True Scale Terminators – A size comparison guide

27th May 202140k, Articles, Build, Space Marines

UPDATE 24/03/23: With the preview of the new Indomitus Terminator kit by Gamesworkshop, I have included a scale update at the bottom of the article.

I’ve recently gone down the True Scale Terminator rabbit hole. I love the idea of using terminators with my Primaris Minotaur army, but it seems like the standard terminators don’t really hold up in comparison to Primaris Intercessors as they are just too small.

The aim here is either to buy terminators and use them out of the box, if their size is large enough, or to use them as the basis for a conversion  into something larger. An additional option is to use gravis armour with terminator components.

Before I went off buying models, I wanted to see if there was any size difference between the patterns of terminator armour in the various model ranges, allowing me to work out which are the largest terminators available. Photoshop seemed like a good way to put this to the test. What planned to be a quick job turned into a much larger project; it turns out Games Workshop sells a LOT of different terminators! I’ve tried to include as many of them as possible here, ignoring some of the older kits and character models.


Things to note:

  • I’ve scaled each model to its correct base size.
  • The red line represents the centre of the base, or the bottom of the feet/foot. This isn’t as easy as it seems due to how the models are posed or positioned on the base.
  • The blue line represents the eye level of the Primaris Intercessor which is my comparison model.
  • I’ve also included a Heavy Intercessor as a comparison as this could also be a good basis for converting true scale terminators.
  • While as accurate as possible, there are some variables such as the angle of the photo, positioning of the model on the base, the pose of the model, and even things like different camera lenses which could all potentially lead to inaccuracies. However, even taking those things into account, this should be good enough to make some decision as about which models to use.

Narrowing down the list

I’ve listed below what I consider to be the best options, choosing the largest model, but also removing those from the list which won’t easily make a terminator squad. For example, I haven’t included Abaddon because it’s just one model. Similarly, Lord Filthius & Tainted Cohort have been discontinued. [EDIT: The Lord Filthius set is now back on sale so might be worth another look.]


With those models in mind, here are a few options for making True Scale Terminators. I’ve still not decided which route I’ll go down and I’d love to hear people’s opinions on these options or other methods which I might not have considered.

Option 1 – Indomitus Armour:

The easiest method is to just buy the Season 2 Heroes range. The Heroes range does feel like GW’s attempt at making true scale First Born. Getting hold of these minis might be tricky though. In the UK, you can buy Rise of the Orks which includes the five-squad model. Captain and Ancient models also exist in the Heroes range but are much harder to find – unless you live in Japan!

Option 2 – Relic Armour:

The Cataphractii pattern holds up well and the newer resin kits from Forgeworld appear to be larger than the standard plastic models. You could certainly take the Blood Angels and Dark Angels squad and remove some the chapter specific iconography. Tartaros currently seems too small, which is a shame as I really like that pattern of armour. If Forgeworld were to produce a Tartaros chapter-specific kit in the future, maybe these would also go up slightly in size.

Option 3 – Chaos Armour.

It’s certainly possible to de-chaosify a mini. I’ve already been doing this with the Abaddon model for my custom Asterion Moloc, so the standard Chaos Terminators would fit in well here. The Blightlord terminators are certainly some of the biggest terminators, but it would be a lot of effort to remove all the nurgle elements from the mini.

Option 4 – Custodes

While these are some of the largest terminators, the Aquilon being the largest of all them all, these are also the most divergent from the classic Indomitus pattern. You could make up your own armour pattern. Minotaurs are known for having Arkonak Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour, for which there are no visual references, so it would be easy to explain why your terminator armour looks different from the standard Indomitus Pattern.

The Aquilon armour has the additional handicap of only coming in squads of three from Forgeworld and also being very expensive. There’s a fantastic tutorial over on Death of a Rubricist on converting up Aquilon Armour.


Other options

  • Kit bash using Gravis Armour / Heavy Intercessors. A few people have already done tutorials for this, such as Black Wing Painting and Pete the Wargamer.
  • Upscale terminators using classic True Scale method:
    • From The Warp has a guide which bulks out the waist, though I feel the legs also need to be larger. Maybe this method could be combined with Gravis legs? I’ve seen other methods adding greenstuff between the torso and legs. 
    • Veteran Sergeant has a tutorial showing what is considered a classic method for making true scale First Born minis. This method might translate into terminators.
    • Master of the Forge has a detailed method upscaling a terminator and the scale looks very good. However it requires a lot of work with greenstuff so would take a long time to do a whole squad.
  • Combine Terminator parts with Stormcast Eternal minis, something I plan to do for an Inquisitor conversion down the line.

UPDATE 24/03/23: New Terminators on the way

Gamesworkshop recently revealed that new Indomitus Pattern Terminators are on the way. I thought I would just do a new size guide comparing the new terminators against some of the old, in this case, the old Indomitus Pattern armour and the most recent terminator plastic kits, that from Space Marine Heroes 2 and the Chaos Terminaor.

You can see they’ve kept all the key elements of the original sculpts while increasing the scale, even larger than that of the Heroes range. Two design changes to note are the scopes above the head have changed sides, and the belt buckle has changed design from the Crux Terminatus to the standard belt buckle used by Primaris marines, a nice touch to keep the terminators inline with the new Primaris range and makes it nice and easy to add on some Ptergues to the model to kitbash these minis.


  1. Martin

    The new scale ones look great as long as they keep their helmet on. The bare heads are to big, they are the same size as the helmet.

    • Philip

      I’ve not noticed that, I’ll have to take a closer look at the new kits.

  2. CJ Reid

    I appreciate this is a rather specific question, but do you happen to know where the most recent Space Hulk Terminators fit in this comparative scale?

    • Philip

      That’s an interesting question for sure. I can’t say for certain, but I suspect they’re a similar size to the classic Terminator Squad and Terminator Assault Squad as they would fit in around that time-frame.

  3. ActualEcho

    Personally I’d say Aquilon look best, especially from the guild you linked. While the price point isn’t the best they do look to have the best scale/proportions.

    You could consider leg reposing, you can get a lot of height by altering the pose/adding spacers. A lot of GW kits, like Grey Knight terminators, suffer from wide stances which give the models a short stature.

    There’s also the option of heavily modding an existing kit and casting your own squad parts.

    • Philip

      Currently i’m leaning in the direction of the Aquilon just for the sheer scale and bulk of the model. 2 kits of 3 give you a 5 man squad plus one extra for a character such as a Captain.

    • Daniele

      Hi, I love what you’ve done. I’m upscaling GK to truescale, or at least I’m trying, but, even if for pagk it’s quite easy thanks to primaris, it isn’t for GK termy. It seems that aquilon would be the better choice, at least for you, for me it isn’t cause the leg. I would like to insert the GK bas-relief as I am doing for pagk. What do you think about Marneus Calgar? It seems right scaled even if he is only one model

      • Philip

        Galgar is a great model and seems more beefier than standard intercessors, I think he’s actually meant to be in Gravis armour looking at a lot of the details. Trying to add on the relief text to a model will be very tricky. It might be you can carefully shave it down and add it onto a larger set of legs and use green stuff to blend it together but that doesn’t seem like an easy task. The other option is to try and extend the legs and waist of your terminators to make them more trust scale.

    • Will

      I have done some simple work to upscale Cataphractii terminators for my Minotaurs army. Your post is very helpful to me and I would love to chat about this subject. Feel free to email me plz.

  4. Daniel

    Hi, first of all thanks a lot for sharing this excellent and thorough investigation! I have thought quite a bit about this topic as well since I am obsessed with true-scale and the Space Marine style from the 2000s. Thus, my first goal would be to emulate the Indomitus armour. However, I think that even the new Chaos Terminators are not really big enough in every sense. I mean it would not be sufficient to make them taler but basically every component (except the heads of course) would need to be thicker, sized up. To create a whole squad, the only viable option to me would therefore be 3D printing scaled up pieces… Anyway, I will follow your efforts with great interest! Good luck!

    • Philip

      The chaos ones do look pretty good, the Nurgle ones are certainly large enough but there’s too much deviation from Indomitus armour. Pretty much all of the Indomitus ones feel like they need to be beefier and bulked out to the size of the Aquilon terminators to really do them justice. 3D printing is certainly a viable option (though not for me as I don’t really have the skillset or tools to easily pick it up) however I’ve seen a few people on instagram who are giving it a go. Let me know how you get on if you make any progress.


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