I recently received some of Maxmini's (www.maxmini.eu) 'steam knight' heads and jump packs, both of which are ideal for pre-heresy conversions. I decided that both of these items would be ideal for making up an assault squad.
First of all, comments concerning the heads below (picture courtesy of Maxmini)
Within the head set are a variety of different types - I'm not sure who the Steam Knights are, but they obviously wear armour of exactly the same type as Marines during the Great Crusade! There is a head ideal for Thousand Sons conversions, one that looks very much like an Ultramarine pattern mk3 helm, one which looks just like that worn by Kharn in Collected Visions, and perhaps most useful of all a standard mk2 and mk3 design. The helmets, like the jump packs, were an excellent quality cast - I had to do very little cleaning to make them ready. As for the designs, they resemble accurately much of the source material. My only criticism - they are a fraction too large. Although this is a common complaint with marine sculpts in general, I think a barebones tactical marine in an undramatic pose may look a little top heavy.
Overall though for the price they are perhaps the easiest way to get hold of mk2 armour (we are no longer at the mercy of the exaggerated prices of ebay) and the mk3 helm offers a more detailed version of the Berserker helm often used for constructing that type of armour.
For the pre-heresy modeller the Maxmini jump pack is surely one of the most useful releases in recent years . Forget the aerodynamic, slimline equivalent found on the basic assault marine; this giant, turbofan version is far larger and far more dramatic. Yes, I appreciate this might place you at a disadvantage on the tabletop considering the 5th edition Line of Sight rules, but this is a small price to pay for such a head turning addition! The jump packs also come supplied with a small 'flame' add-on. Personally, I imagine this to be far too puny for how much energy this jump pack would expel, but the option is there for those who want it. Once again, the cast quality is excellent - At one point I accidentally used a plastic glue with one of these pieces, which in my opinion is testament to the high standard of both the resin used and the condition of the cast.
Below is the first member of an Assault squad I have constructed utilising both a mk2 helm and jump pack:
Previously I had constructed an assault squad wearing mk4 armour exclusively, sourced from one of several pictures within Collected Visions (click here). However, while one might view those marines as perhaps a recent addition to this World Eater expeditionary force, sporting the new mk4 armour and a smaller (more efficient) jump pack, the marine above would definitely have been their predecessor and would still be a more common component of the legion.
This marine wears the now quite dated mk2 armour, one renowned for its fearsome image, with the front plate and shoulder of the armour augmented (represented by the studs). I think the use of chainmail cements the more barbaric appearance of this armour. The thick frontal protection offered by the mk2 suit seems vital as the marine has a fair amount of gunfire damage to the front of his armour. However, in the same vein mk2 did not offer the same maneuverability of later armour marks, and I have tried to represent this with a fairly understated pose.
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