Saturday, December 23, 2017

Fellblade Conversion Ideas

So I got a nice early Christmas gift from the missus! A Fellblade kit from Forgeworld.

So I immediately started branstorming what I want to do with the model. As much as I like the Fellblade, I have my grievances with the FW sculpt. You can tell that it's a very old one. The detail on the model is lacking compared to newer GW and FW kits and models.

I'll pull something out of my metaphorical butt and talk about details per inch. Infantry has a certain amount of general shapes, textures etc, per inch. Primaris vehicles and dreadnaughts have a similar amount of details per inch. On one hand they're bigger models, on the other there's more going on, and it works out. Except for the turret on the Repulsor, but I digress.

The Rhino is an old, plain, flat kit. They basically have to be swarmed with accessories to look interesting. That's compensating for their general lack of features.

The Fellblade, to me, is worse than a Rhino in that regard. Yeah, the Fellblade is a finely detailed kit, but compared to its size? It's plain. Look at its tracks, its side panels, the sides of the turret.

I think this is generally easy to overlook for two reasons until you see one for yourself:

  1. They're typically alone on a picture. Because you lose the sense of scale, your detail per inch sensor is off. The Fellblade would be detailed enough if it were half its size. You don't see how plain it is until you surround it with miniatures that have so much more detail.
  2. People usually weather them so intensely that the texture creates some visual business to compensate. But, my army is generally very clean and I'd like to keep it that way.
Anyway, don't get me wrong. A tank that has the detail of a MK-III Space Marine all over would look nasty, way too busy. But the Fellblade is not even close to that.

I'd say the same things about Forgeworld Reaver and Warhound titans. I wouldn't say it about the Warlord.

Anyway, after a few days of thinking about this, I have a few ideas in mind:
  • Install additional Heavy Flamer sponsons where the doors are.

    Aesthetically, it will look amazing I think. Plus, those sponsons would be Rhino-sized, giving a better sense of scale to the model. Small guns to huge guns-wise. It will load the front side panels with detail that the model needs in that area. Custom Rhino doors would do that too, but custom Rhino doors would probably look too busy compared to the plain nothing around them.

    Rules-wise, it would work too. A Fellblade has a twin heavy bolter/heavy flamer by default in its front hull, and can have one additional single heavy bolter/heavy flamer, presumably pintle mounted. Instead, I'll have a single heavy flamer in its front hull, and two heavy flamer sponsons. That's three heavy flamers total, completely legal. I'd technically be able to fire them at distinct units, but let's just say that I won't. After all, I'll take cool over rules any day of the week.

    Technically, it won't be easy, but it seems possible. If I drill a huge hole where the door should be and 3D print a Deimos Predator-compatible sponson mount to put it its place, it should be good.
  • Add Aquilas to the tracks. The tracks are one of the worst parts of the Fellblade kit I think. Lucky for me, this is a solved problem. I plan to do the very same thing, although I considered alternatives. Making tracks look better will go a long way.
  • Add bits and gobbins to the turret. Not sure about this one yet, but chains, ropes, crusader insignia, massive purity seals, smoke launchers, pipes and hoses, ladders, anything would do. I'll be careful not to overdo it, but it seems like an easy step. I plan to do the same thing to the top of the hull around the turret. Not much, but some more stuff is needed around there.
  • Finally, I'd like to design Sicaran-style armor over the tracks. This would add some heft to the front, and do something to make tracks more than a 5" long, 1" wide section of metal and dirt.
Here's a really quick sketch of what that might look like, color scheme aside:

My colors will be arranged differently, way less red, lots more bronze. But it serves as an idea. The sponson looks great, and I think it'll look even better in person. The bits and gobbins are unavoidable, but they're easy to add once the model is assembled. The Sicaran bits look disgusting in the picture because of my poor drawing skills, but I think should look great on the model. I'll probably 3D print them. Either way, if they end up looking bad, they're easy to not glue onto the model. Here's the same sketch without them:

I prefer it with, but we'll see.

Anyway, this is something I thought about a lot but didn't actually start working on. The sponson conversion will take a long time to complete and I didn't even get started. More on that later as it happens.

Thanks for reading this ramble. What do you think? I'd love to get feedback and suggestions before I get started. Thanks for reading!


  1. Love the Sicaran sequel track supports, I’ll love a pair of them when you make some! I quite like the ‘clean’ look of the Fellblade in general, it was designed at the same time as the Baneblade and the SM ‘Baneblade’ needed to look modern and high tech. I think your additions will look great.

    1. Glad you like the idea,I'll let you know how it goes. The Sicaran track supports are not an easy 3D design because they need to cover a few resin pieces where tolerances are loose. Shapeways 3D prints are very stiff and brittle, hard to tweak after the fact. I'm trying to think of a multi-piece design that anybody could fit onto their Fellblade with a bit of sanding.

      I'd also like to try using plasticard to make them by hand. That way I could fit everything perfectly. The downside is, I don't know how to do plasticard paneling at all.

      I'll keep trying to think of a way to pull it off while working on the rest of the model.