Well it has been a long time hasn’t it.
I took a bit of time away from the hobby for personal stuff last year. I dabbled a bit with Age of Sigmar projects (which I will show at some point) before returning fully to 40k projects and Artscale Space Marines. I’ve got quite a bit on my desk and in progress so I’ll start off with what I hope will be a return to form for me and the blog.
I was asked to do this commission a month ago and jumped at the chance. The basis for the commission was to reproduce a brilliant conversion by Mike Lopez. Full credit goes to him for providing the inspiration for these conversions. You can check out his original on his blog and at GravenGames.co.uk.
I’d never got around to working with the Nemesis Dreadknight kit before and it’s a lovely kit. Sure the legs are very static with no realistic options for altering the pose but otherwise it goes together nicely and I found it fun to build. I do love opening up and building new kits for the first time, there’s something about it that reconnects me to childhood memories of building stuff.
Here’s the finished commission. Three converted Grey Knight Nemesis Dreadknights.
The majority of the conversions are obviously centred around the front of the torso with most of the rest of the models built to standard specifications. The legs with altered on two of the three to provide some variation. I found the best way to do this was to cut below the knees and re-pin the legs back together. Because I want to pin everything pretty heavily, when I assembled the legs I filled the cavities (at the hip, knee and ankle joints) with Magic Sculp. This gave something solid to drill into when pinning, probably unnecessary but I prefer to be sure.
Typically I didn’t take a lot in the way of work in progress photos, but the above pic shows the starting point on the torsos. I started by cutting paper into various shapes to try out different shapes for the breastplate. Once I had this down I cut the shape in thin plasticard and glued either side onto the front of the existing plastic piece that make up the chest. To solidify this flimsy plasticard I then filled it with Magic Sculp (any epoxy clay will do the trick). Later I used my usual Greenstuff/Magic Sculp mix to blend the plasticard into the existing plastic. I really can’t recommend this blend enough. It gives you a slightly water soluble putty with some of the tacky qualities of Greenstuff, that can be smoothly blended into other surfaces and once cured can be drilled sanded and scraped.
I then added a thin strip of plasticard to form the outer edge of the collar. This would later be bulked out with putty. I suppose technically I could have used much thicker plasticard, but I find bending it accurately to be a major pain. I like how forcing thin plasticard into shape by gluing the opposite sides into a fixed position give a natural curve. The iconography on the chests was initially lifted from Grey Knight Land Raider doors. I filled the moulds with my putty blend and allowed about 1.5 to 2 hours for it to firm up before taking it from the mould and applying to the plasticard chest. At this stage the putty is a little over halfway cured so is still soft enough to bend and manipulate but retain it’s details.
The first head was scratch built in putty, starting with a ball on the end of a stick and build it up one section at a time. When the first head was done I made a mould in Blu-Stuff (Liquid Blu-Stuff is my own product I sell here: blu-stuff.com) and made two casts in putty, modifying each to keep them individual.
As in the Mike Lopez’s original I left the side toes off of the feet to give a more humanoid look. I think it’s a good compromise but with hindsight I would probably widened the foot if I were to do anymore of these. I purposely left the knee plates off so that I could use them as both the groin plate and to make the aegis hoods. The back half of those aegis hoods by the way is from rhino hatch doors (ah the joys of the bitz box).
The final piece of the jigsaw puzzle was figuring out how to do the shoulder pads. I had planned to just copy the original and place two flattish pieces on top of the torso, but when looking at the shoulder pads of Grey Knight miniatures for iconography inspiration I realised there was no good reason not to make them curved much like the Cataphractii Terminators. Messing around with a lot of paper templates first to get the length and width right I then sculpted the pads onto a plastic tube (about 1 inch in diameter) to give me just the right curve. Anyone more skilled than I am could probably have done these brilliantly in plasticard, but in this case I stuck to what I knew.
Once the new torso’s were finished I did find they needed to be angled forward at the waist so I made some modifications there (sorry no pics), and detailed them with extra cables. The final touch was the loincloth. This was done by sculpting one onto a flat piece of plasticard and making a single press mold in Blu-Stuff putty. Then pushing Magic Sculp into the press mould and removing them after a couple of hours each to adjust them to each Dreadknight.
Overall, I’m super happy with how these turned out and if I didn’t have a lot of other personal projects on the go right now I’d consider making a couple more for my own collection. It’s great going into a project with question marks about the design and coming out the other end with something you hadn’t envisioned at the start of the project. In all the project took three weeks, which is fairly quick for me, but I’ve been really invested in my hobby time lately (I can’t get enough of it).
I do have time for commissions at the moment so if anyone wants one or more of these made, or something else completely different, shoot me an email and I’ll get right back to you.