Monday, November 12, 2012

What's on My Desk: Chaos Soul Grinders

I'm a big fan of the chaos demon soul grinder kit.  The unit itself is incredibly cool and lends itself to a whole world of conversion opportunities.  At the time of its release in 2010, the 'grinder was one of the first in many new plastics that represented high quality product that pushed visually what chaos armies would look like on the table top.

It was innovative in 2010...

Sadly, unlike some of the newer plastic kits, the out-of-the-box potential for variation among 'grinders was limited to a right arm swap...

Such a waste...

That's why this week I have a couple of soul grinders on my desk and am busting out the green stuff, xacto blade, and modeling tools to do some custom 'grinder conversions!  Let's take a look at the progress so far.

I wanted my two soul grinders to have their own distinct flavors without having to do a lot of drastic body work.  I decided to do this in two ways: 1. weapon swaps and variation and 2. an individualized character for each model (I'll explain more in a bit). 

First up was to create variation in their weapon kit-outs.  Since I had two kits, and each came with a sword and pincer claw, I took the extra pincer claw and swapped it for the stock mech-claw on the first grinder's left arm (we'll call this one Crabby).  Right away this gave Crabby a more aggressive look than his counterpart, so I ran with the theme of making him look as menacing as possible.  In chaos terms this means an extra mouth here, a ton of extra eyes and buboes there, spikes, and a face a mother wouldn't even want to kiss. 

The eyes/buboes were really easy to make, I simply rolled out a number of green stuff balls, waited for them to dry overnight, then cut them in half and glued them on.  I still need to finish the eyes on his torso with eyelids (the buboes on his plates won't need any finishing work).

All the spikes are ringed with a roll of green stuff, pressed to give the impression that they bust violently out of his skin.  The ones on his back still need a bit of finishing work.

I'm pretty happy with how Crabby is coming along, but am undecided on how to finish his mouth.  I'm stuck between leaving it the way it is (disgustingly unfinished) or adding rows of tiny sharp teeth (classic nasty).

The second grinder is having far cleaner approach taken towards his conversion, less spiky/mutated and more contrived/arcane.  

Instead of adding spikes, eyes, and extra mouths, this 'grinder (dubbed "The Wizard") got additions that would appear less spontaneous, like a headdress, necklace, and sword.

The headdress is made from two pieces of plasticard, cut and filed.  A cobra from the Empire wizard plastic kit (probably my all-time favorite GW kit) was added to give that Egyptian look that is so indicative of all things Tzeentch.  Another detail that sets the headdress apart and cements The Wizard's magical prowess is the floating flaming orb set within it.  The orb was directly inspired by my favorite Magic: the Gathering character (I know, a lot of favorites in this post!) Nicol Bolas.  The very nature of an object floating presents some interesting obstacles.  For starters, it needs to look like it is suspended without support.  To do this I positioned the orb with a super thin .50mm pinning rod and sculpted fire onto the orb itself.  Besides looking cool (what's cooler than a floating orb that's spontaneously immolated?) the fire will partially cover the rod and give the orb a strong feel of independent suspension.

Since Crabby had a lot of spikes bulking up his shoulders and back, I wanted to give The Wizard a slimmer shoulder line.  To do this I cut off the smoke stacks on his back and positioned them on his right arm harvester cannon. The stacks ended up being the perfect size to act as two additional barrels for the cannon, so the goal was achieved and no parts were wasted!

A bit more green stuff work and Crabby and The Wizard will be done and ready for the painting table.  Come back next time to see the finished conversions!


  1. Nice conversions, and am in the same boat. Trying to make the 2 soul grinders of mine look visually different. Will be pinching a few of your ideas I think for my second one ( especially the double claw bits ).

    1. That's great! I checked out your blog and am impressed by your work. Keep up the great hobby!


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