Blood Flows Red on the Highway

 Well, this marks a momentous occasion: my first-ever Warhammer 40K vehicle is starting to resemble something vaguely like a Rhino after being broken down, mixed in with some other parts, and cobbled back together. (In truth, this is also the first "plastic vehicle model" I've ever built where I had a clue as to what I was doing - the first was a shoddily-assembled and even worse-painted model of the large ship from Disney's "The Black Hole" when I was maybe 8 years old). This Rhino is to be the transport for my Undivided Chaos Lord and his crazed Berzerker retinue as they race across the battlefield to close with the enemy - I'm wanting it decorated up a bit, but not so much that it screams "Something important in here, please shoot me!" especially given that there should be at least one other vehicle on the field, if not more:

 The final product is going to (ideally) look like a Mk.I that has over time "evolved" and/or "converted" into somewhat of a quasi Mk. II Rhino with some general stuff missing, out of place, or mutated. I got the Chaos Space Marine Battleforce Box when the latest Chaos Codex came out and the parts for this were in it - now, several years later, I'm having fun "kit-bashing."

 I have somewhat of a dilemma, though: other than Mk. I-reminiscent panels on the sides and open spaces on the top, I'd like to put some sort of decorative pattern or something. I had considered two bands of multiple inset skulls, one each running up the front angle over the tracks, past the exhaust pipes, and then down the back angle - there's several problems with this, one being that the pintle-mount cupola occupies half that top space; another is what to do at, say, the halfway mark, where in order for the skulls not to look awkward on the trip back down the rear angle over the tracks, I'd have to do a 180° rotation. Next up would be some sort of hammered metal banding pattern - same thing in that half of one would need to be thinned on the top, or not include one of the bands entirely; last but not least, I could forgo all that, do all the paneling similar to a Mk. I, and have a replica of sorts of my Warband's insignia patterned around the three circular shapes and then creatively in the vaguely open area - something like this:

(except smaller)

 So far as the overall look - the new Vindicator revisions had just came out around the time of the latest Chaos Space Marines Codex (or thereabouts) when I got my Rhino w/ the CSM Battleforce and I liked the chunky-style busy-looking top of the Vindi much better than the plain ol' Rhino top. So here it is quite a few years later and I decided to make my own chunky, Vindicator-esque Rhino like I had decided on way back then - after quite a lot of cutting, gluing, and trimming, things are starting to come together but I'm expecting to put a lot more detail on it.

 Some extra spiky detailing is going to be added in when I sculpt some growths/horns around the exhaust pipes/engine columns to protect them, and some, um, mutated texture/spines here and there around the body of the thing. Don't know what color I'll paint the more organic areas, but from an experiment with the Games Day figure of two years ago in starting an Ultramarine scheme, I know an excellent way of having the paint flake away from the "different" spots. I was also thinking barbed wire strung around the perimeter of the roof to prevent people from climbing up on top - a la the tanker truck from The Road Warrior. Dunno, though.

 I don't necessarily want to peg this Rhino as my Chaos Lord and Berserker retinue's transport so it turns into an automatic fire magnet, so I don't want to make it too ostentatious. The filigree would be a good idea if I had a lot of time, but since this is theoretically my "Snow theme" competition entry, I'd like to finish the modeling and get on to the color "soonish." For filigree, ([I]maybe[/I]) painted on effects would be doable time-wise, but even using fine powder and thinned glue to make raised pattern lines, that'd take forever to apply.

 I have to take another look at the skull panels from one of the newer Imperial Administratum building sets I bought - a lot of good stuff for ruins there, outside of things to add to this Rhino. I don't even know if I'd be able to saw it evenly into straight sections unless by pyrogravure and marked everything out ahead, and then undercut any overhanging bone outlines over the borders to have it look proper.

 I'm probably leaning towards a hammered metal look (ball peen hammer divots, say), but it depends how things come together. Right now I have the ammo cans cut for the forward default twin bolter so it will sit lower but need to figure out how to merge them into the guns so as to not look forced. I'm having the default twin bolter listed as standard to a Chaos Rhino mounted to the cupola next to the driver's port w/ a 360° traverse, and the pintle-mounted one separate on the roof at the back.

 I've decided that my vehicles are going to be crewed by The Shriven, so I can get some practice in modeling and painting them as magnetized add-ons prior to going whole hog with the full army list some time in the future.

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