Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tutorial: Re-Posing a Terminator

I don't think it's any secret that many 40K players buy the "starter box", cannibalize it for the models they want to bulk up their armies, then sell off / trade what they don't need - this can actually be a great way to game on a budget.  the thing is, GW realizes this, and takes steps to avoid it - the models aren't quite as detailed or dynamic as the ones in the "full price" box, they go together differently (making chapter conversions or kitbashing with existing kits much more difficult), and they usually only include one weapon.  A good example of this is the Terminators that come in the Assault on Black Reach box:

image © Games Workshop

...they'e all in the same pose, with identical weapons, except for the Sergeant - I have a set of these in the first army I ever built, and trust me, they look dull as dirt on the table.  But, a box of Terminators is fifty dollars retail, and you can get Black Reach Terminators for fifteen dollars - so, it's certainly tempting to try to go the cheaper route.  What are your options?  Well, as far as weapons, you can turn to your bitz box, eBay, Forge World, or the Barter Bucket - I'll leave that up to you.  For this article, I'm going to focus on re-posing a Terminator, so the squad doesn't look like a bunch of statues on the table.

Here's my starting point - a basic Terminator from Assault on Black Reach:

I decided that I wanted to model  this Terminator like he's charging across the battlefield, running for the enemies' front lines while ducking behind his Storm Shield for cover.  To start, I cut off one of the model's legs with my hobby knife:

Then I had to trim the leg to get the right angle - otherwise it would be kicked out to the side, making it look like the Terminator was dancing a crazy jig (amusing, maybe, but not really what I'm going for):

Then I had to file down the joint so it was flat:

I also used my jeweler's files to "re-cut" the Terminator's belt, since that detail was behind the hip plate on the original model:

Then I had to use a round file to extend the rounded channel on the bottom of the torso plate:

...then I glued the leg in place with plastic glue.  I'll let the glue get a bit "tacky" and come back to it in a bit.

Next, I turned my attention to the opposite foot - I needed it to be "bent" so it didn't look like the Terminator was on his tippy-toes while he was running.  I cut the foot with my side cutters:

Then, I glued just the top edge, leaving the foot bent:

Next, I mixed up some Green Stuff:

...and packed it into the gap in the foot:

Now, I'll return to the hip joint - the plastic glue is tacky, but not set completely.  This allows me to play with the angle of the leg without it falling off completely.  Once I had it where I wanted it, I packed the space in the hip joint with Green Stuff: this point I set the model aside for about an hour - I want the Green Stuff to set up, but still be a bit pliable.  After an hour, I switched out the scalpel blade in my hobby knife for a scoring blade:

This gives me a better angle to work on the hip joint - I used my hobby knife to re-sculpt the "ribs" at the hip joint to match the other side:

Next, I decided to mount the model on its base - this will allow me to play with the angle of the arms more easily:

I used the sculpting of the base to my advantage, positioning the front of the foot against a slope - this makes the running pose look more natural, while at the same time hiding the wire I used for pinning:

I added the Thunder Hammer at what I thought was the most natural-looking angle:

The other arm is going to be a bit trickier, since it will be holding a large Storm Shield from Forge World:

...the model is also going to get resin shoulderpads - the one on the right is from Forge World, the onle on the left is from Scibor Miniatures:

I glued the left arm on with plastic glue - again, this will give me a bit of lead time to play with the angle while it sets:

While the plastic glue was curing, I decided to attach the shoulder pads.  The right shoulder needed a bit of shaving & filing to get the shoulder pad from Scibor's to fit properly:

Shoulder pads attached.  I also added a Black Templars Terminator crest:

The right shoulder pad is substantially bigger, but this is also the case with the Forge World versions - the side with just the Terminator crux is smaller.  it will also be less noticeable with the large Storm Shield on the opposite side of the model.

I attached the Storm Shield to the left arm using super glue and cyanoacrylate accelerator, so it would quickly set and not fall off when I played with the angle of the arm.

Next I adjusted the angle of the left arm, to make it appear like the Terminator was peering over the edge of the Storm Shield as he was charging across the battlefield:

I'm happy with the result - it's a nice contrast to the static pose of the original model:


  1. That was brilliant. You make it look easy, and of course it isn't as hard as it seems before we try. This can only encourage others to try. Excellent series of pics too - I know what a pain it is to have to think about recording when I'm on a roll.

  2. Excellent! Very nice step by step man! Those termis look awesome now ;D

  3. Thanks, guys. Porky: very easy with plastic models - once you get the basics of working with Green Stuff, it's pretty hard to make a complete disaster of anything.

    I remember when I first started this hobby, a friend was explaining "conversions" to be, and I was incredulous that anyone would spend $50 on a box of models and immediately start chopping them up. Now, it's hard to find a model in my armies that hasn't been converted in some way...

  4. That is one nice looking model. The action implied by that pose is really nice.

  5. @ The LeadHead - It's a slippery slope!

  6. Nice job Sir and thanks for the detailed step by step too.

    I've used your article as a steeping stone for one of my posts. Dynamic model poses


  7. This is fantastic. I've got some Black Reach Terminators that I have been planning to convert for a while but was a little unsure on how to do it. Very helpful indeed.