PAINTING AND CONVERTING - Dragoons
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I enjoyed talking about my command squad so much, that I thought I'd write an article about my recently finished dragoons. For those of you who don't know, a "dragoon" is...
Dragoon is the traditional name for a soldier trained to fight on foot but who transports himself on horseback.
Thus, my armored fist (an imperial guard troops choice that operates like a normal infantry squad, except they can ride around in a chimera), seemed to fit the description well enough for me to call them dragoons.
When I was first considering how to model my dragoons, I had several thoughts in mind. The first is that I wanted my dragoons to be quasi-elite troops. These weren't just dudes, these were dudes with attitude. Thus, I decided to give them krak grenades (long since removed) to give them a surprise weapon against enemy vehicles.
To make my krak grenades, I basically took the normal, plastic, frag grenades, filed them down, and then added greenstuff around them to make them look smooth. I wanted to create the impression of something within the realm of a standard infantry weapon (so, not huge) while still recognizeable as a grenade.
As well, I wanted to give them more active poses than my previous squads. If these guys were going to be crazy enough to sprint up and assault vehicles, they'd need suitable poses.
For this, I developed the idea of the leg swap (a technique that would be used extensively with my command squad). Again, the basic idea is that you cut off a leg from one model and attach it to another. Using this technique, I could make it so that my dragoons looked much more dynamic. Not only did they drive fast, but they were ready to go, right out of the can.
As well, I was tired of the normal cadian look. This squad was my first major attempt at squad-level conversion work.
This particular soldier (the sergeant) was actually done for a conversion competition. It shows off many of the conversions done. Firstly, as my soldiers come from a desert environment, I decided to give them a break by rolling up their sleeves. This constituted of assembling the model as normal, and then using my hobby knife to carefully cut and scrape away the shirt almost up to the elbow. Then, using a little greenstuff, I put on the bunched-up part of the sleeve, making the grooves with my hobby knife.
As well, I broadened the rim of the helmet so that it made a dounut shape all around. I'm somewhat unsatisfied with this conversion, as not only was it a real pain to do, but it isn't even that noticeable.
What is more noticeable, on the other hand are the much different things of the goggles, and the shotgun, which was actually made by simply hacking down a normal lasgun, and adding a greenstuff strap.
As well, I wanted to keep the blistering desert dust and blowing sand out of their faces, so all of them were equipped with scarves.
The scarves were made with a simple application of greenstuff to the front, but the parts of the scarf that hang off the back were trickier.
In order to make these, I took greenstuff and flattened it out on my desk (leaving a touch of water underneath for lubrication) after two, or three hours, I would cut the flat blobs into rectangles, and peel them off the desk with my hobby knife. Then, as the greenstuff was still slightly malleable, I would warp one side of the scarf so that it looked like it was tucked into the armor, and leave the other end simply hanging off into space. With some of these, I had to position the models at an angle, so that the scarf wouldn't simply droop down onto the armor, but keep the flowing feel.
After everything was dry, I would add a few greenstuff ranking bars by again letting greenstuff cure in a sheet, and then cutting it into little rectangles.
The final main series of conversions that I did was to their faces. It all started when I had a chuckle or two remembering the line from the Simpons:
On May 21, 1864, the men of the Ninth Bearded Infantry were sunning and fluffing their beards in the sun. Suddenly, enemy troops crested that hill over there.
I was set, then, to make a "bearded line infantry" of my own.
Basically, the way to make a beard, or any facial hair for that matter, is to simply apply a little chunk of greenstuff and work on it with vertical lines. As I went, I got better (note these pictures above are in no particular order), and I would highly suggest that everyone adds this simple technique to their skill set.
It took me a couple of months to complete my dragoons, except for the heavy bolter team, which sat, unfinished and unpainted, for over half a year (indeed, I just got done with it recently). A part of my problem was that I had the guys in such a cool pose, with such a neat idea, but I couldn't figure out how to base it. In the end, after many, many suggestions, I finally came to a conclusion. Thus, I present my usual crown piece of my infantry squads, my heavy weapons team:
The caption goes like this:
Dragoon #1: They're over there, you idiot!
Dragoon #2: Hey, fuck you! This is harder than it looks!
Dragoon #1: Shut up!
Dragoon #2: You know what? How about we switch positions. You can shoot the gun, and then I'll just stand there pointing like an idiot!
Anyways, I think that the "lol" of the guardsmen themselves is slightly complimented by the "lol" of the soldier standing on the stump of the cut down sign post.
I hope you've enjoyed this peek into more imperial converting. Stay tuned for when I get the chimera for these guys done!