Monday, April 19, 2010

Dwarves are based and just a bit converted.

Well, today was a busy day, so my initial plan of basing in the morning then spraying in the afternoon went more like, throughout the day get them converted and based. Will spray tomorrow.

I didn't make many changes to them. Wussed out on greenstuffing etc. Instead I hacked up some leftover bits from dwarves and some undead guys from Warhammer. I also chopped and changed the axe-heads so that two guys in identical poses won't have identical axes. I left the archers all as they were, I don't really use a lot of archery. I also left the throwing axe guys as they were, they all have identical axes so it was a bit hard to see what to do there. I won't use them for more than filling up points values anyway.

You sure learn a lot about the evils of superglue when you do this sort of work. Here you can see some of the blu-tac used to keep guys steady. On the left is my banner bearer, originally a 2 hander. The banner is on the right and is currently upside down. As you can see, it is a mix and match of different bannery type stuff. The central black bit of sprue will eventually have a dwarf character on it or something.

The guy in the middle is a 2-handed guy who now has a good old spiky ball and chain instead of an axe.

I found that the plastic used for the LotR minis is not as good as the Warhammer stuff, it cuts really easily, bends too easily and everything is smaller, making things trickier than I'd thought. As I mentioned before, the plus side is that you get more minis per dollar.

Here below you see my oh-so-high-tech basing technique. You get an old salsa jar. You fill it with really cheap aquarium sand (a couple of dollars for several kilos of it). A bit of PVA on the base, spread with a brush, then dunk 'em in the pot. I rotate them through, so that each guy sits in the sand for however long it takes me to glue and base three others, then he comes out, a new one goes in and the rotation continues.

It took probably two Star Trek episodes worth of time to do them all. I'm not a quick worker, I had lunch at the same time, so we're not talking speedy here. Speaking of Star Trek, I always have something playing in the background when doing this sort of work. Old DVDs, TV episodes, even just music is good to keep you chugging away.

Here they are all sanded up. The PVA I'm using this time seems much weaker than the one I used before, so I'm going to leave them overnight to make sure it has set properly. I use superglue for the actual miniature conversions and sticking them to the base, but just PVA for the sand.

Here's the banner bearer and some of his mates.

Here are the shield guys. They're each standing next to their previous identical twin. On the left I just swapped axe heads. Number 3 and 4 also have different axe heads. Five has a pick-axe, six is standing on a rock. Seven has a double headed axe (hidden a bit behind six's shield) and eight is just plain vanilla except for the addition of horns on his helmet.

Here are the two handers again. Standing behind them are their twins. The first guy on the left I've given a two handed sword to (well, it was a one handed Warhammer sword, but it's big enough for him to use both hands!) Spiky ball guy is next in line, banner guy is behind his twin, lastly we have warhammer dwarf. Again, a one handed Warhammer weapon here is plenty big enough for this dwarf!

I found with some of the trickier gluing, that some superglue I'd accidentally spilled (on newspaper of course) had gone stickier than fresh stuff, which made gluing them much MUCH easier. Still, the banner was the hardest of the lot, so slippery to get so that the bottom, middle and top all lined up. Getting the other weapons to line up with where they should was hard too, especially given how small everything is!

Lastly the 2-handed rangers. Again there was some axe-head swapping, a warhammer on the second from the left and that was about it for them. In the group shots you might notice a couple of guys with horns on their helmets. So fiddly and most of the minis aren't in a position where I could easily attach horns (eg. weapon held above their head) so there are just a couple of them.

Well after basing them and letting them sit for long enough to do some housework I got a paperclip, unbent it a bit and then cleaned up all of their shoes. I know you never really see their shoes, but I don't like them having sand all over them. I also added some rocks for scenery, about one in four dwarves gets an extra big rock on their base. Enough for some variety, not enough to make it look like they're walking through Boulderville Central.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, will be spray-black undercoating day. Then my plan is to do the grey drybrushing of the bases (last time I saved it until last and got lots of grey-legged goblins).

After that I'll pick a colour and see what happens =)


  1. Nice work on the conversions. I have a pile of dwarves to work on at some point in the future, so I've been able to glean some good ideas from your blog here. Specifcally the larger rocks (I have a supply of cat litter that will work there) and also some WFB Dwarf weapons to vary what the LotR guys are armed with. I might even have some plastic morningstars left somewhere from some Chaos Marauders I built years ago. The Khemri(?) standard looks very good as well. Well done all around!

  2. When gluing plastics you might find that plastic cement works better than superglue. It makes a stronger bond when you're gluing plastic to plastic.
    This is the brand I use, and it works really well.

  3. Thanks David,
    I used to have some plastic cement, but used it all up and was too eager to get started to wait to get some more =)

    Azazel, I've found that the WFB weapons were really hard to adapt for the much smaller dwarves. I may have to greenstuff some of the handles to make them look a little better. It didn't help that the LotR ones have square handles and the WFB ones are round.

    The standard was a pain, but relatively straight forward. Just took off all the skulls and then blu-tac and glue and time to get it to hold together.

    1. how do you put the rocks under the feet of the dwarves ?

  4. I just use glue and little pebbles I got in an aquarium shop. Carefully cut the metal or plastic out from under their feet, muck around with getting the right shaped rock, then add glue and either blu-tac the dwarf in place until he dries or just hold it steady for a few minutes.

    I find the most realistic poses are ones in which the dwarf naturally holds position on the rock without too much assistance.