09 December, 2012

Tutorial: Easy Mk IV Space Marine Legs

Long ago, there were about 8 or 10 people doing Horus Heresy related conversions, so the hipster in me had to jump on that bandwagon before it got cool.  This unfortunately meant that I put many hours into doing the various armor marks the hard way, before I began to refine my ideas into what they are today.

But that's good news for you readers, as this next tutorial series will focus on taking many of the signature elements of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, and bringing them to your army with a minimal amount of work, and using bits you probably already have lying around.

I'm starting out with a very simple conversion for you all, maximus pattern legs!

This is a primarily tool-driven project.  No sculpting required, and if you know how to measure, cut, and file, you should have no problems.

First some financial background on the project:  Right now, you can buy 5 Mk IV marines (without weapons) for £23.  for £6 less, you can get a Red Scorpion upgrade pack that includes Mk IV torsos and heads (and shoulder pads, but they aren't going to get use in this project).  When you start thinking about putting 40, 50, 60 boots on the ground, the savings are plain to see.  

But that still leaves legs, something the internet loves to pick apart in the Pre-Heresy genre.  With the right tools and a few minutes time, you'll have a set of legs almost identical to the Forgeworld set.  Let's get to it!

Tools, from top to bottom:

1. Rotary leather punch.  This tool serves me well for a lot of scratch-build projects, getting me rounded cutouts with ease.  The smallest punch is ideal for the curved cuts of the Mk IV knees.

2.  Pink Salon Board.  Get them at your local grocery store.  the fine grit of the pink ones works well for the smoother sanding needed for plastic models.

3. For my harder sanding, I have my trusty metal file.  I also have a round one (not pictured) that I use to clean up where I make cuts with my punch tool.

4.  Tube Styrene.  You can get this at most hobby shops that deal in HO scale trains and the like.  For this project, we're using 3/16" diameter tube.

5. Panel Scriber.  I use this to refine plate lines on the models, but it's optional for this project.

You'll also need your preferred glue, as well as your hobby knife and some form of measuring tool (I just used the markers at the bottom of my cutting board)

Here we've got the results of step one.  Start with a pair of Mk VI legs (the ones without a kneepad).  Please forgive the sad appearance of the legs I used; my bits box is running low on spare legs right now.

Cut any purity seals off, as well as those little cables at the ankles.  Shave off the front of his codpiece.  

I filed away the little grooves and details on the legs, but that was due mostly to the condition of the legs used for the tutorial.  If you look at the forgeworld legs on their site, you'll see you don't need to remove that stuff if you don't want to.

Cut a straight line into the lower legs, about 1/8" from the top of the shin plate.  Shave down that top part, and the file it smooth to create the recessed area in the above picture.  With that done, cut a little bit off the top of the recessed area to make it less than 1/8" in height.

From your tube styrene, cut two straight pieces about 1/8" wide each.

Cut a third or so from each piece.  The larger part will be each of the knees.  Save the best of the two smaller parts, as that will become your new codpiece.

I've used the punch tool to clip the top corners of the knees, cleaned the piece up with a file, and the glued it to the recess. I've also punched out a small bit of the codpiece about half way up, and then cut the piece until it fit properly.  With both, you may need to flatten the styrene pieces a little to get them to fit in place.

That's all there is to it!  So far, you'll have spent about 15 minutes on the conversion.  If you want to clean up more, you can.  Maybe you need to add a bit of soft ribbing where a knee has a harder bend, or if you prefer the less bulky look of the Forgeworld legs, you can go in and file them down to the desired size.

If you like the heresy studs that Forgeworld has started retconning onto some suits of Mk IV armor, just apply my Studded Armor Tutorial to the legs.

I just need to get this guy a new base and his arms and backpack on, and he will join a growing force of Iron Warriors, ready to betray his loyalist brothers at Istvaan V!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Brandon.
    I just found your web site (through your Heresy legs tutorial on BoLS), and I'm glad I did. This tutorial is very timely, as I'm building a ML marine to join a Mk 4 tac squad, and I was wondering if I might be able to convert it look more like the Mximus marines. I'll have to give this a try. Thanks!