An uncharacteristically short blog entry this time, but not because I haven’t been busy. The zombies of my Horror Horde are far more numerous than they were only this time last month (thanks partly to my having found inspiration, partly to my having found a decent feldblau for some of the German contingent but mostly because zombies just naturally seem to increase in numbers if you take your eyes off them for five minutes) and my second novel is finally finished and in the process of being edited. A whole novel of more than 80,000 words completed in less than a year – I had no idea that I’d be able to do it, but do it I did. Now I just need to find a willing literary agent and/or publisher…
Anyway, the idea for this blog came from a conversation with my old friend Steve Buddle. I was telling him what I’d been doing for a Terminator conversion I’m working on when is occurred to me that I’d never seen anyone else emulate one certain part of the process which, for me at least, has become a routine modification.
There are two components of the common or garden Terminator that I’ve converted more than once in exactly the same way (truth be told, the only conversion I’ve carried out more often is the creation of my drum-mag bolters) and those are the Terminator’s arms, bearing their various versions of the storm-bolters and chain-fists. Not that I have anything against any of the components as they come on the sprue, I just prefer to have certain things show a bit more ‘oomph’, if you know what I mean.
First off is an easy one – the chain fist. Step one is to remove all but the drive section of the chain attachment from the fist. Step two is to cut the hilt section from a chain-sword. Step three is to pin and glue the two pieces together. It really is that simple. The end result is a chain fist with a very long – one might even call it sweeping – chain attachment, and it’s an image that I think provides the finished conversion with an aspect of brute power and devastating lethality. Visually it’s the difference between a dagger and a broadsword. Also note that the two smallest fingers on the fist were removed and wire inserted so that I could resculpt them and create a partly closed hand.
You can also adjust the look of the finished item by varying the chain-sword used. In the above example I’ve used the basic weapon from the tactical set but in the past I’ve used others, including the various double-edged versions of the weapon, to good effect.
The second change is the modification to the storm-bolter. It’s even simpler to execute than the upgrade to the chain-fist, but I think it’s a staggering improvement on the visual of the Terminator. First off I carefully remove the existing storm-bolter (saving the part of course – more than one space-marine in my collection now carries a weapon previously held by one of the first company) and make sure that the top of the is smooth and pristine. Next I trim flat the rear underside of the storm-bolter from the vehicle sprue and glue it in its place. Job done. No, really, it’s that simple. The only caveat is that you have to make sure the finished piece won’t interfere with any other component on the figure, but that’s always the case even if you’re just constructing a bog-standard, unconverted figure.
“But Neil,” I hear you all cry, “from where did you get the idea?” Well, I’m glad you’ve stopped asking why I do these things (that’s a question for very well-educated men with many letters after their names and a disturbing propensity for giving things Latin labels) and started asking how the ideas come to me. The 40k fluff states that storm-bolters were originally nothing more than two bolters strapped together as a combi-weapon and while the newer models still pay a small homage to that visual it’s the ones on the vehicle sprue that more clearly show that development. They have two separate magazines and a clear delineation between the halves so that the body of the weapon looks like two bolters fused together and given a new casing. And so when I wanted to give an old (and I do mean old) model of an Inquisitor in Terminator armour a relic-weapon it seemed obvious to take they one from the vehicle sprue. I liked it so much it’s become one of my staples.
And you’ll be seeing that crimson-armoured hero of the Imperium next time.