Space Marine Chariot conversion and more...

Maybe not the most practical way to wage war, looks good though
More work has since been done on the old 'chariot' - click here for details.

I can't believe it's been two weeks since my last post. I've been saying to myself that I wouldn't post until I had a solid horde of miniatures painted up, as that would give me a little more motivation to paint more quickly. As you may have noticed, that plan failed miserably.

And I really didn't expect this to be the topic. I thought it would be more WWII, or Confederate skirmishers modelled as if wading through some Louisiana swamp, or maybe some of Paul Hicks' fantastic RJW Japanese painted up in 1886 blue uniforms...? Instead my attention was turned back to 40k by Colonel Scipio, who waxed lyrical about his dream army of Mordians, and his talk of doing some 40k at our next gaming meet up.

Spears of Mawdryn Marine proposed paint scheme
Sufficiently distracted, I turned my attention to one of the key fluff pieces of my Chapter, and a model I had been planning to make for ages - a conversion of a Space Marine Attack Bike into a close-combat orientated chariot.

My Chapter, the Spears of Mawdryn (sneaky Dr. Who reference :P), are supposed down to about 250-300 Marines, with knackered and battered armour, preferring to strike rapidly or by ambush rather than a pitched battle. Naturally, shinier Marines look down on them as cowardly and grubby. Their tactics are largely inspired by the medieval Welsh, using terrain to maximum effect along with hit and run tactics. I wanted them to be Celts, not "Celtic" of the new age variety.. They are a blend of mostly Arthurian (Late Roman/Romano British) elements and Iron Age Celts (notably with the shields, patterns and chariots)  - with some dark ages stuff and Ogham script chucked in too. Oh, and they all have Welsh names from the Mabinogion, as you do.

I'll do a proper fluff post later on, but in summary the force has "Bards" instead of Librarians (collectively known as Cerddor), and Druids (Dwyrydd) instead of Chaplains and Apothecaries. Some of the assault troops and others carry Celt-style shields and spears, the bikes have dracos streaming from them and they have "Chariots" instead of Attack Bikes - which brings me back on topic....

This is currently a very rough model, and I wouldn't normally post any like this, but I suppose it's good to see it's development. It's rough partly because of my haphazard approach to conversions and because I was working out how to make the model as I went along. There's plenty more tidying to do.

The Draco Banner
I began with creating a few draco banners for my bikes using modelling putty (Milliput). Pretty straightforward to do: roll them out with one end thicker than the other, make an indention at the thinner end so when painted gives the appearance of a hollow "wind-sock" and add appropriate waviness.

I wanted to use the Chaos vehicle "dragon head" for the draco head, but preferred the older sculpt which I couldn't find. Thankfully, I had some newer ones from the Defiler sprues. To make them a little less Chaos-y, I took a knife and file to the spikes on the head, I filed down the horns slightly so they're visible but not so prominent and even gave the teeth a very slight filing down. The head was then mounted on the standard Space Marine bike flagpole. I cut off the skull on the top from just above the skull base, leaving a wide flat surface with the lower part of the skull and jaw to mount the draco head on - it worked rather well. I wasn't originally going to use the draco on the Chariot, but decided it added a little character.

The Chariot
Purity seals (hopefully) add to the sense of momentum
The early plan was to do this all from plasticard, but I thought why make more work when I could make something reasonable from my bits box. After rummaging around and trying various bits and pieces, it was the Defiler that came in handy again. (I did not pay £41 for my Defiler! Is it really that much these days?).

A couple of the parts had just the right cut and shape, more or less.

The main body of the chariot "armour" came from the Defiler leg armour shown in the image. The bottom part of it where it curves down was cut away and a third was cut away from where it begins to curve to the side - leaving a flat surface on the bottom and to the left. As you can see in the image, there is a gap in the front to allow the spike to fit through - this was filled with Milliput. Unfortunately, this piece wasn't wide enough, so I cut a section from the Defiler's "shoulder pad" and hastily whacked it onto the first part. The complete section was placed over the sidecar floor and the section with the pedals on (why? is that Marine the driving instructor...?) was cut away and shaped to follow the curve of the Defiler sections. In its default position the sidecar platform wasn't wide enough, and as far forward as it was the bike rider would be whacking his arm against the chariot all the time. To rectify this I cut and filed away the block under the bike that the sidecar fits around, allowing me to put the sidecar a little further back and a little farther out, giving the chariot rider  enough space to stand. The gaps in the floor of the sidecar section were filled with plasticard and modelling putty.

Lastly, the wheel had to have a spike or scythe, or it wouldn't be proper! First, I tried one of the Defiler's hooks, but it just didn't look quite right. Then I noticed the end of the Necron Gauss Flayer. With a little alteration it looked spot on. However, I needed something to raise it away from the wheel a little more, and I wasn't going to waste Milliput. I realised I still had the rest of the skull from the flagpole. Glued to the wheel hub and with the top filed flat it was perfect. The next Chariot will be much neater as this one was designed very much on the fly. I feel there's a little too much space in front of the chariot sidecar, I was thinking of adding 3 or 4 very short cocktail stick spikes, just as a little filler. I think they may look a little too Chaos-y though. I'll give it a try.

The Rider
A lot can be achieved with simple alterations.
The torso was taken from the Attack Bike sidecar Marine, the legs are from a standard  Marine and the head is a from a Space Wolves set. I gave him the bobbly  shoulder pad as it was hovering about, looks a little archaic, and is a nice nod to the Rogue Trader style. The bolt pistol is obviously a standard Assault Marine right arm component. I considered giving him a spear, but thought an axe would be good. I also thought it would be less work as I had one ready in the box. How wrong I was.

Firstly, it was attached to a right arm component. The knife quickly removed the two axe parts, and a suitable chainsword left arm was found and separated from the chainsword. I managed to get the two axe parts lined up on the new arm perfectly first time, I was absolutely chuffed. However, I moved them too soon and when sticking the arm to the Marine it all went pear-shaped. After a little too much polycement later, it was all looking okay. The pose still wasn't right, I wanted him to look like he was swinging the axe outward rather than bringing it down overhead. So the much adjusted left arm was brought under the knife again - I removed the hand from behind the wrist section and glued it back with a slight tilt - not too much as I didn't want the overall model looking wider than it already was. And that was the Chariot rider finished.

The idea with the riders is to make them modular. The model isn't glued in so I can replace him for a spear-armed chap, or my Captain, or even make it an actual Attack Bike by adding a chap with a heavy bolter or melta. The plan is to put pins on the feet of the rider and drill corresponding  holes in the floor of the chariot (two for each foot).  The riders should then be stable but detachable. Similarly, I can drill the same holes in the standard bases so that when not in the Chariot the alternate riders can be deployed on the table within Assault/Veteran squads - not a model wasted!

And also...
Another, simpler conversion, is this Marine with shield. This is very much a prototype but I was happy how it came out. The main shield is cut from plasticard in the hexagonal shape of a Celtic shield, the edging is modelling putty and the "techno-gubbins" style boss is a section of a Necron Gauss Flayer (they're very handy!).

Apologies for the long post, I won't leave it so long next time. My minimum post target is now once a week, and whatever the state of completion of my work is, it's getting posted as a "What's on the table?" post.


  1. An excellent conversion, and great photos too. The draco looks immense, as do the scythes!

    1. Very kind of you sir, looking forward to running it against your dastardly Guardsmen ;) And also very much looking forward to seeing more of your Ratlings


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