Today we’re going to show you how to make mechadendrites, the snaking mechanical limbs used by members of the Adeptus Mechanicus in Warhammer 40k. Ad Mech tech priests and tech adepts make heavy use of these in addition to servo-arms, bionics and other machinery, and we’ve found a great way to create them to model on our miniatures. You could also make use of these for Iron Hands Space Marine conversions and many other robotic/mechanical creations.
Here’s an example of the kind of thing we’re going to make, snake-like mechanical limbs, which end in a variety of different attachments to ensure our Ad Mech minis are equipped for every situation.
The best way by far we have come up with to make these is using our Masq-Mini TubeTool, this is a really handy tool for anyone making cables, mechadendrites, or even tentacles. You can see our full review and guide to using it here: Masq-Mini TubeTool review.
We have tried other ways to make these mechadendrites including using guitar wire as shown bellow, but we wouldn’t recommend this as we found the wire very hard to work with, and didn’t have quite the appearance we wanted.
To make your own mechadendrites you will need your Masq-Mini TubeTool, some modelling putty (we used Green Stuff) and some thin wire. We used florists wire for this but anything similar would do, even a paper clip.
Firstly cut the wire into short pieces and then wrap a small ball of modelling putty around the middle. Then use the Masq-Mini TubeTool to smooth this out so that you have a piece of wire coated in the modelling putty. Then use the Masq-Mini TubeTool to add the lines around the putty as shown in our TubeTool guide.
Once this has dried, you now have a textured cable with a piece of wire running through its core. You can bend this into any shape you need and it will keep its shape thanks to the wire. They feel pretty durable once finished.
It’s then a case of attaching some equipment to one end of our mechadendrite. You can use almost anything you can think of for this, but in the example below you can see we have made a combat mechadendrite with part of a Space Marine chainsword on the end, a ballistic mechadendrite with a bolt pistol attachment, and a utility mechadendrite with a manipulator on the end.
We’ll do a more advanced guide on this sort of thing in future, but here is how you can make a very simple manipulator using a few plasticard shapes. All we used was a small piece of tube (you could even use the little round bits you find on 40k sprues!) and some basic flat shapes.
Here you can see a couple of our mechadendrites in action on our Iron Guard Mechanicus Inquisitor conversion. These were easily attached to the model by drilling a couple of small holes and then gluing in the wire end of our mechadendrites, these are nice and strong and are not in danger of bending or breaking easily.
We think this is the best way to make mechadendrites for use on 40k Adeptus Mechanicus themed models, let us know what do you think in the comments below.