The Cast

Figure Conversions

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The Red Shadow's Guide  Figure Conversion. 

This is a conversion of some Old Glory French Marines. 

These are from their Boxer Rebellion line. I wanted to have a machine gun group and OG doesn't produce one for this range. I use my Colonial Marines for Africa so they appear in white uniforms, rather than the far east khaki. 

The Shadow's Axiom : 
  "Terrain and figures you create will always look better to others that they do to you" 

Two sets were made, a deployed Hotchkis MG group and another with the unit on the move. The 1898 Hotchkis comes with Old Glory's "Sons of the Desert" range. In that range's French MG bag comes several Hotchkis MG's, a few too many for your average FFL game (unless you're into a one sided slaughter). Two of the MG's are used, one is assembled deployed and the other used for the moving unit. 

The moving unit is the easiest of the two. The gun piece has its magazine clip neatly detached from its receiver and saved later for the deployed group. To remove it I neatly chopped it with a new xacto blade. The figure (far left) is an advancing figure with his Lebel at high port. The gun was snipped off with flush cutting side cutters. The hands were then drilled out with a fine bit (available from model stores) held in an  xacto hand chuck. After the hands are drilled out it's an easy jog to snip out the remainder of the rifle with the side cutter. The hands are then trimmed to the fingers with the point of a number 11 xacto blade. This fairly quickly blunts them so have a few replacements handy. The MG is then simply glued in place. 

For the tripod man, I used a marching figure who originally had the rifle leant back over his shoulder. It was cut out in a similar way. The tripod was simply assembled and the legs just bent at their hinge point until they were all in line as if collapsed. The collapsed tripod was then laid on the figures shoulder in place of his removed Lebel. A little arm bending was accomplished using pointed nose pliers. Be sure and use the sort without the serrated jaws. They're available from craft stores, usually in the bead section. 

Making the kneeling figures was a little more involved. 

This was the figure that became the MG operator. Using the techniques as described above for the rifle removal, the gun was cut out. It's a little more difficult when the gun is in the  shoulder as you have to cut back into some chunky metal. 

Little bits were cut at a time rather than hacking out big lumps. The little blighter was then chopped off at the knees. Using flush cutting side cutters the flat edge was kept on the thigh stumps rather than the shin stumps.

The base also needed to be cut away from the feet. Snipping all around them they were then flush cut around the feet, snipped down to the soles and  the soles filed for a flat finish. 

Using super glue, the shin stumps were attached to the back of the thighs, I didn't  worry about trying to make it stand up (or rather  kneel up) at this point. I tried to make it look anatomical and  imagined the missing bits were there. 

After it dried, I mixed up some epoxy putty.  I use the sort that  comes from the hardware store in the ribbon. A blue and yellow  strip that when mixed thoroughly turns green. Then the gaps were  filled, where the knee should be, with the putty

It was important that the application tool was wet while doing this, otherwise the putty sticks to it. I used my all purpose number 11 xacto blade to accomplish this. I used the edge of the point to indent the knee area to introduce creases in the pants in the same manner as the original figures sculpted creases. The finished figure was pushed gently onto the base and allowed to set. 

Using the method described above the arms were bent, gently, as necessary to appear to be gripping the appropriate  parts of the gun. The right hand is at  the rear where the trigger is, and the  left is bent around as if holding the rear side of the receiver. 

The second figure was made in much the same way, except he is given the magazine clip (the one clipped off earlier for the moving group.) 

This is being held up to the mouth as the number 2 blows off the sand before feeding it into the receiver. 

All 4 stages are shown below together.

A similar conversion can be seen here done for the French Foreign Legion. This uses a 4 man team, the tripod has been split between two carriers. Two of the team are carrying extra ammo boxes and have quickly accessible magazine clips stacked on their packs. The ammo boxes and extras clips are made from Sculpy.  Sculpy is a modeling PVC plastic that has the constituency of clay. It hardens by being baked in the oven for  15 minutes at 275°F. As this is below the melting point of Lead/Tin alloys it can be baked while attached to the figure.

German 7.7 cm Field Gun
This beautiful model of a 77 mm field gun is from Riveresco. It is available with 25 mm crew in Pickelhaubers. John McEwan, the owner and designer if Riveresco had mentioned that he intended to make a crew team in sun helmets. As this is a 25 mm model, and my figures are the slightly lager 28 mm figures, I wanted to modify a few and see how they fit in with the gun. I was please with the result, as the gun does not at all look out of scale. The best modified figure is unfortunately no very viewable from the photos, but is a seated figure actually sat on the crew seat behind the splinter shield. Two crew  handling shell's, one pulling a lanyard, one seated, the officer pointing, (this was just an arm removal and re graft as the original was pointing in the sky) and one more figure left as was, firing over the caisson. The crew are modified fro German Marines from Old Glory Boxer Rebellion line. Another image of this model can be seen on the German Cast page.

Arab/Berber Machine Gunners

 Wanting a Berber machine gun team with captured MG, I took a Great War German machine gun team. Trimmed down their helmet and kit, and re-wrapped them in putty, carving in plenty of creases.
The original model can be seen on the German Cast page

These two conversions are a little less obvious, but subtly pleasing. The wounded legionnaire started out as a falling wounded figure, falling backwards clutching his chest. The figure was pushed into a bed of Sculpy, his rifle cut out of his hand and laid at his side. The whole thing was then baked. The lying wounded figure fits in better for me.
The camel is a Ancients Pack Camel from Irregular miniatures I think. It is actually a bactrian camel, but there is so much stuff pled on his back you would never know there are two humps there instead of one. Much of the ancients looking stuff, shields, arrows etc. has been cut away. A few cases and boxes added (from Dixons stage coach luggage). This gives it a more modern appearance. The extra straps were just made from green putty.

If you want to start out with an easy conversion, the flag bearer at the top of the page is made from an advancing figure. The rifle was cut out of his ands. This was replaced with a brass wire rod. A rifle was cut from a spare figure and glued to his back. The flag, of course, is from the warflag section.


The majority of the images displayed in the "cast" section were taken on a Nikon Coolpix 900 Digital Camera.

Some of the then were scanned on a flatbed scanner by laying the figure directly on the glass.

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