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Lieutenant, Actually

Some may mock the volume of Primaris Lieutenants grunted out by Games Workshop, but variety of choice is rarely a bad thing. One might as well enjoy Marine Privilege if one can. Besides, we're still missing a Lieutenant in Gravis armour and a Lieutenant in Terminator plate,* so if there isn't a white and red helmet stripe in a pipeline somewhere, I'm Barbara Streisand.

Today's particular lieutenant is my take on converting the Lieutenant with combi-weapon. The original is great, but it's also extremely specifically a Tyranid war veteran, and I wanted something that felt right in more contexts than that. Turns out, this is pretty doable with a spot of kitbashing and a small amount of sculpting. Even if you've not sculpted before it's probably doable, so today I'll quickly describe which bitz I used and how I did it. As is traditional, I'll also talk about how I've reinterpreted the datasheet lore-wise.

The conversion

The first order of business was to cut away the things I didn't want, namely, the trophy talon hanging from the belt, and the left arm. This is easy enough with some clippers and some tidying. Next, I used a knife arm from the Infiltrators kit, and the pistol arm from the Desolators kit, since that's the only left-handed bolt pistol I could find in my bitz box. The pistol's purely cosmetic since he doesn't have one in the rules, I just preferred it to pointing a knife.

Oh, and the helmet's also from the Infiltrators kit.

This was all easy enough, but left me with a couple of gaps on his webbing - one on the belt where the trophy used to be, and another on his rifle sling at the back of his right shoulder. The gap on his belt was filled with a bit of green stuff, but the shoulder strap was freestanding and needed more than just putty. I could've used paper, but that would have been both fragile and thinner than the rest of the strap. In the end, I improvised by shaving down a purity seal so that I could get a strong poly cement bond, and then tidied it up with green stuff, as shown below:

Sadly I didn't take a photo of the green stuff on the belt in front, but at least here you can see how I concealed the dead Tyranid brain boy on the base by sculpting a green stuff rock around it:

Speaking of things I didn't take photos of, I also had a fit of obsessiveness here and added a knife handle to one of the empty scabbards, since the original model has it stuck in the dead Tyranid brain beneath his boot. You could absolutely leave this empty, particularly since a knife handle doesn't really fit in the scabbard at this angle. I had to file it down a whole bunch on one side, so that it's kinda  subliminally clipping into his breastplate. If I was doing the conversion from the start, I'm not sure I'd bother, but hey: not every choice is a winner.

The painting

This was almost entirely the same as the way I painted the rest of my Phoboys, with a whole bunch of Vallejo's German Fieldgrey. If you want the full step-by-step, that's available in my first Phobos armour post. Normally I'd try and take things further with a character, but while some of the highlighting's a bit scrappy (particularly on the bolt pistol) I didn't worry about it too much and just moved on.

The one change I made was to bring up the lightness of the helmet stripe and left pauldron to give it a bit more pop for a character. Normally the pauldron would be Dawnstone, but once I'd painted on the chapter badge I did successive glazes of Administratum Grey to give a zenithal highlight to the whole pauldron. Other than that, it's all the original paint recipe linked above.

The lore

The original datasheet for this unit represents a battered lone survivor who has since become the jungle. That's very cool, but obviously I wanted to make it my own. So instead, I got rid of all the custom armour, slapped a helmet on him, and made the whole solo soldier thing a bit more premeditated.

This particular chap, Praetor Andrus Varro, is a member of the Chapter's Tenth Company (hence the lack of company colour on his left kneepad). I imagine the Scions' Tenth Company has more than two lieutenants to manage all those scouts in addition to the hundred marines of the Vanguard.

I also imagine a Chapter's Tenth Company is a natural home for the Emperor's finest edgy loners, but that's not a very Scions vibe. Don't get me wrong, I can imagine they'd have some moody boys best left to cause havoc behind enemy lines, but that isn't this guy's job. Instead, his role is to get in the smallest, fastest ship and reach the warzone while waiting for the rest of a strike force to arrive. There, he'll gather information from local Imperial forces, do some scouting of his own, and generally pave the way for his brothers' arrival. So really, being a liaison officer, he has to be the opposite of the edgy boy that the original sculpt was intended to represent.

This does at least vibe with the datasheet's ability to paint an objective, since this guy's done the recon already, and might also represent him having laid various traps that make that primary objective a surprisingly shit place for the enemy to be.

Do I lament that his combi-flamer is now best against heavy infantry due to the baffling streamlining of such weapons in 10th edition 40K? Yes. Will we be house ruling that? Also yes. GW have always been on board with people making things their own, be that the lore, the rules, and particularly, their miniatures. So that's just what I'll continue to do.

Wait, there's more

I've run out of things I thought were worth saying, and it's not worth a whole blog post on its own, but: I've also done more Intercessors. The army's up to 3,500ish points now, which is strongly more than what I expected when I began this project back in 2019, and as such it felt like I needed more basic lads to keep an even keel. So here's five more basic boys, including the original test Ultramarine I painted prior to starting the army. He's now a Cobalt Scion, and has a name, and an entry in the Third Company's wiki page, as is right and proper.

The whole unit was cobbled together out of spare bits, easy-fit test minis and unused bodies I had hanging around, which meant I'd run out of proper grenade launchers. Fortunately, Tom had previously acquired a bunch of 3D printed launchers, and helped a brother out.

3D printed grenade launcher add-on from Tom. Thanks Tom!

Right. I'm off to paint EVEN MORE Space Marines. Hopefully, wherever you are, you're enjoying painting up your tiny mans as much as I am.

*If these lieutenants aren't called Heftenants, what are writers even for?


  1. Great work as always.

    My kid did a similar conversion to his version of the Lt. I am sure that he did not sculpt in the missing strap, or worry overly about the missing knife handle, but that's something that comes with time... hopefully your skill with the brush also comes in time!

    1. Thanks mate! Lord knows, what my early work lacked in finesse it made up for in enthusiasm; I'm sure he'll be no different 😄


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