Model Assembly: Enjoy the Process! -by Kraig
Most people who purchase miniatures view the process of assembling them as something of a necessary evil before the fun of either painting or using the model in a game. However, there are a few of us sickos who actually enjoy that part of the process!
In particular, what I enjoy more than anything else are the small conversions that make my models truly unique. When most people hear the word “conversion” they think of massive projects involving pinning, brass rods, magnets and/or layer upon layer of modeling putty. While I find those projects fun and rewarding on occasion – see “sicko” above – what I am talking about here are quite literally, the little things.
A simple weapon swap, a slightly modified head/helmet or even a different angle on the join where the shoulder meets the torso or the leg meets the hip can really change the way your model looks, and the best thing is that these really don’t take a whole lot of time, or for that matter, an over-abundance of skill!
With plastic models, all you really need is a good, sharp hobby knife and whichever glue you regularly use for plastics. I would recommend a good hobby file to really smooth out any cuts as well as some modeling putty to make sure the parts fit like you want them to before you actually apply the glue, but those aren’t absolutely necessary.
Resin and metal models are a little tougher, so you will need a couple of good hobby files or some sandpaper in addition to the sharp hobby knife. The modeling putty is also pretty much a requirement here, as super glue, zap-a-gap or whatever else you are using will almost certainly not give you the luxury of maneuvering the parts once joined like you would using plastic glue.
The other resource that comes in handy with these types of conversions is a collection of bitz. Almost all models that come on sprues will have “extras” in addition to what you absolutely need to put a figure together. Whether these are spare weapons, arms or additional gear (i.e., grenades, talismans, severed heads, skulls, etc.) varies amongst model types and companies, but whatever the case, never throw any of this stuff away! You never know when one of these “extras” will be the lynchpin of a perfect, simple conversion.
Beyond that, your only limits are really your own creative vision and your willingness to chop up what are already perfectly functional – and often quite expensive – miniatures. Not every conversion will end up better than the original, but once you have a few under your belt, you really will be surprised at how easy it is and how often those small changes make a model “better” at least in your eyes.
Who knows, maybe you too will start enjoying this aspect of the hobby as much as painting or playing… If so, welcome aboard! We can always use a few more sickos.