Ever since reading the Grey Knights Omnibus book I’ve wanted to convert a Grey Knight Chaplain (NOTE: this is before the release of the 5th edition Grey Knight codex). When I decide to start any kind of project I look for inspiration (usually artwork or other minis) to help envision what I want the final conversion to look like. In this case I found this amazing image.
I’m sure some of you would argue against the existence within the fluff of GK Chaplains, but I rather like the idea, if nothing else just for aesthetic reasons – Chaplains always look cool, but a Grey Knight Chaplain should be something really special.
I started this project with a few ideas in mind. I wanted it to approximately fit the description of the Chaplain mentioned in Ben Counter’s Grey Knights book, ie: all black power armour and a gun metal skull helm. I also had this idea of him carrying a thunder hammer that looks similar to a crozius arcanum.
You can probably see where the parts have come from. The legs are from the Grey Knight Terminator Brother Captain, and the torso/head is from one of the standard Chaplain models. Normally I would make the torso from plastic and green stuff to give it extra depth and position the head properly, but I decided it best not to remove the head from its original torso in case I risked damaging it. Part of my working process involves trying out a variety of options and poses till I find something that works best. In this case I hadn’t decided on the weapons and gear from the start so I gathered a selection of possibles (swords, thunder hammer (crozius), stormbolter and storm shield).
In the end I settled on the Storm Shield (from the Forgeworld Inquisitor) and a custom Thunder Hammer/Crozius but I eneded up modifying it into a one handed weapon.The Thunder Crozius was made from brass details (Forgeworld again), plasticard and some crozius bits from a Chaplain model. I also selected a large book (from an Inquisitor familiar model) that I would later be slung across his body. I imagined the Chaplain recording the names of the Imperium’s greatest unsung heroes in it.
The Crozius/Hammer had been made a bit more compact by shortening the hammer heads and adding a smaller handle. The forearm is taken from the Hector Rex mini, just so it matches the arm holding the storm shield. I really like how this weapon has turned out. Took a lot of tinkering with to get it right, but this is one of the things about converting minis, the longer you tinker the better it is likely to be. It did in fact start out as the Thunder Hammer on the Preacher Josef model but has been chopped up and whittled down till only the center part between the hammer heads is left… and I could easily have used plasticard to build that bit
As this was an Artscale conversion I proceeded to fill in the gaps in the terminator legs to make them look more like power armour and resculpted the chest to be both deeper and more pronounced. My first attempt on the chest I tried to retain the original details, but as I really wasn’t happy with the result I ended up resculpting the whole thing, aquila and all.
I had a lot of trouble finalizing his pose, but eventually settled on a crozius resting at his side rather than the usual held aloft pose common to all Chaplains. It helps give an impression of weight to his mighty hammer, but also allows the fitting of the shoulder pad to look far less awkward. Although this model has 9 pins holding him together, there are elements that are definitely fragile (the iron halo for example) but there’s not much I can do to improve that. Guess I better not drop him.
Midway through painting him I decided I wasn’t totally happy with the positioning of the shield arm, mostly because the direction the attached purity seal was hanging looked odd. So I rebuilt the arm with the shield in a slightly more dynamic pose and the seal hanging more naturally downwards. Whilst doing this I realised I’d missed an opportunity to take the rather awesome Iron Haloed Skull design of his helm and repeat it on his own shield. So before continuing with painting I sculpted the Iron Halo design onto his Storm Shield.
Originally I’d wanted to have all of his power armour black (as described in the novels) with just a few gold details and a silver skull helm, however, the all black armour just didn’t really look that good, so in the end I opted to paint both shoulder pads the same silver as his helm.
As a bit of fluff for him I’ve given him the title of Guardian of Names and painted the name Durendin (from the novel) on the iconography of his backpack. He carries and protects one of the Grey Knights sacred tomes, a book that records the name of each and every Grey Knight to have died protecting mankind. If that’s not a role for a Chaplain I don’t know what is.