Well, you’ve already seen the dreadnaught in my Word Bearers force so it makes sense that I show off a couple of the regular battle-brothers.
When I started this project (many moons ago and on a workbench far, far away) the idea was to create a vaguely pre-Heresy force. At the time it was one of those things that was really in vogue thanks to a series of articles in White Dwarf on the Primarchs, their Legions and the Chapters that succeeded them. Since my guys would all be bearing kit that was at least 10,000 years old I decided that I’d go for a beaky-marine vibe – old-style helmets, no knee-pads and I desperately needed to retro-style their bolters. Gothic sections of armour were also on the menu along with enough purity-seals and sacred scripts to gift-wrap the moon. I wanted the resulting miniatures to look like a combination of crusaders, holy-warriors and crusading knights. After all, that’s just what the Word Bearers were – a bunch of fanatic xenophobes armoured with ceramite and faith who lived to bring the Emperor’s truth to anyone who would listen. And kill anyone who wouldn’t.
No knee-pads was the easy bit – I just sorted out all the legs I owned which had knee pads and didn’t use them. A few trips to my local GW store in Truro led to a series of swaps which netted even more. I did the same with a lot of the non-beaky helmets too, swapping them for the ones the project demanded, although I also had another idea for head-gear which you’ll see in a later blog. I made sure to sort through my bits-wardrobe for some bare heads (finding a useful bit of kit from the gothicly inclined Black Templar sprue in the process) but I didn’t want to use too many of them unless I had to.
Extra legs were clipped from Chaos-marine sprues and the inappropriate iconography stripped from them – my lads were still meant to be loyalist after all. I also threw a lot of Chaos-marine arms into the mix so that I could use those wonderful gauntleted hands, again to evoke that primitive feel.
The bolters were the fun bit (and here I mean my type of fun, not the normal person’s definition of it). I had – and indeed still have – a load of RTB 01 sprues, but the old components were far too basic to use and look puny in the hands of the modern marines. Forge-World hadn’t started producing pre-Heresy bolters by that point so, since my DeLorean still hadn’t come back from the garage with its new flux capacitor, that was a no-go too. I already had a few de-iconographied [and that’s a brand-new word right there] Chaos bolters with the ammo hanging down on a belt and thought they looked nicely retro, but that was nowhere near enough for all of my planned battle-brethren. So how to modify my bolters for a retro look? Looking at the GW bolter design the most recognisable part of it was the sickle-magazine and so – much like when the men of Krikkit first saw the infinite Universe – I decided it would have to go. But what to use to replace it? Easy. Drum-mag.
Besides, how difficult could it be to replace every single bloody sickle-mag in such a way that the marines would still be able to hold it?
Actually, it was a complete and utter pain in the arse. Each sickle-mag had to be clipped off at just the right point (using a pain of toe-nail clippers – straight cutting edge, you see), trimmed to perfection and then a drum-mag glued into place. After that I needed to sculpt a lip to mask the gap at the connection point (follow the big, red arrow – yes, I figured out how to add arrows). As for the drum-mags themselves I started off by cutting a short section of plastic tubing using a razor-saw and a cutting-box, super-glued a section of aluminium tubing inside it so that a small section protruded and then used miliput to fill the internal void. In the end I did it production-line style about five at a time, and stopped putting the aluminium tube inside. Hey it really was a pain in the arse, even for me. A few mags were varied in style to give a nicely heterogeneous effect and, in the end, I was extremely happy with the effect. A few of the finished weapons were a little too cramped to be held properly, but since several of the planned models would be holding them single-handed I didn’t anticipate that it would be a problem and in the end it wasn't.
Oh, I drilled the barrels too.
On the Word Bearers shown below there are a couple of the things I’ve been talking about visible. Both sets of legs are originally from Chaos sprues as are the arms with the leather gauntlets. With the sergeant (that’s the guy with the ornate back-pack courtesy of the heavily-used Empire Flagellants boxset) I filed down the detail from the top of the bolter and removed both the barrel and the bayonet spike, replacing the former with a short section of plastic tubing and the latter with a section of brass rod. I felt the result looked even more primitive than the rest of the bolters I’d modified, more like the sort of relic that would be carried by a trusted veteran (the same reasoning was behind his gothic-styled Black Templar helmet as a matter of fact).
But enough of the words – just enjoy the pics.