Kitbashing Steel Legion Special Weapons – The Options

June 4, 2021 by Solar Cross

Imperial Guard Steel Legion - A Hobby Project
Steel Legion - First Army List
Kitbashing Steel Legion Special Weapons - The Options

Establishing the Ideal Outcome

The first step in any conversion or kitbash is to conceive of the most ideal outcome for one’s efforts both aesthetically and in terms of game load outs. Before setting out on a journey it helps to know where you want to end up.

WYSIWYG Load Out

The original metal Steel Legion that is still available at retail may capture the Steel Legion look completely but it is missing a number of weapon options that I, and many, would desire.

Specifically for my Emperor’s Blade detachment I wish for the three veteran squads to have a plasma gun and flamer each. That is in addition to the missile launcher and grenade launcher the original kit has. 7th edition veteran squads each can have three special weapons. So here I am missing three plasmaguns and three flamers.

I am not bothered by alternative heavy weapon options. The missile launchers of the original kit suit me fine.

Steel Legion Missile Launcher Heavy Weapon Team
Steel Legion Missile Launcher Heavy Weapon Team

Also I would like the squad sergeants to be kitted out with boltguns instead of pistol and chainsword combos. Where I would like the pistol and chainsword combos is for the four veterans that accompany the company commander although one could have a meltagun instead.

The reason for this is that I would like the company command squad to be kitted out for melee. Their job would to jump in to support any of the vet squads that got caught in CQB.

To help with this they will be accompanied by some of the Imperial Guard support characters like the priest, enginseer, primaris psyker and commissar. All these support characters are better at melee than anything else and the priest at least will buff the prowess of the guardsmen too.

I know it is playing with fire to have a commissar in the same unit as a company commander and psykers (at least in 6th / 7th ed) but I think it will be fun and fluffy; winning is overrated.

Finally I will want a suitable model to represent the company commander himself.

Aesthetics

If all I wanted was the load out I could just drop in plastic cadians and call it a day. Of course I also want the models to actually look like Steel Legion aesthetically too. This is where the trouble arises.

To better analyse precisely the Steel Legion look I have gone ahead and ordered and painted up the original Steel Legion Infantry squad. Let us take a look.

1st Squad Showcase

1st Steel Legion Squad Painted

Starting from the head and working down, these are the essential elements of the authentic Steel Legion style.

Aesthetic Analysis of a Steel Legion Guardsmen
Aesthetic Anatomy of a Steel Legion Guardsman

However I do it, by kitbash, conversion, sculpting or third party alternatives, I want the models that take the place of the missing special weapons to hit as many of these elements as possible.

This 1st squad was painted up some while ago actually. I did them during my first attempt at a hobby streak, see here to see how long it lasted.

I am no display painter but I can do a better than average tabletop standard, see here if you would like to commission me for your projects.

Conversion Approaches

Now that we have a clear idea of what I want to achieve, it is time to contemplate the means to do it. At present I can think of four approaches:

Minimal

I could save myself the bother and just use the original metal steel legion infantry kit as is. It is an option, easy but not satisfying. I will not have all the special weapons I could take as veterans. The company command squad will be a bit boring and I will still need to get a suitable company commander. However it is the least effort approach for a true Steel Legion aesthetic. It also is not too expensive either since the metal kit is actually fairly reasonably priced.

Some minor conversions like sticking a cadian vox pack on the back of some of the lasgun caddies is within the scope of this approach. Perhaps one could be given a medpack to make a command squad medic too.

Of course it is within the scope of this approach to source the out of production Steel Legion plasma guns that might still be found on ebay. Sadly, every time I looked the prices were just too silly.

Raumjagers for Special Weapons

As mentioned in the introduction to this series, there is a third party plastic kit called the Raumjagers by Wargames Atlantic that might pass for Steel Legion.

The special weapons that I most want are plasmaguns and flamers. Usefully the Raumjager kit has close proxies for both. I could just build some Raumjagers with those weapons, three or four of each, and drop them in.

I quite want the vet squad sergeants to have boltguns and the command squad vets to have chainswords and pistols. To this end the original metal squad sergeants could be moved to the command squad. Then three Raumjagers could be converted to carry space marine bolters to serve as the vet sergeants. An easy conversion since all the parts will be plastic.

Using Raumjagers is easy and cheap and would give me the exact load out that I want. However if I am fussy the Raumjagers do not quite have the authentic Steel Legion look. There are knee length overcoats, and gasmask heads with simple helmets, but they do not have the knee length boots or skirted gloves of the classic Steel Legion look. Also the gasmasks do not feed to a separate rebreather on the chest.

I have not decided if it matters, but the Raumjager seem to have their armour on the outside of their overcoats. The original Steel Legion squaddies seem to wear it under their coats.

Raumjager Infantry by Wargames Atlantic

Find Raumjager Infantry on ebay.

Cut and Splice Original Metal

I wince to think of doing this but I could cut out the lasguns from some of the original metal Steel Legion. Then replace them with the plastic special weapons from the Raumjager kit, Cadian kits or elsewhere.

I wince because I do not like to damage the older minis, even though I suppose they are technically current minis since they are still being sold as new.

The main pain though is just the difficulty in cutting the metal that way. All the original minis have the gun held against the body or face. Consequently there is more to the cutting than just snipping where the gun meets the hand, as one can usually do with plastic. That and metal is hard to cut.

I will have to invest in a rotary tool or something similar for that job. Even then it will not be fun.

If the operation is successful though I will have the exact load out I want with the exact Steel Legion aesthetic. The best possible result.

Alternatively, rather than cut the whole lasgun away, just the end could be removed and then the end of a plasma or flamer added in its place. I think it would look a bit rubbish like that, although some green stuff sculpting might help, but it would be easier than removing the whole gun.

Sculpt Over Raumjager

An alternative approach to using the Raumjagers unmodified would be to use green stuff to sculpt on the missing features of the Steel Legion look: the boots and gloves. Also the separate rebreathers and linking hoses could be added this way too. I am not a wizard with the green stuff but none of these jobs seem too hard. It will be time consuming though.

Next Instalment in the Series

Later we will see which path I take and how I get on. Perhaps I will try more than one approach. See you then.

Imperial Guard Steel Legion - A Hobby Project
Steel Legion - First Army List
Kitbashing Steel Legion Special Weapons - The Options

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