While the ruinstorm of nerd rage is still going strong elsewhere on the internet, I am slowly coming to grips with the implications of the recent Age of Sigmar release — maybe my terribly wordy post on the matter did function as some kind of therapy, after all? ;)
Anyway, I picked up my own copy of the game yesterday. A first look at the sprues reveals that the amount of detail on the models is really off the charts. At the same time, formulating a plan for all of these models will take some time — I am basically committed to converting quite a few, if not all, of them at this point, but I will have to think carefully before the knife comes out.
In the meantime, let’s deal with something related: Everyone and their cousin have been messing around with the freebie Liberator that came with White Dwarf, and it has been a regular pasttime of mine for the last several days to google for awesome conversions involving the model. So I would like to share two things with you today: One, my favourite kitbashes and conversions involving the Liberator so far. There are many people happily cutting away at the little guy, yet some models manage to stand out regardless. Two, I would like to show you the conversion I have settled on myself, lest this post become totally dependant on other people’s excellent work.
But first, a showcase of my favourite Liberator conversions. It’s rather noticeable how most (if not all) of the conversions I’ve seen so far neatly fall into one of the following categories:
The obvious choice, really: These guys haven’t been nicknamed “Sigmarines” for nothing, right? It’s no surprise that Truescalers all around the globe are enthusiastically checking out the possible ways of using the Stormcast Eternals as material for building bigger Astartes — and there are already quite a few rather impressive examples for this approach!
Blood Angels (Terminator Librarian) by Jair Nunez (via Spikey Bits):
model converted by Jair Nunez
This model certainly goes for shock and awe tactics, transforming the Liberator into something that almost looks like a Primarch at first glance! There’s a lot to love about this model: The Liberators’ more form-fitting armour is a great fit for Blood Angels anyway, and Jair underlines this with a very effective use of BA bitz. I especially love the hammer, since doesn’t remotely look like the fairly clunky Liberator weapon even longer — even though its head has been kept 100% intact! I am not yet wholly sure how I feel about the slightly extended midsection, but such minor quibbles notwithstanding, this is certainly an excellent kitbash!
Space Marine by DogZombie:
model converted by DogZombie
While DogZombie hasn’t done much to change the basic makeup of the model, his kitbash still ends up quite convincing because there’s just something about the combination of that clearly Imperial sword, Sternguard face, power fist and servo-skull that instantly makes this guy read as a Space Marine. A fairly straightforward, yet very effective job!
Space Marine by Wilhelminiatures:
model converted by Wilhelminiatures
Easily the most iconic Liberator-based Astartes conversion I have seen so far! Wilhelm has gone for the good old bolter setup, and has really nailed the look, if you ask me: Those Mk. III arms just work so well, and the praetor head really makes the model look like a grizzled veteran. The conversion shows an admirable restraint and ends up quite lovely because of it — possibly my favourite “Sigmarine” Astartes so far!
Thunder Warrior from the Oldhammer Facebook Group (via Sepulchre of Heroes):
conversion from the Oldhammer Facebook group
Some hobbyists have even gone further back in time, using the Liberator for conversions from the Pre-Heresy or even Unification era: This Thunder Warrior is an excellent proof of concept, showing the Stormcast Eternals provide great material for such a conversion. If anything, this works even better than the standard Astartes conversions, seeing how Thunder armour doesn’t neccessarily conform to the design templates established by the later armour marks. As this model shows, if you have ever wanted your own Thunder Warrior army, you now have the perfect base models at your fingertips — as it happens, Mikko from Iron Sleet seems to be planning an entire army of these guys. A project I am really looking forward to!
As an aside, I was unable to find out who originally built and painted this, so if you recognise your model (or know the creator), please give me a holler, and I will of course give credit where credit is due!
II. The Legio Custodes
While we are already in the 30k time period after discussing that Thunder Warrior, let’s addresst the other very popular idea involving the Stormcast Eternals: using them as base models for Custodes conversions. There’s a clear resemblance here – arguably an even bigger resemblance than the one with the Astartes, and fortunately enough, some excellent Custodes conversions have already turned up as well:
Constantin Valdor by Ryan Stevenson:
model created by Ryan Stevenson
Who better to build first than the Legio Custodes’ Captain-General, Constantin Valdor? As you can see, the model is wonderfully chunky and impressive, while also seeming rather dynamic in spite of its bulk. I am still very happy with my own (Space Marine based) conversion for Valdor, but wow, that guy is just huge! I also really like the guardian spear! The only thing I am not quite sold on is the third party shield, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.
Custodian by Noctus Cornix:
Ever the inspirational kitbasher, Noctus Cornix has knocked it out of the park once more with his Custodian conversion: The model may be less dynamic than the Constantin Valdor conversion shown above, but there’s something strong, yet contemplative in this guy’s pose that I really love. And the way Noctus has used that left hand from the Chaos Lord on Manticore kit is just beautiful. A lovely model all around!
As part of my recent Age of Sigmar review, I wonderedd whether or not the Stormcast Eternals could be turned into gilded automata, serving the Adeptus Mechanicus or representing relics from ages long forgotten — and I didn’t really have to wait long before some hobbyists endeavoured to find out:
AdMech Automaton by Nuclearhawke:
model converted by Nuclearhawke
Nuclearhawke is currently working on an AdMech warband anyway (make sure to check out his Ammobunker thread linked above!), and so he has turned his Liberator into a wonderfully chunky, fairly gladiatorial combat servitor via an influx of Forgeworld AdMech bitz. I love how merely replacing a couple of key elements completely changes the look and feel of the model!
“Tick-Tock Man” by Leadballoony:
model converted by Leadballloony
Interestingly, while Alex from Leadballoony has gone for a structurally similar approach (electing to replace some key features, while leaving an equal part of the model unaltered), he has come up with a completely different mechanical creature: His “Tick-Tock Man” is a relict from a bygone age, stalking the depths of the underhive. The baroque armour possibly speaks of pre-Imperial times, while the hideous mechanical claws and weapons (from the Kataphron kit, I believe) hint at the machine’s true, much more sinister function.
IV. There’s no school like the old school…
Of course there are also hobbyists who are not trying their darnedest to turn their freebie Liberator into a 40k model, but are perfectly content to use him as a character for WFB or Age of Sigmar. In fact, some of the best conversions seem to have come about this way.
Warrior of Chaos by Xander:
model converted by Xander
Xander’s straightforward, yet effective kitbash shows how easy it can be to turn the Stormcast Eternals into servants of the Dark Gods — Aren’t chaos players lovable little rascals, always trying to corrupt everything that gets released into gristle for their dark lords’ wars? You’ve gotta love ’em ;) Erm, anyway, what occurs to me is that the rounded armour and detailing makes the Liberators a pretty good fit for Tzeentch or Slaanesh (or whatever may have taken Slaanesh’s job, that is…).
Warrior of Chaos by smile:
model converted by smile
Fellow German hobbyist smile was even more adventurous, using GS and some wonderfully oldskool OOP plastic bitz in order to make his warrior of chaos. I really love the no nonsense nature of this guy, and some of the detail (such as the belt buckle or the chain running across the chest) are really quite wonderful! Excellent job! In fact, smile started the thread linked above in order to entice people to post their own Liberator conversions — let’s hope people go for it, but so far, smile and me seem to be the only ones…
Undead Knight by Matthew Davies:
model converted by Matthew Davies
Another rather original idea, this one! Matthew’s skeleton knight ends up looking far more formidable and bulky than the undead you normally see, but I guess in a world where the toothless old men in pantaloons have been replaced with ironclad demi-gods, the undead will have to keep up as well, eh? Once again, the addition of some carefully considered bitz end up completely changing the model — very nice! Personally speaking, I would probably add some rust holes to the armour, but that’s just my two cents.
Franz Ascendant by Bishmeister (via Clan Khorvaak):
model created by Bishmeister
Okay, there’s really not much to say here except this model literally blew me away when I first saw it: The conversion is brilliant (recalling a fairly recent Golden Demon entry based on the plastic Nurgle Lord, if I am not mistaken), and the paintjob is just wonderfully lush and warm — and just check out that shield! Not only is this possibly my favourite Liberator conversion right now, but it’s also a perfect embodiment of the Empire now lost to us (sniff). But what a send-off! Brilliant!
Stormcast Eternal Liberator by Heaven’s Teeth:
model created by Heaven’s Teeth
One final model, and a wonderfully sublime one, at that: Heaven’s Teeth didn’t perform any outlandish conversion work, but merely made some subtle touches, creating a small vignette of a proud demigod at rest. Coupled with a great paintjob and a wonderfully natural looking base, the result makes for a rather stunning piece — very nice!
V. My own Liberator conversion
Worry not, I won’t wind up this post without adding my own conversion to the pile. In fact, I started converting the model the day after picking up the issue of White Dwarf it came with.
While the idea of turning the model into a Custodian was fairly tempting, there was also the fact that I already own a fully converted (if not fully painted) Custodes army, so I was able to resist the call. The same was true for the idea of building a truescale Marine: Brother Auriga fills that role rather admirably right now, and while I won’t rule out building more true scale Marines in the future, I wanted to do something different with the freebie Liberator.
In the end, I decided to turn the model into a rather impressive Inquisitor — not outlandishly creative, admittedly, but also not something I have seen done a lot (yet). So I started messing around with some bitz and soon had this very early WIP:
It quickly became clear that the model’s size and armour would make it a good candidate for a fairly warlike Malleus or Hereticus Inquisitor, which is why I decided for a GK stormbolter on the Inquisitor’s off-hand. Beyond that, I mainly attempted to make the armour look more imperial by adding a bit or two. One thing that ended up feeling wrong, however, was the hammer: While it seemed like a fitting weapon for a member of the Ordo Malleus, at least, both the weapon’s design and angle looked slightly wrong for the type of character I was trying to create.
Then I saw Logan’s version of the Liberator, which was fairly similar and convinced me my own Inquisitor needed a sword as well:
model converted by Logan
This turned out to be slightly tricky, however, because the sole, loyalist-looking sword I still had in the old bitzbox was the GK sword with an impaled Plaguebearer head on its tip. So quite a bit of cutting and glueing was in order to replace the blade with that of an Empire Wizard’s sword and to reverse the grip of the hand on the sword.
Beyond the weapon swap, I also started seriously working on the armour in an attempt to make it look more Inquisitorial:
As you can see, I also added Skitarii backpack in order to create some kind of nonstandard power source for the Inquisitor’s armour.
At this point, I was pretty happy with the model, but felt it needed a cape — both for the additional bulk and for the extra bit of ostentatiousness it provided — the Inquisitor just seems like that kind of guy to me ;)
Once again, I had to improvise a bit, because the model’s size made finding a cape at the appropriate scale slightly tricky. Fortunately, I still had a cape from the Deathwing Knights/Deathwing Terminators that worked very well, after a bit of cutting:
The model was almost done at this point. DexterKong suggested adding a techy bit or two to the legs, seeing how the model was looking very medieval below the beltline. I chose a fairly restrained solution though, since I didn’t want to overclutter the model, adding a tech-y connection port and some cabling to the model’s legs.
And with that, my “Stormcast Inquisitor” conversion was completed:
I think he really looks like a Lord Inquisitor, Grandmaster of an Ordo or what have you. Commissar Molotov pointed out the model reminded him of an alternate take on Forgeworld’s Hector Rex — which really made me happy, seeing how Rex had become one of the main inspirations for the conversion somewhere along the way!
One thing that is a bit of a problem, however, is the model’s size: The Inquisitor is indeed taller than a standard Terminator. Here’s a scale comparison image:
The image makes it clear that the Inquisitor would look plain ridiculous if placed next to a standard Marine. However, as you can see, there’s still a small difference in heigth and a more noticeable one in bulk between the Inquisitor and Brother Auriga, my true scale Marine. Which makes me thing that the model, while admittedly very tall, still ultimately works in the scale framework I have set for my INQ28 characters. I imagine the Inquisitor had undergone gene-therapy and heavy augmentation, in addition to wearing a suit of custom armour: His size and bulk evoke the picture of a human augmented to the very limits of the human frame, while still not quite on par with an Astartes.
The next big challenge will be to figure out a colour scheme for him: Golden armour would be the obvious – but maybe slightly boring – option. Cream-coloured armour with golden trim would be cool, but there may not be enough actual trim for this to work. Silver armour is out because I don’t want the model to be mistaken as a Grey Knight — a very real danger, given the fact that it uses GK weapons!
My current idea, after some input from DexterKong, is to actually attempt to paint the armour in a marble effect. I’ve already spent quite some time downloading suitable marble textures, and I think something along these lines could work really well:
I really want the Inquisitor to have a very luxurious feel, so the current idea is to combine the marble effect with golden armour trim and glossy red as an additional spot colour (on the model’s pauldrons and heraldic plate, for instance). Of course whether or not I’ll be able to pull if off painting-wise remains anyone’s guess… At the very least, Apologist’s recent tutorial for painting marble should really come in handy for this project…
Anyway, so much fun with a single freebie miniature — isn’t that just crazy? Just imagine what it’ll be like when I finally tuck into the rest of the Age of Sigmar box… ;)
One thing I can safely say is that messing around with the Liberator models is quite a lot of fun. Sure, they are started box models and lack some of the flexibility we have come to love. But the way they are designed makes it very easy to convert them into any number of character archetypes — I think this post provides ample proof of that!
Have you converted your own Liberator yet? Or are there any excellent conversions you’ve seen online that you would like to point out? I’m always happy to hear from you in the comments section!
And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!