A quick and dirty guide to building a Webway Gate
Thanks to promises made to Ten Tigers and Brother Wolf that I could make one for under $10, I've spent some of my weekend working on an Eldar Webway Gate. It's the easiest of the structures from DOW to build. I planned out the structure (about 1 hour of sketching while watching TV), then went to work. Total build time was 2 hours. Please excuse the photo quality, I had to use my blackberry camera for this.
1 sheet of foamcore - $2
1 plastic For Sale sign - $2
1 plastic easter egg - $.10
1 3/4" wooden ball - $.10 (package of 10 for $1)
1 package of iron-on studs (about 1mm across) - $.66
1 strip of 1 mm x 3/16" plasticard (came from a pound bag of scrap from a railroad store ~$8; size isn't too important, it just needs to be thicker than the plastic from the sign and narrower than 3/8 inch)
Xacto knife with a fresh blade
Straightedge, preferably metal
I also recommend a circle cutter, though it's not necessary.
Draw out a plan for the building. I drew it twice on graph paper, once at about half scale to get the idea down, then at full scale. I then redrew it on the foamcore using a pencil and tweaked the design further. When I was happy, I drew the second copy on the foamcore. It's helpful to have them side by side along the edge of the board, so you can use a straightedge and drawing tools (compass, protractor, drawing triangles) to square up your drawings. It might be better (assuming you have a circle cutter) to layout the spine pieces back to back for easier cutting. EDIT: the cut sheet I will be adding will have this layed out for you.
When you are satisfied with the drawing, get out the xacto. Make sure you have a fresh blade to work with. Cut out your design (check out the tutorial I wrote on working with foamcore). Rough it out first, then cut the details as you go. It's okay if they're slightly rough, because we're going to cover all the edges. Be sure to cut the half circles along the spine before you cut out the other side to help keep the foamcore from wrinkling when you make these cuts. I also cut the hole for the wooden ball on the end of the armature at this point, a little smaller than 3/4 inch. Cut out the base of the building as well.
Now, set the pieces aside. Take the For Sale sign and a ruler, measure and cut strips 3/8" wide and as long as you can make them. Of all the cuts you make, these have to be the best; if you wobble with the blade, the pieces will be useless. You'll need 2 strips about 9 inches each. I'd cut an extra just in case.
Take the wooden ball and the two halves of the armature. Put the ball in between the pieces and press them together; make sure you have cut the holes for them large enough to fit the ball snugly in there, then glue the two halves together (leaving the ball in between; the sides will hold the ball in place). Hold together for a minute or two until they hold. You can lay a book on the bottom end (not where the ball is) to hold them together.
Take the plasticard strips you cut and start fitting them to the edge of the assembled armature. The strips should exactly cover the edges of the piece. For right angles, bend the pieces over to form a nice angle. Once you've got it figured out, glue the strips into place, wrapping rubber bands around as you go to hold the strips on. Once you've completely wrapped the piece, set it aside to dry (at least 4 hours).
Now, take a corner of the foamcore (I had a perfect scrap for this) and cover the edges with plasticard. This will be the spur along the inner edge of the armature. You can simply cut these into the armature design (which would be easier) but I forgot to do so and built it separately. Set aside.
Take the plastic easter egg apart. The bottom, or round end, is what we need. Cut off the lip that holds the two pieces together (keep the egg together and run your blade around the crack between the halves until it comes loose), and sand the cut area until smooth. Then carefully cut the piece in half (you'll end up with two quarter-spheres). Save the two pieces you've just made along with the lip piece.
Take the strip of plasticard and cut 3 1" strips. Sand the corners until rounded. Glue 4 of the studs on each piece, evenly spaced. Set these aside.
When the armature is done drying, you can start assembly. Glue the two studded pieces to the inner edge of the armature and one on the "toe"(you can use CA or MEK for this; it's plastic on plastic). Cut the lip from the easter egg in half and fit it around the wooden ball (this will cover up any roughness around the ball). Take some of the scrap pieces of sign and cut eldar-style shapes (lots of curves and long narrow sections). Use these to cover up rough spots on the foamcore and to add detail to the surface. I rushed this step and that's clear on the final model, but then I'm not an eldar player and this is the first of their structures I've built.
Glue the two halves of the round end of the easter egg at the base. Make sure they fit, and trim them as necessary to make sure they match up nicely. Glue the entire assembly to a base (I used a 4X8 piece of plasticard, but I'll eventually replace it with a foamcore piece). You now have an assembled warp gate. You'll notice the design has a lower portion that is not in the photos; I cut that feature as the footprint right now makes it a nice objective marker. You can add it using another 3/4 inch wooden ball cut in half and mounted directly under the point of the armature.
Carefully brush a basecoat using a very dry brush. Apply several thin coats. This will seal any exposed foamcore and prevent warping or peeling. This will also help show places where the plasticard may have separated from the foamcore; you can fill these with putty, or reglue those areas. When finished, this basecoat does not need to be perfect, just as long as the foamcore is sealed. You can then spraypaint or airbrush the building. Paint as desired.
(I'll update this when I've finished painting it.)
EDIT: I will post an improved design and cut sheet when I have access to a scanner. I've drawn it out in such a way that you can use it as a template for your own construction, complete with designs for panels you can cut out of plasticard and attach instead of the random assortment of eldar shapes.
This project is really just a starting point. If you can assemble this, many other DOW eldar buildings are easily built. 3 of these on a triangular base makes an Aspect Portal, for instance.