This is another one of those dirt-cheap, simple conversions that you can add some punch to your Imperial Guard... sorry, Astra Militarium army (because you can’t copyright “Imperial Guard”).  And, as an added bonus, it ties really well to the Adeptus Mechanicus, too.  Good timing on that...

Many years back, when the Imperial Guard codex worked off the doctrine system, there was a wonderful White Dwarf article about abhuman regiments.  For those of you who missed it, the idea was pretty simple.  With all the various not-quite-mainstream humans kicking around the Imperium, it was inevitable that you’d end up with a few worlds where the large percentage of their populations—and thus, their Guard foundings—weren’t, exactly, well, mainstream human.  Think Ogryns.  Or Inhumans.

One of the most interesting ones, I thought, were the Afriels.  Unlike many of the other mutations which resulted from centuries of isolation in harsh conditions, the Afriels were deliberately engineered by the techpriests of Mars using DNA from dozens of the Imperium’s greatest heroes (think Serpentor 40,000).  They weren’t Astartes, but they were tougher, stronger, and better disciplined than most Guardsmen, and usually equipped with top level kit from the techpriests.

I built a platoon’s worth of them in Adeptus Mechanicus colors... and then the doctrine system went away.  I briefly toyed with just repainting them all to join my Catachans, but I really liked the look of them as chalk-skinned figs.  And I do have a thing for super-soldiers.

It took me a long while to hit on the idea of Afriel Stormtroopers...  Sorry again, Scions (old habits, because you can’t copyright “Stormtroopers”).  It made perfect sense, really.  Afriels and Scions hit so many of the same points.  Better trained, better equipped, less common, more durable, very distinctive on the field, and usually deployed for a specific purpose.  And just this week, we’ve seen the announcement of Skitarii—genetically and mechanically engineered super soldiers used by the Adeptus Mechanicus.  So, yet another possibility...

The cheap part?  Afriels are pretty much just Catachan Guardsmen with a distinctive color scheme (white skin, pale hair, and a contrasting uniform—probably red).  So that’s a full squad of ten Scions (or Skitarii) for almost 60% less than the regular price.

I used a lot of spare heads from Space Marine Scouts.  Each one has a headset and several have monoptics or visors, which helps sell the high-tech idea.  They’re also just a hair too big for Catachan bodies.  I mean, we’re talking like three or four percent too big.  Just enough that it registers and feels a little... off.  Which is perfect for Afriels.

I’m probably going to go through and put Space Marine scopes on the lasguns.  It’s a little touch that makes the rifles look a little more high-tech and helps sell them as either a hellgun variant or just a higher-end lasgun.

My Afriel Tempestor Prime (originally the platoon commander) has a bionic arm.  This is a really simple conversion—it’s just a Space Marine arm without a shoulder pad.  Yes, I know he can’t have a stormbolter.  As I said, he was built when the codex was very different.  He’ll probably end up with a plasma pistol, and maybe a power sword.

There’d probably be some weapons tweaks needed to make an Ad Mech squad out of them, but the basic idea would remain the same. And be just as inexpensive...


Transcendent C’Tan

What the heck, while I’m on this little roll, here’s one other Necron unit you can make on the cheap.  Although, to be fair up front, like the Deathmarks, this one’s more “inexpensive” than flat-out cheap, and

Lots of folks love that Transcendent C’Tan, but it is scary expensive.  You’re either paying for the whole Tesseract Vault (about $140) or you’re buying it online as bits (around $60 most places I’ve seen it).  Neither of these is a great option if you’re short on cash.


All along, the Necron fluff has talked about how several of the C’Tan disguise themselves as other creatures.  Even with the slight retcon that the ones we meet are all “shards” of the total entity, it’s not hard to believe they could take on any form.  So any oversized model could work as a C’Tan with the right paintjob.

For example...

The Dark Elf Cauldron of Blood has a great statue of Khaine.  You can pick it up for under twenty bucks on line, even less if you get lucky with an eBay auction.  It makes a wonderful Avatar if you’re an Eldar player, or just scenery. But it could also be used for other purposes...

Here’s the complete statue.  I could cut off the topknot, some of the horns/ vanes on the head.  I could also shave off some of the spur-type horns growing along the arms and legs.  This would leave me with a pretty basic humanoid form with an elongated head.

I could also grab the control panel icon from the Necron Catacomb command barge.  You may already have one of these in your bits if you built an annihilation barge.  It fits very well right on the chest with no work at all.  With a tiny bit of filing and shaving, it would be a perfect fit.

If you can afford to pay a little more, dig around online or in your bits bins for detail pieces from the Wood Elves line.  There are tufts of weeds, blades of grass, and all sorts of small branches and such.  But if they’re painted electric blue or neon green, these would look a lot like the little energy wisps that are radiating off GW's Transcendent C’Tan model.  This would also work with really simple green stuff tentacles.

And just like that... you've got a Transcendent Star Dragon, for under twenty dollars.


Bargain Basement Harlequins

Yeah, they don't look like much right now, but use green stuff to resculpt the faces, cut the limbs to repose them, add some leftover weapons from your Dark Eldar or the bits bins, base them, prime them, add some checkerboard patterns on the legs and arms...

No, forget it.  Just forget I even suggested this...