Inquisitor 28: From Cataphractii to Chapter Master

Hey everyone, after speaking – at length – about my conversions using the Cataphractii Terminators from Betrayal at Calth and about my experiences converting that Cataphractii Praetor from the same boxed set into yet another 30k version of Lord Captain Lorimar, let’s return to the wonderful world of Cataphractii once more and discuss another conversion. The base for today’s project was, once again, the Betrayal at Calth Cataphractii Praetor:

Betrayal at Calth release (17)
Messing around with the model had already taught me that it didn’t take much to really transform the stock version of the Praetor into something else — but I wasn’t quite finished with the model yet, because I had to remember Commissar Molotov’s very interesting proof of concept for a true scale Astartes based on the Cataphractii Praetor. And after learning for myself how relatively easy it was to get rid of the model’s pidgeon-toed stance, I couldn’t get this idea out of my head. And when I recently had the chance of picking up another Praetor for cheap from fellow hobbyist Mineralwasser, that basically settled the deal. And what better way to convert this model again than to make it into the Chapter Master of my DIY Chapter, the Golden Legion?

I started by creating a very simple first mockup:

Second Golden Legionnaire early WIP (1)
The main objective here was to get a basic feel for what I wanted the model to look like. As you can see, I made the exact same adjustment to the legs I used on my Lorimar conversion earlier. Beyond that, a couple of things were pretty easy to decide, even at this early point: I really, really wanted to use that fantastic, bearded head from the Sternguard kit (possibly one of the best Space Marine heads ever), and some ostentatious shoulder pads from the same kit would be used for the Chapter Master’s pauldrons.

Regarding the overall look of the armour, I think the Cataphractii Praetor is a really promising base model for a true scale conversion, as the armour could easily pass for an older mark of regular power armour or some kind of artifcer armour. Possibly the best part is that the layered armour on the arms and legs believably looks like enforced standard power armour — unlike plastic 40k Terminator parts that will always look like Terminator armour, unless you are prepared to invest quite a bit of work.

Anyway, here’s a comparison picture with the early mockup version and my previous Golden Legion Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga:

Second Golden Legionnaire early WIP (2)

The next step was to nail down the pose I wanted as well as the overall feel of the model, in order to decide on the additional bits I would need . For instance, the Praetor’s stock arm with the combi-bolter worked reasonably well, but it wasn’t what I had in mind for the Golden Legion. In my background notes, swordplay is a huge part of the Legion’s culture and mythology, so it goes without saying that the Chapter Master would need an especially ostentatious sword. However, as the following picture shows, using the stock arm and weapon would work really well for an Astartes with a slightly more standard set of equipment!

Second Golden Legionnaire early WIP (3)
For the left forearm, I decided to use an arm from the Stormcast Eternals models from the Age of Sigmar starter box: I already knew at this point that I wouldn’t be keeping the hammer, but the vambrace has a very nice lion design on one side, plus it really worked well scale-wise for a true scale Astartes.

But yeah, I wanted a sword, so I browsed through GW’s entire catalogue until I came upon a bit that I thought might do the trick — I even made a crude Photoshop mockup of the whole shebang at this point πŸ˜‰

Second Golden Legionnaire early WIP (5)
So I ordered that sword from the Deathwing command squad, along with a small collection of additional bitz — we’ll get to the result in a second. Before that, however, here’s a look at the model’s back, warts and all, to show you the construction I used:

Second Golden Legionnaire WIP (5)
The model’s back is basically a shaved down GK Terminator torso back, which fit surprisingly well with a bit of shaving here and there. What’s more, the shaved-down back vents really make for an excellent point of attachment for a standard Space Marine backpack without any further work — I used the same approach on my first true scale Marine, incidentally.

One thing you will also have noticed in the picture above is that I did try to add a stylised deathmask to the model’s right pauldron. The idea was that this is the Deathmask of St. Sabasto, the Velsen Sector’s patron saint, so to speak, and that the Golden Legion is using it almost like a chapter badge. I felt mighty smart when I press-molded a Sanguinary Guard mask with GS, because I thought a GS duplicate would ultimately conform to the shoulder pad’s curvature far better — but unfortunately it ended up looking pretty hokey! I did find a very simple solution for this problem, though.

So here’s a look at a far more complete version of the Chapter Master:

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (1)
As you can see, the Deathwing sword works really well with the stock arm, even though it turned out to be even longer than I had anticipated. I also added a cape from the same Deathwing kit, because, let’s face it, Chapter Masters just need to look suitably ostentatious πŸ˜‰

As for the mask on the shoulder pad, the solution turned out to be almost disappointingly simple: I simply grafted an original plastic Sanguinary Guard faceplate to the shoulder pad, and it worked much better than the GS copy I had on there earlier (even though it made me feel a bit stupid for even trying the long way around, so to speak):

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (3)
Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (2)
As I have mentioned earlier, the idea behind the deathmask is that it’s the stylised face of the Imperial Martyr Sabasto, patron saint of the Velsen Sector. The Golden Legion were his personal guard of honour when he defendedΒ  the sector against an incursion by the forces of the Arch-Enemy about 1,500 years ago, and his ultimate demise at the very forefront of the Crusade remains a mark of shame to the chapter, and a reason for their fanatical need to protect the Velsen Sector against any enemies from without.

At this point, most of the conversion was basically finished:

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (4)
All that was left to figure out was what to do with the left hand: I considered – and ultimately discared – many different weapon and equipment options, because they all ended up feeling a bit too pedestrian to me. But then again, leaving the hand completely empty also seemed like a bit of a missed opportunity.

Fortunately, JaggedToothGrin came up with the excellent idea of having the model hold some kind of rosary or amulet, and EdT suggested using the left hand of this Age of Sigmar Paladin Retributor:

Paladin Retributor Champion

I instantly liked this idea, but I didn’t know how easy it would be to source the required bit — but it soon became obvious that I wouldn’t even have to find that particular hand, because I discovered yet another suitable part on the Sternguard sprue.

So here’s Orestes Prabian, Lord Commander of the Golden Legion, finished except for maybe a bit or two πŸ˜‰

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (10)
The small chain with a Crux Terminatus dangling from it was originally part of a Sternguard torso, but it seemed like a natural fit, so I carefully snipped it off and grafted it to an empty fist from the same source, and I am really happy with the result:


Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (12)

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (14)

The area where the backpack meets the cape will require some minor cleanup, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. After that, it’ll mostly be a case of carefully adding a bit more bling to the model here and there πŸ˜‰

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (13)

I think the finished conversion is suitably iconic to work as a Chapter Master — and, maybe even more importantly, it also believably works as a true scale Astartes! Here’s another comparison picture with Janus Auriga:

Prabian & Auriga comparison picture
Granted, upon closer examination, Janus may be ever so slightly taller than his Chapter Master — a result of my cobbling together a recipe while I was going on the first model, whereas the second Astartes was mostly based on a rock solid base model. In the end, I didn’t want to mess up the Chapter Master’s proportions by awkwardly splicing in any spacers, though — and who knows, maybe Janus is just a big guy, even for an Astartes?

Here’s another picture, showing both the Chapter Master and my 30k Lorimar version — both of them are obviously based on the same plastic Cataphractii Praetor:

Prabian & Lorimar comparison picture
While I wasn’t completely sold on the stock model for a while, it has really grown on me, due to its surprising versatility. And it does make for a pretty much perfect base for a true scale conversion, if you ask me!

And with that, we can mostly consider the Cataphractii case closed — expect to see more of these guys once I get some paint on them πŸ˜‰

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Golden Legion Chapter Master WIP (11)

35 Responses to “Inquisitor 28: From Cataphractii to Chapter Master”

  1. That is definitely one of the best posed conversions I have ever seen of a truescaling space marine. Phenomenal work. You’re definitely an inspiration! So much so that I think I’ll try my own hand at one. I might even get it painted. Haha! Bravo Kraut!

    • Cheers, Jordan! Getting true scale Marines just right takes some doing, but the results are usually worth it. Make sure to check out Commissar Molotov’s and Apologist’s versions as well for inspiration!

  2. I quite like this conversion, particularly how he looks both dangerous and in command, without shouting or waving his weapons, and I look forward to seeing your painted version.

    A few suggestions: You should consider removing the “face grill” to move the figure away from the Cataphractii Praetor. You could then use Apologist’s true scale methods to complete the neck area (possibly with a double eagle gorget, which would seem very imperial and knightly)
    Also, you should consider carving off the various Deathwing symbols, first because they are too obviously deathwing, and second because you certainly have the talent to paint on more in scale iconography.
    Last he needs a pistol! Sword master or no, he needs to shoot someone sometimes. πŸ˜‰ Plus, i think it would fit nicely on the right hip.

    • Hey man, thanks for the feedback! Unfortunately, though, I happen to disagree on most points — sorry! The grill is actually one of my favourite parts about the armour (had I wanted to replace it, it would have been easier to get rid of the whole upper body during the early building stages). Some of the Deathwing symbols are definitely staying, because I’ve been using a winged sword motif for Sabasto, the “Sword Saint”, before, and the DW aesthetic slots into that rather nicely (the stylised wings on the cape will be removed, though). And as for the pistol, while adding one would make sense for the reason you outlined, those hip plates on his armour render the placement of a holster pretty tricky.

      • Disagree away! it is your model after all, and what appeals to each person is thankfully different.

        Regarding the pistol, you could go with a grey knight wrist bolter type of thing if you wanted to add some ranged firepower without having to work out the pistol holster issue. (maybe as chapter master he has a melta or plasma gun though)

      • Hmm, a wrist-mounted weapon would be a great option under normal circumstances, but I really want to keep that neat lion relief on his vambrace. Luckily enough, firepower is not that much of an issue in INQ28, and Astartes are ungodly powerful in the setting even when unarmed, so I think I can get away with only giving him the sword after all.

      • Mark DCCCXIII "Voyager" (Time/Dimensional Travelling Armour) Says:

        Here’s where I think I could be of assistance – the Salamanders Terminator from Deathwatch: Overkill has a wrist mounted Meltagun on his Powerfist. Perhapds that could be used? It would require next to no tweaking of the post (although, in reviewing the visual aesthetic of the model, it would require the removal of that fantastic trinket he’s holding…). Just a thought. πŸ™‚

      • Inquisitor Mikhailovich Says:

        Might I make one more suggestion? It might be fun to try a War Machine style shoulder mounted weapon. (( )) Then again, it might be a pain in the rear, so attempt at your discretion, Kraut ^-^

      • Hmm, shoulder-mounted weapons and esoteric equipment like that are a great fit for Inquisitors, but I fear the addition of such a weapon would ruin the composition of this particular model, plus it also wouldn’t feel very Astartes-like to me. I think I am rather happy to leave this guy without a gun, to be honest. Maybe another bolter-carrying cherub is in order? πŸ˜‰

      • Inquisitor Mikhailovich Says:

        Ooh, I like this idea.

  3. Your Chaptermaster definetly looks great, I really like what you did with the pose and how it ‘saved’ the Praetor model.

    I also think that he definetly qualifies as a True-Scale Astartes

    Allways pumped to see more of your stuff

  4. Dexter Says:

    To me, this is a perfect model. I’ve been pretty forthcoming with my praise of it all along, but I can’t get over how well it has all come together to set the standard of what a TS Astartes should be. I know you talked about adding some bits here and there, what do you have in mind? His belt-shield could maybe use a little device, perhaps a skull shaved off a bolter, but then again I think it would be a good place for some freehand work (since I know how much you love that).
    As far as Lasgunpacker’s suggestion goes, I think shaving the Deathwing symbols off isn’t a bad idea, but not a necessary one. I think if anything, shaving the stylized wings off the sides of the sword would be enough, but I also understand if that’s going to be a bit too fiddly. In the end, I think you can probably get away with it if you don’t think it will be an issue.
    I also DEFINITELY think you should not remove his big gorget. Not only does it create some lovely design cohesiveness with the knees, but he looks like a freight train. I imagine
    Any ideas for how you will approach painting him? I know you have the Golden Legion color scheme down pretty well from Auriga, but there’s a new element here. Where Auriga’s armor plates are mostly smooth and lend themselves well to a single color, the Chapter Master (he needs a name!) has lots of details on his armor – namely the bands – that I think need to be a different color so they don’t get lost.

    • I also thought that it looked like a train… not a good look, unless you are going for some “Thomas the tank engine” cosplay. πŸ˜‰

      Honestly, I would remove the matching kneepads too, but that seems like more work.

      • Mark DCCCXIII "Voyager" (Time/Dimensional Travelling Armour) Says:

        I kind of like it, except that I don’t think it works particularly well on a TS Power Armour.

        Maybe cut it off and use it as an unorthodox Shoulder Pad?

    • Hey mate,

      just to clarify: I am actually really happy with the model as is. The additional bits I keep referring to would be an attempt at adding some raised detail to the armour, which ties right back into the whole question of how to paint him: The Golden Legion recipe actually worked so well on Auriga because his armour has quite a bit of raised detail, and it’s actually more detailed than the Chapter Master’s armour in that respect. When all is said and done, I really want to use a fairly similar approach for the Chapter Master, in order to create some sort of visual cohesion between both true scale Astartes, so I will need to make sure that there are enough elements to break up the golden parts of the armour. That being said, I am pretty sure that a) I won’t be making too many changes to the moden and b) the recipe I have used on Auriga will ultimately work rather nicely for the Lord Commander as well.

  5. Oh boy, you absolutely nailed it mate – he is frickin’ amazing! Great pose, and clever use of Deathwing bits to carry the sword motif πŸ™‚

  6. What an imposing figure he makes. His pose commands authority! Really great stuff mate. I am in awe.

  7. Mark DCCCXIII "Voyager" (Time/Dimensional Travelling Armour) Says:

    I need one of these now…

    • Like I said, it’s a surprisingly versatile model upon closer examination!

      • Mark DCCCXIII "Voyager" (Time/Dimensional Travelling Armour) Says:

        I assumed it would be. I honestly just want a Cataphractii Captain, but a true scale marine may be too good to pass up…

  8. Inspiring work. I have an extra model. I think I may give a conversion a go now.

  9. Masterfully done as always.

  10. Fantastic looking true-scale conversion! Great to see you are revisiting the Golden Legion again. The Cataphractii Praetor just works so well for true-scale marine conversions. Modifying his leg placement really does wonders for the posing on the model. I really like your choice of head for the Chapter Master too.

    I look forward to seeing him painted and hope you continue to make more models for the Golden Legion. πŸ™‚

    Keep up the great work!

  11. I was sooooooo going to use that terminator as the basis of a Tru-Scale Iron Warrior!!! Nice work.

    • Go for it! It works really well, and would arguably look perfect as an Iron Warrior, given the massive, clunky look of the armour!

      • Andrew Anderson Says:

        I may. I have been wanting to do a nice Warsmith for ages. IWs were the first Chaos Marines I started fooling around with. All these new Heresy models work so well for IWs.

      • Andrew Anderson Says:

        Okay, I started him…

  12. Inquisitor Mikhailovich Says:

    Alright, I have a question for you, KS –

    I would like to do a Golden Legion Marine in my Deathwatch Squad, which I believe I got your approval for previously, somewhere. I wanted to solidify a few things before I got to cutting up my plastic crack (I’m planning on using Vael Donatus from the Overkill box as my base model).

    First, would Golden Legion swordsmen be willing to use esoteric sword designs or swordplay styles? I’m thinking either a wrist mounted sword running parallel to the arm or a short sword held in a reverse handed grip.

    Second, would a Marine of the Golden Legion wear a Death Mask as a helmet, or solely as a shoulder pad adornment? I have spare Death Masks to attempt either, but as a shoulder pad addition would definitely be a more fiddly conversion.

    Third, would the Golden Legion be likely to second an Apothecary to the Deathwatch, and if so, is there anything in particular that the Legionnaire would do or be differently from average Apothecaries? I would like to add a converted Apothecary to my squad, but didn’t feel that any of the other models lent themselves to the concept particularly well.

    Thank you for bearing with me!

  13. […] of the Golden Legion, my DIY chapter (the finished model for Praetor Janus Auriga and a converted Chapter Master), so I wanted to try something different. And then it hit me — why not turn this guy into a […]

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