Saturday, October 19, 2013

Turning a Toy Into a 40k Model Part 1 - Todd McFarlane Made my Soulgrinder!

TJ here to talk about turning a toy (or in this case an action figure) into a 40k model. We established what I (and many readers agree) are the rules for toys on the table in THIS post. I have a toy I want to turn into a 40k model and I imagine many of us nerds also have some cool stuff laying around that they could convert as well, so I want to document this and explain things as I go for anyone else who wants to do something similar. Let's take a trip to the toy store:

Step 1: Selection

So if you don't already have a toy in mind, you need to find one that meets the scale of 40k or can be modified in such a way to meet the scale. This works for action figure in an obvious way, but it also works for vehicles that you may want to convert to add in. Is that monster truck really going to look good with your Traitor Guard? Probably not, but will it work with Orks, chances are you'll be painting it red before you know.

With that said, I had a tough choice ... Donatello or .... ?

Todd McFarlane's Mutations Spawn from Series 23 (I Googled that last part, I'm not that nerdy!) Naturally, I picked the Spawn toy, which brings me to Quality - Don't limit yourself to the toy store selection, look into Collectors Action figures on Ebay and sites that specialize in selling these type of models. There are hundreds of incredible action figures, ranging in scale from 40mm-ish to humongous models like this Spawn. I have had this one laying around from when I way younger and decided that it was time to put it to good use.

Step 2: Testing

Once you select your model you must Test it for two things, Durability and Paintability. Spawn here had some big crests on his head and some horns coming off his back that were made of soft, bendable plastic. While those parts looked cool, if they bend easily, they will also shed their paintjob, which I just can't have (if you have any DUST models painted up, then you may know what I am talking about already.) So to make your model durable, you need to pinch, bend and test every part. If it doesn't pass the test, it has to go.

To test Paintability, you need to hit the toy with some primer. Some action figures are made of plastic that will be destroyed by spray paint, others have a varnish on them that will never hold paint, so you need to test it BEFORE you waste any time converting it or doing anything serious to it,

Step 3: Posing

As you can see, I have blasted the toy with a little primer (the red) and also have cut off anything that bends. Now I am posing. I have arranged the arms and posable limbs into a position I think will fit in with the 40k parts I have Blue Tac'd* on. (*non adhesive putty that allows you to get an idea of how your model looks before you glue it.)

Once you have the model in the pose you know you will want, it is time to permanently fix the pose.

Step 4: Fixing the Pose

To fix the pose on most action figures, all you need to do is add some superglue between the articulated parts. This figure has rotating wrists, waist, neck, mid-bicep and shoulders, so I did was pour some superglue (Krazy Glue to be specific) into the gaps where those parts move and within seconds, it had partially melted those areas together, making a bond that I couldn't even break by twisting the joints as hard as I could. That being said, make sure you are sure about Step 3 before doing Step 4.

With you pose fixed and in place, it is time to convert your model, which we will cover in the next part of this series, so get your Green Stuff, tools and Glue!

As always, let me know what you think and share your toy conversions if you have got them.


  1. AWESOME man! great idea. (sorry Donatello.) can't wait to see how it turns out.

  2. Looks great! Would have loved to have seen a Ninja Turtle Soul Grinder! Lol

  3. Great looking conversion thus far.

    This is one of my favourite toy conversions from the internet:,d.d2k&psig=AFQjCNH8G9LBDjDh7jlarajOupkMxCSxHw&ust=1382345256906338

  4. Hello. I published it and many more at Warhammer Proxies!