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Building Warhammer 40k with fake nails is a chaos nightmare

On my quest to build the cleanest Warhammer 40k Adepta Sororitas army ever, fake nails are the chaos-induced nightmare fuel I just don't need.

Building Warhammer 40k with fake nails - Games Workshop artwork showing Saint Celestine in shining armour, her wings unfurled, with her sword, a bloody rose, and doves

You may remember me as that girl with the tremor who has just wandered her way into the Warhammer 40k hobby, finally achieving her dream of painting models ahead of getting involved in one of the most exciting miniature wargames out there. While my beloved Necrons remain on my statue shelf, glaring at me through glowing green eyes because I chose the Adepta Sororitas as my main Warhammer 40k representative for 10th Edition, they’ve probably had a right good laugh watching me try to build a Rhino with fake nails.

It probably doesn’t help that I’m not a hyper-femme woman. My nails are only ever done for events or parties, one of which just so happened to coincide with my recent run of building Warhammer models. Having just got my Sororitas combat patrol box in the post, I was eager to crack it open and get to gluing.

I assumed that, given both my tremor and said sparkly new claws, it would be better to stick to the Rhino over my shiny new Saint Celestine or the finicky Seraphim – in this instance, bigger felt like it would most certainly be better. Oh dear Emperor, how wrong I was.

While the body of the Rhino is big, I was unaware that I’d be building it up from the individual treads – never mind taking into account all of the small, intricate designs required to decorate the Rhino’s carapace, and the tiniest little missile tip that I’ve ever seen. The tremor kicked in with that for sure, but the nails – my friends, the nails. The World Eaters‘ Butcher’s Nails are bad, I know – but honestly, Khârn the Betrayer should try these talons on for size sometime.

Not only do they inhibit your ability to smooth out mould lines (I was taking chunks out of the back of my nails left, right, and centre), but actually placing smaller details on the Rhino’s shell is an absolute nightmare.

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Smaller pieces would get stuck on the nails, looking like some form of bizarre body art. At one point a component got stuck to the underside of a nail, requiring a good 20 minutes of prying to finally get off. By that point, since I was using plastic glue, the piece had warped slightly and needed a bit of TLC to fix – itself a trial because of the damn nails.

Building Warhammer 40k with fake nails - author photo showing a standard metal hobby knife on a table

But somehow, somehow things get even more complicated. Having buried my craft knife in my nail at least three times, I promptly managed to lose the tip of it. Yes, seriously. My craft knife now has no pointy end – my nail technician probably has it somewhere in a trash can. If you don’t laugh, you cry, right?

Well, thankfully not really, because my Rhino genuinely looks pretty damn good. Sure, my Sister of Battle is currently missing her head, and the Hunter-Killer missile doesn’t have a tip, but when I look back at my Rhino I’m so incredibly proud.

Building Warhammer 40k with fake nails - author photo showing an assembled Adepta Sororitas Rhino model, unpainted, in grey plastic, sitting on a desk

The treads are remarkably straight and sturdy, the tiny Order of the Sacred Rose motifs are perfectly angled – for something I really thought was going to be an absolute mess, it’s looking pretty clean. If the Emperor had a text-to-speech device, I reckon he’d probably not hate it – but then again, he’s the motherf**king Emperor of Mankind; he kind of hates everything.

I now no longer have my claws, which (while sad) does mean I’ll be able to build again – I’ve taken a slight hiatus after the whole ‘breaking my craft knife’ fiasco, don’t judge me. With Celestine calling me into the light, I’m excited to start work on some new miniatures, and also give my Sororitas driver a head – I reckon she’ll probably appreciate that.

In the meantime, though, it’s worth checking out our rundown of the best Warhammer 40k Sisters of Battle army to use during 10th edition, or, if the Sisters aren’t up your alley, we have a list of all of the current Warhammer 40k factions to help you choose your army – if not Sororitas, I recommend Drukhari for entirely pure, not in any way weirdly kinky reasons. Whatever you’re collecting make sure and read our guide to painting miniatures so you can make ’em look pretty.