How to convert Space Marines - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-14, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
Sethis's Avatar
Sethis's Flag is: United Kingdom
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Alston, Cumbria
Posts: 4,190
Reputation: 58
Default How to convert Space Marines

This guide will cover several ways to convert Space Marines (and Chaos Marines) WITHOUT needing to use relatively advanced techniques such as pinning. You should be able to do everything listed here simply with cutting and gluing.

You will need:

- A surface to cut on (cutting board, spare wood)
- A sharp knife or scalpel (Unless specified otherwise itís VERY important you cut with these instead of clippers)
- Clippers and drill (for battle damage)
- Poly cement (plastic glue)
- Green stuff
- Space Marines!

Iím going to go through the parts of a Space Marine and list some ways to convert them one by one. Here we go!


- Head Swaps. The oldest and easiest way to make your blokes look a little different. Use heads from different kits, different armies, different manufacturers. Have the whole squad with bare heads. Have the whole squad in Beakie helmets. Use Forge World heads. Use biker/land speeder heads so the whole squad has radio headsets. Whatever you like!

- Battle damage. Use a drill to make a series of very shallow holes across the head to represent bullet impacts. Use clippers to gouge a vertical slash across an eyepiece, or a diagonal slice across the temple.


- Chest swaps. Again, use bits from different models. You want to make a squad of Iron Hands? Use the chestplates from the Rhino kit with the Adeptus Mechanicus symbol front and centre instead of the Imperial Eagle. Want to make your Sergeant stand out? Give him a cloak from the Captain box, or the Company Champion breastplate from the Command Squad box. Making a homebrew chapter that worships animals or is tribal in nature? Throw some Space Wolf bits in.

- Battle damage. Again, drill very gently and lightly, and use clippers for gouges and scratches. Donít forget to paint the damage appropriately!

Backpacks and Shoulderpads

- More swaps and battle damage, Iím sure youíve got the gist of it by now!


Now we get to the serious business! There are a few different ways you can cut and shape arms to get different effects.

Cut A Ė At the wrist, slicing here allows you to change what weapon the Marine is holding, such as a Chainsword to a pistol. It also allows you to alter the angle of the weapon, so if you want to shoot sideways in the best tradition of action films, this is how you can do it.

Cut B Ė Behind the wrist, this is a better place to cut if youíre planning to pin the joint, or if the rear of the gun that the Marine is holding extends past the wrist in the way some bolt pistols or chainswords do.

Cut C Ė Another alternative to alter the angle of the wrist, and can also be used to straighten the elbow a little bit depending on the angle you use.

Cut D and E Ė This is where you cut to alter the entire direction of the arm. In general, altering this angle will alter the position of the arm relative to the chest. You can move it closer in towards the chest (useful for reloading postures or two handed grips on swords/axes) or further away from the chest (useful for running or dual-wielding weapons). Youíve got a fair amount of freedom when making this cut, because very often the join is hidden by the Shoulderpad.


Cut F Ė Best used on legs with no detail on the upper thigh, otherwise it ends up looking distorted and amateurish (unless youíre a Greenstuff master). This cut will alter the left/right angle of the lower leg, either bringing it towards the other leg or further away from it. Useful for adjusting running poses to stop the Marine looking like heís QWOPing across the battlefield.

Cut G and H Ė One of the two basic cuts you need to do in order to achieve a running/striding/climbing posture, these cuts alter the forward or backward angle of the leg, and can spin the ankle in or out depending on how straight the leg is.

Cut K and L Ė Generally speaking, to bend the knee youíre going to have to make both of these cuts, and remove the ribbed undersuit from behind the kneepad. Depending on the model, sometimes you can simply bend the knee after doing this, without having to make any further cuts, but often youíll have to cut I or J as well.

Cut I and J Ė Youíre cutting behind the kneepad with these in order to adjust the angle of the knee, and itís very rare that youíll have to make both cuts on the same leg. Cut I is also possible on models without the kneepad (roughly two thirds of Marine legs donít have a kneepad) but obviously Cut J isnít.


This is used simply to fill and smooth any gaps left after cutting. Itís also fairly easy to create new ribbed undersuit when youíre using it to fill gaps at the armpit, elbow, wrist, hips and knees Ė simply fill as normal, then once itís been drying for a few minutes get a well lubricated knife (Vaseline or water) and draw lines across it gently. It wonít look identical to the original stuff, but once itís painted then itíll pass muster easily enough.


Here are some WIP Sternguard and Vanguard that I've altered using these techniques. I've listed each cut in red next to the model so you can get an idea of the effects of each cut.

This is the Sergeant in a suitably heroic pose on a girder. Can also be used for rocks and logs.

This guy is just advancing forwards while firing his boltgun.

This one is taking a bit of evasive action, with a rear/side movement.

This Sternguard is running diagonally forwards while aiming his boltgun at a diverent angle.

This Vanguard is performing a spinning slash with momentum from the lead leg, so you can imagine him doing a complete 360 in the air to take someone's head off.

As you can see, you can get some very dynamic and original poses with only one or two simple cuts!

90% of people think they are above average.

Statistically Improbable. Psychologically Inevitable.
Sethis is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-30-14, 11:37 PM
Innovative Forge-Lord
Cypher871's Avatar
Cypher871's Flag is: England
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Doncaster, South Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 2,579
Reputation: 9
Cypher871 is offline  
post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-30-14, 11:46 PM
Senior Member
Varakir's Avatar
Varakir's Flag is: United Kingdom
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Somerset, UK
Posts: 4,634
Reputation: 42

Love the examples, really nice tutorial mate

Have you tried the leg techniques on any other armies?

My Salamander Logs & Army Showcase:
The Ashbringers 3rd co. ::: Into the fires of Battle:::Army Showcase

Currently Painting:

Landraider Redeemer
Varakir is offline  
post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-01-14, 12:07 AM
Senior Member
DeathJester921's Avatar
DeathJester921's Flag is: USA
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,266
Reputation: 9

Very nice. I'll have to try this out sometime

My youtube channel. Feel free to stop by and have a look if you're interested. I do Airsoft, some warhammer related videos, and gaming videos.

R.I.P. Uncle Lee. You will be greatly missed by us all. We will see each other again some day.

Originally Posted by CamTheApostle View Post
Remember kids: Violence isn't the answer, its the question. The answer is yes.
DeathJester921 is offline  
post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-01-14, 10:06 PM
Closet Dictator
Old Man78's Avatar
Old Man78's Flag is: Ireland
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Sector 7 G
Posts: 3,411
Reputation: 34

nicely done, thanks for sharing, some execllent poses

Old Man78 is offline  
post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-14, 06:50 AM
The Tinkerer
Wookiepelt's Avatar
Wookiepelt's Flag is: United Kingdom
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Tree House 526, Kashyyyk
Posts: 832
Reputation: 56

Gotta try this now. Thanks for the instructions!

Don't leave us engineers with too much free time on our hands...
we WILL tinker around and build something!!!

Wookie's Wolfies - A Space Wolves Project Log
Wookiepelt is offline  
post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-14, 07:48 AM
Senior Member
neferhet's Avatar
neferhet's Flag is: Italy
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Over the rainbow
Posts: 3,694
Reputation: 57

I didn't notice this tutorial...thanks man! have +rep, deserved it

The Legion of Perfects Project

Originally Posted by Lux View Post
The calls of Slaneesh stir so deeply within me, as if I was birthed from the very essence of it. For my ambition to infinitely ascend above all is never ending, like fire within it burns me to ever cindering ash. Lord of light and ascension is who I am, realities burn to ash at my very passing. My luminescence is unparalleled for I am luminosity itself, all light is but a shadow of my silhouette
neferhet is offline  
post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-14, 09:10 AM
Slave to the Brush
InkedDnA's Avatar
InkedDnA's Flag is: USA
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 678
Reputation: 17

Excellent tut! Very clear descriptions and love the pics and poses. Excellent job!

InkedDnA is offline  
post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-14, 02:24 PM
So be it.
JAMOB's Avatar
JAMOB's Flag is: USA
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Boston
Posts: 1,900
Reputation: 15

Fabulous, thank you for making this.

If you go down to the woods today, be wary
JAMOB is offline  
post #10 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-14, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
Sethis's Avatar
Sethis's Flag is: United Kingdom
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Alston, Cumbria
Posts: 4,190
Reputation: 58

I did put it up like 2 months ago lol, no idea why no-one has seen it til now!

90% of people think they are above average.

Statistically Improbable. Psychologically Inevitable.
Sethis is offline  

  Lower Navigation
Go Back   Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums > Hobby > Tutorials > Converting, Modelling and Green Stuff

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome