Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Black Reach Tacticals to Sternguard (with pics!)

Due to popular demand, here's how I'm doing the Black Reach tacticals to Sternguard conversions, with pictures (admittedly, very crappy pictures, but hey, better than nothing, right?)!

The first thing you'll need to do is find the bolters that don't come with scopes. There are two in the box that come with scopes, s
o you can use them straight away. However, for the others, just pick out 3 more. I prefer the bolters with attached slings (again, there are two of them in the box, so you'll need to use one "plain" bolter for the fifth). File a little bit of the ridge that runs along the top of the bolter away to make it flat with the rest of the bolter body. Leave the little raised bit towards the rear.

Next, dig around in your bits box and find three scopes. Since you've probably never used them before, and you get one with every tactical marine frame, you should have plenty!

Glue that scope onto the bolter, and you're in business! Somehow that plain ol' bolter looks like a more specialized tool with the scope attached, doesn't it?

Next up, file off that "tactical squad" arrow from the shoulder pad of each Black Reach marine model, as the Sternguard are both veterans and elites. This photo was taken while in mid-filing. It's pretty easy to do with a good set of files.

Lastly, attach the bolter to the Black Reach marine, prime and paint. Don't forget to use the color scheme for your chapter that denotes veteran status. In my case, they'll be ultramarine blue with a while helmet and white shoulder pad trim.

Compare and contrast to the still un-released Sternguard set:

...and you'll see that about the only real difference is in the pose (they are definitely more "dramatic"), ammo magazine (I suppose you could use storm bolter magazines if you wanted to duplicate them more closely) and a little bling (purity seals, terminator honors, etc.). I will probably go back and add a bit or two to each model to give them a little more "pop" and make them stand out, but honestly, I don't think it's absolutely necessary. The main thing is these guys all have bolters with scopes and slings (well, except for the combi-melta guy) and that's pretty much what we've got with the conversion. Plus, in the Black Reach set there's a couple of marines with "crusade" helmets (the same kind that comes with the company champion model). I've used both of them for my Sternguard, because it just felt right. :)

Anyway, I know that this is a very basic conversion (but the first I've ever attempted, honestly) and there are probably much better ways to do it. Considering Sternguard are basically veterans with "blinged-up" bolters, I think I've covered the basics pretty well. I know that ultimately what will sell this conversion is using the veteran colors/paint scheme, as that will leave no doubt as to what kind of unit they are. :) And hey, you're getting those marines in the Black Reach set at such a bargain, I somehow enjoy the idea of making Sternguard out of them.

All right...what do you guys think? Have any conversion ideas/plans you'd like to share?


  1. Much better, the pics make all the difference.

    I think you hit the nail on the head here, it's not that they need to be super involved conversions as much as it's a simple way to take a basic model and use it for something else... and have the same end result.

    Nice job.

  2. Pictures do make alot of difference, they help to further illustrate your ideas and how to go about converting your own guys.

    Very cool little conversions, they certainly do the job.

  3. Not bad at all! Have to admit, I didn't think just the scoped gun would do it ... but it looks rather convincing.

  4. Nice pics. I do like these guys. I think (if you can take ten sternguard?) I wouldn't mind doing five this way and combine with the five from GW when they come out. I think it could be a coherent looking squad, but with a lot of variation in it. Thanks for this great conversion idea!

  5. This is a clever idea and really simple to execute. If I could offer one suggestion though, it would be to file the iron sight off the front of the bolter too. It sort of blocks the front of the scope and would be redundant anyway with a scope instead.

    Otherwise, really great idea and great blog!

  6. @all: Thanks for the comments, guys! I'm glad you liked my attempt at conversions...

    @master darksol: Honestly, it's not just the addition of the scope (though that certainly is the major bit). It's also the sling straps (which are present in the GW minis) and the crusade pattern helmets (which sets them apart a little from the "normal" tactical marine). Of course, all of this is IMHO...and without the scope, it wouldn't work at all. :)

    @simon: Hmm, filing off the iron sight. You're right, it does block the field of vision for the scope...but it's also present on the GW Sternguard minis (and blocking the field of vision on at least a couple of them). I'll give it a try on one and let you know how it comes out. Thanks for the idea!