Simple Miniature Conversion: Swapping Out Weapons

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Disclaimers: I did not paint this miniature. Mine will not have white hair. Click for source.

Last week, I posted a few pictures on Twitter of a simple miniature conversion I did.
Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3

I wanted to write a short article on how I did it, because weapon changes are some of the simplest mini mods you can do, and a great starting point if you want to get into miniature conversion.
Before you get started though, you’re likely going to have to deal with one thing: you’re not defacing, damaging, or ruining your mini, you’re personalizing it. The first time you modify a miniature, you’re going to get all nervous about messing it up – similar to the first time you painted a mini, except paint can be stripped off – now anything you do to the mini is more or less irreversible. Get over it. You can patch up any mistakes, or paint around the mistake, or heaven forbid, buy another one. In fact, maybe just buy two the first time around so you feel a little better about cutting up the miniature.

My main character for D&D Adventurer’s League is going to be a Rogue/Bard that is mostly Bard levels. The thing is, I kind of hate the “typical” bard miniatures that Reaper puts out, especially since my character’s personality is going to be more Rogue (think “charismatic con man”). So toting around a lute in colorful clothes and a floppy hat wasn’t going to work. Neither would the typical Rogue minis, because they tend to have their hoods drawn up with a dagger in their hand, and look all dark and broody.
I wanted something that looked “magic user” but carried a rapier. Tall order indeed. In the end, I found this miniature in my Reaper Bones box, and thought it was perfect… except for the staff. I decided that it would be simple to swap out the staff for a rapier, and I’d have the right mini for my character.

Here’s what you need for something like this:

Also, please bear in mind that this conversion works for Bones miniatures, and I might take a different approach if I were modifying a metal miniature. Metal is less bendy than Bones.

First, you need to cut off the existing weapon with an exacto knife. Get as close to the hand as you feel comfortable. You may want to actually paint the area around where you’ll be cutting first, as this will make it easier to see what you want to keep (the hand) and what you want to cut off.

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Next, you’ll take your pin drill and drill out the remaining handle from inside the hand. A pin drill works like a screwdriver – push and turn. I usually start with a very small bit, and then size up the bit I’m using to widen the hole. Make sure the hole is big enough for the new weapon.

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At this point, you’ll want to “open” the hand so you can slide the new weapon in. Use your exacto knife to separate the fingers from the palm or any remaining weapon handle. Gently trim out any of the remaining weapon handle.

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Bend back the fingers and slide in the new weapon. A drop of super glue will work to secure the new weapon, but if you want some time to re-position the new weapon, use something that dries a little slower. I used white Gorilla Glue for the first time on this mini, and was very happy with the results. Be sure to clean up the area around the join so that you don’t have a bunch of extra dried glue on the mini.

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In my conversion, I wasn’t happy with how the thumb turned out, so I’ll roll a tiny bit of milliput and patch up that area. Or if I never get around to that, I might just paint flesh color onto the sword hilt where the thumb would be – from a distance, this would pass a cursory tabletop examination.

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