Monday, January 27, 2014

H.O.W. TO: Improving Slug Space Marines

These guys are the worst, right? In this post, I'll outline a few quick and easy steps to improve the look of old starter set marines. Detailed steps after the break.

Everybody's got a few of these guys laying around. They come in all the starter sets. They're extremely simplified, tooling-wise, in order for GW to save money and make a higher margin on the multitude of them packed into their intro kits - but also to make it easier for beginning modelers and hobbyists to construct their first squad.

They're great for filling out your ranks, and making meat shields for more important marines. But the problem is, when you stand them next to any marine from a tactical squad or battleforce box, they look rather static. No surprise, given that the starter marines are only three pieces (whole body, hands & gun, and backpack) and the kit marines are usually comprised of over ten separate components, allowing much greater poseability.

But, there are a few things you can do to add a little flair to the starter marines. Let's go through my process.

Here we have three starter set marines. I want to fill out my devastator squad, and use these guys as ablative wounds to the unit-- (these poor bastards are going to stand in front of the important marines with the heavy weapons, and die first)

These guys are in particularly rough shape. They came in an eBay lot with some other things I bought - sort of thrown in as a bonus, I guess. Just look at them; They're missing bases, have super glue globs on them, large chunks are gouged out of the shoulders, and two of them don't have guns or hands!

This marine also has a base that's been through the grinder. No getting it off, though, as it's been plastic glued on. I'll have to file it down and make the best of it. Gotta love the giant pit in the shoulder pad too.

Rummaging through my imperial bits bin, I found an extra slotted base and set the marine in it.  Using some extra arms from the tactical kit, I snipped off the hands and glued them to the wrists. I then took extra bolters, snipped off the handles and glued them to the hands as you would on the tactical models. Not a bad start.

Because we can't really change their poses, we can give them some character by adding extra gear found in the tactical marine accessory sprue. Here are the pieces I'll attach to the models. We've got purity seals (a must) some extra pouches, an ammo bag and one of those relic-type-thingies.

Using plastic glue, I fixed the extras to the miniatures. We're starting to look a lot less generic now!

I then primed the models black using Vallejo polyurethane airbrush primer.

Once the primer was dry, I airbrushed my army's base color, Vallejo Cold Grey.

With the base color applied, I airbushed the rim of the bases with GW steel legion drab. The overspray on the boots added a dusty look to the figures. Using a brush, I painted the details on the models-- shoulder pads, gold trim, armor joints, grenades, packs, purity seals and lenses. I also applied the appropriate decals to the shoulder pads. Lastly, I covered the bases in GW Armageddon Dust.

To complete the models, I sprayed them with Vallejo satin varnish, and covered them in an oil wash. When the wash was partially dry, I wiped the models with a small cloth dipped in turpenoid thinner (mineral spirits). This wiped the surfaces clean, but left the wash in the details, helping to make them pop. I dry brushed the base with vallejo Bleached Bone and they were finished!

Here's shot of the starter marines along side a Devastator Sargent and some kit marines. Can you spot the difference?

Hope these tips helped! Be sure to share any comments you have.


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