One of the things that I wanted to accomplish with my new army is to have some (maybe most or all) of the models looking like they are true scale. This means that their body parts (arms, legs, torso, etc.) are in better proportion to one another than the standard miniature. You see, the issue is that 40k miniatures these days are produced in what is known as "heroic" scale. Although they're 28mm, the limbs are really not in proportion to the rest of the body properly. The most obvious problem is that they're smaller (shorter) than they should be if they were miniatures of real life people. But there's more subtlety to it than that even: the head is larger than it should be (very disproportionately so, in fact), and the weapons also look whopping. I'm not going to change the weapons as I kind of like the mis-scale of them (and who knows: in the far flung future, the weapons may be made of lighter composite materials - ceramite! - that make them easier to handle. Hence no issues there from me).
To correct some of these issues, the first step is to make a standard marine look taller. There are many ways of doing this. There are two very typical methods, however. The first is to simply add length to the legs. I think I will take this approach with the majority of my new army (if I feel inclined that way). The second is to replace standard space marine legs with terminator legs and do some serious conversion work on those terminator legs to make them look like regular marine legs. This latter method is what this tutorial style article is about.
Pictured above are some Death Wing terminator legs from the Dark Angels range. These legs are the ones that I will be using on the hero leading my army - chosen because they have the "heresy" style studded right leg and the knee pads look kinda cool. And let me re-emphasise that the goal here is to turn them from terminator legs in to something more resembling regular power armour legs. As can be seen, I've already scrubbed part of the Death Wing iconography off the left leg. I'll tidy that up later and replace with a different symbol.
The first step (above) is to cut away the hip pads. I did this using my modelling knives and tidied it up so that it lay reasonably flat next to the legs. Its not important that this step is particularly smooth as we're going to cover up these bits anyway with greenstuff.
The next step is to roll up some green stuff. Remember: we want this to be smooth, ultimately, like regular marine armour. Hence: ensure that the putty is not cured (particularly where the yellow and blue parts join) before you roll it together. Secondly, we want to have time to play around with the green stuff before it becomes too cured to do anything with. Hence I recommend including more yellow than blue in the putty mixture to achieve this. Something like a 1.5:1 or a 2:1 ratio is about right for this. Place the blob of greenstuff on the back of the leg. But make sure that you have more than you need!
The next step is a bit tricky. You will need a smooth tool to press the putty in the the "hollow" of the back of the terminator leg and then smooth it. I use a plastic spatula to do this, but that's just a preference. Other tools like clay shaping tools will work just as well (and sometimes better!). Once the putty has been smoothed in to the hollow, take a modelling knife and carefully trim around the edges, taking care to leave the piping at the back of the leg visible, and make the bottom of the trim have an obvious different to the foot. The sides of the leg (where they butt up against the frontal armour) should also be trimmed and made approximately level.
Rince and repeat this process with the other lower leg. And then roll out two long snakes of greenstuff to wrap around the thighs (one for each). Press these in as we did for the back of the calves and smooth over using a flat tool. Again, tidy up using a modelling knife and you're pretty much there. Above is a picture of my finished legs. I'm all ready to attach this to a standard space marine torso and create the final model. But I'll post more about that in a future modelling post.
I hope folks found this useful! Note that you don't have to be an expert sculptor to follow this tutorial. All it takes is patience and making sure that you don't leave sticky finger prints all over the smoothed greenstuff that you've flattened in to the hollows of the terminator's legs.