|I am Alpharius.
Possibly the most important element of the Headhunter, in my opinion, was getting his boltgun right. In the past, I have been rather critical with bolters, disliking their lack of stocks and ridiculous optics (being something of a firearms enthusiast, these things really stand out to me). So when making such a specialized infiltrator as an Alpha Legion Headhunter, I knew I had to modify a few things to make them more suitable and, dare I say, realistic. Forge World has made a host of different bolter variants, and I ultimately decided on their Umbra pattern version. They are thinner than most of the other variants, making them closer to the subcompact weapons that I was envisioning. Unlike most of the boltgun designs, the Umbra pattern looks like the designers actually looked at an assault rifle, and designed something that could potentially function. It features what looks like an “open bolt” design for loading a round from the magazine into the chamber, and then for ejecting the spent casing after firing a round. It is the only bolter that I know of that has such a design and it reminded me of the Ingram MAC-10 machine pistol.
|I never thought I would find a good use for the Grey Knight Interceptor Squad backpacks, but they turned out to be the perfect base for silencers!
With the base of the weapon established, I set about making the other modifications to the weapon. Most importantly, I needed to fashion some form of stock on their bolters. Over the years, very few boltguns in Warhammer 40,000 have been equipped with stocks. The best examples were from all the way back in the 2nd edition of Warhammer 40k on the plastic boltguns, each of which had small wire-framed stocks. Despite coming equipped with stocks, none of the arms were sculpted to properly accommodate the stock (and would result in really awkward looking poses). As a throwback to these older designs I decided to use the stock directly from the old plastic bolters to create a folding stock on the Umbra pattern bolters.
|I was amazed how easily the old 2nd edition bolter stocks fit on the Umbra bolters, they even easily fit into the crook of there arms.
In addition to the folding stock, I also wanted to add a silencer and some optics. For the silencer, I found that the rods on the backpack-mounted personal teleporters of the Grey Knight Interceptor Squads worked perfectly (they even have two different lengths!). I opted to use the longer of the rods on the Grey Knight backpacks to more closely mimic the look and feel of silenced submachine guns particularly the MAC-10 and its bulky two-stage design. Finally for the optics, I used the Reflex sights offered by Anvil Industry. Holographic sights help facilitating target acquisition, and would aid the marines in close-quarter combat which they excel at.
Aside from the modified bolters, each of the Headhunters are equipped with power daggers. Instead of the common Space marine knives, I decided to use the daggers from the Militarum Tempestus Scions. They fit in nicely with the assassin theme, a simple double edged blade with an enclosed finger guard (kind of reminds be of a karambit...). To compliment their daggers, I also equipped each of the marines with a boltpistol holstered at their waist (Phobos Pattern).
|I opted for using Tempestus Scion daggers instead of the venerable Space Marine knives to represent their power daggers, their dual edge fitting the assassin theme of the Headhunters.
I opted to armour the Headhunters in Mark III Iron Armour. Of all of the power armour variants, Iron Armour has always been my favorite because of its simple design and incorporation of broad armour plates. The armour instills the image that each marine is an iron behemoth, immune to the perils of the void and small-arms fire. Truly fitting of a space marine! The Iron Armour produced by Forge World is also my favorite in terms of sculpt quality. If any of you have worked with the variant space marine armours from Forge World, you will know that some of the dimensions are a little off (awkwardly thin arms and legs are a common occurrence). Even for the Iron Armour marines, which are the best proportioned, their arms are much too narrow and thin for my liking. To get around this I replaced them with the arms from the new plastic space marine tactical squad. I then trimmed the vambraces off the Iron Armour and glued them in place on the plastic arms.
|I wanted to ensure that the models had the majority of their wargear represented on them, particularly giving them sidearms.
Aside from replacing the arms on the marines with plastic ones, I also went and removed the majority of the exposed bolts spread across the armour. This was done to give them a more streamlined and sinister appearance. It also served to minimize the points on the armour that could get caught or snagged on obstacles during combat. The heads of the marines were taken from the MKIII Breacher Siege squad from Forge World. Like the rest of their armour, I removed all of the exposed bolts. Although similar to the normal Iron Armor helmets, the breacher ones lack the gill-slits emphasizing the faceless nature of the Alpha Legion.
|I decided to use traditional Space Marine backpacks over the Forge World resin ones because they sit slightly lower on the model, making them slightly more suited for stealth operations.
|I am really pleased how the first two Headhunters turned out; they look like they are actually firing their bolters!
All that is left to do on the two Headhunters is determine what shoulderpads to equip them with. Part of me tells me that they should just have traditional plastic space marines ones. It might also look neat to equip them with rimless shoulderpads, further emphasizing the sleek and refined look of the rest of their armour. What do people think on the matter? Rimmed or rimless?
Which shoulderpads look better? Rimmed or rimless?
- Adam Wier