Saturday, 30 September 2017

Bigger and badder than ever before

The new Death Guard are a bit bigger and bulkier than a standard Space Marine miniature. I imagine the scale of these genetically-enhanced giants has crept up in order to have them more consistent in size with the recently released Primaris Marines.

It makes sense for Games Workshop to have bulked them up a little, as they don't have any interchangeable parts with the old range, so there are very few compatibility issues. Apart from the obvious visual one, that is.

But the new miniatures are only a tiny bit bigger. Just enough to not look ridiculously out-of-place when standing next to an old marine.

I've got quite a few old marines, sitting on their sprues, waiting for the moment when I get all excited at the prospect of putting together an entire power-armoured army. But in that lies the rub. I'm not very keen on the idea of building hundreds of under-sized warriors, and yet neither do I like the idea of disposing of them. And complicated conversions are just out of the question for that number of troops, so what I really need is a nice, simple answer.

At the end of my last post, I had decided I wanted to build two more Plague Marines, based on regular marines, but using up some of the off-cuts from my trimming of the Dark Imperium Death Guard. I decided I could use this opportunity as an experiment to see if there was a quick way of giving some of my old marine models a little extra height.

My solution was to add a couple of spacers to their lower legs, and another to their abdomen. I did this by making as straight a cut as I could (working at a fairly hasty speed) and glueing small squares of plasticard into the join.

Once the spacers had set, they were trimmed roughly into place with a knife, then filed down until the fit was pretty good. If you ignore the drying time it was only a few extra minutes of work per model.

The results are not perfect, especially when doing it at speed, but I think the most inaccurate areas could be fairly easily covered by dirt or battle damage.

Once I'd established this basic technique, I then moved on to the fun bit: converting my two upscaled troopers into extra members of my Death Guard squad.

The resultant characters are noticeably larger than a regular Joe...

... yet seem to blend nicely with one of the new Death Guard...

... and don't even look too minuscule next to a Primaris.

Now all I need to do is repeat the process about 100 times, and I'll have a fully upscaled Space Marine company.


Thursday, 14 September 2017

Noxious, nefarious nightmares to add to my numerous nasties

Hobby progress has been slight these last couple of weeks. I've only really managed to build the Death Guard models from the Dark Imperium boxset. I'm going to add them to my handful of existing Plague Marines, in preparation for trying to paint them all in one go, and hopefully put a significant dent in my Addiction Challenge.

The building of ten marines isn't much of a feat, except that I did manage to chop a few of them up to better suit my tastes.

The Plague Champion (above left) was the first to feel the touch of my knife. I wasn't keen on the miniature's existing face, so I cut the whole thing off and swapped it for a Mark III 'Iron Armour' helmet (from the Burning Of Prospero boxset), then sculpted a replacement hood. I'm quite a fan of the addition of cloaks and hoods to some of the Death Guard figures in this release, so I wanted to make sure I kept them wherever possible.

Next up was the Noxious Blightbringer (above middle). I cut off the giant bell hanging from the huge horny spike growing out of his backpack, as I figured there were enough bells elsewhere on the model (at least six), for it not to be missed. I also reasoned that the loss of the oversized bell would put the focus of the model back to the face – and the somewhat unique helmet he's wearing.

With a lot of these miniatures I've tried to cut back some of the horns and spikes growing through the armour. I like seeing one or two of them, but felt that at least a few may have been added simply to hide mould lines, rather than because they look great on the model. The trooper above left is a fairly dramatic example of my tinkering, having had the horns on his helmet significantly reduced (or removed altogether). 

The Malignant Plaguecaster (above middle) was probably the trickiest to convert. I wanted to turn him into a standard trooper, whilst keeping a bare face beneath the spikey hood. However the existing face just didn't cut the mustard-gas, so I had to graft in a new one (with rebreather), while also replacing both his arms. It ended up taking a good couple of hours – or rather a bad couple of hours –  involving the standard glued fingers and uninventive cursing, plus lots of accidental inhalation of noxious glue vapours. In other words, exactly what the Death Guard would have wanted.

The three troopers in the above picture have had very little work done to them. The most significant change was the head swap on the middle one. He's got a Forge World Mark II 'Crusade Armour' helmet with an added spike.

And finally the Lord of Contagion with Plaguereaper. This is a great model and I really didn't want to do too much to him. The only thing I wasn't sure about was the huge icon mounted on his back. Although it was quite cool, I felt it drew focus away from his head to the wrong part of the model. 

Yet it was simple enough to fix – I just cut it off.

But then he looked a bit bare, so I scouted through the bits that had been cut off the other models and found a censer leaking some kind of airborne toxin. It was similar to one already carried by this Terminator Lord, and small enough not to detract the focus from his helmet, so it seemed like a pretty good fit.

In fact this whole process has left me with quite a few random off-cuts that could look excellent on some further conversions, so I'm going to try to make two final Plague Marines, before I start painting. With a little luck this won't take too long and I should be able to share them in the next post at the end of this month.

Everything on this page is a work in progress – there's nothing finished here – so, for now, my Addiction Challenge score remains untouched.