Conversion works and kitbashing is a skill I’ve only just begun to develop. When looking out into our wonderful hobby community for inspiration it is easy to become intimidated by some of the immensely skilled folks that are creating converted miniatures. We all have to start somewhere though. After finishing this conversion I will have only five converted miniatures under my belt. Nonetheless, I feel that the best time to share information is while you are learning and discovering it yourself. Noting another’s failures and struggles can often be a very valuable learning tool. With that said, I am very pleased with how the final product turned out and am excited to share what I’ve learned.
In this guide, I will be attempting to create a miniature that is reminiscent of a Chaos Obliterator, specifically from the Iron Warriors Chapter. I don’t plan to be overly detailed in this guide, mainly due to my skill level being quite low. However, what I will show is how I conceptualized the idea, how I chose my bits, how I went about “connecting the dots”, and finally how I overcame some of the challenges that I faced when putting it all together.
First things first, let’s talk about:
Build Concept and Notes
As I stated before I’ll be building an Obliterator. The reason for this is quite simple and is partly just an opinion. I was commissioned to create an Iron Warriors painting tutorial and the model chosen for this task was an Obliterator. To me, the design of Games Workshop’s Obliterator is just off the mark. With its overly exaggerated proportions, the new version of the Obliterator is a bit too stylized for my taste. It’s a bit goofy/cartoony looking when it should be much more intimidating, to say the least. Specific to Iron Warriors, the new Obliterator has too much flesh and this is something I took into account when conceptualizing the build.
Before we get started let me just say, “Thank you” to my client that helped me come up with the idea behind this build and who also funded the painting tutorial series that you can find on the Grimdark Compendium.
As I have mentioned, for this build I wanted something more than the stock standard Obliterator. Something that felt a little more like Iron Warriors.
The first thing I always do is research research research! I absorbed as many images as I could for both Iron Warriors and Obliterators, read articles about both, and looked at as many conversion related topics as I could.
Mainly, I use the google machine for this. However, let me note that Instagram and Pinterest are some of the best places to find really strong representations of what you are looking for.
Let me explain my process a little further by saying that even though I’m doing all of this research and taking into account a lot of reference images, I do not try to follow any one thing verbatim nor do I keep these reference images handy. This research is done to help inspire, only! The entire time that I’m reading and looking at things that make me go, “Oh, wow!” keep in mind that I am using these ideas to inspire something new and unique, and slowly building an image in my head.
After I’ve done my research and I have an idea of what I want to do, I literally dive right into the bits box and start grabbing things that look cool!
Let’s take a look at what I had come up with after about an hour of experimenting!
1- The Warhammer 30k Mortarian kit from Forgeworld had to be the perfect core piece for this build. It has big clean surfaces, perfect for iron plating and there is not an overabundance of flashy details or trim, perfect for Iron Warriors! Luckily, another client had sent me one of these in a huge box of Death Guard bits a while back, so I had one just laying around.
2- What I decided to use for the feet are the Obliterator bits from the Shadowspear box. It needed to look like an Obliterator after all. Below you will see an image of the exact bits used. Note that each lower leg and foot has a back section that will need to be taken from Obliterator’s main bit.
3- For the major parts of the left arm I used three main bits. At this point in the build, I was undecided about what to use for the lower left arm. The shoulder is from the Greater Possessed also found in the Shadowspear box set. I will go ahead and note that I ended up using the entire Greater Possessed arm along with Bel’akor’s arm to get the proper size. I will detail that process further shortly.
4- Here I took yet another piece from the Obliterator kit found in the Shadowspear box. The shoulder pad I chose is nice and big and has minimal amounts of trim and insignia details. While you are here go ahead and remove the barrel of this Melta gun for later use.
5 and 6- The gun arm was also taken from the Shadowspear box set. I also used the 30k Mortarion bicep to elongate the arm. To make sure everything fit together well, I went ahead and used the shoulder pad from Morty as a glue point and to eliminate any gaps underneath the larger Obliterator Shoulder pad. After the arm was set I attached the Melta Barrel to the Autocannon.
7- I think just about any head will work on this build. Unfortunately, I don’t have a broad selection of head bits.
Filling the Gaps
Here I will discuss how I made the mutated arm and the challenges I faced when putting it all together.
First, we will need to take the arm of Bel’akor and trim it down just enough to get the proper length (pictured below). Now, I am no expert on how to sculpt. To be honest my sculpting skills are next to nothing. So my approach to any conversion project is to eliminate any amount of sculpting that I can and if I absolutely have to sculpt then I’m going to try and hide it behind other bits.
As you can see here I have begun to pose the model. The goal was to make him look as if he was lumbering across the battlefield. This resulted in having to pose his left arm in a way that left large gaps.
Everything you see on this arm is glued in place. Now I need to address the gaps. For this, I will be using Apoxie Sculpt. You can see in the picture below, since I have no idea how to properly sculpt the muscles, I did my best and then obscured it with piping. When I’m painting this I will probably add some kind of texture to tidy this up further.
The shoulder gap wasn’t as big of an issue but it did indeed need to be addressed and doctored up with some additional bits. In the next several images, you can see the gap and how I went about obscuring it. The bits used for this were gun slings from Scout weapons. I wanted to emulate harness straps that were attached to the torso and shoulder armor.
When it comes to converting, luckily you don’t need to be very skilled to have good results. Most of the work is already done for us thanks to all the awesome miniatures out there.
For me, the obvious road to improving is either to become better at sculpting or master the art of hiding gaps and my bad sculpting behind cleverly placed bits, the latter being the more likely route.
One of the last things I like to do before the final clean up is to prime and wash the model. I know a lot of you are probably screaming, “MOLD LINES!”. Well, that is exactly why I prime and wash the model. It pops all those ugly little discrepancies out and they stick out like a sore thumb. So before I go in and start painting, I’ll remove those and re-prime the area.
Alrighty guys, that is going to wrap up this build guide. I do plan to make more of these build guides so feedback is important here! Let me know what I can do to make these better or if you want them to be more detailed.
I hope you guys enjoyed it and I’ll catch you in the next one!