Despite the huge range of figures currently available, I still find I either need or want to make modifications in order to get the unit just how I want it. The most common conversion for me is the 'head swap'. I like lots of variety in my units and this is the simplest way of doing it.
The Implements of destruction
These are the basic tools I use: needle-nose pliers; X-Acto knives, one with a no. 11 blade which is the most useful all-round knife, and a more heavy duty no. 10; fine metal files; a hand drill with several fine bits; and super glue. I used to use epoxy but now find it too messy and slow drying.
The multi-coloured thing off to the right is my painting pallet which just happened to muscle in on the photo!
Usually when I cut a head off, the knife will do the job but every once in a while a saw blade can be useful. This is also from X-Acto, their no 19 saw blade. I have tried other tools but not really match up to the X-Acto range (and no I do not have shares!)
A raised wooden surface is very helpful when cutting - you can see the many cut marks that the lid of my knife box has suffered over the years.
With 15mm or 6mm figures (yes I do head swaps in 6mm too!) I simply cut the heads off, file the rough bits so they match the new torso and glue them in place with super glue. With 25mm+ figures I like to give a bit more internal support by inserting a wire peg between the joints. The same technique can be used for attaching different hands or limbs as well.
First step is to drill a hole in the torso and the head using a fine drill. Then I glue a small peg, cut from a wire javelin into place in the torso. Then I fit the head in place, checking the fit before gluing it in place on the peg. If you use epoxy rather than super glue it will fill in any gaps for you. However I usually find this unnecessary and would rather use super glue and fill in any tiny gaps with a tiny bit of plasticine.
Using a head that already has a protrusion, such as this RAFM head, is actually a bit more work. Firstly I use a thicker drill bit to make the initial hole in the torso, drilling deeper than the protrusion on the head.
Then I carve out the opening using a no.10 blade turning it in a gently circular pattern until the hole is wide enough to take the head. And yes that is green paint on my hand - I had just been painting bases!
Here I have created three different figures from two torsos and two heads.
The figure in the centre is an unmodified Ral Partha Hellenistic General.
The one on the left is the same body with the head removed and replaced with a RAFM Prodomos head.
The right hand figure is a Ral Partha Thessalian with his original Boeotian helmet removed and replaced by the general's head taken off the left hand body.
The unit will be an elite Agema of lance armed Hellenistic cavalry an I wanted a bit of variety without loosing a sense of coherence.
Swapping a few heads around allowed me to achieve this.
Here is the completed unit glued to temporary bases ready for painting.
Ral Partha figures are true 25mm and their horses are proportionally small. In order to allow them to work with some of the larger 25mm/small 28mm figures I am mounting them on Foundry horses. In order to ensure a good fit I had to do a little bit of filing.
Therefore I need to know which figure belongs to which horse and so I have numbered the bases of both hose and rider so that I can keep track after they are painted.
And, finally, below is the nearly finished unit after painting. It is ready for its wash of raw umber (see my secret ingredient) to bring out the detail prior to varnishing and basing.