There's no mention of the Sons of Sek using sentinels in any of the Gaunt's Ghosts books, so I've taken some license in coming up with these converted penitent engines. The closest equivalent in the Ghosts books would be the wirewolves found in Traitor General. In the book they were metallic constructs that contained daemons, and they were used by the occupation force as a type of alarm system, guarding small towns.
What I've built are large metallic constructs that are, for all intents and purposes, controlled by a bound bloodletter. I've carried over the theme of the wirewolves, without necessarily carrying over their appearance.
Here's the conversion process:
Removing the Purity Seals
As you can see, there are a number of large purity seals covering the model. My initial thought was to remove only the wax portion, thereby converting the purity seals into "litanies of hate." I decided against this, and instead removed them all, first with clippers and then with a dremmel.
Chains Covering the Purity SealsDespite using a dremmel to remove the purity seals, the affected areas still looked fairly rough. I decided to use jewelry chain that I picked up at Michael's Hobby and Craft to cover all of the affected areas.
I used Gel Superglue to form rivets at the point where the chain is attached to the body. It looks messier in this picture than it actually is. Oh, and this
Creating the "Pilot"
I opened up my new Daemons army box and reached for the bloodletters. I was really impressed how they managed to fit everything for all 10 models on 3 sprues. I would have to remove the sword (which I might give to my army general, if the size is not too much of an issue).
Changing the Posture
As you can see in the top picture, the natural position of a Bloodletter is hunched over with its arms angled inwards. The middle picture shows a normal penitent engine pilot with its back arched and its arms spread out. The new bloodletter models do allow for little if any articulation, unlike most other plastic kits. As such I had to trim areas, and cut angles from the arms, legs and pelvis.
Changing the posture of the bloodletters left large gaps in the pelvis and shoulders. I filled them with greenstuf and sculpted the musculature of the missing parts.
Constructing the Pilot Mounts
I took left over bass guitar strings from my Pleasurereaper Baneblade conversion and plugged them into the sides and the back of the neck of the bloodletters. I also took more of my jewelry chain and wrapped it around the torso and limbs to look like he's bound to the mount.
"Plugging In" the Bloodletter
This part was most troubling. I had intended to carve out the original pilots from their mounting. There were two problems with this method: 1) The bloodletters were too big, and 2) it would have taken too much effort to effectively remove the pilot. Instead a decided to create a crude plsticard frame that would be camouflaged by other pieces.
"Plugging In" the Bloodletter
Cleaning up the Mounting Cables
In order to further set these up as center pieces of the army I decided to add banners. I made these banners using essentially the same method I used on my Thousand Sons dreadnought. I began by drilling holes into the back of the sentinels at approximately 45 degree angles. I took brass rods to form the banner poles, and used dragon heads from the Chaos Vehicle Accessory Sprue and used them at the banner pole tops.
Constructing the Banners
I added some greenstuff to the areas where the cables plug in, to make a more gradual transition from cable to "flesh." I also added another set of chains around the wrists that attached directly to the Sentinel's arms.
Constructing the Banners
I then used then cut a piece of plasticard to fit within the available height of the poles, and wide enough at the longest point. I then cut the ends at angles parallel to the poles, but left the plasticard a little longer than necessary, so that I would have material to wrap around the back of the poles. I also cut various parts of the plasticard to make the banner look tattered.
Warping the Banners
I grabbed my heatgun and I just melted the plasticard around the poles and warped the banner itself. Once you heat an area, you have a few seconds to move and tweak it a bit. I just did this till I got an effect I was happy with.
Once everything started coming together, I realized that the bottom of the pilot mount was too exposed and looked crude. I went through my Chaos bitz box, and was surprised by what I found. I used the mount for a Havoc Missile Launcher from the Chaos Vehicle Accessory sprue. It's placed on its side with the flat end that's supposed to mount onto a vehicle out front. This provided a perfect spot to mount the Icon of Khorne also from the Chaos Vehicle Accessory Sprue."Sentinel" - Front
Overall, I'm quite pleased with how the two sentinels turned out. I will start painting them this weekend, though I have a lot of gaming planned. I'll probably wind up finishing painting them on Tuesday, which will put me 2 days behind schedule already. It took way longer to build these guys than I had expected. I'm currently in the process of priming them. The body and arms are not yet glued to the legs. I pinned them so I can paint the top and bottoms separately, and then I'll glue them at the end.
I think I spent about 16 hours total converting both. I think painting them both will only take 8-10 hours. Here's hoping.