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Leave No Model Unconverted: 31mm Space Marines... and paint?

tall scale conversions DIY conversion true scale

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#1
Veteran Sergeant

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When I was kid in the 90s playing RT and 2nd Edition, I had always wanted to have my own Battle Company of Marines. Problem was, I never had the money available to just flat out waste on frivolous, excessive Space Marines. However now, as an adult, I find myself better funded.

However, it would be too easy to just buy 100 Space Marines. Anyone with cash to blow can have 100 Space Marines. Nope, I'm going to convert them all. All of them. Everything in my army will be converted, somehow, no matter how small. 

Very quickly, I decided that my project would address my long standing problems with Space Marine models:

  • They are too short, obviously. Space Marines should be 7-7.5 foot super-soldiers. The GW human figures are probably just too tall, but too late to fix that; gotta make the Marines bigger.
  • Marines need to be loaded for bear and look like they could actually fight a war. So all of my figures would have ammunition pouches, grenades, combat knives, etc, in a realistic configuration.
  • All the Marines should have helmets because no good Marine would be without his helmet. It's just dumb. Encased in nearly impenetrable ceramite, only to leave you nugget exposed, and lose all the life support, communications, imaging and targeting enhancements of the helmet? Silly.

Also, the Battle Company had to be "Counts As", WYSIWYG for the all existing codex lists (why make it easy?).

My last challenge was to only use Mk VII parts, but also ensure that every model had a character of its own. This of course is not going to be easy with a whopping fifty two bolter Marines in a Battle Company, and forcing them to wear helmets.
 
So, there you go. No mixing and matching armor marks. Too easy. No bare heads. Too easy. I'm taking away pretty much any shortcuts for the maximum amount of posing and conversion challenge.

So I set to work, with some plastic card, and a dream. A lot of these early ones are old photos of rough prototypes that I didn't fully sand, or gap fill, etc. Excuse any rough early modeling problems. At first, I wasn't sure how tall I wanted them to be. So I went with 1mm extensions to the thighs (which I thought were too short anyway) and an extra .5mm at the waist. The results were decent:

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The tall walking stance makes him a bit taller than he actually is, but it was a good start. Next to him are Hasslefree's McKenzie, a 2E metal Cadian, and Sgt Bylkow (one of of my favorite Squat models). Left his weapon off for the detail.

Decided this wasn't tall enough. So I moved up to 1mm at the waist. This was starting to give the height I wanted, but I only had about 25 or so walking legs, and they aren't cheap on EBay, and well, if they were all walking it would be a bit homogenous. So the firing stance models had to retain height too.

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So far, so good. Time to start working on some more individual models.

This guy was posed to be pulling a grenade off of his belt. But instead of using a pre-posed hand, I cut and repositioned one of the bolter support arms, bent the fingers closed around a grenade separated from the grenade bundles.
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Bolter Marines:
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Arms have all been cut and re-positioned, for two reasons. The standard "hip firing" bolter cradle formed by the arms in stock form looks dumb to me. I was a weapons trainer and attached to infantry units in the Marines. And second, I wanted some more dynamic looking poses, not just the more realistic ones. The metal arm is from an old Devastator sergeant.

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I always liked the old Auspex, in theory. But the bit for it seems way too big and way too clunky. I thought about a flip up wrist display. More on this guy later.
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Of course, I learned quickly that un-drilled barrels were out of the question, so that was rectified. Some of the models look like they're standing weird, but that is actually intentional so I will have to create more complex bases for them. 
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Now I needed some special weapons. But the standard ones are just too big for the kinds of close and dirty fighting my Space Marines will be known for.
 
I present the shortened Cerceus-Pattern flamers and meltaguns:
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All of the Special Weapons carrying Marines are modular. I've also created custom, deeper pouches for them to simulate extra melta canisters/flamer fuel, etc.

Some more Marines:
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This guy is in the middle of drawing his combat blade. Arm cut and the the fingers bent to be in the process of tightening around the grip.

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I have decided that the heavy weapons Marines will have the helmets with the extra targeter mounted on it. Plus, I decided the Heavy Botlers will have box mags instead of the giant belt fed apparatus. This is an early version, and I have since modified the box mag to be better looking. Plus, there will be Bolter Marines from the rest of the squads who will be carrying extra heavy weapon ammo (missiles or bolter mag boxes).

This one is the newest. A severely in-progress WIP. I wanted to inflect some more Rogue Trader era brutality to this army. I'm a huge fan of the darker, more brutal Space Marines of the old days. This one needs a ton of work, obviously, but here's the start. The Tau helmet mounted on the shoulder pad came from the Chaos tank sprue, and was clipped and filed down to match the shoulderpad contours. The idea of a mounted helmet came from the multitude of RT era drawings with severed heads. But I didn't want it to be too brutal and cross into Chaos tainted territory. I feel the Chaplain, once he's been modeled up, will be keeping a close eye on Brother Brutus.
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The severed head is a Wood Elf sorceress head, the hand is the Grey Knight Daemonette head hand. The Dark Eldar is a classic 3rd Edition warrior that we had piles of from the three 3rd Edition boxed sets that nobody ever bothered to assemble. The helmet is a Black Templar helmet with studs, to mix up some of the helmet appearances. Plus, I think it makes Brother Brutus look a bit more harsh and maybe a bit more unbalanced and potentially vicious.

Part of the feeling I'm trying to evoke with this "army" is that of how I envision the Space Marines. These guys are seven and a half foot, functionally immortal, genetically engineered super warriors. Human, but something more than human. And something a little less. I want to illustrate a bit of brutality, and ruthlessness.
 
Anyhow, I hope this work interests you guys. Thanks for any thoughts you guys have. Especially any criticisms, ideas you don't like, Ideas you might have, etc. I'm definitely open for anything constructive or suggestions. Heck, I might even entertain requests.

 

Not tall enough yet though, and I was still trying to perfect their proportions. So I added another 1mm spacer to their shins.

 

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Did it work?

Let's ask Leonardo Da Vinci.

 

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Update: 26 February 2014.  Wow. Almost two and a half years I've been working on this. A lot of the pictures in this first post are the rough drafts of the earliest models. I cleaned up this first post, eliminating some of the rambling I originally did. The project has continued to evolve along the way, which is probably why it isn't too close to finishing. Though I am at approximately 60 Marines at this point. There has also been a fair amount of ongoing backstory and fluff for these guys. Click the chapter logo in my signature for Index Astartes: Invectors. I think you'll enjoy it. They're like Ultramarines, but shady galactic space jerks.
 
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Edited by Veteran Sergeant, 04 May 2016 - 01:39 AM.

  • Dark Rage, Augustus b'Raass, Brother Lionheart and 5 others like this

Marneus Calgar is referred to as "one of the Imperium's greatest tacticians" and he treats the Codex like it's the War Bible. If the Codex is garbage, then how bad is everyone else?

True Scale Space Marines - 31mm Space Marines Tutorial
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The Brief and Humorous History of the Horus Heresy                                                          Litanies of Hate & Discontent; Index Astartes: Invectors


#2
Paladin7221

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Damn, these are all kinds of brilliant - now that there's a collection of them the differences in pose between these and 'normal' marines is pretty vivid, and it looks just about perfect. This all injects what I would consider a dose of realism to Marines, simply because the enlarged proportions mean that there is now workable space to put all the gubbins that you'd expect a combat monster to have - was it just at thigh and waist you enlarged these or did alterations have to be made to the torso and pack as well?

As regards ideas to show the humanity side of things, how about a crouched Marine acting as a bullet shield between the enemy and some wounded Guardsman/civilian or somesuch?

"I once met one of our cousins in more peaceful times, a noble captain of the Ultramarines. He branded me a cur and a soul-less butcher without even the merest shred of honour. I laughed full in his face and asked why that surprised him."

 

 

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#3
DietOfLiquor

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Loving the conversions! Keep em' coming :)

Lamenters in work!

 

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#4
Zeller

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So all you're doing to make them larger is adding the space in the legs? The difference that makes really is quite dramatic. Your marines really give off a more appropriate space marine feel. I'd venture to say they remind me of republic commandos a bit too. Nicely done so far.

Personally, I'd say it makes a lot more sense to keep putting them on the right. Anyone who questions your decision is a Communist.

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#5
Lachdannan

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These look fantastic. Each model tells a story, and i like your truescaled method as it seems achievable to people that don't greenstuff much. Really liking the combat knives and kit that each marine carries, looks like they have enough to last a battle now. Keep it up.

#6
Veteran Sergeant

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Damn, these are all kinds of brilliant - now that there's a collection of them the differences in pose between these and 'normal' marines is pretty vivid, and it looks just about perfect. This all injects what I would consider a dose of realism to Marines, simply because the enlarged proportions mean that there is now workable space to put all the gubbins that you'd expect a combat monster to have - was it just at thigh and waist you enlarged these or did alterations have to be made to the torso and pack as well?

Well thanks.

To answer the construction question, because I realized I left it out.

Yes, the legs are cut and extended 1mm at the thigh. I contemplated extending the shins out a half mm, but it seemed like a lot of work and honestly, the proportions seem pretty close as is, and I'm getting most of the height I want. The waist is the real problem. Marines seem to have really short torsos, so they are 1.5mm at the waist too. You just can't see the waist modifications on the models because of all the gear. Which is good, in one sense, because it reduces the amount of sculpting work because I'm not worried as much about blended lines and such since they are mostly invisible. I did not alter the torsos or backpacks. I didn't think it was necessary. If anything, the packs look less bulky now.

So they end up being 2.5mm (roughly) taller than the standard Marines. You can see the evolution in the "walking" or "running" Marines. The first one is only .5mm at the waist. The second one is 1mm and the last two, drawing the knife/sword & Brother Notasinglef**k Givenicus is 1.5mm. So you can measure them in relation to the Cadian. Most of the models are 1.5mm torsos now, though a few were 1mm.

Oh, and no, Brother Brutus is not sodomizing that Dark Eldar, lol. I assembled both parts independently, Brutus first to look like his bolter was dropped slung (sling still WIP), and that was the only way that Eldar body would fit on the 25mm base, even with Brother Brutus placed all the way to the back edge. The body is posed up to make it look like the head was hacked from the body roughly, and then it slumped forward to fall at his feet. The painting planned for this model should be pretty gruesome, and involve more than a little darkened Tamiya clear red, heh.
Posted Image

Thanks for the feedback guys. Glad some of you like them. There's a lot of work involved in this. I took a long time off from the hobby side of things, so my techniques are slowly improving. Even if my army doesn't end up a masterclass for modeling, I want it to have some character and flavor. I'm glad my intent to make even standard Tactical Marines "interesting" is working, at least for some people. After all, Troops Choices need loving too, lol. Honestly, I want all the models to stand out. Not just be set dressing for the characters. I think, in the end, the characters (who will all be magnetized) may end up kinda bland except for all the fancy bits I bought for them, while some of the rank and file Marines steal the attention. I only have one Assault Marine assembled so far, and he was a test model, so kinda boring, but big plans for the rest of them.

Posted Image

Marneus Calgar is referred to as "one of the Imperium's greatest tacticians" and he treats the Codex like it's the War Bible. If the Codex is garbage, then how bad is everyone else?

True Scale Space Marines - 31mm Space Marines Tutorial
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The Brief and Humorous History of the Horus Heresy                                                          Litanies of Hate & Discontent; Index Astartes: Invectors


#7
SincaiN

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Love the flip up Auspex .. I'd think a SM would want his hand free so that would make more sense then going Spock Tricorder style ..

The dude holding the head is a bit creepy, the model at his feet is in a very compromising position :) But it's off to a good start..

Keep up the nice converting work !

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#8
Andrew J

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Loving the poses. Your simple scaling works wonders for them. What chapter/paintscheme you gonna use for them?
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#9
roooooot

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This definitely solves my conundrum of how to accessorize my scratch built Sternguard.

These guys are well kitted up, I love them.


gallery_21629_1792_12867.gif   Img_CH00_08Awards_03_ETL_2012A.gif Ugh

 


#10
Dorns padawan

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Very nice models mate, love the wrist mounted auspex! The executioner is my favourite mini. I like how the each have a certain uniquness to them. Look forward to more mate. Thread watched!
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But every 40k player knows that more shots = more accuracy!!!!!!!!!

 

 

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#11
Dark Scipio

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Very very good looking.

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Completed Vows:gallery_30308_3239_102.gifgallery_30308_3239_102.gificon12.gifFailed Vows gallery_11456_5811_7180.jpggallery_11456_5811_7180.jpg

 
 

 


#12
ssspectre

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These are really excellent. I like the amount of extra gear you've added to the front of the marines (as supposed to putting it all around the sides and behind them) - it gives these guys a very convincing real-world special forces look. I realize it's partly there to save sculpting work where the torso's been spaced, but you're going to need a few shortcuts for a full company.

Also loving the shortened assault weapons - wish I'd thought of them before I finished every single meltagun in my army.

#13
Veteran Sergeant

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Actually, it was more for "realism" than modeling simplicity. I looked at the way that I had arranged my own gear when I was with an infantry company. With a right handed shooter, you want your primary magazines on the left side to be loaded with your non-firing hand, etc. Then, I decided the gear should be kept more or less uniform. You can see on the Special Weapons Marines, I created pouches out of sprue and plastic card for the spare melta cylinders, flamer fuel, etc. They are a bit thicker than the bolter mag pouches. That's because the Special Weapons aren't actually glued down. They will be magnetized and swappable, and the cradling arms spaced to accommodate all three types. After all, given my beliefs on how the Codex Astartes would work, the force needs to be flexible and ready for all situations. Haven't decided on whether or not my plasma guns will be shorter. I created the Assault Pattern meltas and flamers so they would be closer in size and length to the bolters, and would look better swapped into the Assault Marines too. Having more "compact" (relatively, lol) assault weapons make them a bit more maneuverable at the short ranges they are designed for.
  • Sheesh Mode likes this

Marneus Calgar is referred to as "one of the Imperium's greatest tacticians" and he treats the Codex like it's the War Bible. If the Codex is garbage, then how bad is everyone else?

True Scale Space Marines - 31mm Space Marines Tutorial
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The Brief and Humorous History of the Horus Heresy                                                          Litanies of Hate & Discontent; Index Astartes: Invectors


#14
NightHunters

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Love your work brother, have been working the same stretching magic on my "tactical" marines for a while now and they do look so much more in proportion! good work on the firing poses as well, small bit of crit, hope Brother Brutus will be getting a sling on his bolter as I rather feel it may otherwise look as tho he is inappropriately holstering it in the poor unfortunate at his feet!

FTE

#15
Veteran Sergeant

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Been slow going recently with my school, work, gym and gf schedule, but I did end up re-doing Brother Brutus because I got quite a bit of feedback that said it looked like he was sodomizing the poor dead guy with his bolter, and questions about where his sling was.

Originally I had no intention to include a sling since the Marines are supposed to have mag-clamps. But I decided to see if I could make a futuristic one point rig-sling using a staple. In the real world, one point slings aren't terribly popular with operators anymore because the dangling rifle has the annoying tendency to want to smack you in the junk. But, I figure if you have a plasteel and ceramite codpiece, you can risk it. Not sold on it. May end up removing it, and going back to the mag-clamp.

I made a new corpse too. I really liked the look of the slumped over one I originally had. It looked natural, and brutal, for a body that had just had its head hacked free, and fallen forward against the Marine before coming to rest on the ground. But I don't want the figure to be comical. I want it to be a little horrifying, or at least disturbing, lol. Really trying to capture the brutality of the Space Marines. I'm willing to have a little fun with these guys, but at the same time I want them to be intimidating like they should be.

Posted Image

Done some painting work too, using old figures that I won't be able to use for the Tall Scale Company. They're all color tests, to see what color scheme, style and technique I want to use. But I won't post any of it here until I have finalized my decision on a paint scheme.

Edited by Veteran Sergeant, 11 April 2012 - 02:37 AM.

Marneus Calgar is referred to as "one of the Imperium's greatest tacticians" and he treats the Codex like it's the War Bible. If the Codex is garbage, then how bad is everyone else?

True Scale Space Marines - 31mm Space Marines Tutorial
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The Brief and Humorous History of the Horus Heresy                                                          Litanies of Hate & Discontent; Index Astartes: Invectors


#16
reckoning

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These marines have inspired me to build all my marine armies in this fashion. Some of the coolest models Ive seen in this hobby. Following this one for sure.
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karden00, on 28 Apr 2014 - 21:55, said:
Eh... dark angels couldn't hold the line. Surprise surprise....

 

 


#17
AlexCrute

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Thoroughly satisfactory.
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#18
Sh0sen

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Everytime I see these I want to go back and rework my scaled up marine!

#19
Paladin7221

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The whole pose just screams:
"Yeah, you're next...."

Also, I pinched your short flamer design, hope you don't mind!

"I once met one of our cousins in more peaceful times, a noble captain of the Ultramarines. He branded me a cur and a soul-less butcher without even the merest shred of honour. I laughed full in his face and asked why that surprised him."

 

 

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#20
DarkVen

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Finally I've read it :evil:

Cool conversions. I like these combat-thingees on marines always, it makes them look like soldiers. And here they all are in place. Also interesting idea about scaling marines. Will it be one of known chapters, or a chapter of your own?
This reminds me of DtD NLs thread.

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#21
Veteran Sergeant

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Very nice models mate, love the wrist mounted auspex!

Here's a better picture of that Marine and his pose. He's actually tied for my favorite between him and Brother Brutus as well.

Posted Image

Amusingly enough, he was just a test model to prove the auspex concept for an upcoming model in the Command Squad. I think there will be an auspex Marine in ever squad. I mean, there's enough of those useless bits lying around, lol.

Also, I pinched your short flamer design, hope you don't mind!

By all means. I've actually come across others who have done similar things as I've been working on this project over the last few months, so I can't claim it as "mine" by any means, lol.


I should have the first of my magnetized Sergeants finished soon.
Edit: I'll just tack him on here. He's mostly completed.
Posted Image

Right now he only has three options (chainsword not shown), but I'll get around to it. His right leg has a tiny magnet to hold a bolt pistol to it for situations when it would be needed for the model. May end up giving him another tiny magnet for holding meltabombs.

Fixed my Heavy Bolter guy too. Wasn't pleased with my sloppier box magazine.
Posted Image

Edited by Veteran Sergeant, 16 April 2012 - 04:36 AM.

Marneus Calgar is referred to as "one of the Imperium's greatest tacticians" and he treats the Codex like it's the War Bible. If the Codex is garbage, then how bad is everyone else?

True Scale Space Marines - 31mm Space Marines Tutorial
lmnusighdfin.pngsig-tauorkcultist-fxfinlttr1.png
The Brief and Humorous History of the Horus Heresy                                                          Litanies of Hate & Discontent; Index Astartes: Invectors


#22
NightHunters

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Good job on Brutus, much more modest!

Also agreed on the HB marine, much improved, actually really like the fluff for the tac. heavy weapons troopers to have box mags, makes a lot of sense (and I may have to thieve that idea) and actually the same goes for the auspex, really well done!

Keep em coming!

#23
Son of Carnelian

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This probably isn't the takeaway you wanted people to have from your thread, but I just converted one of those "MK II" flamers for my Flesh Tearers. Though you aren't taking credit for it, I'm giving it to you anyway since I say it here first! Keep up the good work!

#24
Veteran Sergeant

Veteran Sergeant

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  • Location:The Beachhead
  • Chapter Name: Invectors
No, that's awesome. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Besides, it's been done before so I'm not the first. Heck, if I was worried about people using my ideas, I wouldn't be sharing them here. :D

Marneus Calgar is referred to as "one of the Imperium's greatest tacticians" and he treats the Codex like it's the War Bible. If the Codex is garbage, then how bad is everyone else?

True Scale Space Marines - 31mm Space Marines Tutorial
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The Brief and Humorous History of the Horus Heresy                                                          Litanies of Hate & Discontent; Index Astartes: Invectors


#25
SMcaptainAurelius

SMcaptainAurelius

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Your sergeant with both arms dropped looks like he could stare down a battle tank! Lovely stuff.





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