Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heirs of Vulcan Heavy Support

Land Raider Crusader "Throne of Vulcan"

This centerpiece model is the culmination of all my bitz and conversion work. I didn't drastically alter the hull of the model, though I did deck it out with little detail bitz that keep me looking at it from all angles.

The most noticeable conversion is the dozer blade.  Though no longer providing any benefit while playing, this adds bulk to the model (though it will be tough to paint).  As a smal;l detail, I added an extra row of frag charges to the front (because I had them, that's why), fuel/promethium tanks and spigots on the rear (including an externally stored hose), ventilation fan, an extra comms unit, and a set of winches and chain to the top/rear. 

I like to call this the fire truck.  Not sure if it is putting fires out or starting them.  However, it is well kitted to do either.  In addition, the dover blade and winches make it the perfect lost technology recovery vehicle.  All around, the Fabricator General's personal vehicle will make all your battlefield woes vanish when he and the Vet Squad comes tearing out of it, followed by his personal servitors sporting power fists.  Ah, it's good to be king...


The floating tank concept is very impractical.  To this end, I gave stabilizers to the artillery.  These Whirlwinds have custom payloads and optics only to be surpassed by their custom feet.  They fly with armor down, but the armor hinges out as they touch down, and provide much needed ground support when launching endless barrages of hell fire.

The conversion itself is very simple: hinge up the extra armor from the Vindicator kit, add several pistons from dozer blades as well as 2 dozer mounting kits (easy to come by should you be copying my plow blade design for the Vindicators) make one Whirlwind.

The conversion really speaks to me, and the model itself is static while telling a dynamic story.  That is a recipe for miniature love, right there.


This was the first vehicle model I converted.  The FW extra armor and smoke stack from Cities of Death's Manufactorum fell into my hands at Blue Table, and somehow I conned Shawn into giving me two dozer blades to mutilate.  This was also the inception of replacing the front plate of the Rhino chassis with CoD vents.

Together, it makes sense.  The wildly inaccurate mortar chell lobbed by a Vindi could only come from a mobile, floating mortar  Extra bling in the form of a pop-up HK Missile and custom floating using superglue caps and specialized flying bases rounded out the conversions.

When I started this army, I had no intention of building a coherent force out of it.  However, the concepts that appeared here wormed their way into every inch: ubiquitous geared skull, floating EVERYTHING, Storm-bolter positioning, on and on.  Not only is the Rhino chassis preserved, but it is enhanced in a way that is not totally outlandish and quickly recognizable.  In other words, I am not putting down a Dr. Pepper bottle and calling it a Carnifex, I'm building my own little corner of the universe, related but unique.

Thunder Fire Cannon

OK, so I saw the newest Space Marine swag before Games Day oine year and said to myself, "Self, you're broke.  Make a choice."  Instead of buying the Thunderfire, I bought the limited edition Techmarine which became my beloved Librarian HQ, the Archivor General.  This piece was then started to fill the new slot.

Clearly, the scale compared to the real thunderfire is way too big.  This makes it a sitting duck.  Stripping the battery cells (Leman Russ Wheels) down to the single large cell and reducing height and width would give it a much needed playability bonus.  However, as far as goofy contraptions goes, this is it.  This could easily serve as an Anti-Aircraft Mount for Apocalypse or be re-engineered as the big gun on a converted Bane Blade.

Heirs of Vulcan Fast Attack


Not quite jetbikes, not quite ground bikes, these were a work of love. The innumerable hours collecting bitz, pouring over conversion articles and rice rocket pictures, gathering the courage to chop up a figure that costs $15 a pop...

1) Obtain a bike, new or used, remove rider
2) Cu off the front hub and reattach almost eactly 180 degrees rotated
3) Attach foot plate at high angle and to the rear.
4) Attach Land Speeder engine between the exhaust pipes
5) Using top plate off Rhinos, attach a section of the notched portion underneath to cover from footplate to engine
6) Add AC muzzles, LC muzzles and old Leman Russ LC muzzles to exhaust pipes for more thrusters.
7) Chop rider off at the knees
8) Attach rider
9) Greenstuff knees to reconnect. Expert sculpting of the crotch and seat to get them to ride just right as well as greenstuff smoothing skills are required to keep this from looking goofy.

The techmarine has a conversion beamer, the sarge has a clampy thing that could be a power weapon or power fist, depending on their battle role. One thing I love about conversions, they make sense no matter how the points are bought.

Assault Squad

"Gee, those Elysian grav chutes look awesome. I wonder if you got enough together if you could lift yourself off the ground..."

This squad majored in dramatic posing during Ass Kicking University. The gung-ho sarge is always jumping off something while the rest are going around, over, off of and into another thing. We have superman taking off, in flight, hovering, and landing.

The theme base, piping, became clear from the start. If you don't see it on the base, expect it running underneath the tiles and out the sides. The Mega Man guns here are AC muzzles that have been turned into Bolt Pistols with small chain feeds or energy feeds or whatever. The blades are again vibro blades concealing a nano-wire suspended in a stasis field. This is the only known weapon held in more respect at AKU than the chainsaw sword. An 2 Elysian grav chutes are used per model. One set is placed on the backpack, another on the legs.

Land Speeders

The inspiration for this model is obvious: Forge World's Tempest. The Tempest is a very simple conversion of the Land Speeder chassis and I wanted to combine the single seat cockpit with the integrated weaponry of the Rhino front ends.

The demise of a few speeders in a tragic PineSol incident left me with passable wings I converted into the tail wings. The cockpit itself is mostly plasticard jointed at just the right angles to make a passable crew compartment without leaving exposed rough edges.

Overall, I think this could translate well to the Storm by taking some cues from the Thunderhawk or similar.

Heirs of Vulcan Troops

Tactical Squads

These 10 man squads were started before Combat Squadding was even a twinkle in GW's eye. Each features a decked out Sarge with a heavy weapon and assault weapon deputy. The rest of the troops use Mega Man arms for counts as Bolters and various cool poses. I started to run out of my supply of multi-lasers when IG was rereleased. The flood of unused ML tips was a godsend and helped me to finish my army post-haste.

In addition to Mega Man bolters, this is where the weighted and tiled bases as well as guitar wire came into its own. Every base has a nickel (5c coin) or chunks of pewter to give it heft even thought it's plastic. All bases are tiled with some accessory unique to the squad, and guitar wire speaks to the experimental (and thus heretical) nature of the Chapter. Lastly, each squad has their own personal fetish: a scroll or book at the hip or a power connector at their feet. This unifying theme helps to tie the squads together amongst the chaos of their wacky poses and non-standard styling.


Bog standard. These scouts are bog standard. Except when they're not. I mostly experimented with posing here. The spotter sniper, auspex sniper, weapon swaps, metal tabs clipped to integrate into tiled nonslotta bases. I used every construction trick I knew to add variety.

The only custom bit I added is an Ad Mech geared skull plucked lovingly from the tank commander marine torso piece. This gives them a winged geared skull. The only problem is I build about half of these guys before I decided to add the skull. Some ended up with just a painted gear instead of an actual bit adornment.

All of the above gets thrown out the window when we talk about the squad leaders. One is a Sergeant Telion stand-in with a custom bolter, the other is my father's favorite conversion which is now counts as: Thunder Hammer and Stomr Shield Scout! The other two are simple conversions meant to show the bulk of experience: Apothecary sergeant is looking for unstable neophytes and Crouching HQ Hidden Fist sergeant is waiting to snipe a BA Chaplain or Demon.


Ah the servitors. Simple conversions with leftover power claws (hard to come by in this army. I buy in bulk and am still left wanting...). Some are over the top, some are simple yet graceful. I tried to limit myself to one conversion. On one or two, I just couldn't help myself.

The weapon balance needs to be addressed under the new codex, but overall I give a good mix of options to confront any foe.


3 Rhino chassis displaying all the characteristics of my other Rhino CHassis conversions:
  • No tracks, instead, hover plates.
  • Emblem on the side signifies their branch: Archivum. These are nicknamed Book-Mobiles.
  • Single grate from Cities of Death Manufactorum sprue replaces Rhino front
  • Storm Bolters mounted low and in front, not in the pintles. Searchlight mounted to replace one headlight
  • Smoke launchers mounted low in front
  • Top turret ring not swappable. Razorback to Rhino conversion replaces turret with Damocles style comms equipment.
  • Rear hatch flipped to show grating instead of blank hatch.
  • These suckers float too (see Vindicators for illustration)
These conversions have a problem with WYSIWYG unless your opponent is generous (No top hatch = no shooting from it. No rear hatch = difficult to disembark. Low storm bolters = LOS sucks). But who wants to play with idiots anyways.

Otherwise, they drawe oohs and ahhs more often than not.

Heirs of Vulcan Elites


This is the absolute first figure made for this army, if you can believe it. In all my painting, I never finished him...

You can see the genesis of many conversions: replacing the bulbs on the backpack with servo-arms, Mega Man arms, Epic Killa Kans on every HQ base, and the tile base. I particualrly enjoy the wrist mounted plasma pistol. It just feels cool to me, but then I'm a big nerd.

"I believe I can fly" Dreadnought

The flying dread was the most whimsical piece in the army. The idea of getting this beast off the ground is emphasized by the "repulsors" and pipes that look jerry-rigged. I chose the bit as it looked like an up-scaled version of the grav chutes I used as jump repulsors on the Assault Squad. Finally, the cockpit is a popular conversion I learned from the net to get the appearance of a FW dread without the cost: Terminator Torso + Brettonian Head + Upside Down Shoulder Pad.

This one always elicits oohs and ahhs. The custom assault cannon was mostly an attempt to bulk it out and could use some tuning up, but I'm satisfied. The joints have been modified to make him appear much more flexible: each arm has been swung outward and each toe has even been reattached a different angle to give the appearance that they are hanging limp during the jump. I added an Epic Killa Kan and a control console to give some context to how high he's jumping.

Front Lines Dreadnought

This was begun as a dread I could pod in and forget about, but as I began to model it, he became so much more. On the base of a metal (you read that right, metal) dread, I adjusted leg and arm position to be as dynamic as possible. I only had the abundant 45mm base, so I built a nice little set of stairs for him to run down, intent on making contact, he'd had tank armor jerry-rigged to his chassis: track guards on top, frag grenades up front.

The story goes deeper with the sculpted chalice and right leg guard scene. This dread is the last of his chapter: the Flame Wardens. Originally a crusading offshoot of the Imperial Fists, the wardens were injured or aged marines left behind to govern and protect newly cleansed worlds. Their Chapter Master was mortally wounded in the flight from their last home world as a Hive Fleet descended. Having successfully escaped in the armory barge, he was interred in a dreadnought that was inscribed with the symbols of his Chapter. He may not agree with the heretical direction the remnants of the Flame Wardens have taken, but he can't deny the crusading spirit they invoke nor the thud of their munitions against the enemy.

Heavy Support Dreadnought

Wow, this guy is kind of a disaster. He's got a certain charm often evoked by a toddler whose dressed himself. There's just too much going on that makes no sense at all. If I had it to do over again: no satellite dish, no winch, bu;k out stock missile launcher.

The only saving grace of the mini is the supplemental weight pistons in the back. This was a fun conversion and was hard to get right. This conversion was completed before the heavy attack dread with assault drill was released, too, and could be converted easily should bitz allow.

Veteran Squad

Very fun squad that could double as an Assault squad without jumps. All chainswords have been converted to vibro-blades a-la Larry Niven's Known Space: Nano-wires encased in a stasis field to make them able to cut through anything.

Also, the squad's bolt pistols are represented with auto cannon front ends stuck on their wrists Mega Man style. All characters have Terminator Honors shoulder pads in addition to their AdMech torsos and pad.

The poses really help this group. Basically stock veterans come alive in various stances, and head movement shows deliberate purpose.

The squad leader seems a little problematic right now. The Thumper he's got in his right hand counts as a Thunder Hammer, but the single LC looks dorky. Maybe a more deliberate punching stance and attack with the Thumper?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Heirs of Vulcan HQ

Fabricator General

This was the first all-out HQ I did for this army. He looks like a spider, and I'd planned a Doctor Octopus style second version as a Dreadnought stand-in, but never got around to it. I consider it my most psychic piece: it was made before the Techmarine-as-commander rules were released for 4th edition.

The figure itself is a regular box set techmarine with additional servo-arms taken from the box set on almost all the joints. Extra shorter arms were added at the two top primary joins, while a control screen was converted and added to the left plasma cutter arm.

The battle standard replaced the transmitter portion of the backpack. Basically a pewter standard pole surmounted with a tomb kings standard and techy bitz, the front was meant to be painted and ragged-looking, representing the standard salvaged from the ruins of the 7 layered Forge World of Vulcan. Finally, the mascot of my army rides for the very first time in this piece: this Epic Killa Kan is eager for some action.

Archivor General

Born from the chassis of another awesome tech marine, this is my favorite conversion in the army. While the concept is functionally similar to the Fabricator General, the execution is much cleaner. If I had to choose one piece in the army to display always, it would be this one.

I use two servo-arms from the original kit. I replace one with a servo-skull controller and associated guitar-wire control cable. The other becomes a more refined version of the viewscreen included on the Fabricator General. Even the Killa Kan has an auspex. The banner is a custom book, and is topped with dials from the old Dwarven flame gun. On his back, a set of scrolls carried to record the exploits of his chapter. The entire piece is given motion through carefully placed and bent purity seals.

Genetor General in Power Armor

The Genetor is my version of the Chaplain. They preach healing and recovery instead of genetic purity and oversee the conversion of new Space Marines. Thanks to their advances, only one in ten neophytes fail to become marines.

Built on a simple Fabius Bile conversion, I got lazy and forgot to fill in the flayed faces. There is a noticeable lack of cruelty in my Adeptus Mechanicus army. These are renaissance men bringing light to a brutal dark world. Their longevity and survival has informed them, not driven them mad. Weep for me, a delicate soul gaming in an unfeeling legendarium...

This was my first attempt with guitar wire and the servo skulls give it some presence no matter which way you're looking at the figure. The gaudy Mercurial staff hints at the healing in his injections. Chaos beware, one drop of these unguents and you'll be brought back to mortality before he kills you, a fate worse than mere death. The green plants springing from his footsteps indicate the healing he brings to the dead world of Vulcan, ravaged by Tyranids.

Genetor General with Rocket Pack

Sometimes the Genetor has to get out. When he does, it's on rockets, with dual lightning claws and his best departed servo-skull friend to acompany him.

The fig is a torso and axe arm from the blood angels tech marine. To all you classic minis fans out there: sorry, yes, I mutilated it. No, I have no remorse.

Genetor General in Terminator Armor

Simple conversion of an awesome mini with a base that makes it pop. The only embellishments on the figure itself are the Mercurial interleave I've added on the right shoulder and left knee. The base is meant to be finished with water effects as if he's standing on the shoreline of a renewed sea teaming with restored life.

Scout Company Commander

And finally, the humble apothecary becomes a dynamic company commander with the addition or This is SPARTA! leather crotch danglies and more apothecary tools courtesy the command squad kit and a DA servo-skull like every good commander needs. His backpack is also the new kit. I think he's a pleasant blend of old and new, don't you?

Heirs of Vulcan


All posts with the Heirs of Vulcan tag are regarding my Warhammer 40k Space Marine army. The army is centered around Techmarines and the Adeptus Mechanicus. Though I enjoy the more gruesome and brutal mods people assign to the Adeptus, my conversions focused on a seamless fusion of technology and man. I will be posting my whole army one by one with tidy explanations of the story and technique behind conversions. I will also comment on themes for each unit. Below are links to the pages for each Force Organization Slot:
General History

The army began life in the fertile ground of Blue Table Painting as one or two conversions of my favorite figures: Techmarines. I was Lead Assembler at the time and had finally amassed enough skills to strike out on my own. Many of the techniques that appear in the army were first given life in single-fig conversions (tile and grate basing) or were tried and true tricks taught me by the masters at our local games store, Blakfyre Games in Orem Utah. Slow and steady horse trading of bitz from the local players helped me build a strong theme and consistent presentation throughout the assembly process. I used practically the same techniques on the last pieces as on the first. Though the army is partially painted, I have decided to let another studio, Primarch Studio of Orem Utah, do the finish work.

Army List:


  • Fabricator General (Techmarine Commander)
  • Fabricator General on Hoverbike with Conversion Beamer
  • Archivor General (counts as Librarian)
  • Genetor General in Power Armor (counts as Chaplain)
  • Genetor General with Jump Jets
  • Genetor General in Terminator Armor
  • Scout Company Captain
  • Techmarine (of course)
  • Dreadnought with Assault Cannon and CCW (I believe I can fly Dreadnought)
  • Dreadnought with Multi-Melta and CCW
  • Dreadnought with LasCannon and Missile Launcher
  • Veteran Squad (x10)
  • Tactical Squad 1 (x10) w/ PC and PG, Sarge carries PF + PP
  • Tactical Squad 2 (x10) w/ LC and PG, Sarge carries PW + PP
  • Tactical Squad 3 (x10) w/ LC and PG, Sarge carries PF + CFlamer
  • Sniper Scouts x7 (one is meant as a Sarge, w/ apothecary backpack)
  • Bolter Scouts x8
  • Heavy Bolter Scout
  • Missile Launcher Scouts x2
  • Combat Scouts x9
  • Sarges x3 w/ PF + CCW, TH + BP, CMelta + CCW (counts as Sergeant Telion)
  • Combat Servitors x6
  • Heavy Bolter Servitors x4
  • Plasma Cannon Servitors x2
  • Multi-Melta Servitor x1
Fast Attack
  • Hover Bikes x3 w/ PG and Sarge w/ PF + BP
  • Multi-Melta Attack Bike
  • Landspeeders x3 w/HB + HF, AC + MM, AC + HB
Heavy Support and Transports
  • Land Raider Crusader w/ Ornamental Dozer Blade
  • Rhinos/Razorbacks x3 w/ LC + PG, TL HB and TL AC Turrets
  • Whirlwinds x2
  • Vindicators x3
  • Thunder Fire Cannon
Common Elements
Unified themes and a consistent assembly style make this army shine. From bitz that show up on practically every model (I'm looking at you, geared skull), to consistent basing, the army is tied together at four levels: army, squad, rank, and type. By unifying presentation across the board, the army already rings a strong theme from assembly through to painting. Common colorations were assigned to keep it from getting gaudy but still add variety.
Army Level
Twisted Guitar Wire or Wire Twisted around Guitar Wire Core
The Geared Skull is Ubiquitous
No Two Alike (Weapon Placement, Pose, Armament)
Squad Level
Basing Embellishments Common to Whole Squad
Rank Display Very Distinct
Mega Man Arms Match Across Units
Rank Level
Say Hello to my Little Friend (Epic Killa Kans as HQ Familiars)
Servo Skulls
Type Level
Weapon Specialists and Bumpy Shoulder Pads
Weighted Bases (Pewter or Nickels, Metal or Plastic Regardless)
Floating Everything (Tanks, Bikes, DREADNOUGHTS)
Tile/Grate Basing (All Infantry, No Gravel Bases)

Where To Go From Here
So the army is assembled.  It even has a basic paint scheme.  Here is what I planned to finish it up:
Edge Lining: Though I experimented on a few figures, I never was able to finish hard edging in lighter reds to really make the models pop.  This is the next step after the basic scheme to finish each piece to a higher quality.
Decals: From basic unit designations to campaign markers on the kneepads of veterans and assault troops, decals would finish the large amount of open flat colored pads and plates.
Additional Troops: I had planned a number of additions and conversions to bulk the army out for apocalypse, round out the roster with more techmarines, and make a go at even more over-the-top models.  The greatest thing about this concept is the wealth of ideas to expand into and flesh out.  The only limitation is a large bitz wall or very understanding friends.  Some ideas are below:
  • Terminators with Techmarine: The bulkier terminator armor would be the perfect vehicle for newer mods and experimentation.  Specifically, servo arm and piston leg supports for the heavy weapons platforms and integrated weapon mounts expanding the Mega Man stylings or bringing it more to a Marneus Calgar type level.
  • Greenstuff Printed Greaves: Brought to the attention of the world by Scibor, who has used this method to trick out simple models for years, I was planning on testing this first on terminator greaves to add geared edging, then move to new HQ models in Terminator armor.  The simple process of making my mold in millipu or super sculpy would allow me to roll out a set of greaves fairly quickly and apply them directly to the model.  If mold release was effective, this could be done while still soft enough to add bitz and sculpt the greenstuff.
  • Baneblade, Warhound or other Superheavy Platform: Oh, the things I could do...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bitz Boxes

Old pics of my bitz I'd amased while building armies for friends and my own personal Heirs of Vulcan.

Space Marine Vehicle

IG Vehicle

IG Infantry