With Forge World releasing their new Imperial Navy Avenger Strike Fighter, I thought I might look at this one and the Thunderbolt and share my ideas for how I might go about converting an Imperial Guard Valyrie into them. That's right, take the standard IG Valkyrie model and turn it into one of these fighters. It might not be quick and easy, but I bet it could be done without an impossible amount of work.
Now mind you, my conversion is just an idea, but after looking at the sprues for a Valkyrie, I honestly think it could be done. I hope someone tries to do something like this as I really would like to see how it comes out. I would try it myself, but that's not really possible right now.
I remembered seeing this conversion done by Rob over at Spikey Bits a while ago and it reinforces my belief that it can be done. Sure, it wouldn't be an exact replication of the Forge World model, but I think you could get pretty close to an Avenger. Close enough that folks would recognize it for what it should be.
This is a great conversion using parts from a Valkyrie to create a non-descript Imperial fighter. Even if you used this approach and inserted the engines into the wings at the half way point, you'd be pretty close to having an Avenger Strike Fighter.
Maybe fiddle with the angle of the wings to give them the same bent look look as the actual model and rework the tail section to get that dual tail wing look and you'd be all set. After that, it'd be the smaller details that brought it to life and really closed the deal.
The Thunderbolt Heavy Fighter
Here's the one I'd really like to see done. The Thunderbolt Heavy Fighter. This one would take some additional plasticard work above and beyond the little bit an Avenger would require. But again, I don't think it's impossible to do.
I think the biggest thing with this one is creating the bulked out engine section. Dare I say this one might even be easier to do since you can hide so much with the engine cowling.
I really like the look of this one and if I had to build only one, this is the one I'd go with. I have no idea how well this one performs in the game, but this thing just looks mean.
Some cool flyer features from Imperial Armour 1
As I went looking through my old IA:1 to see what the stats were for the Thunderbolt, I came across a few rules that I hope are included in the new Imperial Aeronautica book. Things like ejector seats, armoured cockpits and distinctive paint schemes. Some of these are pretty cool and I'd love to see someone model up their fighter pilot for the times he gets shot down.
I've already got my downed pilot ready to go. I made this guy a while ago as an objective marker since I thought rescuing a downed pilot made for a pretty cool objective. He's nothing more than a really old Guard model on top of a few pieces of cardstock stuck into the base and painted to look like jet wreckage.
UPDATE: A Valkyrie to Thunderbolt conversion
In the comments below, Nuclear left a comment about how he did this very thing using a Valkyrie, some plasticard and a few extra bits. This thing looks gorgeous. Now I really want to try my hand at making one.
Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
Imperial Armour Aeronautica and the new air war
7 tips for painting vehicles without an airbrush