Another excellent tutorial from Dan Gunn, archived here for your reading pleasure..
How did he achieve such a feat? Well lets hand it over to the man himself to find out:
Dan: When the rumours started trickling through regarding some sort of titan/mech space marine model that would possibly be the missing link between dreadnoughts and titans, the internet was ablaze with speculation. Could it be the mechanicus knights are making a comeback in answer to the riptide and the wraith knight?! Time passed and the rumours downsized slightly to a cross between tactical dreadnought armour and an actual dreadnought, not quite as exciting but still, me personally I was interested. Then the first images started to leak out to the internet. The fires of speculation were quickly doused and replaced with a cold reception. These bulky, pea headed models were ridiculed from day one by almost anyone who collected GW products, especially the humble space marine collector. As for me, I saw a challenge.
What if I got some of these models and managed to convert them so that people actually liked the way they looked?. Reading through a few pages of what people had been posting on various sites and conversing with friends in relation to the lumpy monstrosities I could identify that there were 3 key points that ruined the model.
1: Too bulky
2: The heads are too tiny
3: They look like they wouldn’t be able to move around
With these points in mind I tentatively opened up the box (love the feeling of opening up a new box of plastic crack) and had a good look at the sprues. Lots of bits, mostly guns (yay!). The first centurion I begun putting together as standard so I could get a feel for the model and how it fits together. To my relief tackling problem No 1 was going to be easy! The too bulky aspect was due to the excessive amounts of ablative armour plating on them. The shoulders and the ‘skirt’ of plating were all separate pieces and essentially optional. After gluing the arms on it was then I realised the inspiration for the suits as being ironmonger from ironman 1, the huge pistons across the shoulders and bulky suit with giant fists? Frankly I am surprised they didn’t go all out and sculpt an arc reactor port too! (Believe me I am tempted!). Being as I had just finished up building a Necron army with models based and inspired from various movie villains this pleased me greatly.
The next item to tackle was the lack of fluid motion the models had. This was not going to be so easy. The legs and arms have servos in place which dictate the angles and how they are positioned, not to mention that they are fixed in position as front and back pieces on the sprue. It would take a lot of effort (but not impossible) to pose a Centurion with a more dynamic pose, but more effort than I was after. Offering up the body with the arms attached to the legs it became apparent that the way GW had built their displayed centurions was with very little imagination. With just a slight change of the angle of the body and how it sat on the legs it is possible to create very different, varied and dynamic poses. Running, pointing or simply blasting away!
With a decision on a pose I was looking for it was time to start to tackle the ‘too bulky’ issue. In my opinion they needed to be less squat and taller. So I added a blob of greenstuff into the waist ball joint to pad it out a bit. This also had the added bonus of giving the centurion a bit more of a waist.
Next was the shoulders. Thankfully due to the wonder of the multi-part plastic kit the pauldron’s come separately so it was a simple case of not using them. The helmet did not look quite so shrunken without the pauldrons, but to give it a bit more size I did the same as I did with the waist and added some greenstuff packing in the neck. Positioning the helmet to coincide with the direction of the arms to give the model the look that it is focusing on something, be it a target or something it is heading for.
Some may look at the model and feel that the marine piloting the suit is now out of proportion and stretched on a close inspection of the model but if it means the centurion on the whole looks much better then I am willing to make that sacrifice, After all, I can only imagine that tau crisis suit pilots have adopted the foetal position to fit into their suits!.
Now for my real bugbear, the armpit missiles/bolters. This part in my opinion was the deal breaker on the centurions. These stupidly placed armaments really needed relocating. First idea was maybe on the back of the wrists but this would make the arms look far too bulky. Raiding my bits box I found a couple of pintle mounted storm bolters for space marine vehicles. These alone would work fine for the bolter weapons but I really fancied the missile launchers on my Centurions. So after hacking off the bolter magazines and the nozzles I packed the firing pin part of the storm bolter with greenstuff to eliminate any remnants of it being a storm bolter. After that I glued the missile pods onto the front doing my best to line it up to fit nicely onto the front of the storm bolter body. Once built it was a simple case of cutting the support from the hatch circle and gluing it onto the newly constructed missile pod. Finally gluing the pods and support onto the body on the shoulder made for a much better look overall. A bit of greenstuff was needed to make a smooth fit to the chassis but not difficult to do, more so it looks like it is actually meant to be fitted there more than anything else.
With the newly located missile pods this left 2 blank spots on the chest. Firstly I chopped out the bottom of the old shape of the missile pods on the chest making more of that waistline I was developing.
But it still looked wrong and flat like something more was meant to be there. The armour plate skirt that I had decided to do away with offered me the solution I was looking for. Cutting the two leg plates away from the central plate and filing them both to fit onto the chest they created a nice curved shape for a new chest piece.
It will work on some centurion chest better than others due to the eagle design but with some filing and shaping it can work out ok. Greenstuff packing behind the plates with a touch of sculpting just to make it look more like the plates are meant to be there rather than just bolted on was required, But not too taxing.
All in all it took me a couple of hours on the first converted centurion to get it designed and built but once I had the design completed the second one only took just over an hour and I am very pleased with the improved stature. Pictures I have put up on various sites have also been met with a very positive response. I hope that they have inspired other people to try out conversions with these models, and shown that they really aren’t that bad once you get to know them.
So there you have it. How to convert the Centurions to look (in our opinion) frakking awesome. Dan has already started planning his next project but alas we are sworn to secrecy. for now.......