|The machine spirit guards the knowledge of the ancients.
Although initially a member of the Ordo Xenos (with an obsessive fascination with the Ghost Warriors of the Iyanden craftworld), after his investigations into an aberrant technovirus (OTAV1X) led him to the to the forgeworld of Stygies VIII, Lucanus Molnár shifted his primary allegiance to the Ordo Machinum. The shift went largely unnoticed in the Pacificus Conclave, and seemed a natural transition for the technologically minded Molnár. Even the Mechanicum’s quick acceptance of his presense did not raise eyebrows, with the prevailing thought that his timely aid with the OTAV1X scourge opened doors. The truth of the matter is more iniquitous, and while garrisoned on Stygies VIII, he uncovered elements of the heretical Xenarite sect. The Xenarites, scholars and archivists of xenos technology, were thought to be eliminated in the Inquisitorial purge of 335.M36. Instead of reporting the sect’s existence to the Conclave, Molnar saw a potential ally, one who might aid in his search for technology (human or xenos) to restore the Emperor to his former glory. And so a tenuous union was formed between Lucanus Molnár and the Forge World of Stygies VIII; the Mechanicum would aid Molnár in his holy work, providing the limitless material resources and wargear that only a Forge World could supply, and Molnár would ensure the less “open-minded” members of the Inquisition would not learn of the thriving Xenarite sect within their midst.
And while his membership in the Ordo Machinum is all well and good, it does not matter a whole lot if he does not have a loyal retinue of mercenaries, hired guns, tech adepts, and death cultists. With this in mind, I started scheming over ways I might convert the first of his associates. The timely release of Skitarii Rangers/Vanguard proved a fantastic place to start!
One of the most defining features of the new Skitarii Rangers is their bionic feet, and I knew it was something I would need to seriously consider replacing if I wanted Molnár’s companion to be anything but a partially lobotomized Skitarii warrior. The simplest solution to this seemed to be experimenting with replacing the Skitarii’s bionic legs with ones of flesh and blood (and cool boots, ha ha). The first option that came to mind for the conversion was replacing the Skitarii lower legs with those of the Elysian Drop troops from Forge World. The Elysian Drop troops are quickly becoming my favorite infantry models in Warhammer 40k for conversion opportunities. They have a realistic military vibe and are scaled well (without the massive boots many 40k models tend to have). Fortunately, the Elysian Drop troop legs scale almost perfectly with the Skitarii models. Additionally, it is relatively simple to trim the legs off below the knees of both models and simply swap between them.
|The Elysian Drop troop legs work perfectly as replacements for the Skitarii bionics.
After modifying the legs of the Skitarii, I shifted my attention to the model’s weapons. Similar to what Eric showed in his unboxing of the Skitarii Rangers/Vanguard, I decided to modify their stock Galvanic Rifles. The main modification was to aggressively shorten the barrel of the rifle. Additionally, I trimmed off the little fins on the sides of the muzzle of the rifle’s barrel. Finally I cut a little notch in the rear sight on the rifle such that he can actually use the iron sights of his rifle to aim.
|Despite aggressively shortening the Galvanic rifle, it is still a large rifle.
Next came arguably the most important, and certainly the most challenging, part of the conversion, his head. The main thing I knew I needed to do was choose a head where at least a portion of his flesh was actually visible. This would go a long way in instilling more of a human element to the model. Eventually I settled on a head from the Empire Greatswords (Warhammer Fantasy) with a fantastic looking mustache. To make the model look like a seasoned veteran, and fit more with the skitarii body, I decided to incorporate all manner of bionics on his head. To do this I ended up splicing the lower half of one of the Skitarii Vanguard heads on the Empire head. I also crafted him a bionic eye from one of the tiny optics from the head of a Sicarian Ruststalker. Overall, I am really pleased with the head and think it gives the model a very space cowboy/big game hunter look to him.
|With some careful trimming, I was able to splice together the lower half of a Vanguard head with one from the Empire Greatswords.
|Looking at the assembled model, it is surprising how much modifying the Skitarii's legs change the look of the model.
|The targeting array on the Skitarii backpack was shifted to the model's shoulder, allowing me to position it to follow his view.
I have started to write of the model’s personal history:
Beltran Destrieux was the 12th son of the wealthy Destrieux family, a prominent arms manufacturer on the industrial hive world Verghast. A veritable polymath, he spent his youth buried in books or piecing together cogitators. With very little prospects in the family fortune, Beltran started looking further and further from his family's influence and holdings on Verghast, and started to go on lengthy expeditions into the surrounding Segmentum Pacificus. This period of wanderlust came to an end when he was recruited into an Explorator Fleet (from the Forge World Stygies VIII) into the uncharted Veiled Region. Destrieux and Molnár met during the OTAV1X incident, with Destrieux serving as his chief technical aid and liaison with the Stygies VIII Fabricator Locum.
Although not 100% complete, Beltran Destrieux is well on his way to joining the shadow wars fought within and without the Inquisition. I would like to modify his bionic arm a bit for example, distancing it from the current ubiquitous design. Any comments or suggestions about the conversion or ideas on paint schemes are more then welcome. With a little luck, you will see the completed model posted here shortly!
- Adam Wier