Need Vampire Heads and conversion advice!

Hey Folks, The Conflict GT just ended, and I had a great time!  I will be writing up a tournament report tomorrow. But for now, I wanted to bring up what is immediately on my mind! I have been to quite a few tournaments lately, and I always score well on painting, but I can't quite seem to cross the event horizon from good to great.  I have picked up more than a few best painted, but it seems lately that my army just falls short. Two recent times the big stop between me and the elusive Best Painted was conversions.  Battle for Salvation, Mechanicon, Nova to name a few. I am not saying that the guys who won best painted at those events did not deserve it because yes their armies were fantastic. I'm saying that I did not give myself the best possible chance.  And the biggest hit I always take is that my army has very little conversion work.  

Now, this is a bit difficult to me.  I don't see how I can create a massively converted Blood Angels army. First of all, I LOVE the BA models. In the past most dudes who have used converted models did so because adequate models for the units they wanted to play did not exist.  Case in point... Storm Raven!  But the issue is more involved than that.  Many times guys get high honors in conversions simply by swapping out models from other systems for their own.  You see this often with IG.  Armies made up of Cadian Infantry are ho hum.  But use all Warhammer Fantasy Dark Elf bodies and heads and give them lasguns and blammo, max conversion points.  I won't even get into armies that are completely and totally made up of converted things. The biggest problem is that you have no idea what the hell you are looking at.  A tyranid army made up of flying mechanical things made from Tau parts for example.  (sorry went off on a little tangent, I will save that "counts as" rant for some other time.)  

So where was I. Oh yah, converting an army.  On the painting rubric for The Conflict GT, which was great by the way, their painting score was a maximum of 40 points, and had a nice checklist giving you complete feedback on what you need to do to improve. I scored 37/40. My areas to improve?  Aside from conversion, I could do more with my display board. (That is another future blog post, new board incoming.)  For conversions, there were 4 possible points.  I scored two.  Kit bashing, minimal conversions etc.  Not much to speak of in my army for sure.  A mix of Assault squad, tactical squad, death company, sanguinary guard and forgeworld bits make up my marines.  My priest is converted from the Chaplain dread model using a few other bits cut and shaved to fit.  But thats it! And I LOVE the Blood Angels models. Why should I have to build my own to get full points? I relent. In order to get the maximum on conversions, I need to do more than kitbash marine sprues.  First of all, I need to bring in elements of models from other armies or systems.  Then I need to do some sculpting, plasticard work and scratch building.  So, what are my plans you ask?  

First of all, I will be rebuilding all of my infantry.  I will begin by adding 10 new marines to the 10 Forge World Heresy armor models I already have.  I paid 50 bucks for them, I'm using them. Then I plan on getting creative.  I want to make my army look more space vamp.  So I will be going goth on my marines.  Chaos Warriors Chosen might be one of my first stops.  They seem pretty bulky to represent power armor and slicing off the chaos bits and replacing them with purity seals and blood drops should not be a problem.  But if I go with my two different squads of Forge World models, i will need to do two distinctly different other squads.  For the second?  Not sure, maybe just kit bashing and such will suffice. Vanguard Vet models, blood angel sprue etc.  For heads I am looking for vampire heads.  The best I have seen so far are from the WHFB Vampire Counts Blood Knights.  Five great vampire heads, but the damn box set is 90 bucks!  I have not seen them offered by any bits seller.  I did see some vampire models offered by Reaper, about a dozen, that might do. My question to you is what else is there? What would some of you converting experts suggest? The army has to be legal for use in GW tournaments. 

Also, I will make yet another display board. The scoring rubric had 3 or 4 possible points for display board, and I failed to get one of them.  The top level was a display board that went above and beyond the basics, with lighting effects, water, and muiltiple tiers.  I want to keep my display board at the 18x24" size I have now because the main purpose of a display board is to easily move your army around a crowded tournament. I found that 18x24 fits great in most places, and I have seen some absurdly huge display boards being carried around by some guys, that actually just cause traffic problems and annoy people. Or, I can make a larger display board for the purpose of displaying my army for painting, and use my small one for actual game play to carry my army around.  Really just a tray.  In going with the vamped out blood angels, I can make a gothic throne room of sorts, complete with lit candles and music... a river of blood!  

Finally, this new theme will help tie my vehicles together. I will come up with some sort of batwinged version of the blood angels logo, with a fanged skull.  I think some already exist. And I will paint up some nice Fantasy banners for the squads to carry.  

Any one care to brainstorm more ideas? What models and bits should I use?



MJ;-) said...

that was suggested at the B&C Space Wolved forum for depicting the Mark of the Wulfen.

Looks like maximini also has some other options to "spruce up" your army - alternate CCWs and etc.

Tristan said...

I want my Flesh Tearers to look more "space vamp" as you put it, I've been trying to collect as many khorne berserker heads I can and am going to green stuff hair on top.

dzer0 said...

My Blood Drinkers are Space Vampires as well, I have given all of my Sergeants the Khorne Berserker head with the fangs also and since I play Warriors of Chaos in fantasy, I have picked out a few choice weapons to give them that extra bit of sinister.

Redo your Land Raider with the custom angel conversion bits from Scibor's Monstrous Miniatures this is an example of the resin pieces they sell: . I have been thinking about doing a conversion scene on the inside of the Land Raider, like a smear of blood leading from the front to the back with a Death Company model eating an Imperial Guardsman and staring back.

Also with vehicles, drill some holes and do realistic battle damage:

If you can work bikes into your army, or even your display board these could make some awesome conversion pieces:

Also, most tournaments require objective markers so make 5 markers that really tie that theme together.

From what I have seen, the extra points often comes out in not only paint/conversion ideas, but in that unique factor that makes your army different than the next Blood Angel player. You already have the great checkerboard painting across your army that brings it together in a cohesive force, why not take it a step further and give all of the guys in one squad this type of helmet, or all of the guys in the next squad the same right shoulder pad.

Autarch James said...

Hey Jawa! First time commenting (I think...)Been reading your blog for about a year and a half now. The Blood Angels were my first 40k "love", so to speak. While I don't always agree with the internet about the best way to play BA, I always find your insights worth reading.

Just like you, I've also been thinking of ways to improve the look of my force beyond the standard BA parts available. I'm trying to keep a dichotomy of having handsome/angelic faces for the standard BA guys, Priests, and so on; while also utilizing some scary faces for the Death Company. Also, I'm trying to vary the weapons they carry beyond the standard Marine chainsword.

I've got a couple of the Khorne Berzerker heads to use for some batshit crazy DC guys. After seeing the picture of the Assault Marine with the chainaxe in the codex, I plan on throwing in some of the Forge World chainaxes, as well as using some of the Chaos chainswords with the fully-exposed blades.

Just throwing a few thing out that you might not have considered... I don't want to "goth" them up exactly, but I do want them to look unique on the table. Anyone else have ideas?

Doomicon said...

Yea, your in a tough spot! It's one thing to do conversions out of necessity or to better the look of your army.

I agree, the BA models look great! What would you even want to 'mod' on those figs? Based on what I've seen, your paint schemes, the vehicles, I'm surprised you don't get a couple of bonus points to make up for it.

Based on the tournament results and pictures posted (this site and others), there were a couple of times I was left scratching my head as to why you didn't place higher in painting.

Sid said...

Build your own Dreadnought drop pods.

Michael Hogan said...

Both of the "Wraith" heads seem usable/convertible. I'm not sure if it will be easy to get these in mass, but there are a couple on this site.

This head comes with the Vampire Counts Corpse Cart. While not a cheaper alternative for buying the entire box compared to Blood Knights, you may have better luck finding bits.

Have you thought of having more blood themed things in your army? For example, having blood flow out of chalices (using Green stuff, I guess) or having blood trails behind a weapon swing? Or even just making the bases look like they are standing around a pool of blood. You could probably use lava bases and use red water effects and get that concept pretty easily.

Jawaballs said...

Wow nice input guys, thanks for all the links. That Resin site is great, inspires me to get to work on my own stagnant business. Michael, I actually have two Corpse Carts and I dug out those heads. Nice catch. As for bases, I am not a fan of adding things like green stuff blood to swords. I don't have the required skill to make it look good, and a lot of times when I see it, it looks bad. I don't want to be that guy! But the lava bases as pools of blood are a good idea. I want to create a multi tiered crypt/throne room scene for my display. Mephiston standing on a dias, about to sacrifice some wench. (Go jawa girlfriends). Masonry combined with broken rock terrain. A flowing river of blood. Lots of candle sticks with working lights and fire pits with glowing flames. I feel like creating!

Jay said...

Jawaballs I would not let your painting score bother you. I scored a 32 in painting. I had the Orange Nids. I also thought I would have gotten additional points for conversations. I thought my 3 Tervigons would of gotten me more points. The winner, Joe Johnson only scored 39 points in painting. He also did not get full points on the conversations. I pretty sure you score 2nd in painting at the event.

speedfreek said...

Have you ever tried making an imprint in greenstuff of a face to make multiple copies of it?
Try making a stamp of each of the five blood knights heads and transfer them to marine heads.

Jawaballs said...

Jay, Thanks. I remember your nids, they were good. I'm not disputing Aaron's scoring, he followed his rubric pretty well in my case. Im just in a situation where I love the models that are available, and have no need to convert ones I like better. On the one that I did, the priest, I made a great conversion. Joe and I had the same scores, except he got the extra point I did not on the display, and he got an extra point on conversions. His army, though not my taste in colors, was well painted and he deserved the win. But I think that with a new display, and a little more effort on the conversion side, I can catch armies like his.

Speedfreek, I am actually considering making a two piece mold of blood knight heads and casting them in resin. I now have a vacuum chamber! I also got some slow cure resin that I can also vacuum, to make sure I get perfect casts. I don't even think that is frowned upon by GW! So I hear...

phoenix83 said...

Thought these might be useful for your display board or as accessories for chaplains or librarians. The goblets could be good for sanguinary priests as well (blood priests? perhaps thralls to the main vampire?)

Old Shatter Hands said...

Jawa, we talked about it a little. you have 25 infantry to work on but more importantly IMO is bringing your tanks to the next level. I'd suggested a couple things, battle-damage and weathering and bringing in more of your secondary color, yellow. Take a look at these tanks for some ideas:

Joe's Dragon marines actually have very few conversions...most of his stuff is purchased from chapterhouse...not conversions. see the links below.

they just look like conversions because the TO wasn't familiar with them...the opposite happened to me...I got marked as having very few conversions because the TO thought all my stuff was purchased from forge world. Sucked but oh well...I was shocked to see on my rubic "minor conversions" with all the sawing and filing and green stuff work I've done.

The Solstice Gnome said...

Vampires are gay. What are you a 12 year old girl. Men like zombies.

Michael Hogan said...

If you do end up going with the casts, I would try to make as many different heads as possible, to avoid every head looking exactly the same. That probably goes without saying. One head here, another there, and it would look pretty nice. I still prefer helmets, but I can see where the vampire faces would add to the effect you are going for.

A bit pricy, but with some minor conversion these helmets could look nice, too:

Maybe you could sell the shoulders/chest pieces to someone after requisitioning the heads.

It would be tough to make them look not-chaosy and more bloodthirsty, but either way I'm not sure if it would look vampiric at all.

PS: Most of the blood effects I see aren't stellar, but I've seen some good ones. The bad ones do completely ruin the model, but if you could find an easy way to get a good effect, it might look nice. No clue.

Jawaballs said...

Shatter: Crap man, did you explain to him as he judged? He did ask for players to see him if they had conversion stuff to describe. Honestly your Tau conversions were so good I simply assumed they were forge world and had no clue you did them yourself until you told me. I know Joe's bits came from Chapterhouse, I think though that paint judges mistake bitswap for conversion often enough. I did not see what his rubric said where he lost his point. I'm guessing he got level 3 for conversions.

Michael: Those helmets look great. I think 5 of them will work for one of my squads. I prefer helmeted heads too, but only because I think all the bald marine heads are silly. Vampire heads are different though. Pale blue skin and such. It will add a nice element of color to my palate that is missing too.

Michael Hogan said...

I agree with it being a nice touch. You wouldn't have to go overboard with the conversions either and still have a nice look. For example, if you left the Space Vampire iconography off of the tanks but had a couple units or 1/3 of the guys in every unit with some vampiric conversions I think it would still look nice. It would be a small enough change not to take over as an army wide theme, but noticeable enough to grab the attention of people. But I think the army-wide concept would look nice. Hell, maybe one day Chaos would get a nice codex and you could count-as them instead of the inverse which is happening these days.

Also: You may be able to try to use one of these for a vampiric feel. Night Lords kind of have that going for them.

Jawaballs said...

Woah those night lord ones are actually perfect. A few of those mixed in will definitely work.

pissclams said...

i was suprised how low i score on conversions when the core of my army had a ton of conversions. My MoTF w/ conversion beamer was fully a conversion and my dreads had tons of conversions as well.

usbprime said...

i've actually been working on gorifying (i know it's not a real word, so sue me) my angels. Vamp heads would be epic for a few dedicate squads, or maybe just my sergeants.

The Chaos Renegade Militia, from FW, heads i think would work fairly good, for the creepy dead looking vamps.

The one model i've done a fair ammount of work on is my Furioso with Blood talons.

I started adding bits of daemons with a head stuck into the talons on his upraised arm, and the legs on the ground near his other arm. More recently, i've added a pile of arms, weapons and heads that i moulded out of epoxy and stuck on the base in behind the model as a sort of gruesome achievement pile.

if you are planing to make battle damage or gore on models, a realistic type of blood i've found is mixing a little bit of blood red and paintable caulking together. when you paint it on it'll give you high build areas that'll appear more like splattered bits, rather than just blood (i covered my DC rhino like that to make it look like they consistantly run people down) once it dries i lo-light it with some scab red and thing start to look awesome.

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