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Games Workshop Imperial Guard Shadowsword kit

By Tim Kidwell
Published: April 14, 2010
Games Workshop's Imperial Guard Shadowsword/Stormlord kit can be built into one variation of six different tanks. This is the Shadowsword version.
Close-up of rear detail
Close-up of rear detail.
Close-up of port tread and headlights.
Notice the weathering with MIG pastels and the rust effect on the tailpipes.
Product: Games Workshop is famous for its Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40K sci-fi tabletop miniatures wargame rules, but the miniatures used for these games are solid models by themselves.

Filled with eight gray plastic sprues, the Shadowsword/Stormlord kit comes in a very striking box that is packed with parts to build one of six different tanks.

Assembly: The primary differences between the six tanks are their main weapons, which have names like the Vulcan mega-bolter or magma cannon. I chose to build the Shadowsword, which employs the Mk. IV Phateon pattern volcano cannon.

The instruction booklet is printed on glossy paper with CAD images throughout. However, most of the parts aren’t numbered, so I found myself fishing though the pieces and comparing them to the instructions to make sure the parts were correct.

Once I had a feel for the subject, though, the model went together with relatively few hitches. The plastic is soft and took well to Tamiya Extra-Thin Cement (No. 87038).

The rear bulkhead is a very thick piece of plastic that has a lot of molded detail. The combination of these two elements meant that the piece was warped. After letting the piece soak in hot water, I used two big rubber bands and liberal amounts of Testors cement to anchor it in place.

The tracks are link-and-length, but are incomplete, since they disappear into armored sponsons.

At a scale of 28mm (about 1:56), the super-heavy tank the model represents is enormous. Once complete, the Shadowsword can be finished however the builder fancies. Maybe the tank serves in an icy world where a winter scheme would be appropriate; or on an alien planet where a nauseating bright green-and-yellow camouflage would do nicely.

Marketing: Since the Shadowsword is designed to be used with a game, Games Workshop has made some concessions in model design. Modelers won’t find a bunch of photo-etched metal frets or super-fine detail parts. The Shadowsword doesn’t have a complete set of separate road and idler wheels, nor is there interior detail.

On the other hand, builders will find what’s included in the kit is a big model, with lots of room for customization. It has a ton of exterior detail, and plenty of time can be spent finishing the Shadowsword (or one of the other versions) into a striking model.

Suggest Tamiya light gray primer (No. 87064) for the basecoat. For the camouflage, I airbrushed on Testors Model Master Acryl dark tan (No. 4709) and Polly Scale Pullman green (No. F414284). One item you may want to offer for your armor modelers is Silly Putty. It made masking the Shadowsword’s complex contours a breeze, and can be used on all sorts of models, from airplanes to armor to cars.

For detail and weathering, I used a variety of Reaper and Acrylicos Vallejo paints, with MIG pastels and washes for the final touches. Games Workshop also produces acrylic paints in a wide variety of suitable colors.

Games Workshop makes a vast array of models, some more outlandish than others; all of them cool. Many are sure to appeal to your sci-fi or fantasy modelers. What’s more, your customers may become (or already are) interested in the wargame, opening up another sales avenue.

Product: Warhammer 40,000 Imperial Guard Shadowsword/Stormlord
Maker: Games Workshop
Stock No.: 99120105034
MSRP: $99
Availability: E-mail Brendan Bell at [email protected] or call 410-689-2421

  • Easy kit to build
  • Ties into Warhammer 40K
  • Innumerable finishing options
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