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[images] [reserve] Converting Metal and Plastic Terminators

Submitted By: Date: November 3, 2005, 01:58:57 PM Views: 7207
Summary: This guide is designed as a supplement to the "Converting and Posing Metal (and plastic!) Space Marines" I have already written. Because of this, I will not be going into as much detail on basic techniques. Please refer back to the original document if you need more advice on those topics.

I will be using a metal Wolf Priest Terminator in this guide. The techniques used on this model can be used on plastic models as well. In fact for those of you who want an easier time converting Terminators I would advise you to buy the new plastic Terminators boxed set. They are more posable than the metal ones and when combined with the techniques below will give endless converting possibilities. In fact the plastic sprues come in handy when helping you convert existing metal figures too as you will see below.

The Wolf Priest model below is like many of the old figures in that it is very nicely detailed but very undynamic. This is the main reason I decided to convert all my old Terminator models. I will therefore be aiming to give the miniature more "life" by altering its pose.


1. Cutting at the hip joint

First of all I decided to alter his left leg so that I could get the model stepping up onto something. In order to do this I first cut at the hip joint with a junior hack-saw (see pics below) to seperate the leg from the body. It is definately best to cut approaching from below the groin area. You will see that I have cut between the armour plates so that a small slither of metal is left where the "ball" joint attaches the waist and leg armour together. This "ball" joint area can be tricky to model with putty so I prefer to maintain as much of the detail here as possible. I do this by cutting along the red lines in the 3rd picture below with my hobby knife so that when I gently bend the slither of metal to and fro it will break in the places I want it to


(front view)





If all of above has gone to plan, after cleaning up the cut areas with a craft knife your model should look like the picture below:


If there are details in the way of your proposed cut like on this model, then you will need to decide whether you want to keep those details or not. Some details can be kept by sawing in a different place whilst others can be shaved off carefully with a craft knife and replaced later. Sometimes these two options are not possible and the details will be damaged. This can easily be solved later on by using your putty skills to give new details. In my case a small pouch was in the way which I decided to remove.


2. Bending Terminator legs

I use the same technique to bend Terminator legs as with Power Armour legs i.e. cutting from above and behind the knee joint to leave a slither of metal which I can bend to extend or bend the knee further (see left picture below). The only difference is that Terminator legs are thicker and have a few details in the way which are best saved.

Because I want to save the pivot detail joining the upper and lower armours (again awkward to model well) I cannot cut very deeply and so makes it harder for me to bend the leg. This can be solved by using a drill to remove much of the material behind the knee (see middle picture below) making it easier to bend.

In this case I wanted to bend the knee back as in the right picture below. The gaps left will be filled in with putty later.


3. Bending at the ankle

This is exactly the same as that found in the "Converting and Posing Metal (and plastic!) Space Marines" article so refer back for pictures. Simply drill from behind the foot to leave a small slither of metal between the lower leg armour and foot armour then seperate by bending to and fro.

4. Head swaps

To remove heads on most terminators you will need to saw in the following position:


On this paticular model however, I wanted to give the model a new head but keep the psychic hood. To do this I needed to remove the material from inside the hood with a drill then tidy up the edges of the hood with a hobby knife. The following pictures show the proceedure of the arduous task:


When removing normal terminator heads, it is also useful to drill out the area behind and below the helmet to give the armour some depth. Once you have finished the step above, it is a good idea to smooth off the remaining surface with some putty, especially if the new head does not completely cover up the mess behind it.

When placing your new head onto the model, remember to cut parts of the head to make sure it fits in properly and at the right angle.

I wanted an old looking character and so went for a head off a Mordheim sprue. Once cut into shape the head was glued in place:



5. Replacing the leg

I replaced the leg by pinning it back onto the body. If you need more help with pinning then please refer back to the "Converting and Posing Metal (and plastic!) Space Marines" article.

Remember to make sure you check and recheck the pinning process at each step to ensure the leg fits at the angle you want it to.

Once pinned you will need to fill in the gaps and remodel any damaged details with putty like below:


Remember, if things still look messy, you can always cover the area up by using things like pouches or wolf tails which you can find on the plastic sprues. As a Space Wolf collector, you may want to give the model a wolf-skin skirt like the example Terminator at the end of this article.

6. Bending at the elbow

This can be tricky for most right arms of metal terminators and is where the new plastic Terminator sprues can come in handy.

As you can see in the picture below, the bolter arm at the top needs to be cut in various positions to be able to bend the elbow joint. The remaining metal is often too badly damaged to form a well detailed arm.

Because of this many of you will simply prefer to use the plastic arms straight from the box. For others like me who have a great attention to detail, this is not enough as the armour plates on the new and old Terminator arms are different (see below). To keep with the continuity of my army I therefore sawed along all the red lines in the top picture, cut a new terminator arm in half, pinned the two together and shaved off some plastic to give the arm in the picture at the bottom. Remember to rejoin the wiring as I have done.


Most of the left arms of the metal Terminators are much more easily bent at the elbow joint by cutting from below and behind the joint so that the arm can be bent or extended (see left and middle images in the picture below). On my model I extended the arm to finish with the right hand picture below:


7. Bending at the wrist

For small wrist movements you can follow the example below. Otherwise I would suggest cutting the hand off entirely and pinning it back into the position you require to make sure that it is strongly joined together.

For my model I quite simply cut above and below the wrist joint so that I could bend it slightly:



8. Bending at the shoulder

This is can be very tricky with metal models as the upper and lower armour plates on the shoulder are not seperate like on the plastic ones. As an example, if you want the model to have his shoulder rotated backwards, you will need to expose more of the armour plate underneath the upper plate.

A simple way to do this is to use putty to create more of the lower shoulder armour as in the example below:


On my example model, I used this method for the left arm rather than the right one:


If you intend to move the shoulder joint into more extreme positions I would strongly advise you to use the plastic Terminator sprues or to find a metal miniature with the arm position you require. A good example of how the armour should look in a more extremely bent position is that of Logan Grimnar's right arm.

9. Swapping weapons to different arms

Another step that can be tricky depending on the arms you start with. For example Power fists and Chain fists are not possible to change to the right hand without a lot of work (maybe an article for the future!).

The easiest to swap are Storm Bolters from right to left and power weapons/staffs from left to right.

You should have some idea of where to cut on metal arms from step 6 above. To remove the bolter from step 6, obviously you will need to cut between the arm and bolter as well. The power swords/staffs on most left arms are very easy to cut off.

All you need to do then is clean the cut areas with your craft knife before Pinning the pieces together. With things like swords, it is a good idea to use one pin that joins both the blade AND hilt of the sword in one go to give a very strong bond. The red line in the picture below shows you where the pin is situated:


In the picture above you can see that I have recreated the armour look of the old metal Terminators by using a little putty and a power cable left over from another conversion.

12. Turning at the waist

To cut at the waist then reposition is awkward. You will see that the Assualt Cannon Terminator at the bottom of the article has had his waist turned. I did not turn it properly. Looking closely at the old terminator armour, the whole belt section of the armour should turn with the upper torso but the "ball" joint that attaches to the upper leg does not turn with it - the belt actually moves through the part above the ball. I have not done this with my Terminator - his whole upper torso has moved relative to the belt.

Therefore Those who want to be true to converting shouldcut the model below the belt, pin the model back together in its new position then use some putty to remodel the "ball" joint in its original position (sorry no pics of this yet).

The new plastic Terminators have a completely new armour design around the waist and hip region meaning there is no problem whatsoever with rotating the torso


11. My finished model and other examples

After all the above steps were done all that was left to do with my Rune Priest was to join all the bits together and pin him to his base. Remember when basing a model the slant of the model can effect the pose eg a running model needs to be leaning forward a little.

Here he is:


And here are some of my completed Wolf Guard Terminators I have done so far... (the blue blobs are actually blue tack holding the arms on - I paint my arms seperately)




I hope I have given you all enough ideas. Happy Converting!

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