+ inload: Constructing Tactical Dreadnought Armour +

+ Building Cataphractii plate +


+ I've built Terminators in 'true-scale' (though given the models from the upcoming new edition, that term might be pretty obsolete soon) before, but have never quite got them as I wanted them. I thought I'd give it another go, and decided to be more ambitious and tackle Cataphract armour, aiming to create a model closer to the original than my previous attempts, which had always been something of a compromise. +

Modern, 'Indomitus' Terminator plate, alongside an enlarged marine. Built c.2010


+ Theoretical +

+ Terminators offer more of a challenge than power armour when scaling them up. Not only are there fewer large models to act as a base – equivalent to using Terminator legs for truescale power armour – but those models are often expensive and require far more conversion to appear correct. A further challenge is that the already-exaggerated proportions of Space Marines are stretched to the point of disbelief. +

+ Now, I think basic Terminators look cool; and fundamentally I'm always more interested in 'cool' than 'realistic' when it comes to space war, but when making a conversion, viewers aren't going to be as forgiving as when they see a stock model. Unfamiliarity often provokes rejection – just look at the reaction resculpts or updates of new models get from manufacturers – and the very fact of presenting a conversion to someone is, in part, an invitation to critique. +

+ So, excuses made and out of the way(!), it's on to planning. A solid plan saves a lot of effort later on. I dug out my previous attempts and looked at what I did and didn't like:

A previous attempt – Erasmus Golg

+ My most recent attempt was the special character Erasmus Golg. He was working pretty well, but I rushed the end. As a result, while the legs were pretty much how I wanted them, the core of the body ended up too small. He's big, but not substantially bigger than the marines around him, and I wanted to get that sense of a walking tank. In addition, he looks a little wasp-waisted to me here. +

Built by the inimitable EdT
+ This version was created by a hobbyist called EdT, who sent him to me when he retired (hopefully temporarily) from the hobby. Again, I really like the limbs, and the bulk is starting to be there, but the design – based on the 'peahead' Exoarmour prototype – is not what I was after. +

+ At this point, I decided I'd go back to the root of things, and looked at the artwork, rather than miniatures. This proved very useful. Rather than looking at compromise solutions for parts, I just found something that I liked the look of:

+ I found this rather awesome image of Cataphract plate, by David Sondered [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]:


+ This had everything I wanted: solid, believable proportions and a sense of weight. Combining the parts I knew were successful previously, I began work. +


+ Practical +

+ So, here's the start. This represents the basic bulking out of the figure, aiming to emulate the silhouette of Mr. Sondered's awesome artwork. The lower legs are from a second-hand Obliterator (for all its faults, Finecast is great for conversion work – easy to cut and solid enough to take a pin). The right foot (left in the pict-capture below) needed to be cut and repositioned, which proved to be a much easier job than I'd anticipated. +


+ The upper legs and groin are from a Privateer Press Khador Man O' War model – again, bought for a song on eBay, as the set was missing some parts. No matter to me! This shot demonstrates the first 'cool/realism' problem – namely, the spacing of the hips. There's no way a human would fit in there, but the silhouette works to suggest the existing models in a way that closer legs would not. This will be ameliorated to some extent by a small amount of bulking on the upper legs, and the addition of pteruges, but it'll still be apparent. +

+ At the end of the day, I'm content that some people will like my stuff, other won't. The core thing is that I'm happy with 'em – it's very easy to end up disappointing yourself and building something by committee, which takes a lot of the joy of creation away. +


+ The torso is heavily bulked up with greenstuff, but the underlying core is a Grey Knight terminator torso back with a Cataphractii back attached. I used a spare Forge World piece left over from another conversion, but it'd work just as well with plastic. The front is a Grey Knight terminator torso front – a small spacer is set between the two standard parts – and the curved 'hood' of the plate is made from the trimmed-down front of a Tartaros Terminator. This all probably sounds a bit esoteric, but it's all leftovers from my bits box. +


+ The back here shows crude bulking. Note I've used the edges and sides of the existing kits where possible – I find it easier to use these to create the straight lines, then blend the edge between them, than it is to sculpt the sharp lines from scratch. In any case, using the existing bits like this 'spreads out' the detail. You'll notice I've trimmed away the circular fans from below the pipes on the back – these will be reinsated later on to detail the greenstuff area and help the visual flow. +



+ The head is a temporary placeholder, used to make sure the placement is correct. The shoulderpads are similarly there just for sizing. That said, I quite like 'em – they look about the right size to me, so they may end up having their detail filled in and being pressed into service. + 

+ What next? +

+ Once the greenstuff has cured properly, I'll be going back to sculpt the detail – filling in the legs, adding a gorget and generally creating the distinctive banding and detailing of the armour plating. +

+ The following shots show him next to a few different models, to give a sense of scale and size. I checked him back and forth quite a few times while I was working – there's actually quite a slim margin between 'not big enough compared to the power armour' and 'ha-ha that's far too big'. +



+ I'd love to hear your thoughts on the model at this stage before I go much further. +





1 comment:

  1. I really like where you are going with this, although the usual marine thigh gap is a bit obvious right now. A tabard, or dangly icons or similar will help to disguise that. If he is going to be an Iron Warrior, then maybe the classic chains? The expected terminator bulk is there, and the shape and look of it is great.

    As far as his size, I think you are pretty much spot on, but I think that his torso is a bit too short. If you made his waist portion about 2mm taller I think you would have it. You might consider moving the shoulder pads in slightly as well, but the end result depends on how you are doing the arms.

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