When I first opened a packet of plastic Army of the Dead, my initial response was disappointment. It appeared on the packet that I'd get at least ten different models but on closer inspection I realized that the ten sculpts were all based on only three base sculpts. However, my disappointment soon turned into excitement as I could see such a wide range of conversion possibilities for the models. This article aims to give a few ideas of these possibilities, although the ones I've explored are by no means exhaustive. One could go on and on converting these guys - they are so versatile.
There are at least three basic changes possible for these minis.
1. Change weapons
2. Change shields
3. Additional sculpting
What you get in the packet
|Sharp craft knife|
Clippers (for taking models off sprues)
Flat and pointed sculpting tools
A needle or pin
|Modeling putty (Pro Create or Green Stuff)|
Front of box
Back of box
Front of sprue
Back of sprue
The different colours show the models that share the same base. They have identical 'skirts'.
The shield options that come on the sprue
The weapons that come on the sprue
Note -- Throughout the article you will see some of the minis have had some additional sculpting done to them. You have to look closely because the putty is grey, as well. I will demonstrate how I sculpted the additional details later in the article.Changing Weapons
This is the simplest form of conversion that I know. As you can see, it can have an immediate effect, creating dynamic poses and allowing models to be differentiated from each other.
Use a sharp craft knife to remove hands and stick with plastic glue. I cut off part of the sleeve as well as the hand as this seemed to work best, making the join less evident.
Hands can also be cut and repositioned to change the angle of weapons.
For this conversion, it was necessary to cut the point off the spear and reattach it at the opposite end so the spear could be thrown as a javelin. The hand also had to be cut and repositioned so the warrior could throw the spear in the right direction.Changing Shields
The sprues come with two shield variants, some of which are battle worn. It is easy enough to cut into the shields to add one's own battle damage too.
An effective conversion can simply be to stick a different shield on similar models but it is also a good idea to change the angle of the shield or even stick it on the back of the model for more variety.
Here is a simple change of angle. Imagine the strapping is arranged differently on the inside of the shields.
The obvious shield change.
A model of Boromir wearing his shield on his back gave me this idea.Additional Sculpting
I made three types of sculpting changes to the models.
[list]1. Added chain mail
2. Added torn cloth
3. Added hair or a beard[/list:u]
For some models, it was necessary to remove some of the existing model before adding the mail to stop the mini from becoming too bulky.
Then, it was a matter of adding some ProCreate and using a sharp sculpting tool and a needle to make a chain mail effect in it.
I tried to make it as realistic as possible by making the edges tattered. The following image also shows some freshly-sculpted, ragged cloth. This was simple to do. I just stuck on little rolled out pieces of putty (sausages) and stuck them on before blending them with a wet sculpting tool. After that, I made small holes in the putty.
I also did this to the backs of several models, sometimes trimming their cloaks back at the sides to make slightly different silhouettes.
Examples of added cloth (models on the right-hand side).The Finished Models (with a very simple paint scheme)
The good news is that you don't have to be a great painter to make these warriors look good and the paint scheme that I used was extremely simple.
1. Undercoat with Skull White.
2. Wash with Thraka Green.
There are a couple of articles relating to the painting of the Army of the Dead in our Tomes of Wisdom.
Here are the links.
This one is by Red Corsairs: Painting the Army of the Dead
and this by Temet Nosce: The Army of the Dead
So there you have it. These are just a few simple techniques to add some variety to the plastic Army of the Dead models. It doesn't take particularly long as a project and is certainly worth it if you want an interesting and individual army.