Friday, May 31, 2013

Zombies step-by-step Pt.1: Head swaps


I'm getting ready to start my next project, so I figure I should put together a step-by-step guide for putting together and painting miniatures the Cheap Fantasy Minis way. I haven't painted any undead yet, and zombies are the obvious choice. Surprisingly there aren't many generic zombies available in 1/72 scale, but that's where this tutorial comes in. By cleverly chopping up and reassembling existing figures, you can have a miniature shambling horde in no time.
1. Necessary materials include a hobby knife, super glue, a pin vise with a very thin bit, a pushpin with a round head, a suitable miniature for the body (here, a tan Italeri barbarian), another for the head (a gray Caesar Miniatures skeleton), and a pair of needlenosed pliers with wirecutters. I've already separated the heads and bodies with the knife: When doing so, keep as much of the neck on the head as you can, and remove as much of the neck from the body as possible.

2. Take the pin vise and drill a hole in the center of where the neck was on the body figure. Obviously you don't want to drill all the way through the body, but you can go deeper than you'd think. The deeper you can go, the more secure the bond between the new head and body.

3. Position the head in the pliers as show, upside down with the neck pointing up.

4. Carefully drill all the way through the head with the pin vise. Start slow, and make sure you don't continue drilling through your workbench.

5. Add a little super glue to the hole in the body. Remove the head from the pin vise and push the pushpin through the top of the head in the hole you just made, as shown. Push the pin as far down as you can, hopefully just a little deeper than you drilled.

6. Once you can't push anymore, slide the head down to the neck and push it so the glue contacts both the head and body. Push and hold in place for about 30 seconds so the glue sets.

7. Use the wirecutters in the pliers to trim as much of the exposed pin as you can. A little bit will still be sticking out: Push on this proud remnant with the flat part of the pliers until the pin is completely inside the figure. You have to push pretty hard, but be careful not to damage the figure. Hold on tight near the head, and you should be fine.

8. Add a little more super glue in the hole on the top of the head. Once the super glue dries, you can apply some wood glue with a toothpick to any rough areas where the two parts of the new figure have gaps or otherwise don't quite match up.

And that's how it's done! Here's Sven confronting the Unpainted Undead, which was assembled in much the same way as described above. The light gray heads are figures from Twilight Creations' Zombies!!! game. The dark gray figures are the same Caesar Miniatures skeleton that I got the skullhead from. I may bend some of their limbs into different positions and use wood glue to make their bony limbs look a little more fleshy.

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