Thursday, 4 August 2011

Workbench: Converting Ork Kommandos

Greetings all, it dawned on me recently that I haven't done a conversion article for a fair while. This combined with my rekindled desire to finish my Blood Axe Ork army to a nice round 2000 points, led to this article! I am making a unit of Ork Kommandos to join Boss Snikrot and to form the two pronged early game assaults that my Kommandos are rightly feared for.

It is no secret that I am not a big fan of the official Kommando models (although the Nob model is amazing) and knew that I had the skill to do my own so set about thinking how to improve on my first unit. The first thing you will notice in the picture above is the unusual tan plastic componants. These are 54mm (1:35) scale Tamiya modern US Army backpacks. 1:35 Is flaming big but the smaller packs work well on the oversized Orks. I had to shave some of them to get them to fit snugly but on the whole they worked well. The second thing to note is that a fair few Orks seem to be sinking into their bases. This is because the unit is being modelled to be traversing a swamp so are partially submerged. If you want to do this yourself then for god's sake buy a razor saw as no other tool will give you a clean cut that is consistant across the model.

The next stage was to green stuff in any gaps and voids left by the backpacks. These are hollow packs designed to be hung on tanks as stowage and as such will leave gaps. A quick gap filling exercise did the job nicely.

Now for the fun bit! Arming them all. Since nothing says "Commando" to me like a knife, I arm all of my Ork Kommandos with the spare knives you find in the Boyz box set. Simply chop off the axes close to the hands, remove the handles and glue them on. Download the image and zoom in on a few of them to see what I mean. Now they look great here, but something is missing... Commando-style woolly hats:

My method for sculpting these hats (actually rolled up balaclavas) starts with getting a ball of green stuff roughly the size of the Ork's brain and squashing it onto the head:

Next, square off the edges and add a furrow running around the crown to indicate the folded fabric:

(sorry for the bad photo)

Once you get to this stage you need to let the green stuff cure for a bit so do all the members of the squad:

At this stage they are looking ok, but we can go one step further:

Once the green stuff has cured for a quarter hour or so, get a scalpel and lightly press it around the rim. You want to create hundreds of thin, light, cuts to simulate the ribbed fabric. Make sure to do the same at the top of the roll. Next stab the crown of the hat until it takes on a woolly texture. This is an advantage of sculpting this on yourself as trying to cast this would be a nightmare. Proceed and do this to the whole squad.

And there they are, done! Obviously they now need a loving coat of paint and some serious work on their bases. This will happen next time I get an Ork urge, for now, it is back to commission work and Blood Angels (yeah, I've still not finished those two). Until next time:



  1. Wow, great conversions, I love the swamp
    Idea. Did you ever get around to painting these, if so, do you have a picture?

    1. To my utter shame I haven't yet! 40k just sort of slouched off our radar with the new edition and I haven't rekindled the OrkLove enough to get these chaps finished.

      Your comment has at least reminded me they exist, languishing in a figure case, desperate for attention.

      You might very well have saved them from eternal tinboyness...

  2. Any chance they've been painted by now? Would love to see your completed 2k Blood Axe list as this is something I'm about to start!

  3. I'm very much afraid not, I drifted off Orks for a while, but they're still close to my heart! If I do anything more on them it will be over on which is the community I blog with now.