Shortly after the release of the Space Wolves (and the mighty Canis Wolfborn, pictured above), an enthusiastic hobbyist was pointed in my direction by Jeff Wilhelm (the man behind Dragon Forge Designs). This soon-to-be client was looking for five conversions of Canis Wolfborn to create a kick-ass Thunderwolf Cavalry unit.
I took a look at the Canis model, one that certainly fits Jervis' mantra of "bespoke" character models, and was immediately excited about the possibilities (if not the amount of work) for creating some great models. While we'd all obviously love plastic Thunderwolves, there's just no way a Space Wolves army should take to the battlefield without at least one unit of these bad boys. A friend of mine, Brendan Bell, is currently building 20+ of these beasts for his Adepticon Team Tournament army. We sat down a couple of times and talked about various poses, bouncing ideas back and forth. It was during these conversations that I was really able to nail down my vision.
Anyway, enough of the guff. Here's the finished product.
I wanted this pack of Thunderwolves to all work as characterful individuals as well as a coherent group. I like to think I was pretty successful in achieving that aim. Materials used?
5 Canis Wolfborns, 1 box of Space Wolves, plastic rods and strips, greenstuff, brownstuff, paper clips, glue, and five 60mm round bases from Dragon Forge Design's Slate Wasteland range.
This is the first model I completed, a simple conversion straightening out the right foreleg, replacing the tail, and replacing the head and arms. I'm very happy with the strength of the pose and working on this guy first helped me understand the intricacies of the model and its components.
This was the second model started, but fourth finished. The Thunderwolf is in the same pose as Canis' mount, but I replaced both forelegs with bionics and armor plating, and twisted the head to the right. In the process of the twist I effectively "extended" the neck, slimming down the look of the Thunderwolf. I also replaced the tail, rider head and arms.
This is one of my favorites, inspired somewhat by one of the old metal Chaos Warhounds, low to the ground sniffing around for the trail of its prey. Only the right rear leg escaped extensive conversion. I also added a helmet of sorts to the Thunderwolves head, although Brendan calls it a gimp mask. It was Brendan that helped my out by "dremeling" off the helmet that is attached to Canis Wolfborn's left side. A bit of well-smoothed putty and the cloak was back to normal, and the rider could wear a helmet. I couldn't resist adding my favorite, the wolf helm.
This leaping pose was the inspired by one of Brendan's wolves, but I had to take it a bit further with a bionic jaw and left forepaw. You'll have noticed that there are a few patches of putty beneath the feet of the wolves. This was the most straightforward way of ensuring that the flat bottoms of the wolf paws got maximum glue area on the base, particularly important on this model.
The final model of the group (and the pack leader). The client wanted a Frostfang and Storm Shield on this model. As one of his regular opponents plays Orks I thought there was another opportunity to help build that rivalry while creating an integral prop for this pose. Known as "The Howler", this model certainly required a hefty chunk of greenstuff. I think there might be more DT-sculpted fur showing than the original model's fur. I went again with the bionic jaw and a bionic right forepaw, as well as another armored helm for the wolf. The Frostfang is built from two carefully trimmed and sliced Space Wolves chainswords sandwiched between two "slices" of thin plasticard. I wanted it to be a bit reminiscent of Ragnar Blackmane's Frostfang. I hope you like it.
So there you have it. Although many people derided the Canis Wolfborn model when pictures first surfaced, I hope I've helped everyone see that not only is it a cool model, but that it is a cool model that, with a lot of work and greenstuff, can be posed in a variety of very dynamic poses just perfect for the heroic Space Wolves.