Sunday, January 22, 2017

Converting Space Marine Helmets to Crusader Helmets

One of the more iconic features of a Black Templar army are their helmets. I couldn't find a specific name for them, so let's call them crusader helmets. Here's one!

Here's what I mean. A default helmet is to the left, and a crusader helmet to the right:

It's very much like a Grey Knight helmet, but without the excessive underbite that Grey Templar helmets have.

The Black Templars conversion kit comes with a few helmets like this, but they're not cheap on bits stores. Similarly, Forgeworld offers some (look at 30k Imperial Fists), but it's not cheap. So convert your own! It's basically free and looks great. It's not that much work either.

It's a pretty simple conversion. All you need is a normal helmet, some milliput, and some delicate files. I don't think green stuff would work as well as milliput because it's not as sandable, but I didn't try.

The steps are straightforward. Take a default helmet:

First cut the helmet's mouth grill off. The best way to cut that I found is to make a vertical cut that goes as deep into their face as possible; typically just until you touch any hoses or other detail that goes along their jawline. Then grind their cheekbones down a bit, because after this cut, there'll be a bit of a protrusion just under their eyes that used to follow the curve touching their mouth grill. That curve will be gone. You can see traces of sanding on the second and fourth pic below:

Finally, use some milliput. Try to just follow the curve of their cheeks and end up in a straight line down the middle of their face. I try to keep the upper edge of the extension flat. I curve their chin a bit, initially accidentally but the look worked. I suggest using clay shapers to achieve straight surfaces and blend the extension into their cheeks. That's hard to see on this guy considering his face already has a lot of detail, but the more plain helmets really benefit from clay shapers.

You may engrave something over the extension as it dries. I added some holes on a few, and I'd like to try making vertical grills on a few as well.

Finally, when it's dry, sand it smooth. These pics were taken before that step, sorry.

But that's it! Pretty easy. Now to do this for every single one of them...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


What is this!?

That's right, time to start something else. I'm not done with my Necrons, but my last two units are already converted, primed and partially painted. But that's a topic for another day!

The Fluff

I've been toying with the idea of starting a Space Marine army for a while now, but I've been hesitant to start. I don't like Marines much. Especially the goody two-shoes type like the Ultramarines or the Grey Knights. I like Dark Angels, because they're nuts. And Blood Angles, because they're nuts. But I think Dark Angels are nuts in a better way; because you could say that Blood Angels have some form of mental illness, whereas Dark Angels are pure, honest, down to earth nuts.

But the most nuts of them all are Black Templars:

They are space crusaders, out on a mission to kill anything non-human that moves. Or that has said or thought, actually or allegedly, anything they don't like. And they do so with a religious fervor that really makes little sense in context. In short, they're proper nuts. I love that. I love how they are supposed to be the good guys. It's stuff like that where 40k is at its best.

So, the fluff works for me. It's definitely an army I could fall in love with, and as someone who paints rather than plays, that's important. It keeps me inspired and driven, and makes me proud of the models I end up putting in the display case.

But the thing that really pushed me forwards starting this army is this music video. Don't listen to the music much, instead observe their costumes, motions, postures, and the environment:

I fell in love with it immediately. While Powerwolf is all about Catholic vampires and werewolves, the religious fervor and the evil they radiate is something I'd love to try to capture with my army. It's not a 1:1 match for Black Templar, but it's just different enough to give the army a unique spin.

Instead of filthy 12th century crusaders in space, my Black Templar will be evil and super-corrupt 17th century high clergy. Everything evil about the Inquisition in Space Marine form. Fanaticism, pride, opulence, self-aggrandizement. Gold, religious symbols, elaborate elegant garments, but in poses that communicate rage and disregard for anything good.

Will I pull it off? I don't know. It's a tall order, but I'm not going to miss this idea. I'm feeling so driven to do this, and I'm going to give it my best.

It's late and I'm tired, but I started working on my models already and I'll continue writing in the following days. I'm still experimenting with the color scheme, I'm learning things as I go, browsing the internet for inspiration and motifs I can incorporate.

Anyway, if you're still reading this, look forward to additional posts in the following days. And thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Destroyer Lord Done!

I took these pics a while ago but it took me a lot of time to get around to going through them.

Since I'm taking pics with my phone and outside, it's really difficult to see if my pics are in good focus all the time. Which is why I tend to take 50+ pics each time, and only keep 40% or less. This time I only took about 20!

Thanks for looking.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Weapon Painting Tutorial

So here's the recipe I used for my Gauss Weapons:

It's a very simple, two step process. The first step is about building up a solid foundation in the orange-to-yellow gradient, and the second step is about adding those squiggly lines.

The first step is straightforward:

Just follow the steps left to right:

  • After a black base coat, apply a solid layer of white. This will make subsequent layers look clean. If you use a white primer on your minis, you can skip this step.
  • Apply a layer or two of Wild Rider Red. At this point try to cover up all the white parts, and it's ok if you get some paint outside the areas you want to glow. There will be cleaning up later.
  • Apply a thin layer of Troll Slayer Orange. This is actually the base color we're using, but a red base from the previous step will give it a darker feel.
  • Drybrush, or blend, a gradient of Yriel Yellow. If you're blending you might need to mix orange and yellow a bit as a bridge between the two colors.
And that's the first step done!

As for the squiggly lines, I first use Yriel Yellow to freehand a random pattern onto the rods that kinda resembles a DNA strand. Two lines, going up and down, interleaving. In theory power lines are never this simple and symmetrical, but it works for detail this small:

As you can see, the detail gets lost closer to the middle. That's fine, because then I add some strength to the lines using Dorn Yellow. I try to make Dorn Yellow stronger and thicker where lines meet, because that's how lightningy light lines work in nature.

And that's it! I sometimes draw some OSL around the glowy rods, typically using Troll Slayer Orange. But it depends on the model and my mood. My mood more than anything else, to be honest. Anyway, here's a random list of images that show the end result:

Hope that's helpful, at least somewhat! Please ask in the comments below if you have any other questions.

Thanks for taking a look!