Monday, 19 December 2011

15mm Sci Fi Conversions

I recently discovered I was one figure short of my preferred TO&E for Ground Zero Games NAC army, so rather than buying a new pack of figures, I decided to try and convert some figures I had lying around to create what I wanted. I've read that it's harder to convert 15mm figures than 28mm figures and, having collected and converted both I can assure you this is not true. 15mm figures can be challenging to convert because they are smaller but, because they are smaller, it can be a lot easier to get good results.

If you are going to try converting 15mm miniatures, and do so without maiming yourself and losing the odd finger, I recommend you get yourself some of the tools such as those pictured above. The tools generally required are:
  • A cutting mat
  • A (sharp) craft knife
  • A small pin vice (with a drill bit slightly larger than the wire used for pinning)
  • A files
  • Modelling files
  • A set of wire cutters (or similar)
  • Superglue
  • Green stuff
  • A sculpting tool for green stuff (not pictured)
  • A small saw blade for your knife (not pictured)
  • Paperclips of some reasonably thick wire

    I started off by identifying two unused figures. These were from GZG's SG15- A17 NAC Standing Gunners and SG15-A18 NAC Seated Troopers. With an idea of what I wanted to achieve, I started with brutal act of man-on-miniature violence, by cutting them each in half with the wire cutters (you can just as easily use a small saw blade suitable for cutting soft metal). You can see from the picture below that this act was carefully premeditated so as to preserve as much of the half of each miniature I wanted to keep as possible.

    The remains the dismembered miniatures where then carefully filed down so as to facilitate the joining of the two halves. A knife was also used to remove some larger chunks and reduce the time spent filing (sorry, I forgot to take a picture at this point). Once I was happy with the fit, I then used the pin vice to drill a hole in each figure half. To do this I carefully selected a drill bit slightly larger than the thickness of the paper clip to give space for glue. I then cut a length of paperclip to use as a pin (the safest way to do this is to cut it under a sheet of newspaper as it tends to be 'pinged' across the room). I always make sure it's the right length before gluing. I then glued the pin in to one half and then the other half of the pin and both halves together. The red line below illustrates where the pin is connecting the two halves.

    Anyone who's put together a large metal miniature will know that 'pinning' provides a far stronger join than simply gluing. I also drilled holes in the feet of the figure to insert pins to help give my wee guy a stable platform to stand on as superglue and his little feet would not be enough to keep him attached to a base.

    I secured the miniature to his base with the aid of a small rectangular section of white plastic through which the pins were inserted. This helps make him the same hight as my other NAC as they come on bases. I then used green stuff and a sculpting tool to create a new left arm for the figure and fill some of the roughness of the joint. My skills with green stuff are by no means expert, but the only way to learn and get better at it is to keep doing it! Now all he needs is some material to texture his base and and undercoat and he's ready for painting. Now who said 15mm conversion was difficult? This took just 2 hours, excluding drying time.

    We'll have more posts looking at converting 15mm sci fi figures and vehicles in the coming months!


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I would suggest the addition of a jeweler's saw to your arsenal of tools above, it can quickly make fine precise cuts with less loss of detail than clippers and require less filling for a smooth join. You should be able to find a saw and a small mountain of blades on ebay for around $15 .