So, today I’m going to talk about weapon swaps. Sometimes the weapon that a model wants to use is simply unavailable or requires buying a kit for just one bit. Perhaps the way the weapon is posed is not quite right or you want a WYSIWYG model and your model doesn’t have quite enough hands. If this is the case then it’s time for a weapon swap.
Some weapon swaps are trivial, for instance in building Long Fangs from the Devastator kit or giving a model a sword or pistol from another kit. It gets a little more complicated when you need a weapon for which you don’t have the kit or want to pose the weapon in a different way. I’m going to cover reposing of limbs in a later post so today I’m just going to look at what the limbs are holding.
So what should we consider when doing a weapon swap on a model? The first thing to think about is how the weapon is going to be fixed to the model. Is it in the model’s hand ready to use or is it stowed? Is it one-handed or two handed? If it’s stowed, does it need strapping down in any way? If it’s in use, is it in one hand or two? In which direction do you want it to point?
Below are some examples of stowed weapons. The sword that the Wolf Scout is carrying is a cut down power sword from the Space Wolves pack (representing a combat knife). I had to build up the hilt with green stuff and I added the chain to make it look as if it were strapped on. I also built the green stuff fur cloak around the blade, so that the sword blends in with the rest of the model. The meltagun on the first Grey Hunter is slung from a sling made from green stuff. Here, I just glued the meltagun to the thigh of the model and used two thin bits of greenstuff to make it seem as if it is slung from a strap over his shoulder (don’t you just love big shoulder pads sometimes). The final stowed weapon is the simplest. I just glued the bolt gun to the backpack to represent a weapon that is maglocked in place.
So, stowed weapons are fairly straightforward. Now we come to weapons modelled as if they’re in use. The trivial example (although it doesn’t feel like that when you’re juggling arms and bolters) is swapping out a bolt gun for a plasma or melta gun. A more dynamic pose can be made by having the model wield the weapon one-handed. For the flamer wielding Blood Claw below I used a plasma pistol wielding arm from the Space Wolves Pack box and a flamer from the Tactical Marine box (1). I trimmed off the plasma pistol using a scalpel and trimmed the grip area of the flamer to match (2). Then it was straightforward to glue the two pieces together(3-4).
Then there are weapons and items that do not exist, for example the only Space Wolf Crozius Arcanum comes with Ulrik the Slayer. Fortunately it’s very easy to make your own. All you need is a thunder hammer (of which you’ll have plenty if you own the Space Wolves Pack kit) and one of the backpack icons from either the Space Wolves Pack or Terminators kit. Trim off the head of the thunder hammer and glue on the icon. It really is that simple!
So, what should you try to remember when kitbashing or converting weapons. Well, firstly, you need to consider what the weapon represents. For example I built my Rune Priest with a staff, which caused no problems when I fielded him in 5th Ed., but caused me much confusion when I first got him into close combat in 6th (it should be a power stave). The next thing to think about is the aesthetics- how you want the model to look. For instance if you want a WYSIWYG model you need to work out how to fit everything on which, when you have a model with two or more weapons, stops being trivial very quickly! The third thing that you need to consider is transport and storage. Unless you only play at home and store your figures on a shelf, you will need to be able to pack up and move your models. If you want to kitbash or convert a model with a particularly epic or thematic pose you may want to think about either keeping everything close to the body of the model (for ease of packing) or using magnets.
Hopefully this post gives you a few ideas about how to be creative with a weapon swap. In the next post of this series I’m going to look at reposing limbs. Until then!