Thursday, 16 August 2012

Getting The Most Out Of Your Marines: Restoration Project and 'Eavy Metal 80s Special

There has been much recent talk about whether or not you can still get a good deal on eBay. Well, how about this little Buy it Now I picked up this week. I got 25 Rogue Trader era plastic marines for £20, so that is less than a pound per model! Trouble is, these miniatures are some of the most brutalised I have ever seen when it comes to poor painting. Detail swamped by the undercoat, gloss (presumably enamels) paint here and there, and a wide range of suitably retro camo colour schemes. In times past, I'd have run a mile from these but with the wonderous qualities of dettol, I feel that these early GW plastics could be restored to a very high standard of retro style painting.

Let's have a closer look at the lot, shall we....

Jumbling around with the models I was able to big several 5 man squads. This, the first squad, has four marines with bolters and a marine with a flamer. Wonderful retro design!

The second squad is exactly the same. Four marines with bolters and a marine with a flamer. Lovely!

The third squad was a little more based about, with a base missing and a detached weapon. Nothing major to repair here though. All the marines in this squad are armed with bolters.

The final squad has only one marine armed with a bolter, the rest are armed with a smaller pistol, which I assume are an early form of a bolt pistol. Anyone put me right on this?

I have one powerfist commander too. All this example needs is a base. You can see just how bad the undercoat of white is here. Really thickly applied. It has the aged whiff of humbrol white.

The job lot also had a small pile of broken marines. They are all missing their right arms sadly, though I have some spare weapons and chainblades. There are also the remains of a second marine commander here. 

My plan here is to try and strip these models down to the original plastic before trying to separate the individual components. Once I have these broken down, I'll soak them in dettol once more and them try and rebuild them with more dramatic, old school poses. Then, of course, I could paint them!

As you are aware, I have been using issue 94 of White Dwarf for inspiration for posts. The last few posts have had scans from this essential retro issue. One of the reasons the issue is so vital is that it contains a really nice 'Eavy Metal article entitled 'Making the most out of your Marines'. This article contains old school insights from such luminaries as Rick Priestley, John Blanche, Aly Morrison, the enigmatic Sid (where is he now?) and Nick Bibby. Quite a pedigree then. It really is worth a read, if not just for the the crazy '80s conversions using other plastic kits of the time, including a bizarre dalek space marine mix!

This may surprise recent converts to retro gaming, but 'Eavy Metal used to actually have words in it. Lots of them too. And those words treated the reader as an adult to boot! Don't worry though, there are still loads of pictures of space marines, happily in different styles and not just a bland house look. There is even a whiff of, dare I say it, comedy about the proceedings. I love the image above of Bibby in the '80s shades.

Just follow this link to see what I am on about. I have included the entire article below.




  1. Good purchase and you have the added benefit of lavishing some much needed TLC on these old veterans!

    The PJ's certainly have that old school RT vibe, shame it was spooned on so thick. I look forward to seeing the results of your renovations.

    Nice article too - the Davros marine is hilarious. I love that grey Inquisitor with the skull on his helmet. Tracked him down on ebay and slavishly copied that paint scheme a few years back.

  2. Damn! I need to stop following this thread...yo are making me regret selling off my old Plastic SMs and the many lead versions I had....:( I must stay focused on my tasks at hand....this way lies madness!!!!

    Good luck with those! will Dettol work on enamels?

  3. Hey, love the old Marines, I still have mine painted up as Dark Angels, but in black, like the original rulebook shows.
    For paint stripping I would recommend Fairy Power spray. Its quite cheap, does'nt stink like detol, and can be washed down the sink. Doesnt melt plastic either. You just leave your models in a jar of it for 24-48 hours and the paint comes off easily with very little scrubbing, although i use a nail brush to get the little bits off.

  4. I may have enough spare bits to restore that last squad. What are you missing? Let me know and I'll have a look for you.

    1. Thanks for the generosity! I need four bolters, a head and a left arms with flat hands to hold weapons.

    2. I found a head, and a left arm with the flat hand. I have four bolters and four right arms with bolt pistols. If you are up for a bit of converting you can cut the bolt pistols off and attach the bolters. If you want them you can pm me over at the oldhamer forum and you can give me your address.