Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bestigor/Chaos Warrior Conversion Tutorial

Once upon a time, before GW released the latest version of plastic Bestigor, I created a big batch of converted ones. They're built from the plastic Gor kit, and the Chaos Warriors plastic kit. There has been some discussion around these lately, and that coincided with my decision to build 6 more for this year's Adepticon events. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for a tutorial.

 I'd rate the complexity of this conversion at a 3.5 out of 5. You don't need anything more than simple GreenStuff sculpting skills. There are some tricky moments; such as adding the weapons, getting the legs to fit the body and look 'natural', and perhaps fitting the horns on their heads. For the simple sculpting techniques you'll need here, be sure to see my blog post regarding sculpting tools and techniques. Here's how it's done.

To start with, you need an equal number of Gor models, and Chaos Warrior models. The older Gor models work better than the newest incarnation. Some of the leg poses on the new Gors won't work due to the long Chaos Warrior cloak that needs to be behind them. Most of them will work though, if that's what you have laying around.

The first step is to take the Chaos Warrior body front and back off the sprues, and remove the flashing. The folds at the bottom of the cloaks need to be cut back, so the Gor legs will fit right in front of them. Since the Gor legs have reversed knees from those of you and I, they stick out a bit backwards. I used my clippers to clip off the larger fold; then scraped with a modeling knife to trim the folds back a bit more, and clean up any rough edges from the clippers. The Chaos Warrior front bit requires a lot of hacking. The bottom most armor plates get cut off with the clippers. The back of the armor has human thighs, and a posterior attached to it. Those have to be cut off with the clippers, very carefully. If you cut in the wrong place, and try to remove too much at once; you will accidentally bust off the top armor plates on the front side. Once the rear end (caboose) and thighs are cut out, the backs of the armor need to be cleaned up with a modeling knife. Again, cut off any rough edges, scrape to smooth things out, and add a slight concave to the back of the thigh armor plates. In this pic, some of the plates are face up and some face down. You can see that I accidentally broke off a few of the front armor plates. This no biggie, as we can clean it up later, and it will add some additional variety to the unit.
 The next step is to cut up the Gor body. The front of the body gets cut at the top of the belt. I use my clippers for this. Separate the torso at the waist. At this point you also have to clean up the lower portion that you intent to use for this conversion. The backs of the knees have a little knob that sticks out, trim the top of that knob off with your clippers, then scrape with the modeling knife to clean it up. This helps the legs fit properly in front of the cloak. The hind end (butt) of the Gor also needs to be cut off with the clippers, don't bother cleaning this part up with the knife as it'll be covered by the cloak. This pic has the Gor bodies all ready to go. Some of the leg pieces are face up, and some face down so you can see how they need to look. You'll note that I also glued the Chaos Warrior body front and back pieces together at this point.
Match the Chaos Warrior components to the Gor ones. Dry fit each to make sure they fit in about the pose you'd like. Note in the pic above that the calf of the Gor on the far left had to be snapped to make him stand up properly. It wasn't completely broken, just cracked; so that it would bend down a bit. Once I knew where I wanted it; I added a small drop of super glue into the crack, and let it dry with the crack open as you see. If you aren't happy with the way some of the leg components are fitting, try different bodies, or just get the clippers and knife out again. Cut and clip them till they fit decently.

Time to add the legs to the body. Press a small ball of GreenStuff up into the Chaos Warrior body, and press the Gor legs up into it. Move the legs about as much as necessary to get the position you're going for. Use a sculpting tool or thin knife to cut off any excess GS before it dries. After cutting out the excess GS, check the leg position again before laying them on their backs to set. Don't worry about any gaps for the time being. As long as the legs are pressed up into the body and look good, we can fix the gaps later.
Once the glue and GreenStuff are dry, it's time to fix the side gaps. These models always need to be filled where the back of the legs meet the cloaks. Push some GreenStuff into each side, smooth it as best you can, then sculpt fur into it. Here are a few examples of mine.
Now for any front gaps, or missing armor plates. The Gor loin cloth top can be extended to flow up into the body if you've removed the belt buckle from the Gor. If not, the top of the belt buckle can be rebuilt, or simply covered over. Cloth can be added with GreenStuff to take the place of any missing armor plates. Here are a few examples. You could also add pouches, random extra bitz, or anything that you think would look kewl here.

Time to attach them to the bases. If you dry fit them to the bases at this point, you'll notice that the angle of the hooves is way off. You have to take your clippers, and cut down the hoof tips so that they fit flat. I used ApoxieSculpt and super glue to attach them. You could also use GS if you had no ApoxieSculpt around. Score the base up good with a modeling knife, or use super glue to attach the putty to it. If you don't you may see your putty separating from the plastic a few months or years down the road. Then spread the putty over it. Put a small drop of super glue on the bottom of each hoof, and stick the model into the putty on the base. At this point you will want to do a few different angles, so that they will rank up later. I always stick the models that will be on the outside edges of the regiment closer to that outside edge, to make more room for the ranked models in between them.You will see from the pic that I intend to field these guys 6 wide.
Now for the weapons. I use mostly the Chaos Warrior weapons for these guys, but occasionally the Gor ones will come in handy. You will need a few extra Gor and/or Chaos Warrior forearms and hands to do the guys in the center of the regiment.

The guys on the outside edges are bit more fiddly than those in the center, because you have to make the weapon hafts line up. Get all of the weapons you intend to use set out, and clean them up (remove flashing and mold lines). I started with the end guys. Decide which way you'd like the weapons to be help, facing right or left. One hand will get to keep its weapon head. If there is a little chain or ring hanging off the botttom of the haft, remove it. Remove the weapon head from the tip of the haft on the other weapon. Dry fit them to be sure that the haft of the headless weapon isn't too long. If it is, trim it with your clippers. Once you're satisfied with the dry fit positioning, glue them into place. Do the same, but reverse the weapon for the guy on the other end of the regiment.
You'll note in the pic above that the haft of the weapon of the left guy ended up being too short. Not a big deal. I added a small ball of GreenStuff to the gap, along with a drop of super glue to hold it in place. It'll get covered over later, and we just need something in the gap for support.

The guys in the center of the regiment are a bit trickier. They need to be holding their weapons up and out of the way, lest they never rank up properly. On the guy on the left in the next pic below, I used the Chaos Warrior standard bearer arm. It makes it easier, but doesn't look as good. The weapon head on that guy is from a very old plastic Chaos Warrior kit. Occasionally I'll throw things like that in for nostalgia.

The other three guys were a bit trickier. You can add one weapon hand to them; intact, but minus any haft end decoration. Make sure the bottom of the haft is flat, and score it with your modeling knife. Take a second Chaos Warrior weapon bit, and remove the weapon head. Then use your clippers and knife to carefully remove the Chaos Warrior's hand. It's fine if it looks a bit rough, as we'll cover it up later with putty. Be sure that the top of the haft where the weapon was removed is flat, and score it with your modeling knife. Attach the weaponless haft top to the end of the haft that you've already attached to the model. I do this with a tiny ball of GreenStuff, and super glue. The scoring that was done makes them stay attached much much better than they otherwise would. I have found that it is easier to do this when the first weapon bit is already attached to the model.

Now for the off hand, the one without a weapon. I use extra Chaos Warrior and Gor arms/hands for this. The Chaos Warrior ones are easier; you simply cut off the weapon, scrape it smooth with the modeling knife, and then add a small hole to the top of the hand with the tip of the modeling knife. That makes the hand look more realistic, like it's slightly open. The Gor hand part is done exactly as just described. The Gor arm however, will have to be separated at the elbow with clippers, then smoothed up by scraping with the modeling knife. You just need the forearm and hand. You will have to use a small ball of GreenStuff to properly attach the Gor forearms/hands to the model. If you don't there will be a gap, and they will break off easy.
The next step is to clean up the weapon joins. I do this by using GreenStuff. Just sculpt straps and such over any rough parts. Be very careful when doing this to the guys in the center of the unit, the ones whose weapon hafts were attached in the last step. Don't try this before the haft ends are completely cured in place. This is only required if your joins are rough. It is required anywhere you had to hack a hand off of a weapon haft, as there will be a large rough section. The next picture, and the second to the last picture depict how I did this.
In the above pic, you'll also note that I added GS to the top of the shoulders. There's a gap that runs down there, in the fur. I added a small line of GreenStuff, then sculpted more fur into it.

Time for the heads and horns. For this batch of Bestigor, I used heads from the new Bestigor kit. Gor heads work just as well, as they're essentially the same. Clean up the mold lines on the heads. Clip off the hair from the backs of the heads, then use the modeling knife to scrape it smooth. Get the horns ready as well. I like to add as much horn variety as possible, so I cut up a few of these. One of the sets of horns is from a random skull bit off the Bestigor sprue, hacked down to just the horns. The cut ones will be attached using GS, in a slightly different direction to that of the stock model.

Dry fit the heads to the bodies. Based upon the position of the body, and the direction that you'd like the head to face; some heads won't fit right on some bodies. Attach the heads to the bodies using super glue, and a small ball of GreenStuff. The GS is required here, as these heads weren't meant for these bodies. There may otherwise be a gap where the head rests in it's divot, which will cause the head to eventually come loose. The last thing you want is for your new models' heads to go rolling off.

Be sure to dry fit the horns as well, once the heads are secured in place. Figure out which horns fit best on which head. The Bestigor horns I used here fit much better than the Gor ones I've used in the past. The Gor ones are smaller, and end up hitting the fur on the back of the Chaos Warrior cloak. If the horns don't fit down against the head properly for that reason, it's not big deal. Just put a small ball of GreenStuff onto the head before gluing down the horns. To attach the cut up/conversion horns, just use GreenStuff along with super glue. The key is to apply the GreenStuff, shape it to look natural on the back of the head, smooth it over, then attach the horns with a tiny drop of super glue on each horn end. If any GreenStuff oozes out in the back, just use a sculpting tool to make it look like hair going down the back of the head. If any GS oozes out of the front, trim it off. If you end up with gaps at the backs of the heads, no sweat. Wait for the horns to be cured in place, add a ball of GS down in the space behind the horns (but in front of the cloak fur), and then sculpt it to look like hair going down into the armor.
That's it. It's a bit of a long process, but the result is pretty awesome. You end up with some unique Bestigor or Chaos Warriors. You could even use them as both, in different armies.


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