|Thought begets Heresy. Heresy begets Retribution.|
When 8th edition of Warhammer 40k was released last year, I purchased one of the starter sets, and experimented with turning the included Primaris Space Marines into True-scale Space Marines. I found that by simply replacing their powerpacks and bolters, they made pretty convincing normal Space Marines. Being a longstanding Dark Angels player, when the new Dark Angel codex was released last year, I thought it might be fun to try to convert some tactical marines in this way. The hope being that I could build a bunch of them quickly to use in games of basic 40k (I manage to play a game or two each year). With this in mind, I got a box of the Dark Angels-themed Intercessors and set to work.
|Normal space marine helmets fit the Primaris bodies quite well.|
|I used Tigrus pattern bolters for the marines because of their more compact design. I also added a rear sight created from one taken from a Skitarii rifle.|
As I mentioned earlier, since I hoped to build quite a few of these Dark Angels, I wanted all of the conversion work to be simple and relatively quick. Therefore, the brunt of the work was simply replacing the backpacks and heads with traditional plastic tactical space marines parts, which all fit nicely. It should be noted that the primaris helmets are more streamlined, allowing more rotational freedom (the normal space marine helmets are slightly bulkier and brush up against the sides of the collar). The main task was to find suitable bolters, and while I could have spent considerable time converting some (adding stocks, modifying the arms to fit them, etc.), I wanted to see if I could find something that was passable without lots of extra effort. I also wanted to convert a smaller plasma cannon, akin to an old piece of artwork, reasoning that the artificers of the mechanicum would try to make portable heavy weapons more manageable.
|Normal space marine backpacks are slightly smaller than the Primaris ones, and look better as a result.|
|An old illustration that depicts a relatively small plasma cannon, something that I wanted to try to recreate.|
I ended up selecting the Tigrus pattern bolter to use for my marines. It is the smallest easily available bolter, and also has the most logical design (the ejection port is inline with the barrel and the magazine release is in the proper place, two elements that are often not done correctly on GW’s bolters). Even if I had an easy source of stocks for the bolters, the Intercessor arms are modeled in such a way that stocks would not fit anyway. The arms are probably one of the worst parts of the Intercessor set. While they are sculpted well, they only fit in one specific way, and most are awkwardly pointing in the air (and all are modeled with their fingers on their triggers despite not being in firing positions). Furthermore, many of them hold their right arms unnaturally far from their bodies. I think this was done to try to offset the incredibly long and front-heavy design of their bolt rifles, but when they are replaced with more reasonably sized weapons, the error is more noticable. The only conversion I did on the bolters was to trim the front sight to be thinner and to add a rear sight. I got the rear sights from spare Skitarii Vanguard rifles, trimming a notch into them so they correspond to the thinner front sight. To attach the bolters, I simply snipped off the bolt rifles at the wrist and glued on the new ones. I used the cupped hands that came with the Tigrus pattern bolters, since they are beveled and look more natural than the general tactical squad. I used green stuff to fill in/sculpt new webbing between the wrist joints.
|The Intercessor kit includes a host of pouches and holstered pistols, which have a little protrusion modeled in the back that helps them attach to their belts, rather than just magically floating at their sides.|
To create a smaller plasma cannon, I decided to use one of the hellblaster plasma weapons. I decided to use one of the ones that came with the Dark Imperium boxed set, since they have stocks attached to them. Curiously, the multipart hellblaster kit removes these stocks, replacing them with bulky cables that defeat the purpose of making a portable heavy weapon. Without the stocks, the weapons look even more front-heavy and awkward. To modify the weapon, I cut off the carry handle that obscured the front sight, leaving a portion of it to create a rear sight. I also shortened the weapon a little by snipping out a portion of the plasma coils. The resulting weapon is still massive, but something that I feel a space marine could easily wield, so I am pleased.
|The plasma cannon was converted from a hellblaster plasma weapon. I used one of the one from the Dark Imperium boxed set because they have stocks.|
|The plasma cannon conversion was quite simple, requiring me to cut off the carry handle and shorten the weapon by removing some of the plasma coils.|
|I have always loved this piece of artwork and wanted to incorporate some of its visual elements into my marines.|
The last thing I wanted to experiment with was adding some skulls to the models, akin to some of the classic Dark Angels artwork and the Deathwing Terminators we created in the past. I used size 17 dressmakers pins (0.6mm) to create the main stakes through the skulls, using a pinvise to set them. To make the smaller nails, I used a thin piece of plastic rod (0.4-0.5mm). Like the larger stakes, I drilled a pilot hole in the skulls before gluing them down.
|A good pinvise was indispensable for adding the stakes to the marine’s backpack. I use one made by Tamiya (model D).|
Although the True-scale marines are not finished, I am happy with their progress. I will likely try to add a few more skulls and other related details before moving to the painting process. Overall, the models were quite easy to build, and something I would recommend anyone to try if they want to create some better scaled space marines. I hope you like them, and let me know what you think!
- Eric Wier