Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Third party conversion bits sites

If you are anything like me, when you see a picture of a new GW model the first thought running through your mind is: how can I make it better? Whether it be a different helmet, a better weapon or a more detailed base, I just can't seem to make a model "out of the box"!

There are a large number of third party bits manufacturers online. Your Cadians no longer need be mundane, your Space Marines no longer need be vanilla! The range of available parts is staggering, and the industry has grown significantly over the last few years. 

This post is to provide a collection of websites I regularly visit or order from, for 40k compatible bits. I've provided a mini-review of each - which purely gives my own opinion and experience. If I have used bits on a past project, I've also included a picture to demonstrate use of the parts in question. The list does not include genuine 40k/WFB "bits sites", resin bases or whole miniatures - this post is purely about alternative conversion bits.


Note that many of these sites actually make parts for their own lines of figures, or conversion bits for generic 28mm scale figures - but this makes them compatible with 40k scale miniatures. 


Have I missed any decent sites you are aware of? By all means drop me a comment below...

www.maxmini.eu - one of the premier conversion bits manufacturers. They have a variety of heads, torsos, legs, accessories, weapons etc. This company keeps getting better and better in terms of  sculpting and detail, and they dispatch items quickly with reasonable postage. Releases are regular. My only gripe would be the parts can be expensive, and if you use more than say one conversion bit per figure the cost of a squad can quickly multiply... 

  Savlar Penal Legion Squad, featuring heads
from Maxmini "Toxic Guard" (and some FW bits)
Space Marine of the Carcharodons Astra chapter, with Steam Knights head
Imperial Guard bodyguards, made with "armoured torsos" pack from Maxmini

Also available through Maxmini are Kromlech bits. They operate an Ebay store, and specialise in ork conversion parts. Again, excellent sculpts, great detail and fast delivery
Imperial Guard Beastman, with bionic arm fronm Kromlech bionics pack
www.victorialamb.com - another bits legend, Victoria Lamb created the original "Highland Guard" (aka "Drookian Fen Guard") models, and her parts are predominantly for Imperial Guard models. There are conversion sets for Penal Legion, Rough Riders, Praetorian or steampunk Guard and even more (the Cthood Slave bits are crying out to be used as abhumans in a Guard army!). Parts are cleanly cast, highly detailed and come with excellent customer service. As with Maxmini and Kromlech, these parts are towards the higher end of the cost scale but for the occasional squad they are certainly worth it.
  
www.chapterhousestudios.com - another of the larger bits sites, Chapterhouse has been engaged in a legal battle with GW for some time. They have parts compatible with Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Tyranids, Eldar and more. If I ever started a proper Chaos Space Marine army, their pre-heresy heads would certainly be my first choice for parts. Sculpted shoulder pads are another speciality, with motifs being carried over to vehicle conversion parts (Land Raider doors, etc). I have used their bits on a vareity of projects, and have been pleased with every order

Sanguinary Priesy of the Flesh Tearers Chapter, made with skull shoulder pad
and skull helmet from Chapterhouse Studios

Space Marines of the Carcharodons Astra chapter,
made with tech shoulder pads from Chapterhouse

tinsbits.com - this company has a small range of 40k-compatible bits. The main parts of interest are individual conversion sets for female Imperial Guard. Cast in metal, the set includes a head and a replacement torso front (and an additional gasmask and backpack in some sets). The parts can be quite fiddly to use (you'll need to "shave" the front off of a Cadian torso, then marry the conversion part up to the remains), and the heads are quite thin-looking, but I have used them on past projects to good effect

Tins Bits female head on a Cadian trooper
pig-iron-productions.com - whereas many of the above sites charge a premium for their conversion bits, Pig Iron prices are far more reasonable. They have a variety of heads and accessories which are manufactured for their own models (featuring separate legs, torsos and heads), but these work perfectly with Imperial Guard. Although prices are reasonable, this doesn't compromise the sculpting quality. The later releases are comparable with Maxmini for detail! For a whole army, or a significant number of figures, Pig Iron is my first choice. I almost exclusively used their heads on my Savlar Chem-Dogs infantry - prices are low enough that you can do this without breaking the bank. 

Savlar Chem-Dogs infantry, with Kolony Feral heads

Savlar Chem-Rider, made with peaked Kolony officer pack

blackcatbases.com - a large range of metal miniatures, and a resin bases, these guys also sell a good number of complete miniatures and have a small selection of conversion parts. Mainly heads, these include females, animals and aliens. I've never ordered from them, but some of the more exotic head bits like look they could be used for abhumans or perhaps tau alien auxiliaries...

sciborminiatures.com - another high-end bits manufacturer, parts available include heads, shields, bodies and more. I've only ever bought heads from them, and they were great bits

Celestial Lions Space Marine Terminators, featuring lion helm heads  

bitspudlo.com - as well as being stockists of lots of other bits by other manufacturers, these guys also make a range of heads, weapons, and vehicle upgrades. Casting looks clean and well detailed, but I haven't ever ordered from them

paulsongames.com - manufacturers of cyberwolves, infantry upgrade parts, and with more in the works. Again, I've never ordered from them but for the right project these parts look very useful

blightwheelminiatures.jumpseller.com - these guys make some awesome individual miniatures (even the non-combatants like the squire look great), but also parts for headswaps and weapons. The servo arms would be a great addition to an Adeptus Mechanicus army, and the Brodie helmet heads could be used on a WWI themed Guard army
  
puppetswar.com - an great selection of heads, shoulder pads, weapons and vehicle upgrade parts. The company keeps fans informed with progress on new projects - they update a posting on DakkaDakka with new images every few days. I particularly like their "Soviet hooded heads", which are ideal for hooded Grey Knights!


 Grey Knight Grand Master, with Soviet head

crooked-dice.co.uk - I've never tried this bits seller, but they have some interesting and really well-sculpted heads. Many of their ideas are quite unique, and I'm going to try them out on inquisitors or maybe henchmen...

dragonforge.com - mainly (some pretty amazing) resin bases, this company also has a small selection of metal upgrade bits such as heads. I was recently shopping for some bases on this site, and decided to add some heads as they added nothing to postage. I was certainly not disappointed! The facial expressions are intense, sculpting is great, and more than anything the heads are unique (with a very unusual Wesley Snipes/Blade lookalike!).

hfminis.co.uk - Hasslefree are a lovely company, with excellent customer service and quick dispatch. Their range of figures is very broad, and if you are ever stuck with the painting bug take a look round their website for ideas. Miniatures are sculpted by the legendary Kev White. They also have a range of heads, accessories, weapons and upgrades. The heads could be used with 28mm models. I've tried this and found them a bit small for most projects but your mileage may vary. Certainly they would be too small for Space Marine sized models. However, their other accessories are more than useable - in particular, they sell a grav-chute-alike backpack that I once used on a whole army of drop troopers
Imperial Guard Arcturan Aerotrooper,
equipped with a grav-chute backpack
heresyminiatures.co.uk - another UK based manufacturer with an excellent reputation, this company has a great selection of models and also a smaller selection of conversion bits. I haven't ever ordered from them, but their heads look very useful for the right project

eurekaminiatures.com.au - this site is seller of Shadow Forge Miniatures bits, a company most famous for their selection of female sci-fi and fantasy models. Shadow Forge/Laughing Monk also manufactures a couple of female conversion bits, which are very compatible with Imperial Guard figures. The end result is intended to be a female Guardsmen: replacements for the torso and head are included, with a variety in each conversion set (either standard Guard or winter-Guard). In reality, these sets require a bit more work than simple head or torso swaps, but if you are willing to put in the work they are worth it.  

Imperial Guard Harakoni Warhawks trooper,
made with torso and head from Laughing Monk female conversion pack

zinge.co.uk - Zinge Industries mainly makes weapons and accessories, I haven't ordered from these UK-based guys but the parts look crisply cast and well-detailed

anvilindustry.co.uk - a relative newcomer to the bits industry, Anvil has quickly developed a reputation for quality parts and great service. I've only ordered a handful of bits via Ebay, but they were really exceptional in terms of detail and sculpt quality. Their parts are predominantly for their Spartan-inspired miniatures range, but these are equally compatible with GW Space Marines. Bionic parts, head replacements, torsos, legs and more, are available.  

westwindproductions.co.uk - another UK manufacturer, Westwind is most famous for their 40k-compatible heads. Under the heading "separate head system" you'll find a vast range of WWI, WWII and WW-weird heads, many of which are crying out to be used on Imperial Guard projects. Some complain that the heads are too accurately scaled to be used on 40k figures, but I have used some of their helmeted heads on 40k projects and they came out fine. If gasmasks, retro helmets and goggles are your thing, then Westwind Miniatures is the way to go - prices are again reasonable enough to fit out a number of models with these parts

Guardsman with British helmet with gasmask

Guardsman with German gasmask head

secretweaponminiatures.com - this site sells a full range of heads, torsos, backpacks, legs and weapons. They have an especially nice variety of headswaps, including some Praetorians and Chaos Guard-type heads. I haven't ordered from them yet, but online feedback has been very positive.

curiousconstructs.co.uk - although this site is quite new, the operator/owner Colonel Gravis is certainly not: many of you may recognise his name from his ever-developing Praetorian Guard project. Current stock includes rough rider bits, torsos and weapons - I hope to place an order in the near future.

oldcrowmodels.co.uk - UK manufacturer and seller of various sci-fi and fantasy resin miniatures. Many of their vehicle upgrade parts look as though they could be useable with 40k vehicles in particular, although I haven't tried any out

quantumgothicwars.com - another UK based manufacturer, parts seem to be mainly for buildings and vehicles. Casting looks good and the parts look quite detailed, but I have never ordered from them.

Blood & Skulls Industries - a UK-based bits seller via Ebay, I was directed to this seller by a forum member and so I don't know whether they operate a website or any other method of purchasing items. However, their parts look as though they would fit well with Guard or Space Marine tanks, and could be an interesting alternative to the same old GW turrets

www.forgeplanet.com - a Polish manufacturer, with a nice variety of vehicle upgrade bits (good Razorback turrets etc). These guys have recently released some nice Guardsman heads as well, and promise more releases in he future.

www.meowmeowminis.com - I've only just stumbled across these guys via the DakkaDakka news forum, but their product looks both unique and very promising. Meow Meow Minis makes conversion parts for female Marines, compatible with both GW plastic kits and also Anvil Industry resin sets. The sculpting looks good and postage rates have recently been reviewed as well.

www.artizandesigns.com - primarilty historical and fantasy minis, this site also offers some alternative heads - "Italian army heads in sunhelmets". Not a large range of bits, but these pith-type heads could be useful for Praetporian or steampunk-type Guardsmen.

www.spellcrow.com - another site I recently stumbled across, Spellcrow specialises in Ork conversion parts (both for fantasy and sci-fi type models). I'm no Ork player, but the parts do look highly detailed and well sculpted. Further ranges include Templar parts (which could be used for Marine conversions) and also skulls and other accessories.





7 comments:

  1. Thanks, this is really helpful. I linked it from my blog.

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  2. Thanks James, glad you found it useful!

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  3. pig iron link bad - forgot the p.
    zinge industries is also at http://www.zinge.co.uk/

    Good to have them all listed in a single place

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    Replies
    1. Links now corrected - also added a few moree

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  4. http://www.scalehardware.com

    for rivets bolts etc

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  5. Nice Blog, thanks for sharing the valuable information.

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  6. I know this is an old post but I just found it very useful thanks. The Victoria link needs updating though. Should be http://victoriaminiatures.highwire.com/
    Cheers

    ReplyDelete