Welcome, seekers of arcane knowledge.

Dungeons & Dragons, the penultimate playground of the mind, where goblins come to life and heroes triumph, holds the indisputable place atop the tabletop RPG pyramid. Though a pantheon of games has arisen in the collective consciousness, D&D reigns supreme as, not only the progenitor, but the resurgent leader in the space. Similarly, and for good reason, Warhammer 40k enjoys pride of place in the tabletop wargaming world. Though upstarts incessantly attempt to nip at the heels of the giant, the behemoth that is Games-Workshop thunders ever onward.

From time to time, I will be doing conversions of miniatures for D&D and Warhammer 40k, with a focus on making customized D&D character figures. Building custom figures, in my mind, goes hand-in-hand with the development of a Player Character, and brings a greater connection to the game. Please feel free to follow me on twitter and send me any questions you have or ideas you would like to see. I hope this site is of some use or entertainment value to you.


#conversion #customization #kitbashing  #dnd


Tools Part 2: Getting Started with #DnD and #40k #Conversions


The previous post looked at the basic tools you’ll need to get started. Here is a short list and quick overview of some other things that might be useful to have on hand:

  • Sprue nippersSprueNipPliersMatCutter
  • Needle-Nose Pliers
  • Cutting Mat
  • Tubing Cutter

Sprue Nippers are useful tools to help you get bits off of the sprue. It provides a cleaner cut, which requires less cleaning with your hobby knife. It is bad enough you’ll be removing mold lines and repairing other irregularities. By using sprue nippers, you can save some time.

Needle-Nose Pliers are good for a number of things. For one, you can hold onto tiny parts to position them. For another, you can use the wire cutter part to snip off rod for pinning.

A self-healing cutting mat is helpful to provide a cutting surface. Using cardboard, cardstock, or any other surface might work in the short term, but if you are doing a lot of cuts, you’ll want something more substantial. They come in different sizes, and I have used larger ones in the past, but the one I have works just fine.

The tubing cutter is helpful for cutting brass tube. Sometimes you’ll use brass tube for a weapon, pipe, or other part on a mini. Having a cutter handy obviates the need to use a hobby knife. You can, of course, use a hobby knife by rolling the tubing back and forth, but this dulls your hobby knife blade very quickly, and few things are more frustrating than having a dull hobby knife blade. These are about $5, so it is worth picking one up if you plan on using tubing for anything.

*  *  *

So, you have you hobby knife, brass rod, needle-nose pliers, and cutting mat. Now what?

Now, it is time to do your conversion!

First, you need an idea.

Next, you need a base mini. The base mini is the figure you are going to convert into your desired fig. You will add bits and pieces from other models, pieces of brass rod, different heads, do some sculpting, and all manner of other things; but you will have to start with a base mini, which will be the figure you will modify to create your customized fig.

In this example from a fig I did a couple years ago, you can see the original mini used, a 40k Terminator Captain, and the 40K Grey Knights Librarian I made him into:


I prefer to use a metal fig as the base mini. You can use plastic bits and greenstuff sculpting, but using a metal figure adds weight to your final mini which is more satisfying to hold. If you start with a plastic fig, I recommend either adding metal bits to your conversion, or weighting the base with coins or metal slugs to provide the needed stability.  

Once you have an idea of the type of mini you want to create, and you have picked out your base mini, all you have to do is make the vision in your head of what your mini should look like come into reality… Easier said than done!

But I will say this, getting there is half the fun.

Here are a couple more pics of the Librarian:

Happy modeling!


Tools and Materials for Converting Miniatures: Part 1 #dnd #40k #tabletop #conversions

This article provides an overview of the tools and materials I use when converting minis. If there is something else you use that isn’t listed, or if you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you. For all prices mentioned below, please assume they are referring to US dollars.  


List of Tools and Materials:


  • Blue-Tac / Poster-Tac
  • Hobby Knife
  • Sprue nippers
  • Needle-Nose Pliers
  • Cutting Mat
  • CA (Cyanoacrylate) / Super-Glue
  • Proweld
  • Brass Rod
  • Brass Tubing
  • Brass Sheet
  • Plastic Rod
  • Plastic Tubing
  • Plastic Sheet
  • Small metal chain
  • Wire Cutter
  • Tubing Cutter
  • Wire
  • Greenstuff
  • Sculpting Tools
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Pin Vice
  • Drill Bits
  • Needle Files
  • Toothpicks
  • Moto-tool and bits


So, that’s a pretty long list, and I hear you saying, “All that seems expensive!”


In part, you are correct. Each and every item on that list, though most cost just a few dollars, can add up to a lot. The good news, is that:


1) You don’t need all of those things to get started, and

2) With just a few basic items, you can be modifying minis in no time.

3) Almost everything you buy will be good for several miniatures, so the cost averages out the more models you do.


The bare minimum items you should have from the list above are:


  • Blue Tac
  • Hobby Knife
  • Pin vice with bits
  • CA/Super Glue
  • Pro weld
  • Small Brass Rod or wire


The total cost for the above items should be around $30. The “big ticket” items being the pin vice (probably around $15 – $20), hobby knife and blades (around $3-$5) and Pro Weld, around $6.


Blue Tac


What is Blue Tac? Also known as poster tac, Blue Tac is a gummy substance used for damage-free hanging of posters on walls. It is available at any Walmart or probably even dollar store, and is essential for every miniature conversion you will do.


Why? Because before (or sometimes after) you go hacking off weapons and limbs, heads, legs, and accessories, and before you go gluing carefully selected and tailored bits and pieces into place, you have to get an idea of how the mini will look. At the outset of each conversion, you will have a general idea of the base mini you are going to use, of the type of figure you are seeking to make, and the types of bits you will either remove or add to the model. Sometimes, though, a bit will not look the way you want, or fit with the mini the way you initially envisioned. In those cases, it is much better to use Blue Tac to pose and position your minis prior to pinning, gluing, and assembling your figures. Any changes you would want to make after a figure is glued become much harder and tedious to accomplish.


Hobby KnifeHobbyK

A hobby knife is a necessity for everything from cleaning mold lines to cutting off bits. You will probably use this tool more than any other in your workshop.




Pin Vice with Bits


A pin vice is a little gizmo which tightens and loosens to hold the tiny drill bits you will be using when assembling your figures. One of the most basic techniques, which I will cover in greater detail, is “Pinning.” Pinning is used when replacing weapons, positioning arms, and generally whenever plastic and metal, or metal and metal, are joined together with CA/superglue. (hereafter, when I say CA, it means super glue). Pinning makes your conversions stronger, and more able to withstand being transported and played with. You’ve put a lot of work into those figs, you want them to withstand the fun you’ll have with them!





CA is the most frequently used type of glue when joining metal to metal, or plastic to metal. You will use a ton of it and you can get it just about anywhere, like Walmart, convenience stores, and hobby shops.   


Pro Weld


Proweld is a liquid chemical used to bond plastic to plastic. It is useful for 40k minis that are all plastic, or for doing anything with plastic card, plastic rod, or plastic tubing. It is nasty stuff, so be careful with it and don’t get it on your skin. It literally melts both sides of the plastic together, creating an almost solid piece of plastic once it dries. You will find this almost exclusively at your local hobby shop. Ambroid and Plastruct are two brands that make it.


Brass Rod / Wire


Small brass rod is used primarily for pinning. You will pin arms, weapons, heads, figures to bases, and just about anything you can think of where you are joining two pieces together. Pinning makes the figs stronger and you’ll be happier for it. You can find brass rod at your local hobby shop. You can also use wire (available at Walmart, craft stores, or possibly the supermarket), but the diameter of wire tends to be a bit too narrow.


Larger diameters of brass rod are also used for modifying weapons and other modeling. There are times where you wish to extend the length of a hammer, or perhaps a polearm, and adding a length of brass rod, either as it is or possibly covered by sculpted greenstuff, serves the purpose nicely.  


The list above will get you started. These basic tools will enable you to swap weapons, add accessories, change arms, legs, heads, and spruce up stock miniatures.

Customized figs make the game come alive. Similar to sketching your character or developing a back story, customization of your miniature gives you a unique character whose adventures will be unmatched.

Next post will be a more in-depth look at some of the other tools you can use, as well as some ideas on how to get started.

Happy modeling!