Saturday, January 12, 2013

Talent Not Required: Alternate Chest Plates

Hi everyone,

A few days ago at my gaming club a fellow member saw my Space Wolf Priest and asked how I altered the Space Marine's chest plate.  So I decided, like I usually do, to make a blog entry out of it.  So my friend Michael, this is for you.

There are seven standard Space Marine torsos that make up the basic armour marks from I to VII (or is it 8?), besides several variations of each.  Personally, my favourite is the Mark IV - the one Forgeworld uses for the Red Scorpions.  So today's quick tutorial will be on how I do my Mark IV variant.

First off, I just would like to say that there are probably easier ways to do this, but I adopt this method because - as you will see - it offers advantages for ulterior work which I find useful.

So stage one is choosing the torso.  I always go for the Space Marine torsos with the wings on them.  I choose this for several reasons.  First because I don't really like them.  I prefer to use torsos without the Imperial wings on my Space Wolves.  Second is because I have a lot of them so I might as well put them to good use.  Thirdly, the wings offer a good surface for the putty to adhere to.

In stage two just simply cut off the skull and the inner wings, as well as the end of the wings as they taper to the top.  Do this with a sharp hobby knife and always cut away from your fingers!


Stage three is were the fun begins. This is where we start to add some putty.  Now for this kind of work I recommend putty that dries to a rock hard consistency.  Epoxy putties like Magic Sculpt, Milliput and Aves Sculpt are all suitable.  Try to avoid putties like Duro (Green Stuff) that cure to a bendable plastic-like consistency.  The reason is that you will need to sand paper these down and the above putties give a very smooth finish while this is a bit more difficult to achieve with putties like Duro.  As you can see from the pic below make several rolls of putty and place them into the shape required.  Use the edges of the Imperial eagle as a layout to get an equal symmetry.

For stage five - get your favourite sculpting tool and spread the epoxy putty out into the shape required.  In this case a Mark IV breast plate.  Please note that this is just the first application of putty - the roughing in part - so you do not need to get it correct in this stage.  Let it dry for several hours or use a heating lamp to speed up curing time. Then add another application of putty to get the final shape.  Add as many applications as you need to get it right.

In the last stage, when the putty has dried and you are happy with the basic shape, just sand down the breast plate lightly with medium sand paper and then with fine sand paper for a smooth finish.  

For the piping I use the power cables from Dragon Forge. File down one side about a quarter of the diameter and fit and glue into place.  Now take some putty - in this case I used Duro - and shape a small ball to make the joint.

And viola! That is it.  A variant of the mark IV Space Marine chest plate.  I have made five of these for my Wolf Guard in standard armour.  The flat surface allows you to add Forgeworld brass etched symbols or you can add rivets or emboss it with further sculpting.  Another idea is to add a gorget or a further yet smaller layer. 

In fact this is why I use this method.  Adding more epoxy putty for embossing is easier when done on an epoxy putty surface.  If I had used a piece of cut out plastic it would have been a bit more problematic as putty does not stick as readily to plastic as it does to hardened putty.

I hope you find it useful.  So until next time,

Farewell and good health



  1. Nice tutorial, and that's a very professional looking end result too.



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