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.