Tuesday, November 5, 2013

SHOWCASE: XV8 Commander

This figure was my first HQ unit and first real conversion attempt.  I've had a love/hate relationship with him, but more on that (and more pics) after the jump.

Ah, the XV8 Battlesuit.  Such a versatile weapons platform.  Such potential for severe @$$ kicking.  Such a god-awful lame pose.

I love this model.  Yeah, it could be better, but the basics of the suit are pretty darn cool, and a quick internet search will tell you there's TONS of customizing possibilities just waiting to happen here. That's a win in my book. Who wants their army to look like everyone else's? Unfortunately, the way they parted out the model there's practically no way to make him look cool without performing a serious hack job. Let me get this straight- my options are straight legs, and both arms bent at a 90 degree angle? That sounds natural. Who doesn't stand like that all day?  Who wouldn't be threatened by a giant robot looking so stiff he couldn't shoot at anything that wasn't right in front of him? Fortunately, my favorite part of the hobby is converting.

First step here was to do something about those straight legs.  I wanted to minimize hacking for my first venture, so I picked a pose that would only require redoing one arm and one leg. In both cases I took a heat gun to the joint to soften it up a bit, and then cut through the joint vertically to separate the upper and lower portions as they should be.  From there it was a simple glue and green. 

I wanted him to look like he was on an old battlefield, so I dug through an old modeling parts box and found this old tank tread.  A quick hack, heat and bend, and it was the perfect platform to lean against, and something more creative than the standard rock outcrop.  After that I chopped up a few pieces of styrene tubing to make some spare hydraulics/axles lying around, being pretty casual with the glue and sand so that it would look extra weathered. 

That right shoulder joint was actually a lot more of a pain than I anticipated.  The ball joint on the shoulder needed to be scraped back pretty far to let the arm go out at this angle.  At some point I took a heat gun to the shoulder and ended up melting the shoulder armor.  Took lots of greening and sanding to clean it up. Grr. Both arms and both shoulders got 1/8" magnets, so all the weapons and accessories are interchangeable and nice and tight.  Really the metal command weapons are the only ones that have any difficulty staying put, and some quick changes made even those pretty secure.

When I first completed this guy, he had the standard XV8 head. It looked OK, but I always felt like that head was too small for the body.  In my first several games fielding him, he was freaking useless. Dude would finally show up turn 4, shoot off a bunch of missiles, hit nothing, and then die. Massively frustrating.  Trip loved making fun of his ineptitude.  He was the prototypical flashy commander that you hate from all those WWII movies.  All sizzle, no steak.

A quick trip to Ebay fixed all that.  He just couldn't see with that tiny little head! This head I bought was a little mangled, and I got a little lazy about sanding it down so the paint isn't great, but he's finally a decent leader for my army- tag teaming with my Aun-shi Ethereal.  Now his ineptitude is the fault of the desk jockey upper brass (me), but he performs pretty well on his own.  

Paint job here is pretty good for a beginner, but I'm looking forward to going back in and cleaning up highlights, and really working on that muddy rust. 

Bring on the conversions!


  1. Looking good! I'm there with you 100% about the poses. I wish GW would redo the crisis suit to be more like their forge works counter parts ie more possible. I have about four which have a rounded out chest and neck collar.

  2. I am stunned that GW didn't re-do the suit designs with the new Tau launch last April. A seriously missed opportunity.

  3. right? even if they had just made the arms and legs two parts each it would have been so much better