Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Creating a Battle Sister from Plastic Parts

Hello everybody and welcome to my latest post! I'm pretty excited about my latest project because it involves one of my all time favourite armies, the Sisters of Battle Adepta Sororitas.

Ever since I began playing warhammer 40k back when I was 11, I can remember being intrigued by the nuns with guns. Thinking back on it now, it must have been a combination of things that initially drew my interest. First of all they are probably one of the weirdest armies  in 40k and when the universe is populated by aliens and super soldiers, that's really saying something! The highly religious, all female fighting force is completely different from almost every other army. Men are very much in the minority and their wargear is familiar yet completely different to the space marine equivalents. All this leads to quite a visually striking army.

Secondly, they were (and always have been) very expensive to buy and so my 11 year old pocket money allowance wouldn't quite cover the start up costs for an army. So they were always just out of my reach...a truism even today!

Finally, I'm a bit of a hipster at heart and so I'm always looking to find that thing that no one else has. Sisters of battle armies are very rare and entirely converted sisters armies are even rarer! If done well, this army will be a cracker!!!

Anyway, enough of that. Lets get on with the plan...

The Plan:

I'm going to try and convert sisters of battle out of plastic parts and then cast those parts out of resin. The idea is to end up with 5-10 torsos, 5-10 sets of legs and 5-10 sets of arms with which I can re-combine into 'multi-part' sisters of battle miniatures. I have never attempted casting parts out of resin before so I consider this project to be a giant learning curve in my hobby development. Lets see how it goes.

First of all I need to actually convert the parts out of plastics. Here's what I've managed so far...


These are 4 of the 5 torsos I'm working on. I have a 5th which is exactly the same as the torso to the right in the second picture as these torsos are the most similar to the original miniatures. The base is a Dark Eldar warrior torso with all the shoulder spikes removed. I really like the way the armour is plated in the abdomen region on some of them and I think it will add a bit of variety to the battle sisters armour without looking too 'evil'. Next I used cabling which is available from 'dragonforge' to make the re-breather pipes around the gorget. I've also added the piping on the chest using rolled out green stuff and I made the contact point for the backpack (not shown in pictures) out of green stuff too. Finally, I'm adding a few small details to the re-breather (skulls and fleur de lys) and shoulder pads (imperial aquilas shaved from space marine bolters) but I don't want to add too much at this stage as I'm cautious about the level of detail I will get from the casting process. It might be easier to add the detail once the resin cast is made. Besides, if I want to make them all individual it's probably a good idea to cast the basic armour sets and then add whatever details I like afterwards.

So far I've managed to almost finish 2 sets of legs. Once again Dark Eldar legs have provided the base and I've decided to keep the plated look of the upper armour. The set on the left have had all spikes removed and I've added a skull the the knee pad from my bits box. Then, using green stuff, I sculpted robes hanging down from the front and back. I still need to add a belt and with a buckle of some kind to the front and also include a religious symbol hanging down with the robes (like the original models).
Here you can see two more sets of legs in the process of having robes sculpted. You can see that I'm using the original tabards as a base for the green stuff, which I can then build upon once it's dried. I'm hoping to use the set on the right for the special weapon!

The Proportions!

When I sat down to research this project, I quickly realised that getting the scale and proportions of the model is the most important thing when scratch building sisters of battle. The key is not to make them too big yet still capture the bulk (albiet a slim-lined version) of their power armour and their bolters. I'm quite happy with the beginnings of mine, as the comparison with a space marine shows that the model not too tall. The dialogus on the left is a bit misleading as it's set on a high base. In reality, the sister is slightly taller.

One of the things I would like to change about the sisters of battle is their hair styles! I'm using a Dark Eldar head in this picture just to give you a comparison, but actually, I quite like it. I think I'll remove the top knot but otherwise keep the head. I'll post a new article up on female heads when I've sourced some.

So all in all I'm pretty chuffed with the beginnings of this project and it's nice to finally have some enthusiasm for the hobby back!! Please leave comments below on what you think I should add/change. I'm always on the lookout for new ideas and I'd really like this army to look slightly different from the original miniatures. After all, they are 2nd ed!