Friday, October 12, 2012

Thematic Model Variety and You

When I say "Vindicare Assassin", what's the first model you think of? How about "Lysander", or "Vulkan"? I'm guessing that most of you immediately think of the stock models supplied by Games Workshop for these characters and unit entries. Though maybe not for Vulkan, that fig is hideous. Regardless, since they are supplied with specific sculpts, those are the ones we should think of, and should use in our games, right?

Well, it's my buck…what if I don't want to?

The easy answer is, you don't have to. It is your money, you buy and play with your toy soldiers as you please. So long as you adhere to the concept of WYSIWYG, who's to stop you?

Above you see the figure that I'll be using for my Vindicare Assassin in my Grey Knights army at Feast of Blades. Now for that particular unit, I've actually got two stock model choices to choose from, each in a different pose. However, the one where the rifle is standing straight up I hate, and the figure in general just doesn't scream "Grey Knights" to me. See, I don't have any Inquisitorial elements in my force, no henchmen or anything of the sort. So the black bodysuit assassin stuck out like a sore thumb to me in my army. However, the Vostroyan Sniper above works amazingly well next to my Grey Knights. The regal look to his wargear, the impossibly long rifle and full headgear, with his camo cloak rippling in the wind just speaks of nobility and pomp to me. This is the feel I needed out of a figure that would normally contrast poorly with the Grey Knights figures. The work needed to convert him? Barely any at all. On his shoulder, there is a patch with a raised "V" on it for Vostroya. I simply shaved that smooth, and will paint an Inquisitorial "I" on it instead. Done.

"But Tim, isn't this just an elaborate way of stating the 'Counts-As' philosophy?"

Yes, yes it is. My point here isn't just "Counts-As" though, it's specifically taking into account the look, feel and theme of your force to then choose how to represent that on the field. You can slap a Power Fist and a Storm Bolter onto any old Marine and call him Kantor, but it takes imagination and forethought to make a figure fit into your army's theme.Maybe you play Iron Hands and you want a Counts-As Kantor…what about using a suitable bionic marine, or techmarine figure, with a Servo Arm (Power Fist), a mechadendrite with a Bolter attached to it while holding another Bolter (thus representing a Storm Bolter) in his hands? Now he's not just a Counts-As Kantor, he's an Iron Father that truly fits the theme of the Iron Hands.

So speak up now. I've shown you mine, time for you to show me yours. What have you done to shake up the blah-ness of your standard "Counts-As" models and truly fit them into your force's theme and look?

I'll be updating the painting of my Vindicare over the next week or so before Feast of Blades to show some WiP shots of him as well.

- Tim



  1. While I don't have anything to show for mine, I am kit bashing the DA veterans and grey knight bits to make my Kantor model for my Dark Angel army. I think I still limit myself to GW models when I build my models. I am still hesitant in my abilities to branch out to do a real conversion using models / bits from other model companies.

    1. That's more common than you think. Heck, I still feel that way for a great majority of my work as well, though the Jetbikes from the Kromlech line at Maxmini are beginning to be way too good to pass up considering the cost of the FW ones...

      Speaking of GK bits and Kantor, writing the above conversion idea for an Iron Hands Kantor gave me some ideas for you.

  2. Excellent point, Tim!

    To tell you the truth, I am flabbergasted by how many people seem to think that the only way to play is using the models exactly like they are, out of the box! So it's always great to show people that there's a more interesting (and thus more rewarding) alternative.

    I am so in love with converting stuff that several of my ongoing projects are basically running on the concept of building "alternate versions" alone.

    For instance, my Traitor Guard is all about building "chaotic" versions of units in the regular IG list. I used a cultist champ from the new 40k starter box to build my Lord Commissar: )

    I use converted WFB Ogres as Ogryns:

    And I built my own "chaotic" version of a Platoon Command Squad, with all of the different roles carefully mirrored:

    And let's not get started on my Custodes, which are basically "Counts-As" Space Marines:

    I think cooking up stuff like that is one of the main joys about our hobby, and it's hard for me to understand why people wouldn't want to give it a shot. But then, I don't get what's so great about tournaments either, and for many people that is their main draw to the hobby. I guess it all comes down to matters of personal taste and preference in the end, although I think it's important to keep showing people that there are always multiple options in this hobby of ours!

    1. That is some impressive stuff, well done.

    2. Tell me about it, Josh. You should take a look at his blog (linked in my blog list) and check out everything else hes done. Inspiring doesn't even come close.

      KrautScientist, you feel free to link your stuff in your comments anytime!! :)

    3. I don't have quite as many as KrautScientist, but his work has definetly inspired me to start some of my own.
      And I am planning on doing much, much more in my next army. My favorite thing about this is the freedom it gives. I really didn't like the cultist champion's head so I just cut it off and added a new one. There is no reason to be confined by the models available. There are almost infinite combinations of bits and models out there.

  3. Well its not done yet but the whole marine contingent from the dark vengance box is earmarked for Chaos conversion, the Chaplain definitely has Dark Apostle written all over him.