Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Skitarii: Progress Report

Servants of the Machine God assemble.

Games Workshop continues its relentless release schedule, having just finished the Eldar and the Imperial Knights, it is about to complete releasing a set of kits for the new Cult Mechanicus, just a few months after the Mechanicum entered the scene through the Skitarii. Despite our excitement for these new Mechanicum models, we work pretty slowly at Between the Bolter and Me, and are still hard at work finishing our Skitarii. So before the internet floods with new Cult Mechanium models and conversions (and we break down and buy some too), we decided it was a good time to show everyone the progress that we have made with the Skitarii, namely how the Rangers and Infiltrators are coming together, in addition to the Inquisitorial operative, Beltran Destrieux.

I have been slowly assembling a unit of Skitarii Rangers; their multitude of cables and other small details have made them very time consuming to trim. I have been assembling them largely unmodified off the sprue, other than shortening their rifle barrels and trimming off some excessive cabling. After modifying the Transuranic arquebus to be shorter and more manageable, I wanted to set my sights on converting an Arc Rifle. The weapon has a very interesting and distinct design, with this gigantic battery/power coil resting on top of it. While I liked the idea of this, it seemed a bit overdone, so I set about trimming it down. The first thing I did was clip off the battery from the top of the rifle and trimmed it so that the top of the rifle was flat.  I also removed the questionable looking barrel (it may not have been the barrel at all, with the battery constituting that; the workings of the rifle were not made clear). I ended up replacing the barrel with a resin Cable Terminal from Zinge Industries. To maintain some of the arc rifle’s distinctive characteristics, I knew I needed to add some form of battery to the weapon. I found the solution to this on the arc pistol from the Ranger kit.  Even this was too large, however, and I had to trim off a third of it so it would fit better along the side of the rifle. With a battery for additional power, and the drum magazine for the weapon’s physical ammunition, the cord running to the model’s backpack seemed redundant and cumbersome, so I trimmed that off as well. Having done all this, the final task was simply to touch up some of the conversion with green stuff, in addition to sculpting iron sights on the weapon.

Although substantially modified, I think the rifle still looks like an Arc weapon. 

A squad of Rangers can get up to three arc rifles... I need to get converting, ha ha.

Most of my efforts have been focused on the Rangers, but I did get to add the finishing touches to the first Infiltrator I had been working on. Although he had been largely complete the last time I showed him to you, I still wanted to replace some of the cables on his backpack with new ones that connected to his torso. Ultimately, I used some 1mm poseable wire from Zinge Industries. The wire was slightly thicker than I anticipated, and just barely fit on the backpack after drilling out holes with a pin vice. After adding the wires, I used green stuff to add sockets for them to fit into. Although the process was rather tricky and time consuming, I think the added wires helps tie the model together.

Zinge Industry cables are really nice to work with, easy to bend and have no moldlines!

While I have been working on those Rangers and some subtle modifications of the Sicarians, Adam has been busy finishing his Inq28 conversion from the Skitarii, Beltran Destrieux. Most of the changes made were modifying the original components of the Skitarii even further to distance Beltran from a standard Ranger. Nearly all of the cabling and plugs on his legs were removed and a small brass Imperial Eagle was added. Additionally, his bionic arm was augmented with the addition of a bracer, covering some of the workings of the bionic arm. With that, I think the model is complete and ready for paint (something he hopes to start very soon)!

By removing the cable sockets and cables snaking from his legs, Beltran looks less like a lobotomized pawn in a Mechanicum warhost.

All that is left to do now is start painting!

Well, that is the current state of our Mechanicum models! Although they are not going as quickly as I had hoped, they are steadily progressing, and have been worth the effort. I plan to continue to work diligently on them, but imagine I will get partially side-tracked with some of the Cult Mechanicum models. I am particularly excited to get my hands on the new Kastelan Robots, and explore how posable they are. Regardless, it is an exciting time for any fan of the Servants of Mars. And I guarantee this will not be the last time you see the likes of them on this blog!

- Eric Wier


  1. That arc rifle conversion is exactly what I envisioned you would create.

    Truly some great work here, and I look forward to seeing what else you make from these kits!

    1. Glad you like the arc rifle! The instant I saw the arc rifle I knew I wanted to do such a conversion, because beneath all that bulk is a cool assault rifle.

  2. Very nice conversions, they are subtle but effective. It appears a lot of attention has been given to detail, and to keeping the overall look intact.

    1. Thanks for the words of support! It was certainly a goal of mine to retain the spirit of the original models, because despite a few small things, they are fantastically designed models.

  3. Your attention to detail is inspirational. I especially like those little cables. I didn't even know they existed! Now I have a new source for great goodies!

    1. Thanks! The devil is in the details they say, ha ha. I only recently discovered those cables myself. They are really nice to work with; I only wish I had know about them sooner!