Sunday, February 27, 2011

I really like dynamic model poses

Finding this article by The LeadHead on how he repositioned his Space Marine Terminators hit home with me. With the recent improvements in all that GW can do with models, the new figures coming out ar far more dynamic in their poses that our simple and static Imperial Terminators.

Even the Space Hulk Blood Angel terminators have more movement than their multi-part plastic terminator counterparts. But whining about it will only get you so far, that's the LeadHead's new "running" terminator there on the right.

If you want movement, you're going to have to work on how you assemble the models and then look at physically repositioning
them yourself if you can't get what you want there.

I'll be starting my Deathwing in the coming months and I know I'll be doing this very thing to some of my guys. I've already decided that I'll be repositioning arms and maybe even sculpting some bigger changes, but I really like the idea of changing up their leg positions. Even if it's a tiny change, I think it'll add to the character of the force.

I've been doing this for a ling time with Space Marine arms. It's one of those things I do now to get the fine tuning that I want and create variety in the poses they have. Just a simple twist or opening up of the arms can create a whole new look to the model. It doesn't have to be extreme or involve a huge amount of work to get a good result.

Just looking at what The LeadHead did shows you that you can dramatically change the pose with just a little work.

The process is simple, you get your arm (or leg) positioned where you want it and fill in the gap with greenstuff. Like all things, it's easier said than done though.

I'd add that if you do this to a part of the model that will be supporting additional weight or a place that is a thin/small joint, you might want to consider pinning the joint for reinforcement. I'm working on pinning a small joint for a friend who broke his model yesterday now. I'd say if there is any doubt in your mind to pin it ahead of time and save yourself the trouble later on.

The LeadHead used plastic glue in his example (I don't use it at all) and I think that forms a near unbreakable bond on plastic models. It's just another way to get the job done and you'll have to figure out what works best for you in the situation you have.

Once you have your joint positioned (and pinned if needed) you can fill the gap with greenstuff. It doesn't take much to fill the gaps since you still need to keep your model anatomically correct and can only move his arm so far before it looks like it's growing out of his back.

When working in small areas like this, I try and do conversion work early on while I can still get to the underside of the model. Once it's assembled, this can be near impossible to do. A little pre-planning during the assembly phase and you'll be fine.

The effect (at east on Space Marines) is finished off by cutting grooves or making indentations in the greenstuff to simulate the ribbing of the material at the joint. You don't have to be exact here either. I use an X-Acto blade for this since I want fine grooves in my mine.

Most of these places can't be completely seen and you're just looking to convince the viewer that there is something there at the joint. As long as the scale of your new ribbed joint is close to any other ones on the model, you should be fine.

Note: There is one thing I should mention that I forgot to add when I posted this last night... when you reposition arms, always try out your shoulderpad (in the case of Marines) before making everything permanent. Sometimes you'll run into problems with the shoulderpad fitting and the backpack being in the way. A quick test fit should let you know if you're in the clear.

But beware, once you get the hang of doing this, you'll start doing it on almost every model you assemble from that point on. And it won't stop at the shoulder either. Before you know it, you'll be fixing wrists, adjusting elbows and then the sky is the limit.


  1. Great article. I plan to have almost every model in my army at least somewhat converted and re-posing them is a great way to make some of the more static models (like terminators) look more individual.

  2. You're definitely right about it being addictive - I'm sure it's the exception for me not to re-pose a model at this point!

    The main reason I go with plastic glue for a project like my re-pose is that it take a while to cure - it leaves some "open time" to play with the angles if you're not quite sure how you want it. Those Terminator legs were never meant to be in that dynamic of a pose, and just a little too far in either direction would look really odd...

  3. Dugatron: Thanks. Things like this don't take long to do on one model, but can add up over an army. The flip isde is that you've got a truly amazing army when you're done though.

    The LeadHead: It's rare for me to just glue the arms "in place" on a model these days.

    I understand completely about the plastic glue. It seems like you've got a workable solution and I'd say to go with it. You get the results you want in the end so that's a win in my book.

  4. On the merits of plastic glue... you end up with a lot more skin left on your fingers at the end of a project too! I wonder how much of my DNA is attached to miniatures over the years.

    If you go the plastic glue route, I'd highly recommend Testors Model Master. It has an amazing applicator; the thin metal tube puts the right amount on and lasts forever.

  5. Brian: I know a lot of people use it, but I've found that with superglue, I can glue something and should I need to break the pieces apart, I can still do that.

    Of course that doesn't happen that much so that kind of kills my reasoning in the first place.

    That and the fumes, I don't like the fumes you get from plastic glue.

  6. Just building a Khorne CSM army and the old poses are really static by todays standard. Im using FW Zerkers so have had to use super glue on those and plaggy glue on the CSM. I think there advantages to both. But i prefer the plastic.

    This is the first time i have done the dynamic pose thing and YES it is very addictive! The problem Im having (as I like to have a beer while I build) is not going to far! lol

  7. Mart: Yes, going to far can result in some really weird models.

    Inless you're building some kind of Chaos spawn... you'll want to keep it in check.