Last week, I went over a simple weapon swap for a miniature. This is a great way to get your feet wet in miniature modification, but eventually you’re going to want to do something more drastic to your miniatures. One of my D&D Adventurer’s League characters is a Dragonborn Barbarian, and I didn’t like any of the Dragon/Reptilian miniatures that Reaper had on offer. Fortunately, they have a Dragonman Conversion Kit. For this project, I’ll be using Ragnaros as my base figure, swapping out the head, and pinning a tail onto it. Buckle in kids, this could get messy.
I love this mini for a Dragonborn conversion because it’s wearing scale mail. When painted properly, I can make it look like part of the dragon, and not the armor. This will create a seamless look across the whole miniature. First, the untouched mini, and the two pieces I chose out of the Dragonman Conversion kit (click pictures for bigger):
The first step was to cut off the head, and drill a hole for the new head. If you look at the picture of the new head above there, you’ll see there’s a rounded nub at the base of the neck, and that nub will fit right into our hole. And since the Bones plastic is a little flexible, I’ll make the hole slightly smaller than that nub, so it fits nice and tight.
Now for the “intermediate” part. Since the tail does not have a nub, and because the surface area of the join is going to be so small for such a long piece, we’re going to have to pin it.
And it’s exactly what it sounds like – we’ll drill a hole on either side of the join, and insert a small length of wire (a pin) to reinforce it. I usually use a paperclip if I can get away with it, but sometimes you need smaller wire, which you should be able to find at your local craft store.
The tail gets a hole…
And the Bones plastic was soft enough that I was able to mostly shove that paperclip in there with a dab of glue on it for good measure. Don’t worry, he’s already been beheaded today, so this probably hurts less than that:
Then, some glue in the tail hole as well, and prop it up to dry overnight. I happened to have this basket on the table, so I situated everything in the correct position, and went to bed.
And that’s it!
I’ve already started painting him; the base needs some flocking and sand, and then I’ll probably set him aside for a while before I go back and touch him up. At any rate, he’s ready for the table right now, just not up to snuff for my own personal standards!
Also, as a little backstory, the character is a member of his clan’s Purple Flame band. They’re all red dragon ancestors who breathe fire, but it comes out purple. That’s the deal with the symbol on the shield, and all the purple worked into the color scheme.
So, here’s a question for you: I agonized for a while over whether I should keep the helmet on the mini instead of the dragon head. The helmet has horns, and looks a lot like a black dragon, adding to the intimidation factor. Did I make a good or bad decision in swapping the head? Discuss!