The picture below is of my Space Marine army, The Emperor’s Blades. They had been doing rather well in 5th Edition and I was quite happy with their performance. Then came along 6th Edition and everything changed. At first I refused to add any flyers to my army but after one particularly brutal pummeling by a pair of Vendettas it became apparent to me that I would need to add some kind of aerial support were they to enjoy any kind of success on the battlefield.
Now at this time (before the Death from the Skies supplement had been released) my only real option was a Stormtalon. It was that or go down the Allies route. The problem is I HATE the Stormtalon model. To my mind it resembles a rather fat bumblebee, a comical and completely atypical design choice that was a real misstep by Games Workshop. Of course this is ENTIRELY my own opinion and one that I fully understand may not be shared by others. There are probably plenty of people who really like the Stormtalon (you poor deluded fools) and that is just fine. It was clear to me however that if I were to finally submit to having these models amongst the forces of the Emperor’s Blades modifications would need to be made.
The Emperor’s Blades. Well, all that’s painted anyway. Not 6th edition proficient.
First problem with the Stormtalon, it’s too chibi! Space Marine vehicles are not meant to look cute, they are meant to be death dealing devices of mass destruction. My main aim was to make the model more ‘horizontal’, to streamline it and make it look more like what I felt a gunship or interceptor should resemble. After having a look at the model itself and a number of conversions around the internet I felt that nobody had really managed to get it looking quite the way I had wanted. Still I did take inspiration from a number of sources and there are some great versions of the Stormtalon out there.
Step 1 was to sort out that bottom turret mount. It was far too bulky and influenced the silhouette of the Talon far too much. It would just need to be mounted up in the hull more and not hang down so far, so a little hacking away at the mounting gave me a place to mount the assault cannon (see picture). Small problem however, the housing for the assault cannons was far too big to fit. So off that went. I used just the two assault cannons themselves but turned them round and trimmed the bits that caused a gap between them. There was a rather awkward looking join clearly visible but the ammo hoppers for the heavy bolters covered those up nicely. Of course the parts don’t move anymore but I was never a massive fan of that anyway. So far so good!
First completely remove the original mounting for the turret from the Stormtalon model with cutters. The upper part of A is inverted and becomes the new mount for the assault cannons which lose their housing and are assembled and then joined inside out. A little trimming will be required here and there to attain symmetry
The new assembly for the Assault Cannons. A spot of Greenstuff and a trim on the other side tidies things up.
The New Mount for the Assault Cannons
The ammo hopper for the Heavy Bolters works well as a pseudo-housing
Further to my efforts to streamline the model I decided that the lower tail fin had to go. I removed it with a pair of cutters, cleaning up the ragged edges with a knife. This did leave a gap in the lower hull section that you can easily fill with Greenstuff. I felt this change improved the profile a lot but I still wasn’t happy.
That tail fin? Yeah we don’t need that, a little Greenstuff will hide the damage…..
Next those side pods had to go, I hated the way they just looked bolted on and the bulkiness they contributed to the model. This bit was fairly easy. First remove the pod mounting. Cutters and knife chopping away at plastic for a few minutes achieved this. Unfortunately it did leave a whacking great big hole. I didn’t really fancy Greenstuffing another section of the model so I’d have to think of something else. Thankfully the Stormtalon kit is resplendent with left over parts (especially if you are working on this conversion) so I had plenty of bitz with which to hide the hole. I think it’s a Lascannon ammo pack and the vents, but you may want to check the pictures to be sure. I feel it works well and add some nice technical detail.
More plastic butchery required here I fear…
This did leave one small problem however. Where to mount the weapons? After a little head scratching and deliberation and a few false starts (I contemplated positioning the missiles on the roof – as evidenced by the missing roof vents on one of the Talons – and in the nose but neither looked right) I settled on placing the missiles under the engine air intakes. I found it best to use a clipper to remove the edges of the part and then CAREFULLY trim the remainder to size. Always aim to start out too big for the space, you can always take more off, thankfully if you get it wrong you will have a few spares.
The lascannons were mounted in the nose where the air intakes on the flanks are (a little trimming to the lascannon base is required). Now they’ll not easily magnetize but by making a plug out of greenstuff ill be able to take them in and out so I’ll able to field all the different weapon load outs for the Talon.
Carefully remove the detail here to make a place to put the missiles.
…which, unless you have alternative parts you will need to cut out of here.
Et voila! That works….
So that’s it really, aside from a repair of the roof, and a few bits of tidying up here and there that’s the conversion finished. It’s by no means perfect but It is something that I can live with and has certainly met my goal of making it more horizontal. I still think it will look a bit silly if you can see the power armoured pilot so ill be darkening the canopy significantly. I still haven’t got round to painting them yet though. I guess that could make for another article. I’m pretty happy with it overall especially considering it only uses parts from the kit and is a fairly quick conversion. Of course it may not be for everybody so feel free to let me know what you think. It’s what the comments section is for after all…
My two Stormtalons. Less Bumblebee, more Harrier Jump Jet.
Sleek and deadly, well more so than before. (in my opinion)