Plastic. There’s something about it that appeals to me greatly. It brings out the converter in me. I guess it is the ease with which the material can be worked and converted into different models. Metal conversions generally require more work with the knife and saw, with more green stuff to cover the gaps. I guess I like each of my miniatures to look unique, whenever possible.
When working with plastic, I always use a sharp knife, ensuring any cuts are away from my fingers. I have enough scars on my fingers to give each and every blade the respect it deserves. A good cutting surface saves ruining a perfectly good table and potentially causing rifts in relationships. My preferred glue is Revell Contacta Professional, which forms a good bond between the plastic sections. Having a well-lit and ventilated area to work in also helps.
With the advent of the new Gripping Beast Plastic spearmen and archers, a host of conversion possibilities opens up. So I decided to have a little fun and see what I could come up with. The good thing about most plastic infantry kits is the extra bits you get, extra heads, weapons and shields.
My first conversion was for an officer/leader model, as the boxed set does not come with any commanders. He started life as a Conquest Games Norman. With the addition of an Arabic head, he immediately looked the part. I added an Arabic shield and sword to make him look even more authentic. I had to improvise the arm from the Arab warrior set and the scimitar was from Fireforge Mongols.
The next thing we needed was a standard bearer. While I could have used one of the spears from the set, I chose the standard from the new Mongol horse archers from Fireforge and added a Fireforge head for good measure. I used a different right arm for the pose, cutting off the original and replacing it with a spare. The Arabs come with a horn for the musician, so I used that with a head from their Dark Age Warriors set, again to add in variety.
With the command done, I had a play making some more. The Perry Plastic Mahdist Ansar box is very useful: I’ve used these before to make Japanese peasants and Greek peltasts. I took one of the Ansar and simply added spare arms from the Arab boxed set. A suitable head was then added and hey presto! We have more variety, some Arab spearmen with bare feet. I’ve also used heads from the very useful Victrix Peltast boxed set, which comes with several useful bare heads.
Given the host of plastic kits on the market and the general compatibility between all of them, it has become almost possible to make every model in a unit look unique. I’ve had a lot fun with these conversions — now to painting them!