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Jaxom's Astartes Corner: Converting Heavy Melta Rifles 5/3


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Okay, testing time.

First up: leg was straight Skeleton Horde contrast paint, other areas are 5:4 Contrast Medium:Skeleton Horde. The shoulder pad is Castellan Green.


Then we have Pallid Wych Flesh base coat on this body and arms.


Mechanicus Standard Grey and an Eshin Grey Drybrush on the body. The arm is Mephiston Red over the previous combo, followed by  a drybrush of Yriel Yellow, and then Blood Angels contrast paint. The chest eagle is Wild Rider Red, a drybrush of Yriel Yellow, and then Blood Angels contrast paint.


Similar to above, but additional drybrush of Administratum Grey, followed by a 1:1 mix of Contrast Medium and Basilicanum Grey. This is the 'no oil wash' version of the above.


And with oil washs:

Brown oil wash:


If I ever wanted to do a weathered Deathwing color, I know what to do now. My brown mix had a lot of sediment the brushing was sucking up which is why two of the limbs look like this guy just rolled in the mud. 

Black oil wash:


Considering this is literally just a base coat and the wash, not bad. I don't know if the knee recesses don't look great because they need a pre-oil wash recess shade, a more concentrated oil wash mix, or if the model just doesn't have the sharpest cut there.


This is one that I hope improves as the oil evaporates more. The brown weathering is very difficult to see and the drybrush seems to have disappeared. Both reds are good, though I prefer the chest eagle, It's hard to see in the picture, but it's a more blood red whereas the arm is more flesh red.

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The Beak-oning has begun. Well, that's not quite true. I wanted to compare the new Mk6 to the Mk4 and Mk3 I have from earlier plans before I really dive into the project. I know others have already done comparisons, but nothing quite beats one's own peepers when it comes to one's own little plastic dudes.

First up, the base line, no modifications.


The bottom of the cod piece sits at roughly the same height for all three. The Mk6 has the best proportions, but not so much so that it seems noticeable when one considers the distance and angle from which they will seen.


The Mk3 has a more rounded ball joint, as seen above, and with its proportions, helps to make it seem bigger compared to the Mk4. However, nothing so far has made me thing I have to go into chop-shop mode. Quite little poster-tack trick:

OOcwVU4m.jpg x3TcVYsm.jpg

Then pull off the excess to get an idea of how much green stuff to later use.


And here's the adjusted line up


It's not a huge difference from the starting, but it makes me happy because it serves to make them taller than Scions and Guardsmen.


And that's without them being a little taller due to a 32 mm base vs a 28 mm base.

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Thank you, Trysanna. I was worried I'd have to start sawing through legs and relieved to see it wouldn't be needed.

I've been puttering along putting Mk6 bodies together while I wait for my first order from Green Stuff World. Grave Wardens use chain mail rather than pteruges under their shoulder armor. My plastic dudes won't be Grave Wardens per se (boo, Typhon Calas, boo!), but should visually tick the right boxes and I decided to buck up an get a green stuff template considering that. I may make chain, rather than cloth, a visual connector between different armor marks. It also shows up on the new axe-commander.


I plan on removing the bling and just having some sort of mail coife/hauberk/whatever. The axe-commander's armor is large (so many memes out there right now), and got me thinking how resembles a kind of intermediate between power armor and terminator armor. As you can see above, I went with a helmet which also straddles that line... from a Primaris Aggressor. Cue the hyperbolic screams of purists here. More seriously, I've seen a lot of people use a Mk2 or Mk3 helmet and they look great. I can't tell if I like the Aggressor helmet because of its own merits, or a desire not to follow the crowd.

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I know that feeling. I might like my Marines to be a bit taller but I'm in no way prepared to saw through 20 thighs for it. I like the aggressor helmet! Angry purists aside, I think it has a unique enough look that it could be passed of as some experimental project or something thrown together quickly. Or perhaps they got their hands on a Cawl limited edition buried in the dirt somewhere. You could try trimming the ears to better match mark 6/7 but I'd say it's fine! (I used a similar helm on a sternguard vet and I think it looks killer so I may be biased)

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Primaris helmets are sufficiently mk.IV inspired that I wouldn't see an issue. There are already some fairly non-standard helmets across various chapter upgrades and individual miniatures as well as multiple mk.IV variants.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you, all, for the feedback!

I saw a neat conversion (Twitter, Reddit?) last week and it stuck a bit in my head. Ironically, it didn't accomplish what I wanted, which was to lower the vexilla height to make transport and storage easier.

Starting with the bolter arm and bolter (pieces 30 and 31), cleaned off the hand and strap.

8TyTZcLm.jpg  3JUw5xdm.jpg

The back is bit rough, but I didn't really care because it won't be visible. I grabbed an already mutilated arm holding a bolt pistol, but gripping-hand will do. I carefully carved out the pistol grip and then drilled through.



I removed the interior cross piece from the vexilla and drilled through the attachment divot and until I made a little divot in the skull.


I trimmed shoulder-torso nubs on the body I wanted to and here's the stance:


If I really cared to, I could probably nice-up the paper clip, but a little battered works okay for the Death Guard. Probably not going to do this with other squads, because it's not too much shorter than normal.



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In building the first Tactical Squad I realized each sprue of five marines contains two "moving forward" bodies. That means, if you got the Age of Darkness set, you can build a complete squad of ten. Perfect for me who was planning on one squad kitted out to move forward.

I completed the first ten Tacticals and decided to start looking at if one the ideas I had for a conversion would work out. The idea I've had so for is a force made up of three distinct types of Death Guard. First up, Terran veterans because of course. Next up, post-Rangdan inductees. Finally, some hardcore Barbarus sorcerer-slayers. 

Fluff for the curious:


I don't have an easy time coming up with character names, but cognomens are fun. I had an idea for Chaplain, a real dyed-in-the-wool Barbaran, the Witch-breaker. He wasn't part of Mortarion's direct group, but I imagine that Mortarion sent his men across the planet to train others. This Chaplain was on the younger side, ended up doing something powder-monkey like for his local cell, and worshipped the legend of Mortarion. By the time of Nikea he's earned a reputation as an absolute fervent believer in The Liberator's modus operandi and hasn't been too shy about his not-so-positive feelings about the Terrans and others in what has become (or should be) a Barbaran legion. If it weren't for his rabid embrace of Mortarion's anti-psyker stance, he may have ended up in the inner circle. Legion politics being what they were at the time, he instead gets sent to Terra for post-Nikea surge in legion chaplains. He comes back, is placed to oversee non-Barbaran companies previously assigned to "I never want to see them again" garrison duty by the Primarch, and in a delightful fit of pettiness, makes sure that the orders to regroup for a full legion operation would take time to reach them ("No glory [soup] for you!"). The name of this operation? Istvaan III. Shenanigans ensue, but the Witch-breaker, being a Mortarion Can Do No Wrong(TM) fanboy, is all on-board for rebellion. At least until it becomes clear that Team Horus is also Team Witchcraft. All he knows is that the Word Bears are doing witchcraft, a member of the Mournival is rumored to be a corpse, the Commander of the Second Great Company is now a WMD, Typhon Calas has been given free reign, and the Liberator is destroying a lot worlds when their threat level doesn't seem to call for it. Time for him to jump ship... good thing he has an idea of where a garrison force presumably lost to the Warp (because they never made it to Istvaan III) happens to have been.


The basis is the sword-character. Like Mortarion, Chaplain Something the Witch-Breaker has removed the ornamentation from his Terran-crafted artificer armor.


The arm and sword were surprisingly easy to separate with a sharp x-acto knife.


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Typhon Calas can take a short walk into a fusion reactor, but damn if the Grave Wardens have some cool toys. I do have some personal issues with them. The resin models are resin (hurp) and they're trying too hard to be visually related to Typhon's model. I guess the smoke stacks coming from their top are supposed to double as the toxin projectors? Or maybe the fan-nipples on their torsos? Regardless, I'm making my own. The benefit is I can make them a bit more WYSIWYG and differentiate them from being in-lore Grave Wardens. 

Luckily, I have a lot of the appropriate bits from my Astra Militarum (grenade launchers) and Primaris Aggressors (mounted flamers). The putty work will be to A) make it cohesive, and B) to make conduits/tubes/whatever between the projector unit and the tank. Proof-of-concept:


I'm not 100% on the tank location. I'm going to be adding a spacer between the legs and torso for a bit more height (inspired by and cribbing from the video in the spoiler). The extra height may create an area on the back, at the waist, where I can put it horizontally.



The grenade launcher is the normal combi-bolter hand with the weapon sawn at the knuckles. The grenade launcher is similarly removed from the Guardsman hand and glued carefully into place. The combi-bolter ammo drums were removed and cleaned up, then glued into place to create secondary ammunition feeds (their grenade launchers can fire two different types of grenades).


And bonus, here's the Sergeant (and Vexilla again) for the finished Tactical Squad. It's really easy to make a pickelhaube-style Mk6 helmet from the Sergent helmet. Clip off the off-set pyramid (which would slot into the transverse crest) and then add a suitably point bit.


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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Ah, the old chestnut, "Should I do sub-assemblies?" With basic infantry, it was a real concern that it would slow down my building process. Hence, the one squad built with a mix. The bolters across the torso don't hinder painting the upper torso too much and I found that (from the angle they'll been viewed at) not painting the abdomen portion of cabling wasn't a big deal.

Here's my brave volunteer with base colors and gloss varnish; no sub-assembly.


Palid Wych Flesh, Castellan Green, Leadbelcher, Black Templar Contrast, and Snakebite Leather Contrast. Not too pretty. I have to thank Apologist for opening my eyes to oil washes. I had know they were a Thing, especially among the Heresy community, but I did really see how they could be such a time saver until reading about his Gatebreakers.

Not exactly instant talent, but damn. These are right after applying the wash.

Jqbl808l.jpg  Dpedwgql.jpg

No highlights, just base colors and the wash. Eyes and some sort of glaze or highlight process for the shoulder pads will be after sealing with matte varnish. That's going to wait until I do more, which has to wait for a transfer sheet. I also to improve my process for dusting up the lower legs.

Most importantly, I don't need to do sub-assemblies and can resume putting together Tactical Marines.

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I did some work today on cleaning some parts, tentative list building, and getting Chaplain Gerud Vahlas, the Witch-Breaker, ready for priming.


The gap on the right pauldron/cloak portion is because they're held on with poster tac. I'm going to paint the cape and power pack separate from the rest of the model. The Death Guard are more about function than frippery, but with the recent praetor reveals I felt okay with including a cape. It also made it easier on me, because I think I'm out of extra shoulder pads. Regardless, I didn't like what the cape did to the silhouette. It's so :cuss: big, so I cut it down and fixed the area with some shaving and filing. 



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Weird fact about the MkVI kit, the Sergeants can't be modeled with a bolter, bolt pistol, and melee weapon without some form of kitbashing or conversion.

My solution was to use all the spare straps I removed from bolter 31 with a spare bolter and have it hanging while the Sergeant wielded a bolt pistol and power maul. I do not understand why the base kit doesn't at least have a bolt pistol option for the Sergeant :mad:

There was a lot of dry-fitting, guessing distances by eye, and hoping, but here's the result.




Next up will be the power maul.


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Anyway, here's power maul.


It's interesting/annoying how the older weapons had such thick hafts because of limits to sprue tech and so always look(ed) weird when you'd chop off a chainsword from the assault marine arm and it'd have the tiny little handle.

A critique of recent GW kits is that they are pseudo-monopose without the benefits of being Easy-To-Build. Each MkVI has notches for lining up arms to torso, so the only unmodified point of freedom is the angle of the head. However, if you're willing to do a little trimming, dry-fitting, and gap-filling (with glue), then it's pretty straightforward to mix arms and torsos, as well as change how the arms are angled on their matched torso. Throw in some more hearty conversion work and there's more you can do.

From most converted to not converted (far right):


The middle two had the should notches removed and the arms repositioned. The far left one had the torso repositioned by sawing it in half.


I used jeweler's saw, but a really sharp scalpel blade and a steady hand could probably do the trick. Clean the fuzz and dry-fit. Now in this case, there's a notch in the hip joint that didn't quite line up anymore.


Trim that off and voila.


The butt plate came off with sawing, but it wasn't a problem to glue back on. Side-by-side with a similar marine shows the changes once the legs are attached.


Anything that looks weird can be covered with grenades, a holster, or pouch. In addition to the torso notches, some of the arms have lip to help the arm sit flush on the side of the torso.


Scrape/cut/file/remove however you want.


Dry-fit, dry-fit, dry-fit. I recommend having some poster-tac (the white stuff in the image below) to help you hold stuff together while you do so. I was aiming for a more horizontal lift. Once I had an idea of what it would look like I carefully bent the strap to hang appropriately.


All done, y'know except for the head, pauldrons, power pack, chain-bayonet, pouches, etc.






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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Apparently I never posted pictures here of the half-squad I was doing as the "yes, the paint scheme really does work" step.






What I've really been working on recently would be boarding shields. I was thinking about how I'd need to do conversion work for my Necron kill-team and that got me thinking about how I should try to do as much green stuff work at once. One thing led to another and....








I used the two-layer laminate curve method plus rubber-banding them around a cork. I only had one set of rubber bands, so I made one shield at a time. I'm going to add some rivets, but Death Guard are the souls of simplicity when it comes to ornaments, so that's about it.

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  • 1 month later...

Been awhile, but I have been doing stuff (Necron kill-team, for Knive In the Void). Some more progress on converting breachers.






I need to green stuff some sort of handle. It's not really visible when looking down on the hand, but it's enough to bug me.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Did some priming and color blocking.






I've been meaning to order some black speed paint for the bases, as Black Templar is way too expensive to keep using it for that purpose. I'll come back to these five once I get it.

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