Monday, October 21, 2013

How to make a Necron Doomsday Ark (cardboard Scracth Building)

First of all I want to say that I don't have an original set of a Necron Ark so I'm not sure if the dimensions of the Arks that we have made and the ones that are in the blue prints are 100% accurate. To obtain the dimensions we measure and image of the sprues and scale that with the outer dimensions of the sprue that has the same dimensions as other models that we have. Secondly, I will like to highlight that with this tutorial we don't want to copy the original model, we just want to make a representation of it and in that spirit there are several details that this model lacks and the original model has.

This tutorial shows how to make the Doomsday Ark. With the blueprints it is also possible to make the Ghost Ark, you just have to join the "ribs" to the bottom part and don't make the cannon.

To make the Necron Arks my brother has used three kinds of cardboards:
If you want you can use other materials instead of cardboard, like plasticard or foamboard, we are used to use cardboard because it is free, and easier to manipulate.

Other Materials:
  • Masking tape if you use corrugated cardboard.
  • 3 Empty pen cartridges (where the ink goes) or around 40cm of a 3mm diameter tube.
  • 2 Toothpicks or something else to hold the model "in the air" from the base.
  • 1 plastic straw.
  • Scissors.
  • Hobby Knife/Cutter.
  • Pencil.
  • Ruler.
  • Carbon Paper to transfer the blueprints to the cardboard.
  • White Glue or PVA Glue (as far as I know is the same thing).
  • Superglue/cyanocrylate.
Steps of the process 

Step 0: Transfering the blueprints and some useful information about the techniques that we use
Using the carbon paper copy the pieces of the blueprints into the right type of cardboard. This step is quite boring and sometimes even annoying as the model needs a lot of pieces and sometimes the blueprint moves a little bit while we are transferring it to the cardboard forcing us to repeat the piece from the beginning, because of that I recommend to hold the cardboard, the carbon paper and the blueprint together with a couple of paperclips whenever is possible.

Then cut them using the scissors and the hobby knife as required. Normally we made all of the cuts that have to be made with the hobby knive first and then cut the rest of the piece out with the scissors, in the image above, you can see that the piece of the cardboard already has all the inner cuts done.

Once the pieces have been cut it is time to glue them together. As it is cardboard our material of preference I use PVA Glue or White Glue.

Some of the pieces require to be bent following a straight line before they can be glued. To help the bending process I recommend to mark the bending lines with and empty pen and a ruler.

Be careful the bending lines are also marked with solid lines in the blueprints instead of dash lines as it can be seen in other blueprints. Just to have everything clear you just have to cut the contour of the pieces. Also it is important to know that the majority of pieces requires several cardboard layers, sometimes of different thickness. In the blueprints the places where you see the dash lines shows the places where another layer fits in, is just a guide line you should not cut or try to bent the piece following that line.

Other pieces have to be bent in a continuous manner, to make a curve, to do that we place the piece between the edge of a ruler and our thumb and slide it a few times.

The main structural pieces are made with corrugated cardboard in this tutorial. To hide/cover the holes of this cardboard we use masking tape. In order to have masking tape strips of the right width we place the tape in a surface that don't stick too much to it, mark with a ruler the width the we want and cut the strips with a hobby knife as it can be seen, hopefully, in the picture below.

I regret not having pictures of all the steps but most of them were made using the cell phone and where to blurry to post them.

Step 1: Building the central part of the model
We build this first as the other pieces are hold by this part. This part has one or two beams, depending on the type of Necron Ark, and the central part of the cockpit. If you are using corrugated cardboard, you should try to have the corrugated lines of the cardboard perpendicular to the direction of the beams, this will make easier to hold the model "in the air" latter on.

In the picture below you can see this part of the model, and you also can see that we have covered only the holes of the cardboard in the cockpit part with masking tape, as the rest of the holes are going to be covered with other pieces so we don't have to loose time placing masking tape in them.

Step 2: Building the cockpit
Lots of the pieces that make the cockpit need to be bent so they become curved pieces instead of flat ones.

First glue the cockpit floor to the central part of the model (the piece in the lower right corner of the picture above). While the glue of the floor is drying, glue the second layer of flat pieces on top of the lateral sides but don't glue yet the curved ones that goes in the curved rear part. Then glue the two lateral sides on top of the floor, without gluing them yet to the central spine of the model, just glue them to the cockpit floor.

Once the laterals are well glued to the floor, carefully glue their rear end to the spine of the model trying to avoid that the laterals unglue from the cockpit floor.

Once the laterals are glue in place, glue the second layer rear curved pieces of the cockpit sides.

Latter on we glue the "command board" and the reinforcements of the lateral sides.

In the two pictures above it can be seen that a "rib" has been already glued as well as some posterboard to make a cylinder. At both edges of the cylinder there are two corrugated cardboard circles to ensure the right shape of the cylinder. It is important to glue this two pieces before continuing any further with the cockpit.

While the poster board glues in place to form a cylinder, we continue making the sphere that in our case is really a truncated cone that goes below the rear part of the cockpit. You can see the pieces and how they fit together in the following pictures.

Glue the truncated cones to the central part of the model once they are build.

To finish with the cockpit glue the different layers of the pieces shown in the next picture together. This pieces will cover the poster board cylinder and that is why we needed it before continuing with the cockpit.

We also made the nozzles or exhaust gravitational pipes or whatever they are that go below the cockpit.

Before gluing the nozzles we need to place another curved piece in the two corrugated pieces that are below the cockpit floor, then we glue the nozzles on top of it.

Truth be told, there are two small details left to finish the cockpit but in the bright side we have already done the most difficult part of the model.

Step 3: Building the Doomsday Cannon
This is quite easy to do, is is just a long posterboard made cylinder with other small layers of posterboard glued on top of it. Along the long cylinder you should place some corrugated circles and not only on both of its edges, that way the cylinder will be sturdier, more so as the number of circles a long its axe increases.

When all the posterboard layers are glued we glue the front of the cannon consisting on 8 spikes make with two layers of cereal box cardboard. In the picture below you can also see that in front of the "Command board" we have glue an hexagonal piece this is one of the small details that was left in the cockpit.

Step 4: Placing the rest of the ribs
At least in my opinion, the omega shaped or U shaped things that are along the axe of the model resemble to human ribs, so I just call them ribs that is a shorter and easier way to do it. In this step we need the rest of the ribs, two 3mm diameter tubes 8.6cm long and the pieces to make the Gauss flayers.  I have to said that the Gauss flayers that I made are pretty shabby and the model probably looks better without them. So I will not explain how to do them, but it is just a piece of 3mm diameter tube joined to the small pieces that are in the upper center part of the second page of the "blueprints cereal box cardboard" pdf.

I recall to you that we had already a rib placed as we need it for the cockpit. Now we put in its small holes the 8.6cm tubes. Then we place a Gauss flayer in each tube, then we place a rib in the tubes and in the upper center beam, then make the cylinder between the two ribs with some poster board and so on until there are no more Gauss flayers or ribs.

Now place the foremast and glue the last posterboard cylinder. Also place the two details in the side of the foremast. I used a toothpick to hold them (it can be seen in the frontal picture of the finished model). The pictures that I took from this process where really blurry.

To finish with the model add all the details that you could think off. We added a piece of plastic straw in the lower rear center part of the model, below the cockpit. If you want you can put a Necron warrior as a dedicated driver, we normally place a model if we have some in spare, if not we simply left the cockpit empty.

We have made the base with corrugated cardboard and cover its holes with some masking tape. To hold the model we glue to the base two toothpicks and then "nail" the toothpicks to the center of the Doomsday cardboard trough one of the holes in the corrugated cardboard of the center beam.

The finished model should look like this:

Well that's it. If you think that the tutorial is long try to do one for yourselves, we really enjoy making them but it takes a lot of time, enough time to at least consider that the plastic model is not that expensive.

Once the Doomsday Ark is painted it could look like this:

In this post you can see some Ghost Arks as well as this Doomsday Ark.

Hope you like it and don't hesitate to ask any questions, I will try to answer them as best as I can.


  1. That's wery nice. I'm my own arc now but I don't hawe exactly plans what goes where i need to guess a little. Maybe you have the plans and can share them. Ty for help.

    1. Hello!
      If I understand you correctly you have the original model, isn't it?
      I don't have it, so I cannot share with you any plans or step by step of how to assembly it, not sure they exist either, sorre.


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