpected places.


"Slipped while weldin' spikes onto da noo Trukk. I fink he's a hood ornament now."

"Okay - dat's enuff of dat." Fidgit tossed his clipboard aside. "Da Boss says he wants da Stompa painted red so it goes fasta. 'Oo is volunteerin'?"

Noone moved. They had only just finished painting the Stompa blue. It had taken weeks, and the death toll amongst the Gretchin involved had been high. At least one was still missing, presumed drowned, in one of the tins of blue paint.

"Nudgit, Stikkit and Sadgit, you 'is volunteered. 'op to it!"

Amid much jeering and catcalling, the three Gretchin who had been named sloped off towards the Stompa yard. Fidgit watched them go, then turned back to the rest. His pointy features wore an unpleasant smile, and the remaining Grots quickly fell quiet.

"You'ze lot is gonna wish you'd volunteered fer paintin'," sniggered Fidgit. "Da Boss reckons 'is noo krusher can squish 5 humies in one go. You runts is gonna 'elp prove it!"

As this isn't intended to be an exhaustive guide to modelling Ork vehicles, only the upgrades that are commonly seen on Battlewagons are dealt with here.

Armour Plates

Armour plates are usually flat pieces of sheet styrene (or pieces of other kits) glued onto the vehicle. Rivets are virtually mandatory and thus making it one of the easiest upgrades to model. To improve the appearance of the plates, distress the edges and add some battle damage. Forge World produces a set of resin Ork glyphs and armour plates. Unfortunately, there aren't enough for a large vehicle. Other ways of representing armour plates are spare tracks attached to the armour, additional gunshields on the vehicle's weapons, and sandbags.

Simple but effective armour plates, consisting of styrene sheet.

Armoured Top

At present, only Kult of Speed vehicles can be fitted with this upgrade. The armoured top can be anything from a crude roof attached to a couple of rollbars, to a fully enclosed superstructure. The vehicle's weapons will be enclosed in turrets. This does not stop you from having an open gantry or tower on the model, but the main hull ought to be covered. An enclosed vehicle will still need vision slits for the crew and passengers to see out of, as well as hatches and ventilators. It is probably easier to model an enclosed vehicle, since you won't need to built any interior detail, and the weapons will just be represented by their barrels.

Gordy2000's Battlewagon with an armoured top and its main weapon in a turret. Conveniently, the roof and turret are part of the original kit. The close-up shows the details he has added to the basic kit, as well as the Ork krew and Rigger.

Turrets are a feature of Battlewagons with armoured tops. This is a zzap gun mounted in a turret. The weapon is the metal one, with lots of wires and cabling added.

Big Grabber/Wrecker Ball/Reinforced Ram/Boarding Plank

These upgrades are not particularly popular in game terms, but many Battlewagon models feature some sort of ram or dozer blade simply because it looks good. A dozer blade can be made out of sheet styrene, or you can use the one that's included on the Imperial Guard vehicle accessory sprue (although it will need some additional spikes). Forge World also produces one in resin. A crude ram can be made using the plastic battlefield obstacles, or you can make it entirely out of sheet styrene (make sure you use thick styrene, however, as the ram will need to look very robust). There are 2 types of rams that come with the plastic Wartrukk that provide a good template. They're too small for a Battlewagon, but you can scale them up.

This ram was made by attaching several of the prongs cut from the large Games Workshop plastic tank obstacle to the front of the Battlewagon. Many World War II US tanks had something similar fitted, called the 'Cullin hedgegrow device', which was also manufactured from (real) anti-tank obstacles.

Bolt-on Big Shoota

See the section on modelling weapons.

Force Field

Force Fields are only available to Kult of Speed vehicles. There is no official model of an Ork force field projector, but Ork players all seem to have their own quite firm views on what it ought to look like. Some see it as composed of whirling gubbins, like an oversized anemometer (an instrument for measuring wind speed), while others visualise it as a large dish (either vertical or horizontal). To others it should be something involving Tesla coils and (although it's quite a challenge to model them) arcs of electricity. So it's really up to the individual mek's imagination. As long as it seems to suggest a device that creates a force field large enough to protect the vehicle, it should be fine.

This force field is represented by parts from the plastic electric fence posts that come with the Battle of Macragge boxed set, which have been attached around the outside of the vehicle. Agatheron has run wire from each one down into the engine of the vehicle - a nice detail that helps explain how the force field works.

A completely different approach from Nightserpent. A central device with vanes that emit the force field. There is a very detailed generator unit as well. Nightserpent has modelled it so the whole thing can be removed if he doesn't want to pay the points for the upgrade.

Grot Riggers

Riggers are frequently represented by the metal Grot crew miniatures that come with the Ork artillery models. Grot infantry miniatures can be converted by replacing their weapons with tools, although many modellers use them unconverted. There are at present no suitable Grot models in plastic, but the Warhammer Goblins and Night Goblins can be converted into passable WH40k Grots without too much trouble. They are larger than the metal Grots and clearly sculpted as fantasy models, so some people dislike using them. The Warhammer Gnoblars are closer in size to the metal Grots, and have a similarly weedy physique. Gnoblar heads are noticeably different to Grot heads, so you will need to replace them with smaller heads. Some of the plastic Goblin heads are suitable.

Riggers represented by a variety of models, including Gretchen, Goblins and Snotlings, both converted and unconverted. In some cases the only change made to the basic model has been the addition of some kind of tool or implement, such as the stick being used by one of these Riggers to remove a spore mine from the front of his vehicle. Some creatively posed or comical looking Riggers (such as the unfortunate little blighter who is clinging on for dear life) will add interest and life to your Battlewagon.

These are actually Grot Oilers, intended to accompany a Big Mek, but they could just as easily be used as Riggers. They are converted from plastic Night Goblins, and are shown unpainted to demonstrate how the conversions were done.


The krusher is a spiked roller. It is presently only available to Kult of Speed Battlewagons, although that should not stop you from adding one to a normal Battlewagon if it looks good (you can always treat is as a reinforced ram). Forge World produces a very convincing looking krusher, intended for their Battlewagon kit. You can build your own out of sheet styrene, using a cardboard tube as a basis. This does require some modelling experience, as it involves forming sheet styrene onto a curved shape; you may prefer to just use the cardboard tube (in which case you should coat it with white glue or thick primer in order to give it a smooth surface). Another approach is to make the roller using multiple large discs, or even large wheels, threaded together on an axle. Either way, you can then decorate the roller with studs and spikes made from thick plastic. You will need to carve these to shape.

The Forge World krusher, with added spikes.

There will probably be some revisions to this FAQ in due course, and we may add photos of any really impressive Battlewagons that appear in the Mek's Garage forum. And of course we're all hoping to see a plastic Battlewagon kit from Games Workshop within the next couple of years. But that's it for now, so get building!

Thanks to everyone who contributed photos of their models to this FAQ. Thanks also to Nightserpent and Scarpia for reading early drafts and providing useful suggestions.


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