This week we are revisiting an old conversion I made almost a year ago for a local commission, so some of you might have seen pictures of it from before I wrote for MoM. ‘Why?’ you might ask. Well, it turns out that the Circle player I made this for never picked it up from the local gaming store were we play and officially stopped playing due to ‘real life commitments’. As such he left me the model as payment for the commission and, since we don’t have any other active Circle player in the area, I decided it was a good time to get into a Hordes faction, to alter from my usual Khador play…
The basic idea was recycling an old metal Feral warp wolf and upgrading it into Ghetorix. The main reason was that the ‘classic Feral’ looks a bit out of place next to the newer plastic warp wolfs and among the present beast choices, will rarely be used as a Feral Warpwolf, so we decided to ‘salvage’ the old metal model and try and make it look even more impressive than the standard Ghetorix model…
First lets take a look at what we had to work with:
The most evident problems with the classic model are the gaps on the back and the fact the waist looks way too thin for its upper body. Another issue might be that the head on the metal model is one solid piece with the torso, making it very annoying to remove cleanly and switch with the upgrade kit’s head. Since I’m better at sculpting than sawing off large chunks of white metal, I decided to keep the original head, sculpt the leather mask/hood and pin the horns from the upgrade kit to it, while leaving the kit’s head for future conversions.
Anyway the first step was ‘fattening up’ the waist line, adding some abbs and filling out the gaps on the back:
Next issue: the classic warp wolf is also much less ‘dressed’ than newer sculpts (pretty much naked save for some armor plates on the hands and feet), so we needed to give it some rags/loincloth and some details to make it look more ‘dignified’.
I didn’t want to copy the details from the stock warp wolfs and then I remembered his fluff mentioning that he was originally a Tharn chief/king, so I checked out the Tharn ravager Chieftain UA for inspiration and decided to focus this conversion on that specific look (bone armor). That meant before we could pin on the arms and huge axe we had to sculpt all the details on the models torso (remember that for complex conversions you should sculpt your details in layers from the ‘inside out’, as you might do when painting…).
Once the detail work on the torso was done, I pinned the arms on, spent a frustrating half an hour posing the arms to match the hands on the axe, glued them on and re-sculpted the shoulder muscle to cover up the joint. At this stage I also added Ghetorix’s mask and while the putty was still soft, pressed the side horns in the mask to leave fitting ‘sockets’ for later…
At this point I got the feeling that the shoulders looked a bit plain, so I decided to add some sort of shoulder pads to beef them up… However, due to the way the head is tilted and the size of the lateral horns, I realized I would not be able to sculpt much on the model’s right shoulder (because then the horn wouldn’t fit then), so I went for a single shoulder pad over his left shoulder. Continuing with the ‘Bone armor’ theme I made this shoulder pad out of a large rib cage.
After that was done I finally pinned the horns on the side of the head and finished its mask. At that point the model itself was done, but it still had some issues: mainly his hunched down pose, that made him stand one head shorter than current plastic warp wolfs and that seemed inappropriate for a ‘former Tharn king’, so I originally made some rocks for him to stand on, since the original owner had traditional static grass bases, but now that the model came back to me, I decided to to break my habit of using plain flock/snow bases and make custom urban themed bases for all my Circle models (since I will keep my Circle collection small, unlike my other factions, I can afford the extra work for their bases).
As you can see in the pictures I started by cutting some cork into ‘rectangular shapes’, and enclosed its sides with thin plastic card to have a sturdy base to apply the putty on and sculpted some of the tile floor patterns I showed in my last sculpting article. Once the new base was done I used some longer brass rod to pin both feet through the height of the cork right down the plastic base. So here is what the assembled Gethorix looked like before I started painting it:
As usual, here is a quick run-down of my painting steps:
Start by ‘pre-shading’ the model in the undercoat stage (first undercoat black, then grey sprayed from a 45 degrees angle and finally a light spray of white from the top down).
I then applied all the base colors as neatly as possible. I should point out that all colors have only one layer of ‘highlight’ over the base layer, except for the brown turning into orange, that required a total of 3 layers to give me a satisfying gradient. After correcting any errors or smudges I found I sealed the whole model with a mat varnish spray getting ready for the next step.
I used mainly two oil color washes: Burnt umber for all the warm shades of bones, leather and the reds and Cobalt blue for the the shadows on the pale skin, to create a stark and bright color contrast on the model, that would make it pop out more. For the fur, cobbles and metals I just used an acrylic GW black wash (Badab black from the old line, would be Nuln oil in the current one). Once the oil colors were dry-ish (generally wait 24 hours) I sealed the entire model again with spray varnish and added the final highlights and accents to the metals and the leathers and sealed it one last time for good measure.
Right. That should be all for this conversion project. I am not yet sure what my next article will cover, so feel free to leave any questions or suggestions in the comments below or check out the Arts of war forum board, where we’ll be discussing what my future articles should be about… Anyway, cheers!
P.S. After posting the article I noticed the last picture is a bit out of focus in the bright areas of the model, so I went back to my desk, used a different lamp and took some more pictures, that should be a bit better: