DIY Dark Eldar Webway Portal, step by (short) step

Remember these little guys?
These little demispheres were in stock for a few seconds on the GW site. They are selling for FORTY USD DOLLARS on Ebay. I'm all for convenience, but that's simply ridiculous.

So I looked around on the web for scratchbuilt solutions. There were a few made from Wiffleballs, but the thought of cutting a plastic sphere in half had me envisioning a box cutter stuck in my thigh. There were also a few made from styrofoam, but they were also a bit amateurish, and I would have worried about durability and reaction to spray paint.

Then I found this:

They are empty acrylic Christmas Ornaments. The 3 inch size can be found at just about any craft store for about a dollar, which means you get two Webway Portals for fifty cents each. Sorry to non-U.S. readers...I'm sure you can source these and convert the prices.

You can use them as is, or you can detail them as much or as little as you wish. By the way, I'm not taking credit for this find...I'm sure someone out there already thought of this, but I just never looked further than wiffle balls and styrofoam spheres. Here's what I did to finish mine:

 Sorry about the quality...I misadjusted the exposure. Click to enlarge. 
So fairly simple procedure.

  1. I snipped off the little tabs and filled down the sharp edges. WARNING: This acrylic is VERY brittle...file slowly and gently. It should take about 15 seconds.
  2. Sprayed the whole thing with dark grey automotive primer. I was not careful about coverage because I think it looks cool when a bit of the terrain shows through.
  3. I then sprayed a Krylon chrome paint on two of them and Army Painter Chainmail primer on the other two. They turned out identically. I sprayed straight down like when you pre-prime for OSL techniques. It created a nice gradient on the sides.
  4. One of the cool things about the GW version is that you can see the Commoragh skyline through the haze. I wanted to do that, but I had no patience, so I just drybrushed black acrylic straight up from the bottom all the way around. You should experiment with this for desired effects.
  5. I skipped the lightning that everyone seems to be adding. Instead, I put a thorough coat of Krylon Gloss on them. This is where the choice of Chrome vs chainmail paint manifested its differences. The two sprayed with Krylon chrome ended up with a super smooth, shiny surface. Very cool. The two with Army Painter chainmail developed a craquelure texture, also very cool. I don't know if it had to do with paint composition, dryness, or some other variable, but you can't go wrong either way.
So that's it. It took me longer to write this than it did to create these. What are some other cool versions of this you've seen?

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