Thursday, 15 May 2014

Taking care of something ugly

The original hunchbacked multi-part plastic Chaos Warriors
The old, unfashionable plastic Chaos Warriors were the first multi-part Warhammer regiment box that Games Workshop released, back during the 5th edition. They heralded a new era of relatively affordable units around which players could build their armies. Previously the only choice had been expensive all-metal regiments, or (where the option existed) single-pose plastics where every model in the unit looked identical. 
I'm beautiful on the inside.
As ground-breaking as these old Warrior models were, they are ugly. Like, seriously deformed. Sure, they look human enough. Or maybe humanoid. If you were to remove a person's neck and instead plant the head squarely in the centre of the torso instead, that person would look a lot like one of these old models.

Anyway, these guys were around for a while, and there are now a lot of them kicking around in people's collections and on the second-hand markets online. They don't fetch great amounts of money because they're really not very desirable. The newer Chaos Warrior kit that replaced them has far more impressive-looking models, even if their poses are all the same. So what is one to do with these poor old Warriors?
Some people, like my friend Benji, have a lot of these guys kicking around.
A few years ago I set myself a challenge to try to update some of these guys, and make them a little more pleasing to the eye. It's long enough ago that I don't have any WIP photos to show you, but I can explain what I ended up doing and show you the results. 
On the right we have an unmodified specimen. The guy on the left has been given "the procedure".

The obvious thing that needed to be fixed was the head. I removed the existing head and bored a new neck hole (up on top of the torso, between the shoulders of all places), so that I could attach a spare head from one of the current models. Most of the old 5th ed heads are too ugly and their joiner is at the back of the head instead of underneath it, so if you have (or can get your hands on) some newer ones, do so. I also used some Marauder heads when it suited me. This process left a hole in the chest of the model where the old head had gone. I basically just filled it up with greenstuff and allowed it to bulge out a bit under the neck, which just made it look like part of the armour and helped accommodate the new head.
A few more modified examples
These command models use Marauder Horseman heads
On some of the models I removed particularly large metal frills or spikes that were on the top of the shoulder plate. I just hacked them off with knife and file. Those bits help make the model look weird and don't work so well with the new location for the head. I didn't remove all of the extra rims, but I don't think I left any of the gratuitous rows of spikes.
This guy had his left shoulder trimmed down to more sensible proportions.
I cheated somewhat on these models, in that I used ones that had metal halberd arms. A lot of the old plastic weapons (and in particular the plastic halberds) are big and goofy, and don't help the look of the model at all. You can pick and choose with these things. It's likely you won't have enough bits to update every model to look more appealing, but you might still be able to get a decent-looking unit where previously you had 2 ugly units that were never again going to see the light of day. Better than nothing.
Or you could just go ahead and make use of the silly plastic halberds. Like this guy did. One sawn-off halberd in each hand, choppa-style.
The metal halberds really are much better.
The whole modified group together for a family shot.
The banner is from the Marauder Horseman set.
We're (relatively) beautiful! Hooray! Let the realms of man burn in celebration!

14 comments:

  1. Nice! Very Iron-Warriors-y, if that's a thing.

    I've jsut been using some of the arms and heads from those same old (hideous) models to put together a Nurgle marauder unit. They work well as horrible deformities, luckily enough.

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    1. Yeah, they're a pretty bland colour scheme. It was part of some hare-brained challenge a friend and I were doing, and I wanted quick results. We were intentionally using models nobody cared about, and hence the painting effort was always going to be minimal. These guys were for Chaos Undivided.

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  2. I think this is how ill save money on warhammer. Buy and modify undesirable figures into quality ones.

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    1. It's a good policy, however not all armies/units have had a really undesirable version of their models. Some things are better suited than others. If you can make armies by converting grotesque chaos warriors and starter box orcs and night goblins, you're all set...

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    2. It worked for me and my orc arrer boys.
      Now to make the army work...

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    3. I got a bunch of arrow boyz, double hand weapon orc boyz, handbweapon and shiled ,spear and shield orc boyz. Been thinking of turning them into savage orcs and black orcs.

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    4. I have a decent number of the old single-pose black orcs, from back before they understood what armour was. I still plan to turn them into savages (and mix up the poses a bit).

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  3. Very nice work. Maybe I will one day be motivated to build up that box of warriors I have had sitting around since forever...

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    1. That's the thing, isn't it? If you don't come up with a way to make them more desirable, they will never make it out of the box. Poor ugly chaos warriors.

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  4. I got empire, o&g, ogres and skaven

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  5. Thanks, you've inspired me to buy some of these second hand and have a crack at them.

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  6. With what did you bore out the hole? Did you use a Dremel like tool? I unearthed a dozen of these and picked up 30 more on eBay and need tips on repositioning the head location. Have a Dremel 4000 and wondering what attachment and and what speed to use, if you used a power tool and if not, how did you do it manually?

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    1. Yes, I used a Dremel, with an attachment that looks like a rough ball on the end of the shaft. That allowed me to dig a ball-shaped dent into the model, which is a good shape for positioning the more modern heads (which had ball-shaped connectors). It would have been harder with regular tools - I don't have one that would just dig a nice round dent like that. I probably would have been reduced to cutting/filing a dent in from the front, knowing that the front needs to be cleaned up with greenstuff at the end anyway. Good luck!

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