Friday, June 15, 2018

Imperial Guard: Building an infiltration expert

“I'm just a man who's good at what he does. Killing.”

With the recent release of the plastic Van Saar for Necromunda, the hobby community finally has plastic models that are wearing body gloves (armored in this case), something ubiquitous in the background (and was popularized, and maybe coined, by Dan Abnett) but curiously absent in model form. Having spent much of this year converting and casting Imperial Guard, I thought these new models would make an excellent foundation for converting a recon specialist for them (taking suitable cues from Metal Gear Solid, of course!). What started out as a relatively simple project rapidly escalated as I attempted more and more sculpting, both to distance the model from the Van Saar and to make the model fit its role as a master scout.

Although based on a plastic Van Saar model, I extensively modified it with green stuff. 

Previously I had converted a head from an Empire greatsword model, removing his hat and sculpting hair and a bandana, and decided it would be a perfect fit for the model that I was trying to create. Unfortunately, the head was a little larger than the stock Van Saar heads, and looked slightly out of scale (like it had with the aforementioned Imperial Guard that I converted). To address this, I added a thin plastic card spacer to the torso and both of the shins. I also had to add a spacer to one of the model’s thighs, which was inexplicably shorter than the other (it appears human anatomy has been compromised to achieve many of the poses in the Van Saar set). Having added the spacers, I set about using green stuff to make his body armor look more like a kevlar ballistic vest. In order to convincingly represent fabric (complete with fabric ripples), I had resculpt the exterior of virtually the entire torso. To make it look like he is actually prepared for combat, I sculpted a full harness, including a belt and padded suspenders, complete with all manner of small clasps and buckles. This allowed me to naturally add a host of pouches (the pouches came from the sadly discontinued Elysian Drop Troop command), a knife, and even a canteen.


I used thin brass tubing from Albion alloys to create a silencer.

The legs and arms were also modified, but not as drastically as the torso. I added a few armored plates, while trimming down those around the upper thighs, to allow for more freedom of movement for the character. Where the upper thigh plates were removed, I sculpted in folds of cloth, representing the fabric of his pants. I also attached a holster to his thigh and sculpted little straps holding it in place.


I gave him a lot of equipment to make him look like a more convincing recon soldier.

When thinking of the model’s weapons, I wanted to ensure that they were an extension of the character, rather than a dominating focal point of the model. GW often creates neat and enigmatic characters only to overshadow them with gigantic weapons that belittle their strength and personality. I was making a hard-as-nails recon trooper with decades of combat experience; that is far more interesting than a firearm. With this in mind, I decided to use one of the small automatic pistols that I converted for my Imperial Guard. To add a little variety and fit with the stealth theme, I decided to add a silencer to the pistol. To achieve this, I used two pieces of interlacing brass tubing. Special thanks to @apoteos_miniatures for letting me know about Albion alloys micro brass tubing, it is fantastic for creating delicate firearm conversions!


The recon soldier fits nicely alongside the Imperial Guard I have been building.

With the model complete, I am excited to begin painting him. I have not completely devised a color scheme, but it will likely have greys and other dark tones, to suggest his clandestine nature. Although the model took a huge amount of time to complete, due to all the detailed sculpting, I would like to try to make a few more in the future. I would be really great to have a small squad to accompany the Imperial Guard force that I am slowly assembling!

- Adam Wier

10 comments:

  1. That's really something. A very nice conversion!

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    1. I am glad you like the conversion! I really tried to push myself with the detail work in the sculpting. :)

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  2. "METAL GEAR?!"

    ...uh, sorry, force of habit ;)

    Fantastic work on the infiltration expert! It's quite brilliant how close you have come to recreating the look of Solid Snake's suit -- that is some incredible sculpting on the combat webbing, by the way.

    Now that you have pointed out the inspiration, however, I cannot help wanting this guy to look even more like Snake or Big Boss: I think it would be cool to add a magazine to the pistol in the style of Snake's iconic SOCOM (in all fairness, while your detail work on the pistol is excellent, it maybe looks a bit too much like something classic James Bond would wield). And if only the head would look more like snake -- you were probably going for an original character, though, so feel free to ignore me ;)

    That being said, I already had a strange sense of Metal Gear nostalgia when recently working with one of the Primaris Reiver bodies, so don't be surprised if I take your model as a jumping off point for trying something similar, albeit at the Astartes scale.

    As always, keep up the amazing work! :)

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    1. Thank you for the kind words! I used a lot of references from the different Metal Gear games for ideas for the suit. The webbing was fun to sculpt and really allowed for more room to add extra gear without making the model look cluttered.

      Sometime I will have to convert a model to specifically be Snake or Big Boss. As you suggested, I wanted to create my own character with this model. As for the pistol, giving the model an HK Mark 23 SOCOM would be cool. If you remember my original Iron Sleet Invitational models, the Naval Officer was drawing a pistol that was very much inspired off of the SOCOM. :)

      Feel free to use the model as a jumping point for converting some Astartes! It is something I should consider trying too.

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  3. I am always largely impressed by the amount of thought and work you put into these projects even if they´re just a single guy.

    This spec-op is really stunning. Great work. Pose and overall expression is very intense. Wondeful character.

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    1. Every time I decide I want to try and do a quick and simple conversion it seems to turn into something complex by the end. :)

      That being said, I really like trying to go the extra mile for the human models. I think it can really add a lot of character and help sell the setting.

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  4. One of Adams best to say the least. The level of detail is over the top and the simplicity of the base only highlights this even further. I cannot wait to see this one painted, excellent excellent work!

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    1. I hope to have the model finished soon! It has proven to be a tricky model to paint, but I think the model will be worth all the effort in the end!

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  5. Very nice work--a lot of hard effort has clearly paid dividends on this model. I love the Solid Snake vibe.

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    1. Years ago I painted a Vindicare assassin to look a little like Solid Snake. When this model is finished he will be much closer in form to Snake. :)

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