Black Templar Space Marine Chaplain based on GW artwork

GW Space Marine Chaplain artworkI picked this Chaplain conversion project up a while ago and just recently finished building it.

I won't be painting the model, just building it for my Client.

The idea was to match the GW artwork there on the right. Part of "matching" a model is the pose and part of it is the feeling of the model.

While I don't have tons of WIP shots, I'm going to try and break the construction down into the key things I had to overcome while converting this model.

The first hurdle was getting something I could use for the pose.

I went with my initial impression and used the Space Marine Commander torso and cape for this model. The pose for the Commander is very iconic so an additional problem was going to be trying to mask the easily recognized set of legs with attached cape.

Space Marine Chaplain leg conversion

Starting with the legs, I had to do a couple of things to them. I cut the knees down to accommodate the new knee pads over them. I wanted to capture the shape of the kneepads in the artwork. If nothing else, it really helps set him apart as wearing custom armour.

The knee pads are nothing more than thin pieces of cardstock that are cut to fit in the new shape and glued in place. They are given a coat of superglue to harden them so that I could add the greenstuff trim around the edges later on.

After that, I needed to sculpt a half tabard in the front. I've done this a dozen times and I've got a preferred method for getting this done. Here's the step by step process I used to sculpt the half tabard.

Chaplain crozius conversionThe crozius proved to be easier than I thought in the end.

It turned out to be a collection of the "right" bits that needed to be assembled.

The arm is a Black Templar arm that was originally holding a powersword. I wanted it for the chains.

The middle portion is from a Chaos Terminator mace. I used it for the bulk of the weapon to give it some length and it had a few spikes on it too.

The top part is from a Sergeant banner. It matched the artwork closest so I found a way to cut it from the banner, trim the bottom edge and attach it on top. All the individual parts are pinned together for added strength.

Once it was built, I had to go in and fill some tiny gaps with greenstuff and resculpt the chains where they came over the top of the wrist as I'd cut them away getting a level surface to build the weapon on originally.

Space Marine Chaplain conversion WIP

As I moved up the model, I had a number of elements to add to the chest. There was the box type thing in the center with a pair of power cables running to it, the skulls draped across the front and a few things attached to his waist.

The first thing I did was add a bit of height to his collar. After that, I added the central box shape to his chest plate. I used this as a reference to build outwards from with the cables and such. It's not an absolute exact match for the artwork, but it's close enough I think to get the feeling across. When you scale an image down, sometimes you need to remove some elements just so the model is still "readable."

A big test for me with this model was the inner robes. The ones that he's wearing over his arms that fall under his shoulderpads. Most of the time, this "problem" is avoided by changing the position of the cloak or hiding it elsewhere. Unfortunately, the model shows this prominently.

I really had no idea how I was going to do it when I took the project on. I figured I could sculpt them in place similar to how I sculpt half tabards if I did not come up with anything else.
I've actually sculpted a full cape before using the half-tabard method, but it can be very time consuming to get a nice effect. Very, very time consuming with the extra steps needed to make it work.

Greenstuff sculpted cloak

Hoping I wouldn't have to go this route, I decided to try the approach where you roll a piece of greenstuff out flat, cut it to a rough shape and then position it on the model in the flowing manner you think works best.

It sounds easy. The reality is much different.

Space marine cape sculptedYou have to be careful of a number of things if you decide to go this route. More than that, you really do need to be patient.

If you can get a good estimate of the shape you'll be needing and can cut it out in the beginning, that can make a huge difference.

Also, hiding the cape behind another element can help. I managed to be able to tuck this one behind the plastic one on the model already.

That meant I'd only have to sculpt the visible ends on each side and not the whole thing. A huge difference in both work and time.

In this case, I had to make sure I did not affect the positioning of the arms either. On top of that I had to give it a tattered look. In the end, I think this really makes the model what it is. It gives him bulk, it gives him a really unique look and it matches the artwork.

One of the big things (well small) were all the bones/skulls this guy had draped on his body. He's got them on his right leg, right shoulderpad chest... they're everywhere. There was no way getting around them. I ended up making them (my bones) separately, letting them cure and then gluing them in place over a prepositioned length of greenstuff. Then after adding each bone, I added a bit more greenstuff "rope" to show how they were attached.

Space Marine Chaplain conversion

You can see how the power armoured Chaplain skull helmet fits nice and snug into the collar area in the shot above. You can also see the power cable I added for the plasma pistol which comes from Dragon Forge. I opted to leave it (the power cable) off the crozius in favor of the chains I added to his left hand. The chains give him a more Black Templar feel I think.

I actually used a few methods to get the power cables on this guy and have a more in-depth look at the options available for sculpting power cables that can be seen here. I'll say that the Dragon Forge cables are the way to go if you're connecting things and the cable will be hanging there... but if I'm adding one to a surface, I prefer the greenstuff method much more.

And last but not least, the finished model. I went through my collection of bases and found an Urban Street themed base from Secret Weapon Minis to mount this guy on. I wanted to add a subtle texture that was less organic and ran counter to the flow of the model. I found one of the 25mm ones that fit the bill perfectly.

Black Templar Space Marine Chaplain conversion

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!