Friday, June 12, 2009

Conversion: Tau Fire Warriors to IG Veterans

I made a vet squad for my entry at The Realms of Equinox: Attention! contest, which closes up today. While it doesn't look like I'll pull victory from the jaws of defeat, I enjoyed the challenge. You can be sure I'll be watching his site for future contests.

What follows is the basic idea behind converting my vets, using Tau Fire Warriors and Space Marine Scout bitz. I had seen this idea for converting Tau Fire Warriors into drop troops a while back, and had purchased a set with that goal. As the new IG codex made drop troops less usuable, I decided to use the set to make a squad of veterans. The Fire Warriors for the most part are the same size as the Cadian plastics, and provide different poses as well. The biggest issue with converting them is they have hooves instead of feet, and three fingered hands. The legs come in five poses, four of which are shown in the following picture. For this conversion, I stayed with the Tau torso, but wanted to make it look less Tau. So, I broke out my green stuff and added a thin layer of "armor" at the top. Now, I doubt I'll ever be an accomplished GS sculptor, but this was a very simple addition so I was able to manage quite easily. You can see the old and new torso comparison below.
The three fingered Tau hands were easy to fix using hand swaps or creative filing. The biggest challenge was changing hooves to feet. What I should have done is used Catachan or Cadian feet, like in the left photo. They are the perfect size for this conversion. As I had just finished a bunch of Cadians, I actually found I didn't have enough spares to go around. The budget was low, so I found WFB Chaos Marauder legs, like in the right photo, go very cheep. The upside is they provided my vets a different style of foot wear, which partly fit my goal to make them stand out on the table. I even kept the fur bands some of them have, to show some more individuality. The down side is the feet and ankles are actually a little bigger than their IG counterparts, so some tweeking of the armor and fur is needed to fit the narrower Tau leg. A couple poses also required foot/ankle angle changes.

The Fire Warrior set comes with enough torso parts to make twelve figures, and enough legs to make fifteen. I've only made ten vets so far, so I've used the extra parts to show "before and after" style pics. The legs used in these plasma gun poses were actually the hardest conversions of the lot, because of the unique angle of the feet. These leg sets required a left foot angle that did not have a comparable one from the Chaos Marauders, so I cut at the ankle and did a bit of filing and refitting. To get the right foot to work for the kneeling set, I had to sculpt over the Tau foot using green stuff. It may be the reason I only made one kneeling figure. I like to think I'll use them to make a vet heavy weapon squad later.

The next two are very simple conversions; they are almost standard GW figures stances in all the lines. You can also see on the Sergeant where I've used the Tau right arm and the Space Marine Scout left arm. I did this with most of the squad. To add additional markings identifying them as vets, there is a vertical red stripe on the left shoulder pad. The Sergeant's pistol is a Catachan variant, slightly modified with a Tau FW faceplate on the back. The grenade launcher is Cadian. The left pistol grip is from a left handed SM plasma pistol, and is on the bottom instead of the side.

Cost wise, it was more than a standard squad. But then, a veteran squad should stand out, and that always takes some extra bitz. I'm still scouring my box for canteens, ammo pouches and other accessories to finish them up, but they are otherwise ready for the table. So, all in all, another good conversion experience for me.


  1. That's a really slick-looking conversion - Nice work!

  2. Ah, IG favorite. I saw that same drop troop example that you did. Nice to see someone else pull it off.

    Well done!