Monday, February 8, 2010

Conversions and the Art of Minatures

In my line of work, I hear a lot of folks talking about how they can not do conversions or the neat paint jobs they see in the magazines and on all the cool blog lists. It almost seems self defeating to me. I can’t do something, so I do not try, so I do not do, etc. This is absolutely not true. If you love miniatures, if you love painting them and love the hobby aspect of miniature gaming then you can do great conversions and great painting. With this series of blogs I hope to show you how I do my converting and painting and break it down into easy to recreate chunks. This is so you can take the ideas I put here and let them take root in your hobby and start making those cool conversions and paint schemes.
One of the easiest ways to convert a model is using stuff from another box set. My idea is to take two box sets and show you how you can make a neat converted army with them. I wanted to create a new Warhammer 40K army, this time a ‘good’ army. My usual Nurgle Chaos armies really need something Imperial to fight. I finally decided to build a Space Marine army using the High Elf Spearmen and Space Marine Tactical Squad box sets. I began by playing around a little with the parts contained in the two box sets, looking for things I could use between the two. I tried putting the legs of the High Elves with the torso of the Space Marines, I played with the various heads and using the shield emblems of the spearmen to be chapter symbols. I finally decided on the winged gem shield emblem for the chapter symbol, and to use the feathers from the elven headgear to decorate the marine helmets.
With some thought on why the marines would have these things, I decided that the chapter name of these marines is the Crimson Phoenix. These marines come from a heavy volcanic world where the tectonic plates making up the planet’s crust are thin and constantly in motion, leading to a world full of earthquakes, flowing magma and death. On this planet there is an avian species that hunts the lava lizards that inhabit the magma pools and lava flows of this world. These avians, known as the Phoenix, dive bomb the lizards as they swim in the magma. This of course should be death for the birds, but for a unique life saving adaptation. After exiting from the magma the Phoenix explosively molts, sending burning feathers and hot lava flying. With these thoughts in mind I began to put together the models and bases.
Here is the shield emblem and feathers I chose for the marines.

After some initial building here is an example of a marine with the chapter symbol and the feathers. As you can see I cut down the shield emblem, removing the bottom flange so it could fit as a raised chapter Icon on the marine shoulder pad. This was done with an exacto or razor knife. The feathers are attached to the top of the marine’s helmet. You can see in the last picture some of the things I have done for basing the models, but we will talk about that in the next article.

Now are these real tough things to do to a model, absolutely not. This kind of conversion is easy and it really stands out. I actually bought a box of elf spearmen to mix with my marines for this conversion. You might think that it is too much but The bodies will be used at a later time to make some really cool conversions for an Empire army (see I have lots of things planned for this blog). Next time on the Table's Edge I will show off what I did to create the bases for the Crimson Phoenix Marines.

P.S. By the way if you have any comments or questions about converting models and doing cool bases for them, please just send me a note. I would love to read what you are thinking.