Thursday, 7 October 2010

Librarian Conversion

Hi all, the Blood Angels army rumbles ever, ever on (although the Dark Eldar are pulling at my hobby magpie so hard that I have issued edicts to my missus that if I even look like buying them I am to be hit with sticks). This time it is the turn of the Librarian of the 3rd company. For those unfamiliar with Space Marine terminology, Librarians are the psychic warriors of the chapter, they are also responsible for cataloging the chapter's history and accomplishments, hence, Librarian. Think of them as space wizards and you won't go far wrong! As always choosing a model for a character that you will only have one of is a lengthy process. I like most of the current Librarian models - love the terminator one, have to find an excuse to use him - but each has something that I wanted to change. Finally I settled on this one.

Trouble is, there's something on him I don't like as well. The book in his hand is very nice but seems to defy gravity, the pages are stiff, the bookmark wrong somehow. Despite that he is a gorgeous model with just the right stern, calm feel that someone who feels the laws of physics are better off as guidelines should have. I decided that swapping that arm out would give me my own unique model and give me a chance to personalise him with blood angel heraldry. A quick search on "let the dice decide" yielded the parts I needed (for the curious, a left handed bolt pistol arm, the "wait signal" scout sniper hand, a blood angel shoulder pad and backpack). The bits arrived commendably quickly and I got to work, and here he is!:

I wanted to portrey the Librarian as casting one of his powers, a roilling, coruscating bolt of pure psychic energy, compare and contrast the original model and this conversion to see what a difference this reletively minor alteration makes to the feel and tone of the miniature.

 The proceedure was as follows, first, remove the bolt pistol hand from the arm at the wrist leaving a clean cut at the wrist cuff. Attach the scout sniper hand with plastic glue at about 2/3 up the cuff and at a slight upward angle. Attach backpack and shoulder pad. Leave the glue to cure. Then drill a pilot hole into the cuff at roughly the halfway point, make it a good deep one as it will be supporting all of the rest of the work. In to this pilot hole I inserted a length of wire and superglued it in place. I then chopped the wire to length - eyeballing how long I wanted the energy burst to be. Again, leave to cure, superglue may stick instantly but it needs a good quarter hour for all the chemistry to be over and the bond to be secure.

Next came the sculpting of the energy bolt. I wanted to try out a new product - to me anyhow - Squadron Green Putty. Unlike the "green stuff" I am used to this comes ready mixed in a tube, you just squeeze it out and go! I smeared it along the length of the energy bolt and then went to town with a scalpel blade teasing out tiny threads of the the putty to create lots of small spikey voids. This is one of the strengths of doing your own sculpted parts, you could not cast this effect, too many undercuts. The model would never release cleanly from it's mould. I made sure that the splash covered all of the join between the hand and wrist and also washed back along the wrist. I envisioned the psyker conjouring a ball of energy and then firing it at the foe, some of it would wash back at him. Plus it'll look cool when painted!

You'll note some damage to the wrist cuff, this happened when I removed the hand, slightly careless of me. I could repair it with green stuff but I decided to leave it and paint it as battle damaged. On the subject of Squadron Green Putty, I like it but for only certain jobs I think. It has a texture like milliput - slightly grainy on the blade - and dries very fast. It can be filed and sanded so anywhere that needs a perfectly straight edge would be ideal. Unlike green stuff it has almost no shape memory and so can be pushed around more easily. This however is a double edged sword as when combined with its tackiness means that you can pull it out of position easily. I think I will still be using the green stuff for sculpting additions (pouches, straps, hair, etc) and use this Squadron stuff for quick fixes, gap filling and for things that need a random organic feel like this energy bolt. Seems to cure nicely overnight so not too lengthy a process at all.

Now I'll just need to paint him! Oh, and name him... now unusually I am drawing a total blank here. Usually I am fine with naming but he seems to be causing me problems! Hence I am announcing a "name my Librarian" competition. He's in an army with Tycho and Lemartes so something different to those two would be nice. The winning entry gets fame, prestiege and my eternal thanks! Suggestions in the comments please! Finally this week I would like to clue everyone in to an awesome website: this is an archive of every Golden Demon winner from every country that they can find! There is some truly inspirational work on this site from the undisputed best painters in the world, I heartily reccomend perusing it. This sort of thing used to make me jealous of others talent. Now it just spurs and inspires me to improve my own work and to try and achieve effects that they have. Oh, and go back just a few years and see what used to be good enough to win Golden Demon. Food for thought!



  1. I use Squadron green putty for filling small gaps, holes and scratches. As you said, it sands well. However, unlike epoxy-based putties, it's not "structural." It is brittle and and it doesn't bond well. So I wouldn't use is for large pieces like you have done. I don't even use it for gaps more than a millimeter wide. I'm worried that your bolt is going to crack and crumble.

    Off the top of my head, I'd suggest covering the bolt in a couple of coats of liquid CA (super glue). The putty is pourous and hopefully will absorb the CA and you'll get an effect like CA and baking soda.

    Even withthis treatment, I'm worried. :(

  2. Eep! Curses! That'll teach me for using something new on a major componant. It has got a flaming big pin right through the middle so there isn't actually that much putty there. I'll try stiffening it, might use watered PVA as that has flex and will give it some binding. Thanks Sire Spy_Smasher

  3. I've never heard f the stuff (Squadron Green).
    I do like the pose of the model though, very fitting and I think the effect works as you have it there now.

    From the Warp

  4. Shame about the possible fragility, because the sculpting looks spot on mate.

    Hopefully the stiffening works, fingers crossed...