Converting Azrael, Dark Angels Grand Master

A few weeks ago, I had someone at my FLGS ask me if I would paint a model for him. "Sure," I said and met him one night to work out the specifics. When he laid out all the pieces to the model, I knew I was in for a bit more work. We talked about the project, but in the end, it didn't work out.

Wouldn't you know it though, as soon as I got home and checked my email, there was another offer from someone else to do the very same thing. This time, I got the project.

Up top is the sketch my Client sent me to show what he was looking for.
Goodbye GW "Saturday Night Fever" pose and hello new dramatic pose. Something a bit more fitting for the Chapter Master. He wanted him to look like he just finished swinging his sword and has raised his combi-plasma to finish off an opponent. No problem. Sounds like a great pose to me.

It's a deceptive project really, At first, you think I'll just take some bits, glue them together, fill some gaps and I'll be all set. Even though I'm not painting this model, there's a huge amount of detail work to do.

Image from Games Workshop

Just looking at the GW version, you can see all kinds of details. From the Angel on his chestplate to the custom combi-plasma, there's tons of little things in there. The trick is keeping as much of the original detail while recreating the completely new pose.

Fortunately, his right shoulderpad is already available as a bit. I sculpted his left shoulderpad to match the original one. After laying down a thin layer of greenstuff, it took me a little while to "cut out" the Dark Angel chapter symbol.

As for the model itself, it's a Dark Angels robed set of legs with a standard Space Marine Sergeant chest plate. His left arm would have to be built from scratch and his right arm would be a combination of a replacement arm and his actual pewter right hand holding the sword. That would allow me to reposition the arms the way my Client wanted.

The reason the Sergeant chestplate was used was to allow me to sculpt a small tryptic on the collar and add studs along the top edge. In the pic, I've got the tryptic in place along with the new belt buckle. I'll be adding studs to the sides of the collar as soon as this cures. You can see I cut away the vent on the front which will be replaced with a sculpted angel icon. Depending on how this turns out, I may or may not be adding the vent piece that hangs down in front. I'll show it to my Client at that point to see what he prefers to have done.

And his combi-plasma. Why he can't have a regular one like everyone else does, I'll never know. This one was a bit of a challenge to build. With the arm in a new position, I couldn't use the old one and fit it in place. There was too much to cut away and still be left with something useful.
It took a regular combi-plasma, a piece from a Tau weapon, a left hand from a bolt pistol and the pointy hand arm from the Devastator Sgt. I believe to get to this point. I've still got to greenstuff his wrist and add his glove like on the other hand though. Once all that's done, I can add it to the torso and resculpt his shoulder joint to get it in just the right position.

Here is the completed model.

My Project Link: Dark Angels Azrael

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
6 tips for sculpting shoulderpad icons
How to sculpt scrollwork on models

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!


  1. Nice work so far Ron. Is he going to be much bigger than the original metal mini? I mean, judging by the size difference in the combi-bolter I can see him being quite a bit bigger.

    Also, you doing the keeper also, or is he being kept as he is?

  2. Kuffeh: Thanks. He's not going to be any larger than a regular Marine. I tried to scale the gun as close as possible to the original but still allow for the construction of the model in the pose requested.
    I'm not doing the Keeper, I'm going to assume he's being kept as is.

  3. I love the bullpup design combi-bolter. Looks great!

  4. Great Job, you should use a magnet to switch from helmet to no helmet, the keeper helmet guy is lame and gets in the way.

    Santa Cruz Warhammer

  5. Love the bullpop combi bolter! Will be gleefully stolen for my eventual Kill Team units!

  6. The level of detail you go to is amazing. Personally, if I'm "updating" a model, I don't mind giving him thew newer style of plasma rifle, but these little details don't escape your grasp. Great stuff as always...

  7. Thanks guys, I'll be posting more progress shots on Wednesday. I've got him almost complete now.

  8. I have a custom WitD that mike make you laugh... My DA army is Cobra themed from G.I. Joe... My Az is modeled after Serpentor...Need less to say my WitD has a Cobra Hood Helm...

  9. I'm looking forward to seeing this shape up, you know how I love Dark Angels!

  10. Grand Master KarlomagnusMay 21, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Any chance of a more in depth analysis of how you made the bullpup rifle? would love to fit out a few guys with this piece of kit, and my remodelling skills are in their infancy. so any more help would be great!

  11. Grand Master Karlomagnus: Let me see what I can dig up. I'm sure I have some pics of the conversion.

  12. Grand Master KarlomagnusMay 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    That would be great :-)

  13. I have a question concerning what the piece from a tau weapon was? It looked like the butt of a fire warriors plasma rifle. Upon closer inspection it doesn't have the same shape or line up as perfectly!

    Please help!

  14. Kevin: Yikes, I wish I could remember what part of the Tau weapon I used. I went through my bits box looking for left overs, but I can't find what I used.

  15. Its okay =] if you remember just post it here! ill check back! Thanks for the help

  16. I figured it out!! =D Its the butt of the plasma gun from a Tau gun drone! Now we both wont go crazy trying to figure out what it is. Thanks for the great ideas, your work is very inspiring!


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