Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bending the metal to your will: Custom Mods pt. 1

Any hobbyist worth their salt has been practicing their craft for many seasons. The true definition of an artist though, is taking a craft and pushing it to the limits. Sooner or later, an avid painter will want to do more than just put paint on other peoples sculpts.

Like any project it all starts with an idea. In part 1 of my mod articles, I'm going to focus on my favorite mod I've done to date, Lord Ian Kilmister, Knight of Bretonnia and his Hippogryph, Ace.

It all started in the Bretonnian Army book. While reading up on my army,  I found out that a Bretonnian Lord can also be mounted of a Hippogryph like King Louen Leoncouer. Now, GW does not manufacture hippogryphs as mounts, so if you are going to use only GW parts, no Bretonnian Lord on Hippogryph for you. They do make Pegasi and Unicorns. (Knights on Pegasi and Unicorns with pale pink polos with popped collars. My God, the douchepocalypse is upon us!)

Next, I had to find a Hippogryph. I lucked out on this, however, because I had an old Mage Knight Sky Guard Griffon. This already had a monsterous sized griffon with a mounted rider.

Now, being the HUGE metal head that I am, I couldn't think of a more awesome thing to do than to incorporate two of the things I love. Metal and Knights. And no one is more Metal than Lemmy, the front man of Motorhead. 

Now I had a mission. Let the modding begin!

I apologize that I don't have mod-in-progress photos, I finished this mod about a week before I started the Blog, and didn't even think to photo it. I promise my next mod (which I am currently working on) I will take step by step photos.

First, I took the old Skyguard Griffon that I had lying around and popped it off it's Mage Knight base. (Quick Tip: Super Glue gets fragile when it is cold, and that is all Wizkids used to adhere their minis to the base in any of their 'clix lines. Put the figure in the freezer for about 15 minutes, and then use a putty knife to pop it off. Takes practically no force, and doesn't damage the bottom of the figure.) The base of the griffon is just the right size to fit on a monsterous size GW base (50mm), and that is the same size as King Louen's base, so we are good to go!

Next, I took my knife to the rider. I popped him off the saddle, and also cut off the ornamentaion from the back of the saddle. It had an Egyptian feel to it, and that would just not fit with a Bretonnian Army. I painted where I cut, and "corrected" the flaws in  the painting of the griffon.

Quick side note: I am well aware that a Griffon and a Hippogryph are not the same monster. Technically a Hippogryph is the spawn of a Griffon (Lion and Eagle) and a Horse. I opted to use the Griffon model for 3 reasons. 1: Most people don't know the difference. 2: GW clearly doesn't know the difference, because King Louen is on a Griffon, and 3: It's freaking COOL!

I took my Dremmel and drilled a hole behind the saddle, so I could mount a battle standard. Reaper Miniatures makes TONS of mod parts, and if you hunt long enough (or use a casketoworks catalog) you can turn up some real gold. Reaper does have a pack of "Fantasy Battle Standards", and one of them looked quite like a wind-whipped Bretonnian Flag. Bingo.

I had to hand paint the heraldry on the flag, but I think it turned out great. I did discover another easier way, but that's for another article. :) After flocking the base of the Griffon, the mount was now complete.

Now, for the rider. I liked the look of the leg armor that the Skyguard had, so I chopped the figure right in half at the waist. I had some spare Bretonnian Knight bits, so I was able to get a torso and head very easily. I also had an extra Grail Knight lance, which has a more detailed arm and armor on it. Some super glue, primer, and paint later, I had the basis of my Bretonnian Lord.

Painting the head to look like Lemmy was easy. Basically, I had to free hand the moustache and chops, and add a mole. Lemmy often wears black with gold trim, so colors were already given. The Ace of Spades is also a Lemmy icon. So, for his heraldry, I took the two most iconic Lemmy symbols and combined them, the Iron Cross and the Ace of Spades. I found an Iron Cross decal on a Witch Hunters transfer sheet, applied it to a shield, and then free handed an ace of spades over the cross.

The part of this mini that I am the most proud of is his hat. Lemmy always has his hat. Reaper comes to the rescue again. They make a pack of hats and helmets, and one of them is an exact match for Lemmy. A quick mod of the head to make the hat fit (I had to grind it down with the Dremmel), and the Lord was done. Lord Ian Kilmister (Lemmy's real name! Seriously!!) was born.


  1. I have to say I do like this conversion. The hat is what really ties ti all together

  2. This is the best thing I will see all day. As soon as I saw Lemmy I thought "gotta have an Ace" and you didn't disappoint.


  3. Thank you, thank you.
    I'll post picks of my other Bretonnian Lord, Lord Geoffery Weidlant. He's still a work in progress, but see if you can identify the musician he is based off of. :)