Apologies if you have seen this before - I accidentally published it before it was ready, a few months ago now. Yes it has taken me that long to finish off the article! Hope you enjoy it...
Ah the Rifleman, the unlikely star of 5th edition. Taking the humble autocannon and turning it into a reliable transport wrecking blizzard of firepower. Here's a snapshot of one of my Rifleman Dreadnoughts. I'm very happy with the way that they turned out, and their performance on the tabletop. There don't seem to be tutorials with anyone building them my way on the web, so I felt duty bound to share the process with you lot.
This is not a simple conversion - you need to be skilled with a hobby knife or you might end up endangering your fingers. You will need the following components for each twin-linked auto-cannon arm that you make:
- One (must be) plastic dreadnought arm: left or right, and of any weapon configuration
- 2 Imperial Guard auto-cannons from the heavy weapon sprue, including the separate semi-cylindrical ammo drum
- Hobby knife
- Plastic Glue
- Probably green stuff
We start with the trickiest bit. Use your hobby knife to cut away all the parts of the arm you are using that aren't needed, then smooth out the cut away parts with your file. There are two things that you must achieve here:
- The outer part of the "bicep" must be flat, as that is where the ammo drum is going to be attached.
- The surface of the arm that faces forward must be flat and horizontal, as this is where the auto-cannons attached. However it is OK if the flat section are at different depths. This is good or otherwise the whole process would be bloody impossible.
Here you can see the general idea of how the ammo drum is placed on the arm. This can hopefully be done in such a way as to hide much of the hacking apart that has been done to the arm.
Now to the guns. Start by cutting the little mini barrel off each auto-cannon. I tried to keep it on, but the way the gun is cast means that it always snaps when cutting pressure is applied to the main barrel. Just get it out of the way now, taking care to ensure that you don't remove any of the rings that circle around the main barrel.
Now cut the main barrel of the top autocannon. You want the cut between the two rings that are close together, snug to the right but not touching. Once you have made the cut, use the file to ensure that the cut is at right angles and goes right up to the edge of the ring. Also use the file where the rings were cut in the first step, to ensure that they are smoothly rounded.
Now take a second auto-cannon and operate on it in a similar way to the above. However this time you might need to adjust the length, depending on the surface it is going to glue on to.
As you can see in the above, the lower auto-cannon is longer than the one above it. Because they are mounted at a different depth the still finish lined up at the tip. Now all you have to do is stick the ammo drum on to the side of the shoulder, over the hacked up detail as I demonstrated above. Now your el cheapo rifleman arm is ready!
The pic above shows you what a right arm gun looks like. This was converted from an AoBR multi-melta arm. It will have a slightly different look, but nothing that will draw attention. It is easier to make the right arms because there was less hacking that needed to be done.