Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Building Guide: Relic Contemptor Dreadnought

The Contemptor Dreadnought has been the hot new toy for Marine players for a little while now. Being a dedicated follower of fashion, I got one for myself this past weekend and here present a guide to construction for everyone :)

It is generally a simple kit to put together as long as you have some photgraphic reference of a completed one - like at the bottom of this page :) There are a couple of pieces that must be used the right way round and the correct orientation is not always obvious. I also present a guide to constructing the CCB - this is a little more fiddly with quite a few extra pieces included in the bag and some steps that must be carried out in sequence. The kit is highly posable too - lots of ball joints and hinge joints too so it will help for you to have an idea of how you want your dread to be posed before you commit to glueing. For that same reason, the fact your dread will look how you want it too, consider this less a construction guide, than a guide to how the pieces all fit together. So, get out your glue, your clippers, and hobby knife, and lets get going!

First off we can start with the main torso and power plant. Nothing too hard about this bit, just make sure you clean all the flash off the engine and align it with the tabs on the back of the dread.

Next we can put the head in the cavity at the top of the torso. It is found on this sprue alongside the two kneeguards. The guards are, as far as I can tell, universal - you can put either on either knee - but leave them on the sprue for now.

The abdominals come next. This is a two-piece section. The piece on the left is the top part. That big plate with the grills goes towards the front. You glue the other piece underneath it with the arrow-like pointy bit pointing up. This is your dread's codpiece, if you like. Both these parts attach to others via ball joints - so make sure you;ve got them lined up with how you want your dread to be standing when you've finished the model before gluing.

Next block of resin has your dread's upper legs. At first glance these are identical but there is a right way to use them. The key is the little plastic tab you can see sticking up at the top of the pieces. Essentially this picture shows the parts upside down, as those tabs need to be orientated so the flat section faces to the front of your dread. The top of these thigh sections is ball jointed, the bottom fits into the calves by a tongue and groove joint. Bear posing in mind again before applying glue.

We're almost finished now, and its the turn of the calf-pieces. These too must be orientated the right way round. The piece at the bottom of the picture is your dread's left calf, the other goes on his right.

And last but not least, the feet. Now, for some unknown, undisclosed reason, Forge World saw fit to label these, and only these parts. And provide pretty-much identical multiples. Yes, there is a L1, L2, R1, and R2. I'm not sure there is any difference at all between the the two left or two right feet. If there is any, it is marginal. If there are two feet to help the dread pose in two different positions, well, the advantage is nothing compared to that provided by all the other definable joints in the model. But hey, I'm sure those great big beautiful feet will be useful in some other project, some day.

Now, if you've done it all right, your dread should look something like this:

I have left the kneeguards off so you can see how the tabs on the thighs should be orientated. This is highly important as the kneeguards simply will not properly fit to the other side of the knee joint. I speak from experience ><

There we go - all parts present and accounted for. I have added the shoulders in this picture as we are going to look at building the CCB's next. Note the orientation and, sadly, the damage done to the top of both pieces during removal from the frame. Each shoulder was pretty solidly attached and I recommend caution when you remove yours.

The Contemptor CCB baggie contains what may at first glance be a bewildering selection of pieces:

I have labeled them, for your convenience, starting with the first piece to attach to the shoulder piece:

Note that parts 4 and 4b are optional weapons to be contained within the fist, Iron man style. You have a choice here of plasma gun and flamer. Make sure you choose one and glue it in before adding part 5 - the 'hand'.

Bear in mind here that part 5 is designed so the 'thumb' goes opposite the three 'fingers' of the fist. that is, it will be oriented differently depending on whether this is a right hand weapon, or left. If you're not sure, try putting your own arm in the pose you want your dread's arm to end up in before attaching this, or any, parts.

On the same block as the projectile weapons are two optional power pack type pieces that attach to the underside of the fist(look for a little raised tab to site the pieces) and guard for the rear of the elbow.

Then you get two sets of digits to go in your fist - traditional stubby ones or more wicked looking claws. Being that I am building a Space Wolves Contemptor I, of course, went with the claws, leaving me a model looking a little like this:

Note that the digits are not universal - each is designed for a specific slot in the fist. You can tell which is which by checking the sides of each at the point where the digit attaches to the hand. You will see each has a drum-shape t enable it to slot into the fist and be posed anywhere from clenched shut to extended (yes, your dread can be giving the finger to his enemies!). Now look at the sides of these drums. You will see that two of them have a rivet-like detail on one side only - you want to be able to see this rivet when you glue the fingers down. One of the digits will be blank in both sides, this is that all important middle finger :)

As with most Forge World kits then, the Contemptor Dreadnought's construction relies on a large amount of dry-fitting and a little bit of flash-trimming and mold-line removal to be successful. Putting things in the right place in the right order is also vital and I hope this guide will help you do that. Please learn from my mistakes!

The versatility of the kit is really really good. No two Contemptors need ever look the same - hopefully you can see I have tried to capture some of the feral nature of Space Wolves in mine, something more or less impossible in the more traditional dreadnought models. But this too does not come without effort and forethought. Attaching all the leg joints simultaneously and achieving a naturalistic pose was not childs-play and required quite a few re-poses and reattachments of certain joints.

Its well worth the effort though to have such a unique and attractive model to the further customise and paint though and I encourage you to give it a go too. Feel free to leave any comments or questions and also check the post on greenstuffing and further customization of my Contemptor.


  1. Thanks for this tutorial. I found your site via a websearch as I recently acquired a Relic Contemptor Dreadnought and wasn't sure how to put it together. Best, Dean

  2. Thanks this was very helpful with putting together my relic contemptor aswell.


  3. Do you get both the claw fingers and fist fingers in the same set? or different sets?