How to model your Company Champion

I like this guy from Forge World, but there are certainly ways to make your own Space Marine Company Champion without going out and buying this model. The pose is pretty cool and I love the stylized armour, but I look at this and start thinking about what I can do with the stuff I have to make my own Champion model.

There aren't many things on this guy we couldn't reproduce without too much trouble. The simple eagle backpack is a nice touch. The helmet crest is another popular item these days to set character models apart. You can make your own (I have), but I'd suggest buying them third party as it's not worth the pain to try and make them from scratch.

I know Secret Weapon minis has them in different shapes and sizes. I mentioned it the other week when I posted about some of the things you can do to make your own Command squad upgrades.

Black Dragon Veteran Sergeant

Adding smaller elements like Terminator honors and skulls is always a winner. You can never go wrong with the occasional skull thrown in there. Nothing says you're dangerous more than a skull hanging from your belt. As you can tell from the guy above, he means all business having two of them hanging from his.

It doesn't have to be much
You don't have to make huge changes to a model to make him stand out from the rest of the army. It might be as simple as different painted shoulderpads or a slightly converted helmet that no other model is sporting.

Another easy option is a weapon swap. I recently did it with the Dark Vengeance Librarian I'm currently working on. Nothing else was done to him other than to swap out his weapon for a different one. Completely new feel to the model now.

One of the lesser seen changes you can do to a model is to add a tabard of some sort. You can create a simple armour one with some spare plasticard like I did with my World Eater model above or you can take it as far as making a studded leather strap tabard which is not that hard to do either. I used that on my Alpha Legion model the other week.

Don't forget the base
Maybe one of the easiest ways to make a model stand out is to look at what you mount him on. Changing his base and elevating him on a small rock outcropping or toppled wall can change the look of a model in an instant.

The FW guys did it with their model. He's not standing on the basic flat base there, he's on top of some debris he no doubtedly caused with his coolness.

Did I do it wrong?
A while ago, I set out to write a article on HQ models (Champions would fit in here too) and it turned into a three part series talking about modeling and painting your HQ model and what you can accomplish by adding or leaving out certain aspects.

For those looking for a little more on the whole idea behind the "why" we should or shouldn't model certain things, it might be worth the read. You can find the series here. Each one links to the next article and it's a quick read. There's even some tactical advice in there as well and I don't write anything on tactics.

Setting your Champion apart from the rest of your force doesn't have to be hard or expensive to do. Sure you can buy the model, but it's just as easy to look at what you have, think about how you want him to stand out and be creative. You'll probably save yourself some money in the long run too.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
How to make your own Command squad upgrades
Did I build and paint my HQ wrong?

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. Awesome! I love dabbling in conversion work, and I am glad Tyranids were my first army. When 5th codex came out I had a lot of fun converting carnifex kits into harpies and tervigons.
    I even posed a warrior kneeling and gave him a tattered cape!

    Now that I am starting my spehs marine army, I am looking for how to do cool stuff just like this.
    Hope I can get my commision in soon though!

  2. By warrior, I meant necron warrior hah,.....

  3. All good points - even the littlest details can make a hero stand out... One of my favourites (and simplest) for my Marines is to add a banner, or use a different helmet (usually one with a fancy targeting eyepiece).

    It's not just in the modelling though - subtle additions to a paint scheme can have a big impact. For example, gold trim where the "grunts" have silver/steel, or using a colour like purple (traditionally reserved for the nobility) for details.

  4. yeah with the deliberatly modular design of the plastic kits you can knock almost anything up in no time. all it takes is a little bit of imagination.

    as much as i love the FW champion i doubt i will use him (i have the pack ordered, i want the comms officer to make "brother orinoco"), he is a cool adition in any themed army, but who takes either an honour guard or even a command squad anyway?

    but still here is a quick pic of my 'blood champion' a simple kitbash.

  5. I do love the FW captain, very tempted to use him as my "Count As" Khan for my Ultramarines...

  6. HiveTyrant36: Absolutely, small conversions like this can be tons of fun to do. You get a huge return for a little bit of work.

    Chris: Using a different helmet is a wonderful trick that is so simple. And you bring up a great point about paint and finding that one color or effect to make the model stand out from the rest of them.

    cpt codpiece: Very nice work! I like the single wing for a shield.

    Darren: Make your own! Don't get me wrong, the model is nice, but I have faith you could do something just as nice on your own.

    1. Maybe, but I won't be starting up my Ultras for a while, not until I'm happy with the size of my Necron force and until I have some Bretonians painted so I have plenty of thinking time. Thanks though, appreciate the faith!

  7. Hey Ron, I'm with you on the HQ/Champ should be a bit more impressive. I tried to get my latest done for the Standard Template contest but missed the deadline. You can see my new Nurgle lord currently on the GSI blog. That model is a bit more involved than many I do, but I really like the result. The Secret Weapon base and alternate sumo model make him about a head taller than the rest of my troops. He's even slightly taller than a termie. He stands out, which I think is the whole point of a champion/HQ.

  8. Green Stuff Industries: I'll say he's a bit more involved. I was talking to someone else the other day about trying to find that one way to make your model stand out by looking to capture the feel of the amry he's in.

    For example, the speed that White Scars are associated with or disease that Nurgle is thought of always having. Trying to capture that essential quality and then modeling it can be tough, but when you pull it off, it's amazing.

    1. Yes! Capturing the feel is the key thing! I couldn't have said it better. The model has to be impressive and set the theme for the rest of the units. His wallet must be the one in the army that has "Bad Ass Mother F*cker" embroidered on it.

  9. My only concern with that Champion is "Where the heck does he aiming at?" Beside that, it's cool model.
    By the way, have you ever considered salt-masking for weathering? One of my acquaintance told me about it, but I'm not so convinced about using it on smaller models.

  10. Anon: I haven't gotten int salt masking. I found that I can get the same effect without using it and since I tend to be heavy handed as it is with my weathering, I need to be careful how much I apply overall.

    By using paint/powders I can add a little at a time without overdoing it.

  11. Awesome article as always Ron! I find that adding a bit in a unique way really adds to the mini. (IE: hakomike using a plasma pistol as a bionic eye on his Ork warboss) Also, is it just me, or does the assault marine's head (2nd to last pic) look like Bane from "The Dark Knight Rises"?

  12. Auberoun: You're right, finding that one bit you can use that nobody else thought of or expects makes it all the better. And yes, lots of folks says he looks like Bane. I didn't even notice it myself until someone said something.

  13. The Chaos Warrior to Space Marine conversion that's been around for years now is a nice way to build a company champion with some more ornate looking armor without breaking the bank, too. The CW legs add a little more height to the model when paired with a traditional SM torso as well.


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