Thunderhawk Gunship Scratch-Built

Introduction: Thunderhawk Gunship Scratch-Built

Learn how to make your own WH40K Space Marine Thunderhawk Gunship from styrene plastic sheets. See below for an overview of the steps, a list of materials needed, and a list of tools needed.


  1. Rear Fuselage
  2. Forward fuselage
  3. Superstructure
  4. Turbolaser housing
  5. Canopy
  6. Main Wings
  7. Attack wings
  8. Laser cannons
  9. Engines
  10. Tail section (Stabilizer and twin tail)
  11. Forward assault ramp
  12. Front stabilizers
  13. Forward bolters
  14. Air brakes
  15. Landing gear
  16. Under-wing bolters
  17. Painting

Materials Needed:

  • 10 x Plastic sheet, 12” x 7” x 1.5mm (Plastruct, package of 3 sheets, $6.65)
  • Package of styrene strips, .125 x .187 x 10in (Plastruct, package of 10, $4.25)
  • Balsa wood strips 1cm x 1cm x 90cm ($1.79 each)
  • _____ thick wood board (for attack wings)
  • Something for jet engines: 1.25” diameter wood dowel rod
  • Super glue
  • Lego pieces for:
    • Landing gear
    • Heavy bolters
    • hinges
  • Something for cannon (such as a bazooka from a 9" G.I. Joe figure)

Tools Needed:

  • Model knife
  • Metal ruler

Have fun!

Step 1: Rear Fuselage

A.Cut out plasticard pieces from 15mm plasticard sheets

A.Top: 3.5in x 9in rectangle (see figure 1.1)

B.Sides (2): 3in x 9in with snipped 1in x 1in corner (see figure 1.2; note that the 3in height is slightly longer than the diagram would suggest but I wanted my thunderhawk to be slightly larger)

C.Rear: 3.5in width x 2in height (see figure 1.3)

D.Angled rear: 3.5in width x 1in (figures 1.1 and 1.3)

E.Bottom: 3.5in x 10in rectangle

B.Cut internal frame pieces to correct length (use balsa wood 1cm x 1cm strips). These strips will give the thunderhawk structural integrity and keep the front and rear fuselage pieces sturdily together. Cut two of each (see figure 1.4):

F. 12in

G. 16in

H. 2.2in

I. 2.2in

C.Glue the internal frame strips to each of the rear fuselage side pieces. This will make it much easier to add the top and bottom pieces.

D.Glue the two rear pieces to the bottom piece.

E.Glue on the top piece.

F.Glue on the rear angled piece.

G.Insert block of wood (to add weight to the finished product).

Step 2: Forward Fuselage

A.Cut out plasticard pieces from 15mm plasticard sheets

A.forward fuselage sides (2): see figure 2.1 - use template 2A

B.Forward fuselage top rear: 3.5in x 5-5/8in rectangle (see fig 2.2)

C.Forward fuselage top front: 3.5in x 4.0in rectangle (see fig 2.2). Important Note: For simplicity, the forward fuselage top front piece (C) is a rectangle and not a trapezoid (e.g., the nose of this thunderhawk is not angled when viewed from above)

D.Forward fuselage bottom rear: 3.5in x 2.5in rectangle

E.Forward fuselage bottom: 3.5in x 5.5in rectangle

B.Cut forward internal frame pieces to correct length (use balsa wood 1cm x 1cm strips) - see figures 2.5, 2.6, and 2.7.

F. 2x 2in

G. 2x 3-3/4in

H. 2x 2.4in (note that one end of part 2H needs to be snipped at an angle)

I. 2x 5in

J. 1x 2.94in

K. 1x 2.94in

C.Glue the forward fuselage side pieces (2A) onto the internal frame pieces sticking out from the rear fuselage.

D.Attach the forward longitudinal internal frame pieces internal frame pieces (1cm x 1cm balsa wood) to the inside of the forward fuselage side pieces.

Step 3: Superstructure

A.Cut out plasticard pieces from 15mm plasticard sheets

A.Superstructure front: use template 3A

B.Superstructure Rear: use template 3B

C.Superstructure sides (2): use template 3C

D.Superstructure Top: 2.15in x 6.38in (see fig 3.2)

B.As part of a single step, glue one of the sides and the superstructure front piece to the top of the fuselage.

Step 4: Turbolaser Housing

A.Cut out plasticard pieces from 15mm plasticard sheets

A.Turbolaser Housing Side (2): use template

B.Turbolaser Housing Back: use template

C.Turbolaser Housing Top: use template

D.Turbolaser Housing Mantlet Pieces (2): 0.5in x 1.0in

B.Glue the two sides (4A) and back (4B) to the top of the superstructure (see figs 4.1 and 4.2).

C.Glue the two Turbolaser Housing Mantlet Pieces to the front of the TL Housing (see fig 4.3).

D.Find a spare part that fits the general dimensions of the turbolaser (see figures 4.5 and 4.6)

E.Mount the turbolaser (part 4F)

F.Glue the Turbolaser Housing Top (part 4C) onto the top of the housing structure.

Step 5: Canopy

A.Cut out canopy armor plates from 15mm plasticard sheets

A.Canopy Forward Armor Plate: use template 5A

B.Canopy Top Armor Plate: 3.5in x 2.8in rectangle (or use template 5B)

C.Canopy Top Rear Armor Plate: use template 5C

B.Glue the armor plates to the fuselage (see fig 5.x).

C.Cut out canopy pieces from 15mm plasticard sheets

D. Canopy Top: use template 5D.

F. Canopy Front: Use template 5F.

G. Canopy Front Sides (2): use template 5G.

D.Mount part 5D on top of another piece of 1.5mm plasticard so it is raised a little bit higher off the fuselage.

E. Cut the two Canopy Rear Sides (part 5E) from styrene strips, .125 x .187 to a length of 1.22in.

F. Cut the Canopy Rear Back piece (part 5H) from styrene strip, .125 x .187 to a length of 1.88in.

Step 6: Main Wings

A.Cut out the following pieces from 15mm plasticard sheets

A.Main Wing Top (2 each): Use template 6A.

B.Main Wing Bottom (2 each): Use template 6B.

C.Main Wing Tips (2 each): use template 6C.

B.Cut main wing internal frame pieces to correct length (use balsa wood 1cm x 1cm strips). Cut two of each (see figure 6.3):

C. 5.36in

D. 2.33in

E. 2.56in

F. 4.89in

G. 1.33in

C.Glue main wing internal frame pieces to each of the two Main Wing Bottom pieces (see fig 6.3).

D.Glue main wing top on.

E.Glue main wing tips to ends.

F.Glue main wings to fuselage.

Step 7: Attack Wings

B.Cut out two Attack Wing pieces from ___________ wood. Use template 7E.




Step 8: Laser Cannons


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