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Archive of the Idea of the Week: Figures

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* Giraffe Men

* Rhino Men

* Ftagn Larvae

* Recapitations

* Pumpkin Men

* Legions of the Priests

* Cyclopses

* Character Builder Daleks

* Undersea Conversions

* Anime Bikini Girls with Guns

Recapitation Gallery

This is just a little gallery of conversion ideas based on recapitation ... cutting the head off of one thing, then putting it on another. Not the most amazingly original idea ever, but one that merits some exploring. There are two main sections: (1) putting a head on something different, and (2) swapping head for head with different things, and (3) some other weirdness that is a little more extensive, but still as simple as recapitation. Also, a few of these coversions also leverage additional bits (for example, my cow did not come with wings), and things like guns, wings, and tails (well, little pieces of wire) are fairly common and easy to obtain.

Mouse over the pics for amazingly insightful and witty comments. :)

New Heads
Anything can be a bug-man with an bug head and an extra pair of arms Girls + Cat Heads (+ Tails) = Cat Girls A big figure with an elephant head! Any plastic or rubber snake is a conversion piece. scifi snake @ far right - not a head; its a shoulder pauldron! GW tyrannid bodies and various heads.  Very versatile. Rat heads fantasy, female, scifi.  The bug head just makes the mount, no? The guy on the left is only wearing a mask if the guy on the right is in the force, otherwise, he's a monster. The Wars of Squiddish Succession have started! Unicorn?  No.  Horse head with a toothpick tip.
Head Swaps
Incredible Hulk, meet HO scale cow. This dog's head and no dog's body. After decapitation, giraffe bodies make nice little shrubs. Ape with man head.  Men with ape heads.
Odds and Ends
Shoving a torso between a cat head and cat body. GW orc bodies & dime store platic swine heads.  Look!  He's riding piggyback! Statue head, Robot Body, Cape Piece, and Too Many Arms! Notice anything familiar here? Yep. All these recapitations use the same (cheap) body.

Hopefully some of these examples will inspire you to something even weirder. If they do ... send us a picture.

Pumpkinmen of Dooooooooom

Just a little inspiration piece for the Halloween season. The minis are made from leftover pieces and bits cobbled together. The uniting feature is the pumpkin heads, which are just little lumps of Crayola Model Magic clay. Not the best mini sculpting material for detail work, but just fine for pumpkins. The stems are just bits of spear shaft, bent a little and stuck in the clay. I did punch out holes for the jack o'lantern faces, but nothing too detailed. The actual details of faces are drawn on with a black fine point sharpie -- the holes just give it a smidgen of depth.

The paintjob is basic black primer with the pumpkins in orange, and only minimal highlighting of other parts. The headless horseman doesn't even have anything but the pumpkin painted. All the other minion details are drybrushed lightly. I put a double layer of matte primer on them, first, because people love to grab and touch little weird things like this all the time, and also because the extra thick coat highlights the details in the pieces without drybrushing.

Sooooo ... got some old minis that need a new look? Muahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

The Grim Reaper figure (What? What Grim Reaper figure? ... You didn't mouse over the picture yet, did you?) is also pretty basic. If you have skulls available, just put one on top of any figure, then wrap it in pieces of napkin. I like the basic paintjob rather than the more elaborate versions, all black with just a little off white for the skull and hands.

If you don't have skulls available, you can if you do any modeling. For skulls, I like to use Knedatite ... the Green Stuff. As opposed to some of the generic formless stuff I advocate Model Magic for, I think you want a little control and detail on a skull. Usually, I don't sit down and have a skull session (muahahahahaha ... puns worse than rotting flesh!) to make them though. I have a little list of "small things" -- detail pieces -- that I know I will need sooner or later. Skulls, books, vials, birds, etc. Just whatever little detail things will really spice up a piece. Then I wait until I am making a "serious project" with the Green Stuff. I always have a little left over, so I whip out my list of nice details, bang out a few until the clay runs out, then cross them off the list. Well, I almost never cross things off the list, I just move them to the bottom of the list to keep my supply of nobbly little pieces fresh. That way, I have a skull at the ready if suddenly feel the need to make ... say ... a Throne of Bones from a cheap Halloween necklace.

Who you gonna call?

So, you want some exrocists, but don't know where to go? Or maybe you need a whole trove of extras for that Name of the Rose scenario you've been planning for months? Or, just maybe, your BattlePope doesn't have the hordes of cannon fodder he should ... So how do you arm up with a decent number of priest type figures without breaking the bank. Well, the guy on the right is a game piece from Eagle Miniatures that goes with a Civilization-type game. Eagle had the brilliant business idea to make the pieces into decent minis (these are roughly 1:56 scale) and seel them independently of the game. So, there's not much call for a passel of robed priests. And even if you needed them, would these work, or would they be an investment in hope and futility?

First off, the minis are a decent sculpt. They are a little small for 28mm, but way too big for 1:72, and, really a lot of that depends on how tall you think a robed priest is in the first place (certainly not as tall as a genetically engineered uber-hero).

Second, they are soft plastic. That means that you will need a good primer if you want to paint them, and you will really need to seal them at the end. I use Krylon (indoor/outdoor) spraypaint as my primer (which is one of the few good base coats for this type of plastic I have found) and Krylon matte sealer as a finish and don't have any problems of paint rubbing off from handling and reasonable jostling, though if you let soft plastic bang up against metal minis too much, you could gauge the plastic a bit.

Then the big thing comes up, they are all the same piece. You certainly want them similar, but not all identical, so are there things you can do to spice it up a bit without commiting to major conversion work and overhaul? Below is our answer ... while we got 50 of the guys for $7, we really didn't need sets that big, so we made:

Two squads of priests to go with: (1) the Pope and (2) the BattlePope. These are pretty much just based and painted up. The guys with the BattlePope squad have flames at the top of their crosses to match the BattlePope and his Cardinals in the back (a different project) with their flame weapons. So, that's eighteen down.

These guys are another set of traditionals. Nice brown robes. Note that only one keeps the cross on his stick. Three have tall sticks, and the rest have them cut off near the hand. This is a pretty quick and easy way to break them up into visually obvious different types without a lot of work.

I didn't need a lot of regular priests, but a cadre of robed cultists can come in handy every now and then. These were the easiest ones to make of all. I lopped the crosses off their sticks and hardly had to paint anything. I like the effect of the bleeding green eyes, and it is easier to do than actually painting realistic eyes. This pic also give the best view of how, for the first three sets, varying hair color (including leaving a few bald) gives you a reasonable amount of variation without a ton of work.

And where would robed cultists be without minions of the Old Gods? So, after the first three sets (four, really), there were still a six-fingered handful of guys left (50 for $7 is really a lot of minis), so I did my most extensive mod work for the figures. The staffs were cut off completely. And I glued some little pieces of string to the mouths. Then it was just paint 'em up.

So, hopefully, this gives you some good ideas on how to get a big bunch of conversions for a pittance. If you have any other really good ideas (men in bunny slippers and bath robes, other cultist variants, an army of old-world santas) we would love to hear them.

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