How to make your own Pre-Heresy jump packs

A while ago I posted this Pre-Heresy World Eater Space Marine with a normal jump pack. After seeing Forge World release their Legion MKII Assault squad to go with their ever expanding Heresy era bits, I figured it was time to see if I could make my own jump pack on the cheap.

This project is more about seeing if it could be done quickly and cheaply more than anything else. You could expand on this quite easily and probably come up with something pretty convincing. A little more detail and these would most certainly pass first inspection and tabletop use. Maybe not the exact detail the Forge World ones have above, but close enough for me.

The only bit that I used that might be hard to get a hold of would be the two drop pod exhaust vents. That's right, drop pod bits. You really only need one if you are the casting type and then you could make a simple press mold and come up with enough for a whole assault squad army.

What you're going to need to do this conversion
You're not going to need much. Aside from the drop pod vents, it's a single plastic pen tube, a Chaos Marine backpack and some cardstock. The pen tube is from the cheapest pens I could find that had no printing on the sides of them. I bought a pack of them a while ago for the tubing for various projects.

The pen tube is 8mm wide from outside edge to outside edge in case you're wondering... pens come in lots of different sizes and such.

The pen tube is cut to 3/8 inch or 10mm long depending on what side of the pond you're on. The length could be anything really, it comes down to looks. The cardstock is cut to a suitable width as well as its only purpose is to bulk up the top of the tube so the vent does not look out of place glued on top.

Once I had my two engines built, I cut the vents off my Chaos backpack. I cut off the vents and made sure my cuts were straight up and down so I could mount my engines and they didn't look odd or at a weird angle. I also pinned my two engines in place for stability. I drilled through the seam of the cardstock in order to hide it under the connection point with the backpack.

I chose the Chaos backpack for the way the vents were attached. They are set out from the body of the backpack where Loyalist ones are kept in close. This made it much easier to mount my new engines. That and the pair of cables over the top helps bulk it out as well and lend a little bit of credibility to the conversion.

And what it looks like attached to the model. I think the scale is spot on myself. Like I said, it could use some more detailing on the engine housings, but other than that, this thing is a perfect fit for my purposes.

Since I had the spare drop pod engines and needed bits lying around, the cost for me was absolutely nothing to build this. If you had to buy it, you'd have to consider what it would cost to buy enough Chaos backpacks and then at least one drop pod exhaust vent (if you were willing to cast enough). The casting wouldn't be hard at all since it's a simple press mold at that.

Add detail for effect and if you're feeling crazy, you could even magnetize them for some truly functional jump packs. I think the magnets might cost more than the rest of the bits combined though.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
Magnetized Flesh Tearer jump packs
Pre-Heresy World Eater Space Marine

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. Ron- You've dug in your bits box and struck gold once again! Your excellant paint job really sells the build. An additional banding or detail on the pen tube would have elevated it, but you definately proved it works.

    Q: Have you gotten any farther on your Pre-heresy Predator conversion?

    You mentioned press mold and I've used your blog as a guide to have some success with the blu-stuff / green stuff process. This past weekend I went to the dark side and dabbled in the black arts of resin casting. There is a learning curve, but the results are incredible. Now that I've done it once (it's easier than blu/green stuff) I can see multiple applications for personal use.

  2. Jason: You're absolutely right, some additional banding or such and it would sell itself. But, it works like you said.

    I have not worked any more on my Predator conversion. I really wanted to see if I could make the parts, not so much the whole model. I am working on a LAND RAIDER ARMOURED PROTEUS using the basic Land Raider kit and some exposed treads.

    I haven't gotten as far as resin casting myself, just sticking to the smaller press molds and such up to this point.

  3. Wow Ron, if you had just posted a picture of this with no background I wouldn't have guessed that those where custom made. I would have simply glanced at them and assumed they where the real deal.

    Your work is incredibly inspiring. I look to you as the person I want to be able to match in ability when it comes to customizing and painting my miniatures.

    I've already learned so much from your site that I can see it will take me an exceedingly long time to catch up.

    Great work as always Ron, and thank you once again for sharing your brilliance with the community.

  4. W3aponiz3d: Thanks! You should have no trouble catching up with the stuff found here. If I can do it, anyone can do it.

  5. Incredible. Great job. I think this conversion really shows that shape is everything. You really nailed the outline of the jump pack and so it is believable even without lots of added details. The drop pod bits add enough detail to blend it with the rest of the model.

    I have to say I would love to see what you could do with an airbrush. I can only imagine the effective uses you would find for it. Things like the soot stains could be even nicer with the transparency you can get with an airbrush.

    Another quick question, have you found a solution to the rust pigments and varnishing? I see that this model has a nice level of pigment around the armour joints and crevices. Has it been varnished yet?

  6. Cameron: Thanks. I'd love to get an airbrush to play with. I think it would help me with making my blending even smoother in some cases. Where I work with it is another story as the wife may not be too keen on me operating it inside.

    As for the pigments and varnish, I have not. This model is not varnished either. I did him up for show and too much handling would wear the stuff off despite the fact that the pigments are in the recessed areas and not handled that much. That may be something that eludes me for a while.

  7. I've found that the airbrush doesn't make any mess inside when working at the scales we do. I use a respirator and have a cleaning station for cleaning the airbrush and keeping the cleaner mostly out of the air. I find the biggest issue is with compressor noise.

    I've been having this issue with pigments too. I get nice blends and then I am reluctant to compromise them with sealing. I am not sure quite what to do. I have thought about varnishing before pigments and then just lightly adding some varnish over top. It really adds extra time though.

    1. I don't know as that I'll ever find a sealing solution that I'm "happy" with myself.

      As far as the airbrush, that's my biggest concern... the mess it will make if I use it indoors. I have no experience with one so I don;t know how messy they are to operate.

    2. As long as you are not being wild, they are no messier than regular paints. I generally paint over a single 8x11" sheet of paper that catches all of the overspray. I do all of my airbrushing on a tiny 1.5' by 2.5' table in the corner of our apartment. I use a mask to protect against inhaling paint, spray cleaner into a cleaning station, and try to keep some air flow going through the area from a window.

  8. I love this conversion! What's really cool to me is how you could add more detail to the engines but it's really not needed; the heat distress and the details on the CSM backpack are sufficient to sell the model to your eyes.

    1. That's what I figured. This whole thing takes no time at all to do and you could crank out a unit of them in no time at all provided you had all your supplies on hand.

      Extra details will add some time, but they'd only help in the long run. It would come down to adding what you felt was needed to "sell" the illusion on your squad.

  9. Great conversion! I always enjoy your creativity. I would like to comment on the airbrush topic. I've bought second hand one of the best compressors and airbrush on the market. ( harder en steenbeck, whisper sound so i can work at night as well ) The smooth finish it gives on the surface is excellent. It is NOT messy at all. But the airbrush can not replace the pencil for finer details. So i would reccoment it but as a extra weapon in your arsenal to attack painting your mini's. Great stuff though as always. :-)

  10. For as little as it takes, that's a really nice result.
    Have you looked into the new Chaos Marine Raptors kit? They have what are basically pre-heresy jump packs with some extra thorns. The only real pain in fixing them is cleaning out the insides of the intake turbines.

  11. D.W.G. Wals: That was my thought as well. I would like to get one to use for basecoats on models. More like a way to get a smoother finish to my basecoat blending and zenith highlights. After that, it's brush work.

    JW: I missed those completely!

  12. I have a product recommendation for you Ron, you really need a mitre box! Makes cutting those 90 degree angles in anything super easy!

    I love this conversion and might try it myself since I hate the current assault marine jump pack and all its fiddly mold lines.

  13. Civik: Yes, I know, those cut lines leave a little bit to be desired. I suppose I could amke one and that alone would help tremendously.

  14. First of all, thanks for responding to my request :)

    Incredible stuff! I was thinking of using the drop pod vents, but somehow melding them with the existing jump packs. These are far better than anything i could come up with though. I'm planning on using these for my Destroyer Squads :)

    Looking forward to seeing the Proteus conversion.

    Keep up the great work, I'm blown away every time i visit :)

    1. Thank you!

      I have all the pics of the Proteus conversion done... or at least the tracks part of it. I still need to work on the front of the vehicle in order to capture the feel of the Forge World version.

  15. Incredible job Ron!
    Simple yet extremely effective.
    Another one to mark in my "To do" list.

  16. Kevin: That's the plan... move my "to do" list from my desk to you guys. Let me know how it goes if you do try it out.

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  18. I know it is a couple weeks late for this question but I will give it a go anyway. What brand/size pen tube did you use for the body on these?

    Thank you very much for all the great articles, I look forward to every single post you make....okay enough butt kissing.

  19. Matthew McDonough: Never too late to ask my friend. If memory serves me correct, they are cheap BIC pens. I think the writing on the pen said "Round stic Grip Med."

    The big thing is that they are 8mm wide. That seems to be the magic width to work with the drop pod exhaust vents and some cardstock.

    Hope this helps.


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