It's not bad. I'll admit right up front I've used nothing special to complete these guys, so don't get discouraged. It's really low tech.
X-acto blades (I like the #10 general purpose rounded tip ones.)
1mm drill for the barrels
1mm (legs), 1.5mm(waist) and in some cases .5mm, plastic card.
Narrow tipped hobby file.
I can't, off the top of my head remember what size I use for the arm magnets on the Sergeants, but you'll want to use one that is close to or the same size of whatever magnets you end up using obviously. But the above tools are pretty much it. I have some snips I use for sprues or cleaning up the old metal bits.
It isn't a master class going on here. Which should be encouraging, because if you like what you're seeing, it's the sort of results that pretty much anyone can achieve with a little patience. I have sculpted nothing
. There is no green stuff involved in this project. Everything is crafted out of the existing models, bits of sprue, or plastic card.
Some of the earliest figures are here:
You can also see the difference in the placement of the cuts. I've moved to almost exclusively cutting along the hip joint for two reasons. Easier to file down, and also imperfections are better hidden by all the gear. To answer the other question: The legs are 1mm. The waist is 1.5mm. However, there are examples in there of 1mm. It's only a slight difference. The outer left and right models are 1mm. The one in the center is 1.5mm.
For example, this is one of my favorites, and there's absolutely nothing special about him:
He's the example of how you can file the soft armor at the joints to fix the hand positions, or as in this case, create an entirely unique pose. The arm has also been cut at the shoulder and rotated to 90 degrees horizontal to help achieve the desired look. Left wrist was sliced behind the wrist to rotate the support hand to grip the rifle.
So you can see the arm cuts, I'll show you the magnetized power fist from the most recent Sergeant. This arm was actually the "punching" power fist that was cut from it's shoulder piece and fit to a standard shoulder to achieve the hanging look. I have three of those fists, so I wanted some variation. Figured I'd test proof of concept and try to mod it. I feel it was successful. As you can see, nothing sophisticated here. Wish I'd taken process photos of it. I clipped the tubes free from the arm, then sliced them at an angle to make the arm fit flat to the body, but make it look like the cables were disappearing under the should pad when it was actually assembled. As you can see, it looks rough as hell when by itself. I'm going to finish it with gap fill and some more clean-up, but this is what it looks like when it is on the model without any finishing:
Here's a last one with the top down so you can see that with proper wrist rotation, the bolters will remain straight up and down. Wrist positioning is key, because if you just try to rotate the arms, you'll end up with odd angles. Both wrists on this model have been cut to achieve this look.
When posing, you just have to look at what's important to realism, physiologically speaking.
Think about the angles of comfortable, natural movement and the overall range of motion in the arms. It revolves around the shoulders, elbows and wrists. There is only so much you can do with shoulders unless you're going to be green stuffing or cannibalizing the various arms which have more complicated shoulder attachments. Some of the basic arms sit at different angles at the glue point. Might want to analyze the various arm bits you have. One handed arms seem to sit at a more distinct "outward" angle a lot of the time. Don't be afraid to mix and match arm bits as you cut them apart because most forearms are interchangeable; just keep track of them, lol. Fortunately for Space Marines, almost all good firing stances (in real life) involve shoulders being tight and tucked. So the elbows and wrists are where you need to concentrate. Unlike real arms, the armored arms of Space Marines are more or less cylindrical, so you can rotate them and revolve them without looking strange. Most of my arm cuts are made just below the "under-shoulder pad" that's part of the actual arm bit. At this point, you can rotate the arms pretty much at your discretion since the cut will be hidden underneath the shoulder pad.for the most part If you're picky, you'll need to do some clipping, filling and filing to make them perfect. Depends on what level you're taking your project to. For table-top quality miniatures, there's not a whole lot of heavy work needed.
The wrists are the other point of movement in the human arm you're going to take into consideration. There are two basic ways. Clip behind the wrist ring, or just the hand and soft armor wrist. Behind the ring is easiest, and ideal for the "support" left hands since what you typically need to do is rotate the hand to accept the new firing stance, but not mess with the angle it sits lengthwise. The right hands are probably best cut just in front of the wrist ring, leaving the joint intact. At that point you can carefully file the soft armor at whatever angle you might need. For "one handed" weapon grips like the combi-melta, I suggest using extra Assault Marine arms with bolt pistols or plasma pistols you aren't using (there should be plenty of these lying around if you have any Assault Marines in your army). Can even use the melee weapon arms. They're just more of a pain to shave off sometimes and won't have "trigger finger" hands. The wrists on them are typically already angled where you want them to be, while the bolter cradle arms have this unnatural upward angle to them because they are designed for a "hip firing" look. Whoever modeled them watched too many 80s movies for inspiration. ;) Those wrists will almost always need to be modified, and at the very least rotated so that the weapon doesn't have some kind of oddball cant to it and sits straight up and down (unless your pose calls for a cant).
My own personal philosophy is not to try too hard to make them look down the sights. It just won't work, and will look strange when it does. The guns are too big, and the chests too deep so the heads won't tilt far enough over. Plus, they've got a little nubbin on the gun that looks like a sensor and supposedly awesome helmet targeting (another reason the models need helmets). The iron sights on the gun are like the targeter on the missile launcher. It's an aesthetic thing for the model which is anachronistic to the genre. I've contemplated shaving off all the front sight posts on my models. What you're looking for in these poses is a more aggressive look. Space Marines, with their powered armor, don't need to worry about marksmanship fundamentals. But they're going to use them anyway. It's instinctive at a certain point. As Scouts and neophytes they didn't have power armor. They'd have been taught how to shoot correctly, and by the time they've been practicing doing it a decade or more, every damned day, it's going to be automatic. Plus, it just looks better.