Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Project Log: The Emperor's Champion, Part 9

Big-scale Magnus is finally finished and ready for paint!


I've also finished up Li'l Magnus. I've got some glamor shots in the works, I'll post them in part 10 next week with the painted big guy.


Finishing up the Inquisitor-scale champion was a matter of sculpting his head. (I saved the most difficult part for last!) I started with a rough shape of putty on a small dowel (the dark green in the image). When that was cured, I sculpted the helmet shape over top, making sure it was smooth, and made the cutouts for the eyes. Fortunately, the old Emperor's Champion has a medieval knight-style helmet so I don't need to sculpt any complicated curves.



Next, I sculpted the eyes and face plate. Then, I cleaned up the sides and added the rear part that wraps around. I let it fully cure, and then trimmed the bottom (the left image is a little tall and crooked at the bottom; the right has been trimmed.) That's the basic helmet shape.



The laurels are where the real work comes in, but they weren't as complicated as I feared. I applied the putty as a single blob, and then "drew" in the lines between each leaf by pressing it with my sharp sculpting tool. I used the flat of the sculpting blade to shape the leaves a little more and separate them at the ends, and then pressed the crease in the center of each leaf.



I let the putty cure until it was firm enough to keep from seriously deforming when I touched it. I peeled the ends of the laurels away from the helmet, and let it continue curing.



Then, I added brown putty behind the laurels to give the green putty a hard backing so they wouldn't bend. I also sculpted the cross on the forehead and added the ridge along the top.



The final step was to drill the vent holes with a pin vise, and super glue styrene-rod rivets on the helmet. 



To make the lanyard cords around his neck, I braided some thin floral wire. This was simple to do– I folded the wire in half, secured the open end in the end of a power drill, and looped the folded end of the wire around a screw in a board. I turned on the drill at a low speed until the wire twisted tightly. (This is a great technique for making small-scale ropes!)



I trimmed off some some of the wire and bent it into shape. I used a small plastic skull cut off of a sword hilt for one attachment point, and sculpted the seal on the opposite shoulder.



Unfortunately, they were too close to the neck hole, so the helmet couldn't seat properly, so I had to remove and readjust them. To attach the heat, I left a bit of the dowel at the neck and sculpted a ridged collar over it. While the putty was still soft, I pressed it into the chest and let the putty compress a bit. Because it was still soft, I could make minor adjustments to the post to ensure Magnus' view was in line with his pistol.



I trimmed away some of the tabard on the left shoulder to make room for the lanyard seal, and glued it back in place.



And he's done! This was probably the most involved conversion project that I've ever worked on, but it was worth it in the end.




One final touch was to make a few extra long purity seals. For this, I cut some strips of thin styrene card and melted them with a heat gun to get some twisty shapes that will look like they are blowing in the wind.



I cut out a few pieces, notched the edges with my hobby knife, and glued them to a wooden stick for painting. I sculpted the wax seals with leftover modeling putty. 



Here's a rotation of the finished champion (sans purity seals).

'Til next time!


  1. How great it must feel to see this nearing the end. This is a tremendous project, and it has turned out so very well.

    1. I'll be so happy when this round of projects are done because it's mostly stuff I've been procrastinating on. :)

  2. He came out fantastic! After putting so much effort into the sculpt I'm sure you will really enjoy painting it. :)
    Love the color scheme on the little guy!

  3. I always enjoy your walk throughs on these builds. For a long time you've had some of the best blog based project logs with helpful mini tutorials thrown in on technic and material usage. There is a calmness and inevitability to the work which speaks to your skill and experience.

    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed following the progress. :)

    2. Silly question but what gauge is the wire you used on the lanyard? I'm hopping to use the technique to make nooses for Cawdor ganger conversions. Thanks.

    3. Not silly at all! I used 22 gauge floral wire. It might be a little too thick for 28mm scale; you're probably better off with something like 26 gauge wire for making nooses to put on a Necromunda model's belt.


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