I always like to set “my” minis apart from the rest of the pack, go the extra mile. I enjoy when gamer’s say “are those so and so manufacture?” because they look a bit different. I do this in a couple of ways, painting, basing, and customizing the figures themselves. I like variety in my figures and sometimes a line doesn’t have enough different poses for me so I’ll grab some sculpting putty (two part green stuff) and have at it. Now I’m no sculptor, I don’t do whole figures, but I’m pretty fair at cutting models up and customizing them.
I’ve been trying to clean up some lose ends on the work bench and one of the projects sitting on the shelf for a while has been some Dark Ages civilians for SAGA scenarios. For the “Escort” scenario I needed three objective units and I had the minis for several carts, and a pig farmer and his pigs.
Most of the minis were from Gripping Beast and they are great figures BUT I was not satisfied with the way they would appear around the carts. I just didn’t think the poses were quite right; I wanted them to really appear as if they were pushing/pulling cart. There was also no wagon driver…. This led to them sitting half done on the shelf.
After looking at the project for about a year while I painted a few other SAGA warbands (Normans, Vikings, and Anglo Danes) I decided to do something about it. I decided that there was no way around it I was going to have to create a sitting driver. Now I’m no sculptor but I’m not bad at taking one figure and modifying it to be what I want, in fact that’s one of the most enjoyable aspects of this hobby.
I have nearly all the Foundry Vikings and consider them the best Viking line available. I have quite a few still unpainted and after going through them I soon found a likely candidate for customization. I wanted to have;
- One arm using a whip.
- One arm holding reins
- Legs easily modified to sitting position.
- No armor.
I found a great candidate and prepared for “surgery”
Foundry uses a good quality metal in their figures and cutting and filing are very easy. After studying the figure for a bit I determined where and what kind of cuts were needed. Some cuts like the arm were completely through but most were wedge type allow removal of a section to allow bending of the figure into the proper pose. After the cuts and bends the areas were made to look right with Kneadite “Green Stuff” sculpting putty. Cutting, bending, and lots of filing were done to the rear buttocks and leg area to create a sitting figure. To help “blend” the figure into the seat a sheepskin seat cushion was sculpted from more green stuff
The figure also got a whip made of brass rod and a “Greenstuff” handle in the arm that normally held a spear. The green stuff was give a day to cure and primed and painted.
The cart itself had already had work done to it to make it look better and have more detail. Since I wanted to have the driver holding some reins I wold have to create them and make it look believable. Very little real evidence on rigs from the period really exist but ox carts still in use today use much the same systems so a believable modification was worked out.
I keep a lot of small cheap chains bought at a local craft stores “bead” section and used a few links to create the “iron work” as well as some small aluminum wire twisted and painted to look like rope.
The white “centra” board is a thick plastic stock that later will be carved and customized into the base
Well it’s about here in most of my projects that I just get sucked to finishing them and forget to take pictures but its mostly done anyway. I did the reins, the base, and few little touches. There is still another figure to do but he will come later. Here’s a few closing shots of the finished project….enjoy! If you like it please leave a comment, it keeps us going!
I think the finished yoke work came out nicely. the reins are simplified for project, but most just involved turning an animals head in the direction you wanted to go.
Much of the baggage was created from “Sculpy” modeling clay, as well as the tarp.
The reins are thick thread painted as rope and a hole was drilled in his hand to allow pass through. I really like how the figure came out. I not sure how the figure feels being taken from “warrior” status down to “cart driving farmer”?
Well it was a fun project and one of those pieces of “eye candy” that makes the battlefield come alive! I have several more projects in the “Escort” series and they will follow shortly.