I Hate Right Hands - Part I - The Basics  

Posted by Hal'jin in , , , , , ,

Here we go. First part of I Hate Right Hands will cover the basics of converting the veterans. General pointers, nifty ideas and the basics of working with plastic models to make your tiny men look different from the other tiny men.

There are multiple approaches you can take when making your veterans. You can give them an exceptional paintjob, you could make their bases stand out, you could put them together in different, more dynamic poses, you could use various elements from different kits to make them further stand out. I did them all. Possibly what I'll write here is obvious and you knew it already. But maybe you don't and maybe you will get some nice ideas. I sure hope so. Here goes!

  1. The concept
    It's very important that you actually take time and think over what are you going to do with your veterans. Remember, that all in all they're just regular guardsmen that just survived a few battles (unusual!). On the other hand, they're really badass guardsmen for having survived those few battles!

    You will have to think, what do you want your veterans to be? Are they specialised stealth troops, hidden withing the woods with sniper rifles? Are they outfitted with the best weapons that Imperium can provide to deal the deadly blow to the enemy? Are they crazed, fanatical close-combat specialists sporting fiery death? Are they just a line squad that survived for longer? Is there a heavy weapon team within the squad? That does depend on the fluff and concept of the regiment you play. Also, take a look at this:

    May purchase any and all squad Doctrines for 30pts each: Demolitions – Grants the squad Melta Bombs and 1 demo charge Forward sentries – Camo Cloaks + Snare Mines (Defensive Grenades) Grenadiers – Carapace Armour

    Obviously if you decide to go for one of these doctrines it would be nice to model it appropriately. Take your time and come up with a concept for an army list and decide wether you will take on any of these. While the first can be shown in a minimalistic way, the other two will require some more converting work.

    My initial concept for veterans was they're the elite soldiers delivering surgical strikes. Deployed with grav-chutes from the Valkyries (They always were in my fluff!) were they are needed most to deal with the biggest threat to the rest of the army.
    The concept is only slightly changed now. They'll be riding around in Chimeras, still having the best equipment - plasma guns. Supported by an anxious Company Commander they will still deliver surgical strikes, but also hold important objectives.

    What I wanted for my veterans is that they simply stood out. You would look at the army and see straight away that this squad is different. I was actually planning on giving them a different paintjob. Rather than the yellowish fatigues and brown armour they would all be painted Bleached Bone with a camouflage pattern on it. I moved away from the idea however. I'll keep that for Stromtroopers if I ever get any!

  2. The gear
    Veterans would often carry unusual equipment. They had time and they sure had more than enough bodies around them to grab some additional gear. As such they will usually be kitted either with additional equipment or gear that is not usually issued to the given regiment. After all Guard armies usualy consist of a huge mixture of various regiments and I'm sure Guardsmen would trade the gear between them in the back sometimes. Or loot it, after all what good would those shoes be to the dead comrade? Especially the sergeants, being the bosses of the dirty lot that the veterans are and overally experienced with the ways of Departamento Munitorum works surely have ways of accessing equipment through the backdoor. Examples of such equipment include:


    Non-standard issue lasguns, las-carbines and such.

    ..and not only that, special weapons as well.

    Weapons of unknown origin.

    Veterans are also usualy fielded to do specific tasks, rather than to hold the gunline. For that they might also recieve additional, special equipment.

    Ammunition box, since they might be operating away from the main body of army.

    Backpacks with rations, blankets and other equipment, who knows how long will they be out in the forward positions, alone.

  3. The preparation
    Before you begin, take your time and prepare for it. Scour all your boxes, drawers and everything you ever kept minis or sprues in and take all the parts you can find. For veterans you will want to use everything you have most likely.

    It's actually a good idea to plan in advance. For instance, take the Heavy Weapon Team sprues. There's lots of unusal bits in there, isn't there? You don't have to use those heads for heavy weapon team, you surely have spare regular guardsmen ones and those are unique! Same goes for backpacks, are they really needed on your team? Perhaps you can find a better use for them.

    Do you have friends playing Space Marines (Impossible you don't ;)) or a different variant of Guard (Well that only works for Catachans and Cadians, metal ones don't really provide bits)? Shuffle through their pieces and check what can be handy for you. Things like purity seals, bags, combat knifes, Catachan body parts (my friend uses Catachan heads on Cadian bodies for vets for example), their lasguns and vox caster (if you plan on having one). I'll cover this more in detail in Part Two.

    Last but not the least, check out what ForgeWorld has to offer. You can also consider what the new Cadian/Catachan Command Squads have in them. Some of these parts would make excellent veterans.

    Once you've got everything you need, you can start working!

  4. The work - Posing
    You would be really surprised with poses you can get from the regular Cadian box. All it takes is a little bit of imagination. Take for example this fella:

    Quite static, isn't he?

    That one is slightly better....

    While this one is a lot better!

    All you have to do is look at the various parts and think what else can you do with them? You will have to think about the entire mini as a whole however and match the pieces appropriately. For example, did you know you could do this:

    With the regular Cadian parts? The other thing is to remember what I've said before with planning use of bits from other kits. If you happen to buy a Basilisk there is a single heavy weapon crew sprue. But you also have the tank commanders on vehicle accessory sprue right? Well that gives us spare kneeling legs... While the arm usually holding binocular could as well shield the guardsmen's eyes from the sun!

    Remember to think if you want a uniform concept for the entire squad. Take a look at ForgeWorld Krieg squads. They all perform the same action, that helps to bind the unit together. Perhaps you could build them all advancing, while one is shooting , laying covering fire for others? Maybe they are charging into melee? Or forming and impenetrable wall of guns?

    Gunline (Don't have a lot of those, not planning on such a squad)

    Advancing squad

    Assaulting squad

    Note: If you have a veteran squad that fits the above criteria or has its own, unique way, and you would want them to be shown, drop me a word in comments and I'll give you my mail.

  5. The work - Arms
    And now we get to the thick of it. The arms. The hands. Right hands. Argh! What's wrong with right hands? Okay, take the Cadian sprue and look at the right hands we've got. Okay, there's one, two... five... carrying lasguns, okay! Now... one with a laspistol and... one throwing a grenade and... Um.. well. Oh yeah, pointy finger from the heavy weapons sprue! Wait that's it? So if I want to have the guardsmen carry something in his left hand (And there are plenty options there...) I am limited... to pointy finger. Wow.
    That is the biggest letdown of the sprues, but hey. We certainly can do something about that...

    Take for example the grenade-throwing-arm.

    This part is a hard one but it can be done. Carefully cut out the grenade from the hand. It might take you a few arms till you get this right (It did for me. :p), but you don't really need to drill it out entirely. Basically, cut out the grenade, you might damage the thumb a bit, it won't be noticeable. Just be careful not to cut to deep or the fingers might snap off. It will look like this:

    What's next? Just put whatever you want in that hand! Like this:

    Or even this!

    If it's a gun, make a tiny blob of green stuff and put in the trigger. It will work perfectly as the missing finger. The only issue is that it's quite limited. Not many things you cut put in there as the pose mostly suggests it's being thrown.

    What else can you do with that evil right arm? You can use the pointy finger of course. But how many guardsmen in the squad can be pointing their fingers at something? Of course ForgeWorld offers an alternative, so does the new command squad, but let's have a look at what else can you do with standart Cadian bits.

    One of the things is the lasgun arm that doesn't have the second hand on the lasgun, as it's intented for use with that one left arm that has a hand. Take a look here, the kneeling legs make a suitable base for the gun:

    Just as though that guardsman got a bit tired and put it on his knee while doing something else with the other hand. It doesn't really need the kneeling legs, it looks feasable and realistic for the regular standing pose as well.

    What else? You can of course recut the lasgun holding arm. While I do not advice cutting out the lasgun, as the arms are poorly bend to be doing much else and you would need to fill some parts with green stuff, but you can do somethign else. Cut off the arm at the base of the shoulderpad and rotate it slightly, then reglue. That's exactly what was done on the fella below:

    He's holding his lasgun in the air while advancing, carrying ammo for his squad. It's feasable, today's gun if leaned on the elbow can be held like that and somehow I think the lasgun is even lighter. On this picture however you can see the slight problem that emerges from twisting like that:

    So the butt of the gun isn't on one side of the arm, but isn't on the other either! Don't rotate too much as this will become obviously visible and a bit silly. Also it won't be seamless, you'll need to scratch and cut both parts a bit and use some green stuff to make it look proper.

    Here, a quick summary of the non-standard right hands:

    What about the left hand? There's much more choice there. First of all you can use the lasgun arm with the hand to hold more or less anything. Including the gun of course:

    There's also the heavy weapon team arm that can be used to hold things or not, as per binoculars and the kneeling veteran above. Now, take a look at this part:

    There's actually a lot you can do with it. Cut down the handle on one side a bit and... Here are two examples:

    The chainsword arm:

    is quite adaptable as well:

    Generally speaking, left hands are a dozen times easier to customize. That's why I hate the right ones! I'd be very happy if GW released a holstered lasgun arm, like the FW kit one. I was quite excited at the command squad sprue, till I realised that holstered lasgun is... left arm...

  6. The work - Heads
    The second tough part is the heads. Why? Because the kits offer only so much. You don't want your veterans to look like everyone else, do you? You salvation might come from the loose helmets on the sprue. With enough cutting you can make a different head fit into it, like this one:

    Actually, I have no clue where is it from, looks a bit WFB-ish. I will cover the methods of obtaining unique heads in the next part. Unfortunately I do not have any heads I could demonstrate it on anymore.

    Of course, there's also your own work, you could modify the existing heads to look different. This requires a bit of green stuff work. How is this done will be covered in another part, for now I'll just show you a few examples. Two different faces of the Cadian Sergeant:

    And others:

  7. The work - Additional accesories
    What are the other things the veterans might carry? Everything. Ranging from additional clips, grenades, bags to trophies. I have one nifty idea about a guardsmen with a belt going across his chest and several lasgun clips attached to it. Haven't don't it yet, it might go on the second veteran squad. I also always wanted to put a knife on someone's leg, just like on that artwork in our codex (The one with the guardsman and kasrkin standing). Unfortunately the size of the knife just won't fit.

    There is one accessory however I really like and put on every single veteran. Purity seals. I bet Marine players have loads of those spare, ask them! It makes for qutie a characterful unit. After all the Emperor did indeed grant them mercy and helped them survive these battles, so they sure are more zealous!

  8. The work - Sergeants

    This one is a huge topic, actually. I'll only touch it slightly, maybe expand in some future installement.
    Anyway, a sergeant of a veteran squad is definitely a standing out individual. You should aim to make him unique. You could use the officer cap, instead of bare head or helmet, as it stands in the old codex, they tend to wear these caps, much to the dismay of the real officers. Second thing is they have different gear. Actually, quite a lot of gear choices! If you can't make up your mind, I suggest using magnets. Like this:

    That way you have interchangeable pistol! You could do the same with the other hand, replacing the regular ccw with a power weapon or a fist. I'm not however, as I have some of these fancy metal cadian lieutenants still, that will come to play instead if I ever will field him that way (And I doubt I will, at least not for this squad).

  9. Medic!
    Just one more note. Be careful with knives, glue, drills, whatever. Sometimes the part you're cutting is hard and won't give in till you use more force and then... My fingers looked qutie scary, and to be honest blood on models isn't a great idea. So, careful!

And that's it for today, thanks for reading! I really hope I didn't say just obvious things and you've got some ideas from the article. Coming up next, part 1.5: The Halan Pattern Plasma Gun tutorial!

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 25, 2009 at Saturday, April 25, 2009 and is filed under , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Man this tutorial gives me so many ideas! and I cannot wait for the Plasma gun tutorial

Craig @ cadian8th

25 April 2009 at 15:43

Sweet! Will have to try putting some vets together after my new codex purchases arrive.

25 April 2009 at 17:10

What a fantastic tutorial! Amazing ideas, comments and insights!

Thank you!

25 April 2009 at 19:30

Great tutorial. Really enjoying this series. Thanks.

Another source of right hands, also from the heavy weapons team, is the one holding the mortar shell (needs to be drilled out like the grenade one) and also the HW trigger hand(s). Not as versatile, but different.

25 April 2009 at 22:10


I'm so excited about the freedoms my Vets will now enjoy...and I had exactly the same idea about the new command squad sprues too: there's some nice stuff on the Catachan one I have to say...

Thanks for spreading the Vet-love!

26 April 2009 at 00:56

Thanks for the positive comments guys. :)

Yep, I though about it, but actually forgot to mention it in the tutorial. Haven't found any uses for it myself yet, though.

26 April 2009 at 19:38


27 April 2011 at 01:00

I'm coming to the party somewhat late, but it's quite possible to create a boot-knife; cut off the blade from an IG knife (not the sheathed one!)leaving the haft and handle, and carve out a T-shaped groove on the trooper's leg to make it fit, just above the boot. One of my Vet squad has a bootknife.

The same thing can be done with stick grenades, if you can scrounge these from a WW2 German model kit, or they can be shoved into a belt - carve out a groove in the trooper's belt and chest to allow the grenade to sit in, then replace the section of belt with Green stuff or even some paper tape superglued in place.

25 January 2014 at 00:02

thank you of some of the articles I find this is one of the very interesting article to read, I like this

8 February 2015 at 09:57

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