Remember the styracosarus I bought on a whim last month?
I have been thinking about getting a crew for it, but didn't come across anything I liked, until I saw the Beast of Gorgoroth on the GW website.
The remote resemblance was enough to stir my imagination, and I was reminded just that day that wahj had given me his collection of GW LOTR figures many months ago. A quick search revealed several suitable crew figures, and I set about thinking of a way to make a howdah.
A few failed experiments later, I decided to keep things simple and turn to my new best friend: masking tape.
As it is impractical to seat the mahout on the neck of the styracosarus in view of its horns, I decided to have a cockpit for him on the back of the dino. The fighting crew would be housed on two 'gondolas' on the sides. The compartments are made with cardboard taped together by masking tape, with the floor of the gondolas made from foamcore for added sturdiness. I've draped a piece of cloth soaked in dilute PVA over the back of the dino.
In this second picture you can see how the whole rig is put together. The idea (I don't know how sound it is mechanically...) is that the weight is all borne by the square frame which makes up the base of the cockpit and which sits on the back of the dino. I've bought some chains yesterday which will be used to secure the front two corners of the frame in a loop below the neck of the dino; the rear two corners will likewise be secured by a chain passing beneath the tail of the dino.
The extra bits of balsa on the side of the frame and the gondolas represent the fact that the gondolas are suspended by sheets of leather which are nailed to the side of the frame.
The mahout is the star of the show, as his weapon and pose makes it look like he is using it to steer the dino by manipulating its horns.
The whole thing still looks more cute than intimidating, mainly because the dino looks docile, but a proper paint-job should rectify that. I've also got to decide how much work to do on the howdah - it's easy to make them all too spiky and scary, but the crew need to be able to get in and out of them... In any case, historical howdahs didn't come with anti-boarding spikes and whatnot. Perhaps a couple of pegs to hang the shields for the crew will be sufficient.