I've got it into my head that it would be nice to at least have the option of fielding three full squads of sternies if the situation allows, and that situation would have to be at least a 1200 point battle if it's going to be legal with a HQ and two troops choices.
Lovely as the GW releases are, buying six boxes of the latest Sternguard plastics at £30 each would cost me £180, which frankly is too much for my hobby, I probably spend that on minis in a year so i need another way.
For £40 i've amassed enough bits, bodies and guns to equip 30ish Sternguard, many of the parts came from my bits box but if a bits box isn't there to furnish an epic project such as this then what is it actually for? Trawling ebay got me 20x old Death Company metals for £17 (look out for late night auctions when most people are not online), and the rest was spent on various bits websites purchasing weapons and terminator honours shoulder pads. Add a paint stripped tactical squad from my brother's foray into 40k and that makes 30 bodies.
The marine on the left is a standard tactical marine with a swapped in Crux Terminatus pad, and one of my home made combi weapons. For the combi-flamer you need a bolter, imperial guard grenade launcher and imperial guard flamer. The heavy flamer is carved from an old terminator and I added a wire grab handle to the top, he also has a metal crux terminatus.... all of my sternguard will have terminator shoulder pads to mark them out from the rank and file marines.
The next four marines are a plasma gun and three combi plasmas each made from a bolt gun, storm bolter magazine and a plasma pistol nozzle. The addition of termi honours and extra general bling should add to the final effect, I want my veterans to look well equipped and individual, so I'm getting a little excited with the purity seals. The old metal death company marines are a little weedy next to the modern plastics so I drill out the head starting with a 1mm bit and gradually working up to a 6mm then trim off any excess metal with a knife and needle files. This is a tricky operation and not to be rushed! I can then add a newer head and make him a bit taller in the process.
Here are the next three combi- flamers, two with grenade launcher mags and one with a box mag.
The overall plan is to have 15 special weapon/ combi weapon dudes with 5 each of melta, plasma and flamer, then the rest with sternguard special issue bolters. You can see the results of my plasma efforts above. I've made about 14 men so far, some may have heavy weapons although I'm not sure about this, but with so many I'll be able to pick and choose for my games of 40k.
30 Sternguard at about £1.30 each, that's one reason to be cheerful :)