As promised, here are some images and descriptions of my current projects.
First up is the most boring part, the painted Razorback heavy bolter turret for the Command Squad's transport. it needs a coat of Dullcote, then a quick Ultramarine symbol on the top and it'll be done. I'm not doing a dedicated hull for it. Instead, it'll ride on top of one of my existing Rhinos.
I'm also working on the stock, plastic GW Librarian with staff to lead the squad for now. No alterations on conversions, just a quick bang-out job to have a real Libby in my collection instead of subbing in Honor Guard or Captain models in games. He's just in primer right now, but I'm hoping to get started on his face/head tonight during period breaks in the Bruins/Rangers game.
I finished my Vindicator's top hatch with a storm bolter and gunner, and stuck it in the mounting hole. Didn't glue it in, as I want to be able to remove it if one of the open hatch doors breaks or something, or I need it for another vehicle in a pinch. I've decided to set the Vindicator aside for now, since I can't think of anything to paint on the siege shield front. I do random Google image searches from time to time to look for inspiration. Nothing yet.
The most exciting news is that I have finally started working on Raven Guard. I decided to start with a small Scout Squad to break into the one Troop requirement for Allied Detachments. I have a total of ten Scout models available, half in bitz and half from one of the first box sets I ever bought from my FLGS (if not THE first). I wanted my Raven Guard models to be radically posed, with lots of movement and different stances. Then I ran into the reality of the Scout kits. They're pretty terrible! The torsos barely fit on the legs due to the pistol holsters sticking up too far, and the legs are almost all posed in the same manner. Unfortunately, I am not good enough with Green Stuff sculpting to be able to cut and repose these legs. Instead, I decided my Scouts would rely on their arms to convey action. I do have to note that these images illustrate the models as they were when I took them. After I'd uploaded them to Photobucket, I decided I hated some of them with a passion, and went to my desk and tore some of them apart and swapped things around. That being said, here's how the models started out:
For this first guy, I chose the grenade-throwing arm from the Scout Bike kit and swapped in an old, Third Edition Space Marine combat blade for the chainsword that originally came on this arm. I tore this guy apart, because I didn't like having both arms spread wide like that. It looked like he was trying to kill you with hugs.
The second Scout was intended to serve as the squad's Sergeant with a powerfist and shotgun. I figured that because you can't get bonus attacks for a pistol with a powerfist, the shotgun would be an ideal pre-charge weapon for him. The shotgun is from the Scout Bike kit, and the powerfist is from the Cadian Command Squad, grafted onto the pistol arm from the Scout Bike (I am cannibalizing all the arms from my Scout Bike kits because they come with two handlebar-holding arms, and none of the weapon arms add anything to the model). I'd originally wanted to put a regular bare Marine head on all my Scout Sergeants, but discovered that it was really hard to do. Many of the bare heads are out of proportion with the Scout heads, meaning you have a big potato head on there even after cutting down the neck. So I compromised and put the fancy optic-wearing head on there. The more I looked at this model, the more I hated the posing of the powerfist. He suffers from Scout Hug Syndrome, just like the prior model. I ripped both this guy's arms off and haven't replaced them yet.
These next two are stock models with basic assembly. The shotgunner uses a pair of legs from the Speeder Storm kit, which is a treasure trove of torso and arm options, but shit for legs. I've seen people use the passengers from the kit on bases in a variety of crazy poses, and they all make me laugh. I got these parts from a bits lot I purchased, I sold my Speeder Storm a while back in my pre-Tyranid kit purge. No regrets though. I ripped the knife arm off the pistol/blade Scout, as I don't like the massive combat blades on Scouts. They're just absurd for anyone but Templars. Other Chapters' Scouts are sneaky bastards who infiltrate behind enemy lines and sabotage, assassinate, or relay intel. How are you supposed to slit a sentry's throat with a two-foot-long blade? You couldn't even drawn a blade that big in close confines!
I solved the blade problem with this next Scout, who is my favorite. I sliced off his overlarge combat blade and saved it in my bitz box. I have plans for all the blades I remove. Then I got out a regular Space Marine combat blade and grafted it in place. I think it looks far more proportional. In addition, I grabbed a Catachan knife/canteen belt gear bit and removed the canteen. I then sliced the hilt off the scabbard and hollowed it out a bit. You can just barely see it on his left hip, just above the knife blade. Those Catachan knives are perfectly sized for Marines. It looks like the blade he's wielding would actually fit in the scabbard! This Scout and the shotgunner were the only two to survive the arm-ripping, and the shotgunner only survived because it was too hard to get the shotgun arms off.
I'm very excited by this project, despite the pitfalls of the Scout kits. Honestly, I initially rushed some of the models I eventually disassembled, and had tried to use as many loose bitz as I could before cracking into my intact Scout Squad box. It's a mistake I'm remedying. Despite the horrible leg poses, you can actually do quite a bit with the Scout kits by swapping out blades, mixing arms, and cutting and rotating wrists.