Here’s an over the top project of which I’m pretty proud: A conversion of a Chaos Rhino to resemble an Ice Cream truck. More specifically, it is meant to emulate “Sweet Tooth”, the iconic vehicle driven by Needles Kane in the Twisted Metal franchise of video games.
I had purchased a Chaos Rhino kit a few months ago with the intention of adding a 3rd to my Death Guard force. It sat in my to-do pile for a while. When I finished my Foetid Bloat Drone with MOTORIZED fleshmower, my wife remarked that it seemed like it needed music or sound. I’ve done sound in my models before, like my Red Gobbo conversion that sang “Jingle Bells”, and a Land Raider that sings “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer. Thinking of the motorized fleshmower, I somehow got to thinking about the spinning pole of a barber shop.
From the barber’s pole, I somehow started thinking about ice cream trucks. Then I made the connection to Sweet Tooth. For those that don’t know, Sweet Tooth is a vehicle in the “Twisted Metal” video games driven by a clown-themed serial killer named Needles Kane. It is a weaponized, beat up ice cream truck. And, in the games, it plays an ice cream truck melody that seems creepily out of place.
Needles Kane is the flagship character of the Twisted Metal games. He is depicted as an insane, violent, crazed killer full of rage. He seems to be more of the Khorne type of Chaos. But, I am instead playing on the clown/circus element of his persona. From there, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine undead crazed zombie daemon clowns. And, in a truly Nurgle fashion, how better to spread Grandpa Nurgle’s gifts, than Ice Cream.
I started the project by getting a reference: I bought a paper Ice Cream Truck centrepiece that was roughly twice the size of a Rhino. This gave me a reference for scale and shape.
The next thing I built was the iconic macabre clown head that would go atop the vehicle. Ice cream trucks can have giant ice cream cones or clown heads on top, but I decided to go with the clown head. I started with a leftover head from the Great Unclean One kit. I installed a big red LED on its nose to look like a clown nose. I replaced its eyes with flickering purple LED’s to look like bulging eyes. And I wired five flickering LED’s around the head to be the flames later. The circuitry also involved two batteries, a switch, and a resistor. I balled the whole thing together with a large wad of Miliput. After priming and painting it, I strategically used clear kitchen caulking as a medium to represent the shapes of the flames. I’d like to think that it diffuses well is a fine Warhammer interpretation of Sweet Tooth’s clown head.
After the clown head, I made the two characters to put in the vehicle. I converted a Chaos Cultist to be the driver. I replaced the head with a clear resin head and installed an LED in it. I am trying to emulate the techniques of one of the best LED modelers, Chris Buxey. Now the driver looks sort of demonically empowered.
And I converted a Poxwalker to be the ice cream server. I replaced his weapon with an ice cream scoop, and made an ice cream cone for his other hand.
The body of the vehicle took a lot of work. This is my first time ever working with plasticard. It is rather hard to cut, but I’m glad I had a self-healing mat to absorb errant knife stabs. The sheets are a bit imprecise, and I used a lot of Green Stuff to fill in gaps. But it seems acceptable considering how run-down the truck is supposed to be.
I start by making a scale template of the side of the ice cream truck reference. It’s exactly half the size (1:2). I used that to trace the side walls of the truck out plasticard. Then I cut the side sections of the Rhino to fit the plasticard walls. I use the original Rhino roof and back door. The rest is even more plasticard.
The interior has two barrels with some glowing, noxious substance inside. I suspect this what they are serving as ice cream. I used a couple of LED’s to really make them glow. The headlights also light up, as does the drivers’ eyes, and there is one internal light.
The model also has its own internal sound system. I’ve used a similar programmable circuit board before. It has 3 different songs: The first is “I scream – you scream – we all scream for ice cream” by Harry Reser’s Syncopators (1927). I don’t know the second song, but the third is “Turkey in the Straw.” I sampled the last two songs from a youtube video that extracted the songs from the Twisted Metal games. I have shared the music as a youtube video:
There are few interesting attachments to the truck. I used wooden letters I got at Micheal’s for the large side. It spells “Ice Cream”, but I’ve had the “CE” fall off and an “S” is scrawled in blood so it now reads “I SCREAM”. There are boltguns on each side of the truck matching their positions on Sweet Tooth. And there is an awning over the serving window, supported by two missiles. The front grill is from a Taurox Prime kit, modified slightly with some sprue bits. The license plate simply reads “VII”.
I used plastic for all the windows. There is a Nurgling hiding in the back window. The technique for the cracked window in the front is from this youtube video. Actually, I learned a lot from that video about weathering too.
I had fun decorating the truck too. It is supposed to be a white truck with pink polka-dots. Then I covered it in ice cream stickers. That’s how it started, then I weathered it like crazy. Many layers of Apothecary White Contrast, Plaguebearer Flesh Contrast, Typhus Corrosion, Ryza Rust, Nuln Oil, and Agrax Earthshade. I even did some highlighting in Corax White to try to get the edges to pop.
I have been teaching myself how to use VSDC Video editing software. I had some fun splicing together photos of the finished model, the music, and some video effects.
Now I’m considering making a full 20-model squad of Poxwalkers as undead zombie daemon clowns.