I'll open this one with a disclaimer: my method is cheaper than buying Forgeworld sets (assuming you already have the mk VII legs in a bits box somewhere), but be prepared to spend a little bit of time on each of these. The learning curve for the project is what I would deem somewhere between easy and medium. If you know your way around the main tools we're going to use, and are comfortable with a minimal amount of greenstuff use, this project is a breeze.
Let's start off with a tool list:
1. Your hobby knife of choice.
2. Mold line remover.
3. Scribing Tool
4. Pin vise, 1/32 and 1/16 bits
5. Cables. The size we're using here is .065. I got mine from Dragonforge, but you can also use appropriately sized guitar wire, or whatever suits your fancy.
6. Microbeads. For more information on where these come from, as well as a more detailed tutorial on how they are used here, head over to my Studded Armor Tutorial. You should take a moment here anyway, as the principles used are an integral foundation to this tutorial.
Additionally, we're going to be using some files for cleaning, your glue of choice, a small awl or needle for guide holes, and your sculpting epoxy of choice (for me, the choice is Pro-Create, but Greenstuff will work just as well).
You will also need your sculpting tools; For this, I just used a basic flat metal tool, and a couple of small silicon color shapers.
1. Here we have a stock set of mark VII legs. I've removed the mold lines in preparation of the conversion. Out of personal preference, I have also removed the purity seals and gone around some areas (mainly the knee and the foot plates) with my scribing tool to bring some definition back to the model that was lost in the casting process.
2. The first thing to do is shorten the kneepads, to bring them in line with the mark V look. I've cut in a little way down on both knees, forming a rounded point as shown. Cut deep enough that you'll be able to shave the piece off in step 3.
3. Now shave the top of the knee off. You should have something like the picture above. Use your files to clean up the area and round the top of the knee a little bit.
4. If not already, familiarize yourself with my Studded Armor Tutorial I linked earlier. Using those techniques, make the holes to seat the microbeads matching the look of the mark V legs. Disregard those green splotches in the image; I got a little carried away and drilled to many holes, and had to fill them back in!
5. Using your hobby knife, make some straight cuts in the center of where you intend the thigh cables to sit (the side and front on each leg are typical). Follow that up by using your scribing tool to etch a wider cut over the initial one.
6. Using your 1/16 bit, drill three holes along the cut, using it as a guide point. The top and bottom holes should mark the top and bottom of where you intend the cables to run.
7. Coming back in at an angle, use your pin vise to connect the three holes into one, as shown above.
8. Repeat until you have all the cable areas recessed out. At this point, you're done removing parts, and ready to start adding to the conversion!
Above, you can see I've added all the microbeads and cables to the recesses I created. I also glued the feet to a base at this point.
Now we're to the sculpting part. I promise, it's actually pretty simple.
9. Take a small amount (you can see how much above) of your putty and stick it to the top of a cable.
10. Using your tools, shape it around the cable until it fits over and connects nicely to the leg. Make sure you smooth out any fingerprints!
11. Here's where you have a choice. Mark V legs have those square connectors on their cables, but I actually decided I liked a rounder look. Whatever your choice is, use your tools to shape the putty into the final look you want. Repeat this process on the bottom of the cable, and then go on and take care of the rest of the cables on the legs. Let it all cure.
This last step is optional, but I wanted to add some little studs to the connectors for a more finished look. Make sure your connectors are fully cured, and mix up some more putty. stick a tiny (like a quarter of the size of a microbead) bit of putty on the connector and push it into the shape of a stud. Pretty simply, though can be a bit fiddly until you get the hang of it. Repeat the process across all the connectors.
That's it, you're done! I added a mark V torso from my bits box (I assume both these pieces probably came from the same tac squad box back in the day) and some stock arms. He's a Space Wolf, so he got a bolter and a warbelt from that box to make him stand out. He'll also get a set of mark V shoulders made for him.
That helmet is a WIP, but I stuck it on as a bit of foreshadowing for you readers, so you can have an idea of what tutorial you can expect to see from me next as we round out this iconic piece of the Heresy!
Until next time, swing by Drowned In Plastic for more tutorials and WIP projects by me; there are some exciting things that will be creeping up on there soon as we get closer to Gamesday Memphis!