As you have probably gathered by what I post, I do a lot of model conversion and kit bashing. Over the 3 years of my tabletop war gaming career there have been a few model kits that really stood out, far above the rest, for conversion usefulness. These are my top 9 kits for Chaos Converting...
I mostly convert because I can't afford buying all the models I want/need (YES, I need them!) from Forgeworld or GW. I'm always looking for ways to get the army I want on the cheap. I do this by converting, scratch-building, and sculpting.
Conversely, I also don't like placing two inverted butter tubs on the table and declaring "These count as my second and third Heldrakes, OK?" As I see it, if I'm not going to buy the actual models, like my opponent did, I think it is disrespectful not put as much effort as I can into what I bring. It should look the part by having all the weaponry in nearly the correct places, be about the same size (or slightly larger), and be painted to the best of my ability.
The kits that I feel are most valuable with respect to this philosophy are, in order of super-useful to freaking indispensable are...
This Wargames Factory box of Greatcoat Shock Troops (~$16.00) is not so much about the troops themselves, it's about all the other bitz you get.
There are some very nice heads (above), some great command bitz, and a whole bunch of trooper gear like binoculars, canteens, and pouches. The stuff in here is great for Traitor Guard armies/allies. It's not universally useful, but for the price, it's hard to beat.
This IMEX T-Rex kit (~$6.00, yes six bucks!!!) is the first kit I ever bought specifically to convert into a Defiler (photo below). I found out it was way too small after I completed the build, but this conversion is still one of my favorite conversions I've ever done.
The parts aren't as high quality as GW kits, but I've found that if you strategically attach GW parts, it tends to hide that fact nicely. The kit comes with two big Autocannon-like guns, some missiles, and those wonderful Battletech chicken walker legs.
GW's Chaos Spawn kit (~$42.00). This thing is as expensive as all the other GW kits, but the massive amount of extra bitz makes it worthwhile, I think.
The stinger in the photo above is from this kit. If you convert for Chaos, this kit is among the top GW boxes for extra bitz. There're all sorts of amazing Chaos-y things in there! Buy it from your local FLGS and maybe get a discount.
Another great Wargames Factory kit here. This Heavy Weapons teams (there are three complete teams in this box, plus a command sprue) is a great value (~$16.00) for bitz. Each team comes with two somewhat useful troopers and three very useful weapon variants: a mortar, a lascannon-like thing (see above), and a twin Gatling gun.
The two crewmen above and the targeting computer are from this kit. As you can see, there are a lot of technology bitz, like targeting units and radios, a few backpacks, as well as some mortar rounds and ammo boxes, along with three low tripods. The command sprue has some interesting heads, a couple of greatcoat commanders, and some awesome gear bitz like pouches and a small katana.
The Pegasus Hobby Chemical Plant kit (~$24.00, but you have to look hard for that price) I've had for only about two months, but I've used it in 2 conversions, so far.
This is another one that, for the amount of stuff you get, is a great value. It's perfect for folks that like to convert monstrous creatures and robots. The two engines, the valve, and the piping (above) are from this kit. It would also be great for spicing up some custom terrain.
GW's Vampire Counts Skeleton Warriors kit is simply a great collection of skeletal bits and corroded close combat weapons ($24.75 MSRP). There's probably a score of skulls, about half with helmets, a bunch of rib cages, shields, and a cool banner. This kit gives you plenty of finishing bitz... stuff to add the final touches with.
The GW Chaos Space Marines Possessed kit ($33.00 MSRP) is an awesome collection of amazing bitz... too bad the unit kinda sucks on the table. Some of these great included bitz are: stand alone horns, crazy legs, warped chest plates, mutated backpacks, gross heads, and wings! Just look at GW's product photo above! A long-tonne of warped goodness.
The crab claw, the legs, the left shoulder pad, and the pack are all from the Possessed set.
The back pack on my Nurgle Lord is from this kit, as well. The Possessed CSM kit is very versatile and provides a good set of detailed conversion bitz for a standard GW price; it's expensive, but I think it's worth it if you like to kit-bash stuff.
The top kit for conversion/kit bashing parts for me, hands down, is the IMEX Robogear Battle War-Game Starter Set. There's 8 vehicle sub-kits in there, each with probably 6 weapons, that provide many hackable parts: weapons, legs, treads, wings, etc. for around $35.00!!! That's 8 sub kits for less than what you pay for most GW kits!!!
Again, the IMEX kits aren't as detailed as GW stuff. But, you get a whole bunch of parts for your money.
The legs, smoke stacks, and main gun on this Obliterator are from this kit and...
...The main gun on this one...
...the saw fist and cannons on this one...
...the legs on this one...
...the wings on this one...
...the jet intake on this one...
... and the treads on this Palanquin.
There are two drawbacks to this kit: the lack of detail as compared to GW kits and all the extra soldiers you end up with. As I said above, the lack of detail can be mitigated by adding your own more detailed parts on top of these. But, all the extra soldiers are just too big to be used for 40k. If I were to guess, they are probably a 35mm scale. After having them for a couple of years, I finally decided to give them to my nephew, who appreciated the snap-fit grunts greatly.
Even with the two drawbacks, I've gotten the most value out of this kit, hands down. If I count up all the conversions I've done that use bitz from this kit (most of them large assemblies like crawler/walker legs and treads) there are at least 20! It provides lots of great parts for a very low price!
Well, those are my Top 9 Chaos Conversion kits. If you know of any kits you would like to add, feel free to post links in the comment section below. Or, if you've used these kits for converting, post links to your work.