Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Tail of Two Conversions: Part 2

Thunderwolf Cavalry; probably one of the most deadly units in 40k today, heralded by some to be the new Nob Bikerz.  They are an uber deadly unit, hyper survivable, and almost entirely unsupported (model wise) by GW.  The idea of Space Marines riding giant wolves has had many corners of the internet crying "cheese!" But I think the unit provides gamers with an opportunity to do some real hobbying.

As readers of CNC know I have a large collection of Space Wolves, and my initial reaction to Thunderwolf Cavalry was 2 fold.
1.  I don't need them, I can build great lists with out them (which is true).
2.  I don't want to invest the time and effort to buy resin cast models from an online source or model them myself because there isn't a proper GW model to use as a platform because the Canis model is too expensive and difficult to convert (which it turns out wasn't entirely accurate).

So I was more than happy to continue my gaming with the Space Wolves sans TWC.  That was until I ran into PythNutD's TWC in a pick up game.  My Salamanders were wholly unprepared for what TWC could do and Pyth served me up a rare helping of being tabled.  While my ego being thoroughly deflated stung, it was overshadowed with how impressed I was at the conversions Pyth had made for his TWC.  I immediately knew I wanted to convert some, having finally found an "easy" conversion.  Those of you who have read Capture and Control: Painting Blitzkrieg: Space Wolves know that I like using Chaos bits for some of my Space Wolves.  I feel that Chaos, Vanilla, and Space Wolf plastic kits all mesh well together in terms of look and fit.

I have a budding Warriors of Chaos army and so had a box of plastic Chaos Knights lying around unopened. I also knew that the Chaos Knights were larger than Bretonnian/Empire and thought this would look better.  I went home immediately after my match with Pyth and cracked open the box of Chaos Knights and I built the horses, with out the heads of course.  I found the Chaos Knights legs were actually too large for the Space Marine torsos, I took a good look at the Chaos Knight torsos, arms etc. and decided to use the Chaos Knights body as well as horse for a base.  The next thing I needed were wolf heads, tails, and paws.  I knew the Orc and Goblin Wolf Rider wolves worked well for Pyth's first TWC models so I picked up a box.  The process I used to build the conversion is very similar to the one Pyth used too.  Using a piece of sprue as a support of the wolf head is probably the most important part of the conversion, it also supplies a nice support around which to form green stuff fur.  Here are examples of the first round of Thunderwolf Cavalry.

I found after completing the first five Cavalry that the wolf heads were a little too small.  They don't look horrible but I felt something more substantial was required.  So back I went to the store and bought another box of Chaos Knights and this time I bought Chaos Warhounds to use for the heads.  The Chaos Warhounds are a much better option, I cut the legs off the front of the hounds and then used a hobby saw to cut the rear, non fur covered, portion of the wolf off.  These fit so well with the Chaos Knight steeds that I found the sprue support piece was not required, any gaps left could be easily filled with minimal green stuff.  The one large obstacle is some of the heads had remnants of the legs left on but green stuffing fur over these proved to be easier than I had imagined.  Here is a look at a few examples the second round of TWC.

If you are going to do this conversion there are a few things to bear in mind.
1. Practice making fur out of green stuff before trying on the models.  I am not very good at sculpting so this is an important step for me.
2. Although you can shave a lot of the Chaos symbols etc off of the horse bodies and armor there are a few which are easier to cover up with purity seals etc.
3. In order to avoid a completely Chaos and Fantasy feel it is really important to add Space Wolf bits.  Krak Grenades, purity seals, tabbards, heads, back packs, shields, helmets, knives, weapon pouches and Space Marine shoulder pads are all great ways to do this.  This greatly increases the Sci Fi feel of the models.
4. The hooves are hard to convert on these models.  The Chaos Warhound, and Wolves from the wolfriders have legs that are too thin.  Even if I were to use Pyth's method of creating whole new legs they would still look unbalanced.  I have therefore come up with three possible solutions. The first is to leave the hooves, the second is to use greenstuff over the hooves to create paws, and the third is to create paws from scratch and use a green stuff mold to make hoof replacements.  Once I have tinkered around and found a method that works I will be sure to post the results and a how to for the method I choose.  I will leave you with a few comparison shots of the two different styles of TWC, I think you'll agree that the model using the Chaos Warhound head looks better.


  1. These look really good. I know most people will say you absolutely must change the hooves into paws but they look ok to me. If you're a perfectionist then ofcourse you;ll need to change them. I like that you guys have put up conversions that are actually fairly simple.

  2. Using the Chaos Knights was a strike of genius. I must admit the idea of using Fantasy horses hadn't even crossed my mind until I saw part 1 on this site. The Chaos Knights armor even looks like it will work as SM armor, especialy since you do a pre-heresy style army. Can't wait to see some paint on those bad boyz.

  3. Those conversions are looking sick. I would love to see finished photos or a bat rep featuring some TWC beating faces and takeing names. Actually just more bat reps from you guys would be great in genral!!