Let’s start out with an assumption. I believe we can safely assume that if you listen to my podcast or read this blog, you love wargaming. It’s not only a game, but also a means of artistic expression. Personally, I find modelling to be a very “centering” process that I imagine is similar to meditation for some. I sit, relax, slow my breathing down (it keeps your hands steady!), and try to get little tiny hands onto little tiny arms. Fun, right?
When I was a young man, everything was metal. So conversions were a big deal. Even a head swap was a rigorous process involving complicated cuts, and often there was bloodshed. But today, with the development of the very advanced plastic kits by GW, a conversion, or kitbash (the proper term for making something original out of commercially available plastic kits) is an exceptionally easy thing to do. So let’s do it!
But why would I want to convert something?
I suppose that is a fair question. My answer is simple. To be different. People like to be different. Personally, I love being different. The automobile customization industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Why does someone put new rims on their Honda? So it doesnt look like everyone else’s Honda. Sure, some gearhead will say “because they are lighter, and make the car faster”, but most people aren’t gearheads. A fancy paint job on a car doesn’t improve performance at all, but there are lots of custom paint jobs in the world. Face it, being different is cool. That’s why you play wargames. Because you like it, and to hell with the people who don’t get it.
OK, I get it. But how do I do it?
We can really get into conversions in the next chapter. But why don’t we start with something simple. A head swap. This is the easiest thing you will ever do, especially with modern plastic models. Every one of you can do this, if you can build a model, you can head swap. So, start with a cool model that has an ugly head. It doesnt have to have an ugly head, maybe you’re just doing this to be different. For me, I’m using the new Warhammer Chaos Lord. A lot of people hate his head because of his pouty “duck face” expression. Personally, it doesn’t bother me, but let’s move on!
Sorry for the pun. I should be punished for that. 🙂 Unless you play in a GW store (and why would you?), there’s no rule that says you need to have a GW head on your model. Personally, for this model, I used a head from Anvil Industries in the UK. But there are dozens of companies all over the world you can use, including Victoria in Australia, and Secret Weapon Miniatures in California. But if you are sure you want to use a GW head, you don’t have to go and buy the whole kit to do it. There are plenty of bitz retailers on eBay. Games Workshop has done everything they can to shut down the bitz trade, but there is a market for it, and the companies seem to be doing well for the most part. So however you choose to move forward, you’ll be doing a head swap in no time.
I’m not going to insult anyone’s intelligence by explaining how to do the head swap. If the scale is right, it should be simple. It may require some cutting, or putty to make the join happen right, but we can save that for another chapter.
So what do you think?