While I can appreciate the access 3D printers have brought to this hobby (and Epic in particular) my heart still yearns for a time when if you needed a unit that wasn't commercially available you converted it. You see conversions less and less these days, so I thought I'd try a little challenge: finish a 3k army without any 3d printing or custom casting shortcuts. We'll see how this goes, but I'd like to finish this up before NEAT this year (normally held at the end of June, but still tentative given the world right now).
For the army I went with Imperial Guard, specifically Minervans using the old SM/TL models. I thought it was fitting to use models that are pushing 25–30 years old as it adds to the nostalgia factor for me. Minervans also offer plenty of opportunities for easier conversions what with all the vehicle variants.
I didn't do anything special for the Manticores, aside from snipping off the wrecking ball on the back of their launcher. I have some 1/8" diameter adhesive fish eyes coming, they're used to make lures but I think they'll work out great as hatches. I plan to put a hatch on each one on the right hand side, as this will be useful for my Commissar characters (see below).
The Salamander Scouts and Command are the most intensive conversions in this army, the back compartment was made out of plasticard square tubing and strips, filed and cut at different angles. The autocannons are nearly done, but I'm still trying to think of something for the heavy flamers aside from a plasticard build. These will get the hatches as well.
The Exterminators just got some brass wire as autocannons, I'm going to try and put some muzzle details on the end. I doubt putty will stick to them so I'll likely try heating up and bending some thin plasticard strips. You can see my plans for Commissars here, I'm making plugs that I'll be able to move around. When a vehicle doesn't need a Commissar I'll just have some hatch plugs to put in their place.
Finally, the only change I made to the Shadowswords was to use Squat heavy bolters for the sponsons. Not too bad, but then I realized I had to do 12 of them for the Storm Hammers… You can also see my Supreme Commander dude there as well, I need to sculpt his arms still.