With the recent release of Majestic 13, and after seeing what Adam had begun working on for their squad, I wanted to go in a different direction to Adam's modern military team, and decided that an alternative-history American themed force would be an interesting theme to draw from. Inspired by the widely known conspiracy theory surrounding the 1940's "Roswell Incident" as a starting point, I began by noting down the key decision points for my team.
I settled on Industrial Arms as my chosen faction, with the premise that my team is at least partially funded by the nascent military industrial complex, with added RETech from the Roswell crash site. To command them, I chose a Veteran Commander as the team's Advantage. Someone that "earned their stripes" during WW2, and has been overseeing the creation of the Majestic 13 initiative strike teams. For weapons, I gave the team Assault/Battle Rifles as their standard loadout, one Retraining Taser for collecting specimens, and one Heavy Repeating Rifle to take anything down that's too nasty to be tased.
With those choices in mind, I began building my squad, while considering what extra gear to give them.
Inspiration hit pretty quickly as I began selecting parts. I chose the American Combat Armour right away, as it perfectly fit the theme I was going for. While browsing that section of our parts, the D-Day General jumped out at me as having some very useful conversion parts I could use to create the look for my Veteran Commander. I selected the torso with the army star embossed on the front, and from the general I took the helmet and arm holding binoculars. I reasoned that this could be my first choice for a piece of gear; a Scanner!
I wanted to give special attention to the commander's gear choices, and spent a little extra time to create a leather cord for his binoculars to hang from when not in use. To achieve this I took a very thin (0.1mm) piece of plasticard and carefully cut a very thin strip from a square edge. After dry fitting, I found that it actually needed to be even thinner to curve realistically at this size and scale, so I took a flat file and delicately thinned out the piece even more. Then using thin superglue, I tacked one end to the binoculars, roughly followed the curve of the jacket collar, and found the right length to cut to for the other end. And the neck cord was complete!
As my commander is also likely to have the best STATs of anyone on the team, I also gave them the repeating rifle. They'll be the best qualified to wield it when it's necessary, and in the meantime they can be scanning for the alien menace for the rest of the team. Here I selected the M249 SAW to represent the increased firepower the weapon choice would bring, and mounted it on a strap from the Fatigue Command Arms sprue.
With the arm choice of fatigues now settled, I grabbed a set of Fatigue Legs, and a set of Mixed Pistol-Grip Fatigue Arms and began selecting what I might use for the squad's battle rifle. In all honesty though, there was no other weapon I wanted to use than the M16. While it's a more advanced weapon than is strictly appropriate for the time period, I reasoned that an increased military budget and some reverse engineered tech would easily allow for this slight anachronism.
However, I wanted to push it further to justify why my team's weapons had the increased firepower that befits the Industrial Arms faction, so I swapped out the regular muzzle break for a Small Square Suppressor and attached a Small Thermal Scope over the M16's iconic sight rail. This changed the silhouette enough that, while the original gun is still identifiable, it's clearly not just your "average" rifle any more.
The Fatigue arm sprue gave me my next gear choice too, as one of the arms for that sprue is holding a flash-bang grenade! I made the same modifications to the rifle as before, and had another trooper ready very quickly.
I looked over the Fatigue Command sprue again and decided that a medical kit would be a good fit for this team, so I grabbed an appropriate pair of arms; one to hold the medkit at their side, and another that would allow me to tuck the soldier's modified M16 under their arm. This took a little bit of shaving and cutting to make the fit look natural, but in the end I think it was well worth the effort. I might come back in later to attach a strap to the rifle -- I'll see how I feel it looks after priming.
Finally, we had the last trooper, and I umm'd and ahh'd over what I should give them to represent their taser. After looking over all our pistol designs, I spotted a sprue from the first few runs of an upcoming release! The Sci-Fi Pistols sprue had the smart pistol from the Drop Trooper Recon team, and it was just perfect for what I needed. Aren't I lucky?
After assembly the figure felt like it was lacking something, however, so I decided to give them one of the modified M16's, strapped to their back. After positioning the rifle, I decided that the plasticard was not going to be usable this time; it was too unwieldy, refusing to twist in the way I needed it too, and also thread between the two-handed pistol grip I had chosen for the arms. So instead, I opted to use something more flexible, thinner, and actually less likely to snap or tear (at least at this size and scale) -- Paper!
I often forget just how versatile and applicable paper is when used in this way; it's thin and durable, can bend and twist as needed, and best of all, becomes incredibly tough and resistant to damage when even a tiny bit of superglue is applied to it. I probably should have thought of it when I made my commander's binocular cord -- it would have made that modification far easier...
And that's it! I hope I can spend a few more hours with these to fill the remaining gaps and get some paint on them in the future, but in the meantime, here's a wide shot of the entire team!
I hope this has given you some ideas for your own conversion projects!