You have the LVO-worthy list determined already. You have a glorious paint scheme picked out. And you have $200 of plastic crack purchased and ready to be assembled into your dream team.
But that is not enough. You want to win your next ITC game in style. Generic GW models, while pretty, are nothing that 10 other people* in the same tourney do not also have. So a bit of customization is in order to not only let your army stand out from the masses, but also earn you a few points on the hobby track as well. Plus, there is a real feeling of pride when your opponent notices how the army you are about to kick his ass with, also looks just plain kickass.
I have already written about some of the basics of creating cool conversions via simple kitbashing, but sometimes something simple and easy is needed to get you from concept to a completed table-top-ready (aka “battle-ready**”) 2000 point army. The trick is simply head swaps. Obvious… I know. But few people take the time to toss out that old Cadian helmeted head for something with a bit more character.
You are going to have at least a few people in your gaming circle who play Necromunda*** and might have a few Orlock heads lying around that make great swaps on standard Guard toros. You don’t need a whole freaking army of unique heads that you bartered and bought off of friends: Just a few key head swaps to make each squad feel less cookie cutter, will be more than sufficient. Give that sergeant or heavy weapons trooper**** a face that happens to really stand out and suddenly the whole squad feels like that special snowflake you always knew it was meant to be!
This is a two way street. Feel free to think the other way around and keep the stock heads. Maybe those helmeted Eldar heads ARE badass and you need to find another way to quickly turn that squad into something standout. Well then keep the damn heads and replace the bodies. A recent project I did for a Kill Team involved keeping the awesome Eldar Scourge heads and placing them on to Van Saar bodies*****. The model clearly represents Eldar as the helmets are so distinct, but they have so much unique character due to the obvious (and super dynamic) body swaps.
Sometimes heads literally fit into the neck/torso with ZERO effort.****** Almost like they were designed to be compatible. Other times you need to take a knife and whittle away at the neck joint to fit it into the socket of the torso. That might take like 5 seconds and is totally worth the effort for this simple kitbash. Many kits do have torsos with hollow necks or cavities, as the heads they were designed to support attach a bit differently. But this is super easily fixed with a ball of green stuff wadded up and shoved into the gap.
Get creative. Look for other races/species to swap heads. Check out the GW “boxed games”******* for cool head swamps. Or consider Age of Sigmar. There are so many awesome things from Age of Sigmar that I often find excuses to build a detachment solely so that I can use some random AoS kit that I fell in love with. Here’s one of my favorite head swaps that GW actually first brought to my attention in the Astra Militartum codex. It uses an AoS head swap.
I have a full army of these guys as my “Royal Guard” and will be going into more detail on them in the future.
So get out there and chop off some heads and show some face. You will be guaranteed to roll better.********
*20 other people if you field Space Marines.
** TM GamesWorkshop because they do love their IP.
***Or at least a few people who don’t play but buy the Necromunda models to paint up because they are just so damn cool!
****Because we all know these are the lucky squad members who are going to stay the longest on the tabletop once the dice start rolling in your enemy’s favor.
***** ALSO Necromunda models. Wow. Necromunda has some really good stuff. And they keep on making more and more models for this game that is far from commonly played.
******Which is ideal because I can be a lazy sack of poop. Plus, sometimes you need minimal-effort-required, when assembling a hoard army.
*******GW’s beautifully produced, but usually-neglected-after-a-few-weeks-of-selling-have-passed, “other” games,
********This fact has not been verified.
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