What’s he building in there?


A very cool song from an equally cool dude that perfectly describes what others must think of me haha. I’m a big fan of Mr Waits. Check out “God’s away on business” as well.

From time to time some of you have been intrigued to know how I go about my builds/conversions/kitbashes, whatever you like to call them. I call them my models or my little guys haha.

Recently Mark Morin and The Imperfect Modeller have expressed interest so I thought I’d have a crack at showing you lot how I go about things.

When I was in a blues and roots band and even when I was in a punk metal band I was quite prolific when it came to writing songs. It was a passion which became an obsession. I had to write down what entered my head. I’d come home with scraps of paper in my pockets with words and ideas scribbled onto them.

What drove my obsession was an eagerness that felt like a quest to write the best song I could. Despite having some nice local success with the blues and roots band and writing/creating some well liked songs with my best mate and guitarist I never felt I achieved what I wanted.

Now, with this hobby I feel I’m on the same journey. Always pushing myself to do more weird and wonderful conversions but never quite feeling I’ve nailed it. Certainly enjoying the trip though, much like I did with the band.

Maybe I’m just my own worse critic hehe.

So, like with the songs, I form these ideas in my head of what I want the model to look like and the process begins.

Then, not always but sometimes, I write the ideas down.


Then it’s a case of making sure I have all my essentials at hand.


As you can see lots of bits to choose from and if I can’t find what I’m looking for amongst this lot I can always go to the lockers.



I forgot to mention that to really get me in the zone I have music playing in the background. Lately it’s been warhammer themed music like “Inquisitor Martyr” wow! If you haven’t listened to it do it!

Next I choose the basic bits that I had visualised.


Basically a body, a head, arms, legs and a weapon. Oh and a banner that I didn’t end up using. I also didn’t use the insect leg on this particular model.

Which brings me to the next section I’d like to bring up which is difficult to explain.

When I start I really do go into a zone, maybe the twilight zone I don’t know, it all becomes a bit of a blur. I’m lost in the creativity. It’s the same when I play drums. I’m barely aware of the other band members most of the time. I’m busy listening and counting. With modelling I get lost in the details. I think that’s one of my favourite things about the hobby. Hard to explain to most people but something tells me you lot will understand.

Therefore I didn’t really stay disciplined with photos of the process haha.

I, usually, start with the torso then arms, legs and head. With this model, I knew the arms would be trickier so I went Torso (which came with legs) and then Head.

I decided the head would be a large helmeted head with decaying moose antlers. However, underneath and for the back of the helmet I needed to show part of the head. One for the visual but two so the helmet had something to adhere to. So this is what he looked like at this stage.


As you can see, pretty ugly but essential.

Thats it for photos of the process so I’ll step you through the next parts with bullet points.

* Drill eye hole on the helmet and add scratches. Then glue the helmet to the head. (Please note: I imagine a monstrous head underneath the helmet NoT the head that is actually there but as no one would, literally, see the head I went for a generic one).

* Build/add arms. Paying special attention to the blade/striking arm. For me, getting the angle right on things is important. I’ve seen good models go bad because the head is tilted weird or the arm is stretched back too much etc.

* Add extra bits ie sword, antlers and also start to think about what would be at the end of his chain.

* Fill in large chest gaps with “tabs” of plastic. Imagine fixing a large hole in plaster paint wall. You need something like a piece of plaster or board to attach so the filler will have something to stick to. It’s the same in the miniature world. I cut off little bits of plastic to fill the large holes so I can then use bicarbonate soda and super glue over the top of it.

* Bicarbonate soda and super glue to use as filler for the whole model. Chest and arm joints in particular.

* Then I threw together the creepy little fella who is at the end of the chain. After making him I made several others who are now known as “The Children”. More on them another time.

* Next up was the base. I love cork tiles for bases because of their versatility and texture. So easy to use. I had to have the “Monster” raised above the disciple because of the angle of the chain but it works well.

In the end it was a relatively simple conversion. Probably a good thing for this explanatory post I’d say. For me the concept or visual is the most important thing not necessarily how you did it or what bits etc.

Here he is my signature monochromatic style haha.

From The Black Plague Army I give you “The Butcher and the Disciple”





Oh yes and remember, The beast inside me is caged by frail and fragile bars – Johnny’s cash.

43 thoughts on “What’s he building in there?”

  1. Ha ha, I love it. very cool, and I totally understand what you mean about getting sucked into the details. It’s very useful in that you don’t get bored or frustrated as much and it can help the piece evolve… I find the downside is you can lose perspective of the over all thing. Accidentally making something that look cool but doesn’t quite fit THIS thing, or it starts to effect an adjecent bit of detail you haven’t started but have planned. The most obvious downside is getting carried away, sculpting I to many places and getting tunnel vision so bad you smush a previous bit of work.

    This looks really really cool man.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. It works really well. It’s great for filling holes and adding texture. Just dab or squeeze a bit of super glue into the gap then quickly sprinkle bicarb. Blow off the excess. Once cured you can sand it cut it and of course paint it. You can also build it up with layers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha ha, good luck. I don’t know what that means anymore. I feel like my most common question to my friends now is “am I going to far with this, is what I’m aiming for reasonable?”. They are acclimatising to it though as I aim for more ambitious projects to push myself. Krakendoomcool on our blog has got to the point now that no matter what I suggest I’m going to do, he just says “ok cool”. Which is worrying. How will I know what is reasonable anymore?!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nice post, love the behind the scenes bit! I haven’t felt the same ‘in the zone’ feeling with mini conversions, but as we both know conversions are very different for me. The closest in this hobby is when I’m painting terrain or maybe hair. I just get some colors and washes out, and start putting down what looks good, and grabbing other colors as needed. It’s a lot by feel, and trying to document it hasn’t worked that well. I guess in a way it’s similar to cooking vs baking. Baking, I’m all about measuring and getting those ingredients just right. Cooking, I throw this and that in, look through the spices and what’s in the fridge. Taste, adjust, taste. Funny thing is that I enjoy both very much, just in different ways.

    Nice looking model in the end. I’m curious about the bicarbonate soda/glue mix. You’ve mentioned it several times before. It looks very sandy/gritty in some pics. Does it end up that way in the end? Do you file it down at all, to smooth things out? I do like the end result with green stuff and milliput, but I don’t find it easy to work with. If I do use green stuff, I know with the prep/cleanup time, that I better do a batch job all at once. Which means my “painting time” has gone out the window for that night. So I tend to put it off as much as possible, and then it just becomes this chore that I have to get past. So yea, always looking for faster and better ways to add filler to minis.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good analogy with the cooking baking. In my work/business I’m quite the perfectionist but with my hobby I like that there are no rules. The bicarb is sandy but you can file it but it was still be fairly textured and not as smooth as green stuff. I love it though. Quick and easy to use.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m also surprised that you do all of your work with just four tools. Or at least that’s what you had out there. Pretty much what I use too, but figured other people probably doing a lot better job of it than me.

        As for ‘not nailing it’. ?!??! I!(N#KR)!>>!?!?

        I think you’ve nailed quite a few conversions! You always put a lot of creativity in your work, which I find cool. Turning things on top of their head, bending genres, and using bits that no man in their right mind would touch…..that’s the IRO style!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Haha cheers brother, nice of you to say. Yep I only use a scalpel, drill (not on every build), clippers and glue. Occasionally a nail file too. I did consider getting a saw but my trusty scalpel and brute strength seem to do the trick 👍🏼

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Fascinating to read and I appreciate the end result even more when I see how much work and planning goes into it (not that I didn’t before – but you get what I mean). Great to see your workshop too, it’s like Dr Frankenstein’s ultimate fantasy.

    I’m currently really into listening to very psychedelic 60s /70s stuff when painting my minis (“Yes, I need LSD! Yes I need LSD!…”), so what that’s going to do to all my careful military uniform choices, God knows…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sounds like we have a very similar process. Completely agree with you on the importance of posing. A model should always look natural, no matter how unnatural the subject is! Love what you’ve done here, delightfully strange once again. Good tip on the bicarb and super glue, will have to try that at some point.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I suspected you had a similar approach. I think you and I have a similar style but different at the same time. Plus you probably follow through with painting the minis more than I do hehe. I’m definitely a hobby butterfly but I’d be a moth more than a butterfly I think.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Nice post mate and great to get an insight into your methodology and mind set. Totally understand the getting in the zone thing. Have been doing it for years although SWMBO will swear I’m deaf. I’m not but working in open offices, driving with screaming kids in the back and trying to model you simply learn to shut background noise out. Oh, and a great looking figure by the way made all the more interesting now that I get your approach. Just make sure you don’t pick up the shopping list by mistake and start modelling something around that! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Sorry I am just catching up here on my blogging and stuff. Sooooo glad to see your process and the results together. I love gaining insights into other modelers, and getting a peek into your approaches is a gift, thanks much for that IRO!

    Also, thanks for the shout out and I am humbled to inspire you in any way at all.

    Clearly, your zone worked. I am impressed with the supplies that you have organized. How many folks have drawers with “orc torsos”? I mean, I have drawers of orcs and many others, but they are intact!

    I like how others have appreciated this post as well, and you have given some nice tips – which to me is a hobbyist’s duty – that way we all learn together and make more cool stuff that we did not know we could.

    Love the butcher’s moose horns by the way (and the rest of the figures too). Though I do imagine that your creativity probably creates some interesting painting angles for you – and based on what I see you manage to overcome quite well. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment Mark. It was fun sharing what I do and how I do it but I don’t think I’m the best tutor haha. I work in an organised chaos and frenzied kind of way. The drawers are good and work well but I have soooooo many sprues and not enough drawers haha. The bicarb and super glue trick/tip has revolutionised my concerting. I struggled with green stuff but do like using it but from now on it’s bicarb all the way to fill holes. The really good thing about it is that, once dried, it’s just like very hard plastic. Harder than the normal GW plastic but still soft enough to cut and file etc. Thanks again for the comment man and for also inspiring me to do this post.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is awesome. Love the peek at how it all goes behind the scenes. 😀 Also, those moose antlers were a really great touch. These guys look fantastic! Haha I got a kick out of seeing coffee in the mix, too. Caffeine is essential for me so it’s nice to see I’m not alone in requiring that to get things done. 😛 Very cool post!

    Liked by 1 person

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