Making your Space Marine Captain stand out

Making your HQ model stand out is something we all strive to do in some way or another. Whether it be a slightly taller base or a much embellished model, making your force commander stand out on the tabletop can do nothing but add to the look of your army.

Forge World carefully explains to us what a true Space Marine Captain is:
Each Company in a Space Marine Chapter falls under the command of a Captain, a hardened veteran and a master strategist. These lords of war read the battlefield’s ebb and flow with enhanced reflexes and a post-human grasp of the ever-changing arena of combat in which they spend their lives.
Right, right, right, but how do we translate that over to our model? Sounds good on paper, but how do we make it look good on a miniature?

Fantasy armies do it all the time, they have the rank and file troops and then a gorgeous centerpiece type commander to lead the whole thing. Wit Forge World releasing a very nice Captain model as seen above along with an accompanying Standard Bearer, I thought I might take a look at the idea of making your commander "stand out" from the rest of your army.

It doesn't take much to make your commander stand out
You can make your commander stand out by doing any number of things to him. Starting at the top and working down, let's look at a few simple things you can add to your model to separate him from the rank and file.

The helmet
This is an easy one. Some folks opt for the helmetless look as well to designate an officer. Yes, Space Marines are tough enough to go without their helmet in the most dire conditions. Besides, it looks cool and people can see your nice hair.

You can order any kind of helmet under the sun from online bits providers too. I get the individual bits I use from Spikey Bits. Get yourself an older MK helmet and you're all set. You can look at modifying the existing helmet your commander is sporting. Roman style helmet crests are a great way to give a model a very unique look. It's not just for Ultramarines either. Secret Weapon minis has a handful of these crests that you can attach right to your commander's helmet. You can make them, but for the work it takes, you're far better off buying them and saving yourself the trouble.

If you're a fan of the helmetless look, then facial hair (especially for Space Wolf players) can set your Captain apart from the younger, less experienced officers. You can sculpt just about any kind of facial hair if you know where to start.
Not interested in sculpting, then you can faux paint a shaved head for the monastery look as well.

Clothes make the man
Changing the armour or adding things to it can make a huge difference as well. A simple shoulderpad swap for something more ornate can often make the difference with minimal work involved.

You can add things like half tabards or even the leather strap ones seen in the picture above. Those require a bit of sculpting skill, but are not impossible to pull off and change the look of a model immediately.

Exotic weaponry helps
The rank and file guys get standard issue. The important guys have the good stuff. Adding a scope to a gun or changing out the weapon to something like a combi-weapon can give your captain a distinguished look. When it comes to close combat weapons like power weapons, you can try something different there too, maybe something from another line or a combination of two weapons to give it a unique look.

Nothing more than a weapon and head swap

It doesn't have to be complex
Sometimes the best conversions are the most simple. A weapon swap, a different head or a set of shoulderpads changed out. That combined with a nice paint job and a detailed base go a long way towards making a model stand out from the rest of the force.

A while back, I put together a three part series that asked, "Did I build and Paint my HQ wrong?" It looks at why your painting and modeling matter and then some tactics for using your HQ. I know, there are no tactics on this blog, but I went all out for that series since it made sense to explain it through.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
Did I paint and model my HQ the right way?

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!