Citadel’s Adeptus Mechanicus Onager Dunecrawler: The Stompy Little Crab

Though I loved going to the beach, I was always a bit intimidated by it. Part of the reason was my mom. Whenever we’d drive to the beach, she’d give me long lectures about riptides, jellyfish, sharks, stingrays, barracudas, and all sorts of other sea life that was apparently designed to specifically seek me out and eat me. Well… partially eat me. Because I heard the phrase “we don’t want to find parts of your body washed up on shore” more than once.

So while I enjoyed making sand castles, chasing seagulls, and enjoying the warm water at the ankle deep level, I rarely strayed into the deeper waters way off shore. And by “way off shore” I mean almost to my knees.

The Safe Zone

Keeping my explorations to the safe zone at the water’s edge, I still had quite a good time. With bucket in hand, I’d dig holes looking for buried treasure, shells, and occasionally the odd chunk of wood – which I was convinced MUST be part of a long lost pirate ship. Which would in turn cause frantic digging in that area, often to great depths in my young mind, hoping to strike it rich.

Of course, the fact that I am writing this and begging Patreon support is evidence I never did find gold. Or silver. Though I did once find aluminum… and promptly cut my finger on it. That’s the price for exploration I suppose.

A New Discovery

One day I was digging in the sand a bit away from the shore, where things were a bit drier. There was a slight bluff along one part of the beach, and I found if I dug in there, I could get much deeper by starting in the side of the “cliff”, rather than going through the top.

As I dug along, searching for treasure, I noticed a little hole dug in the sand a ways down from me. Wondering if perhaps it was the remains of a tunnel to Blackbeard’s loot, I started digging away at it.

After getting a few inches in, I was startled by movement in the hole. Something darted out and hit my shovel blade. My curiosity got the better of me (admittedly there was a fair amount of stupidity mixed in), and I stuck my shovel back in the hole. Something grabbed it, and began pulling. Quickly withdrawing the shovel wrenched it free. 

Now You’re In Trouble

Mildly perturbed that whatever was in the hole had tried to abscond with my shovel, I did the most logical thing. I stuck it back in, further, twisting it, to boldly go where no kid had gone before. 

The reaction was swift and angry. Whatever it was pulled the shovel, and I pulled back. Instead of letting go this time, it decided to make an appearance.

In all of her lectures on things that would eat me, mom had never mentioned large crabs. I’d seen tiny ones, and chased them all over. But this one had a body the size of a saucer, and seemed fairly insistent. I gave a mighty yank, and the shovel came free. 

Or so I thought. 

The hole was now empty. I’d slung Mr. Crab out of his home, and there he sat, just a few feet from me. And he was angry.

Almost simultaneously we began running. Me screaming at the top of my lungs, and him… well, he just sorta ran towards me wordlessly, claws raised.

Making The Model

I was drawn to this kit because it is so bizarre looking. It looks as if a Scout Sentinel and a crab had a kid. Assembly is is very simple, and aside from the inevitable mold line cleanup, only takes a few minutes. The parts were left in subassemblies for painting, just to make sure everything was easily reached.

The main section of the turret was assembled as one unit. I left the main gun unit as a separate assembly. The legs were fully built, though I did leave the “knee armor” off for painting ease. I tested a few methods to deal with the figure, and found that by gluing his arms to the gun, and leaving the torso separate, painting would be much easier. The fit to the shoulders was very good – so tight that at the end I found I didn’t actually need glue. (Though I used it anyway… 😉

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I started by priming the model with Badger’s Stynylrez primer. While the box photo shows the Dunecrawler in a deep red and tan scheme, a search of the Google’s turned up another canon scheme – orange and dark gray. I thought it looked kind of cool, so I opted for that. It was already on my mind, having watch my friend Chris Williams from Gross Models work on another 40K kit – a Taurox Prime – that he’d painted orange.

The paint work began by giving everything a good coat of a darker rust orange color. I’d used a Vallejo Model Air color, and it seemed to have the worst time of getting up to full opacity when airbrushed on. Even after several coats, I wasn’t fully happy with it.

However, I decided that it would be OK to press on… {sigh}… so I started in on the dark gray parts. Those I was painting by hand, and while they looked OK, I came in one morning to continue work on the project, and it hit me. I didn’t like it. The total effect made it look like a Halloween pumpkin.

It was time to make a change.

A New Direction

Grabbing the little box I kept the model parts in, I headed for my airbrush room. (My wife calls it the “laundry room”. She’s so weird sometimes… 😉 ) Loading the airbrush up with more Stynylrez, everything was soon reset to a nice neutral gray. I opted to throw creativity and artistic direction out the window, and simply go with the box scheme. It looked cool enough, and at least I had a visual example to go by.

I gave the sections shown as red on the box a coat of Vallejo Game Color Gory Red, thinned and applied via airbrush. That paint covered much better than my orange efforts. The tan areas were brush painted using Citadel’s Zandri Dust. Other colors used for the details were Citadel Leadbelcher for silver areas, Vallejo Sky Gray and Black Gray, and a few touches of various greens for the lenses.

For the stripe on the front of the turret, I masked the area off, and brush painted it with Vallejo Model Color White. It took a few coats, to be sure, but eventually looked OK. All of the base colors were finished off by going around the model and touching up areas that weren’t quite neat enough.

Making A Crab Look Dirty

The weathering process started by giving all the recessed detail a good slathering of Citadel’s Gloss Nuln Oil. For the recessed areas, I used it full strength with no thinning. To shadow around raised detail, I thinned it with a little water, which helped it flow better. I wasn’t too concerned with tide marks, as those could be blended in with other weathering later.

I opted for a two color approach to the chipping. The base color for the whole thing would be Zandri Dust, and the underlying material was some metallic space composite… no doubt grim and dark. Thus, the red parts would be chipped with Zandri Dust, the tan parts with Vallejo Mecha Color Chipping Brown, and then a few areas in the red accented with the same brown.

Didja Forget Something?

I began happily chipping away across the model with a sponge. As I was going for a heavily chipped and scratched look, I wasn’t worried about restraint. After I’d finished the turret, and most of the legs, a little voice in my head piped up.

Hey, genius…. ya forgot the decals.

Sometimes the little voice can be annoying, even when he’s trying to help out. I told him to shut up, I know what I’m doing. 😀

Adding chipping with a sponge can introduce a slight textured feel to the surface. Normally it’s not visible, and only slightly discernible to the touch. However, put a decal over it, and that texture sticks out like a fart in an elevator. (And trust me… I know… 😉 )

The main area I was worried about was on the front of the turret, right in the center of the stripe. Using a brush damped with Vallejo Airbrush thinner, I removed the chipping out of the area the decal would sit. Using a cotton bud, I gave it a good rubbing to smooth it down further.

While I normally put decals over a fully glossed surface, this time I would get around that by simply using a drop of Future as a pre-treatment. The decal was applied over that, and excess was worked out with a cotton bud. A drop of Solvaset snugged it down. I repeated this process for the other decals… happy that I’d managed to correct that gaffe rather simply.

Back On Track

Bonus Content is available for patrons, detailing the simple steps used to make the base for this model.  Follow the link to sign up and unlocked much more content!

More weathering was adding, using several Vallejo acrylic Weathering Effects. Most of the stains and grime were added with Oil Stains and Petrol Spills colors, essentially dark brown and black. These provided stains, streaks, leaks, and all manner of filthiness around the models surface.

I did find that it would have been better to leave off the various tubes that are glued on to the aft portion of the turret’s underside. Getting that area properly weathered was a bit of a tight fit.

A few areas received a bit of rust streaking. I opted for a brighter orange there, as I felt it would show up better against the red and tan colors. The various armaments in the side pod were also painted, the missle bodies in Vallejo Model Color Sky Gray, and the tips in VMC Yellow.

The legs and turret were joined together, armor bits added on, and the adept mechanic and his big gun mounted in the turret. More weathering was added around the model as needed, with an emphasis on arm’s length viewing to make sure I was seeing the “big picture.” With the weathering completed, everything was given a coat of Vallejo Mecha Color Matt Varnish.

Feats Don’t Fail Me Now

I’d always prided myself in being fast, but trying to run on soft sand while screaming and dancing around to avoid flying claws proved to be difficult. Forgetting how many holes I’d actually dug into the sand, in my haste I ran straight into one of them, face planting directly into the far edge of it.

Completely ignoring the pain, I scrambled up and kept running, face covered in sand, and now blind to the world.

Eventually, I heard my dad shout to me. “Son, what in the world are you doing? You sound like a herd of wild beasts!” 

I stopped and brushed the sand from my eyes. Looking around, my mom and dad were walking towards me. They’d taken a stroll down the beach. Casting a fearful glance back, the crab was nowhere to be found. He’d vanished, no doubt to await a more opportune time for nefarious ambush.

A Fun Kit

It gets a bit difficult to write a unique conclusion about Citadel Warhammer kits. They’re just fun. Every single one I’ve built. And this one was no exception. Certainly it’s unique shape and crazy number of edges per square inch make it a blast to weather. Aside from my own self-induced heartburn trying to pursue a color combo that didn’t suit me, this little stomply crab looking kit has no vices. It’s simply fun to build, paint, and weather. Good enough.

After explaining my predicament to the parental units, and enduring their laughter, I decided that perhaps the areas adjacent to the ocean weren’t safe either. Grabbing my bucket and shovel, I trudged up the boardwalk to the picnic area, safe under the shelter of the pavillion. Grabbing some bread, cheese, and thin sliced roast beef, I sat down to enjoy a sandwich, pondering the days events.

“I can get used to this”… 

A nice breeze, some food to munch, a place to sit. Life was good.

Except for that wasp nest under the picnic table. 

But I suppose that is another story… 😉

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