For Whom the Bell Tolls

This past weekend was my first free weekend in what seems like forever; I had high hopes of Getting Things Done.  And, although I didn’t get as much done as I’d have liked, I did get 95% done with my Screaming Bell conversion.

I’ve had the pieces for it for probably over six months, but I’ve held off on doing it because of frustration with the Skaven and diversion into War of the Ring.  Plus, I was never really sure how I was going to get some thin and small plastic hands to support a large and heavy metal bell.  I could have waited for the rumored new kit, which if it exists should have a plastic bell but…

The announcement of Dragon Wars, an annual Fantasy Tournament built around dragon fetishism and goofy but fun rules motivated me to pull the tub down and get to work.

The first problem I’d faced was what to do with the hands.  The dragon claws weren’t large enough to convincingly hold the bell.  After several months of deliberation, I realized I have a surplus of Rat Ogre arms.  Problem solved.

The grip isn’t perfect, but at least it’s convincing.

Getting the secured was the biggest challenge.  I finally gave up on supporting it from above and decided to support it from below.  I’ve got a thick paperclip coming up  nearly 3″ from the base and shoved into a wad of greenstuff and superglue in the top of the bell and secured with more greenstuff and superglue near the opening of the bell.

The paperclip runs another 3″ or so on the bottom of the base and is secured by… you guessed it: greenstuff and superglue.

A little bit of the pin is showing, but I don’t think it’ll be all that noticeable, especially when camouflaged with some aquarium rocks.

Skaven don’t truck with dragons, but the do have an endless horde of hideous and vile mutants to drive onto the field.  The main goal of the conversion was to transform it into a enormous wing’d rat beast.

So, I gave it gnawing, buck teeth, and filed down what was a forked tongue into a more normal, ratty tongue.

And then I started sculpting hair.  This is what made it take a weekend instead of an afternoon, since I had to wait for the greenstuff I’d just sculpted to cure before I could start on another section (lest I maul what I’d just completed with my clumsy fingers).

I orginally hadn’t planned on doing so much hair, but this is where I ended up.  I think it looks good.  Also, I put on a few buboes, since Skaven always have a few of those.

The only thing I’m not entirely sure I’m happy with is the tail.

It needs to look like a ratty tail.  The bottom of the tail is fine, in this regard.  The top’s another matter.  I don’t feel comfortable trying to file or buff the scales down (especially now that it’s all assembled, but even before), since the end result would just be something unnervingly smooth (or unnervingly smooth and with horrible texturing).  So, I’m leaving it.

The other thing that needs doing is the mount.  Originally, I’d planned to build a little platform over the saddle for the Grey Seer to stand on.  That plan is on hold, though, because there’s talk of a number of mount options in the new Skaven book: Giant Rat, Rat Ogre, litter, etc.  Also, the style of the Skaven is changing a little bit.  My hope is that there will be some new riding legs that I’ll be able to use to mount the Grey Seer on it’s back like a rider.

Of course, this presents me with a difficult decision: paint it now (and in time for Dragon Wars), or leave it unpainted and therefore more easily altered with whatever new bits there will be in November?

(Also, this post has convinced me that I need to buy/build a lightbox.  My current setup clearly isn’t holding up.)

  • Loving the Dragon/Bell Rush, I remember you talking about this conversion and you really pulled it off. My only suggestion would be to heat up the fingers and close the fists around the hand holds for the bell, but it could just be personal preference I guess.

    I think you should get this sucker painted for Dragon Wars as I think (though not sure) the only thing that is require to be painted in the dragon. I am going to have to come up with something for mine. I may have found one of the old 2 headed metal ones for sale by a guy in Canada. If I can’t get one of those I am going to have to convert something.

  • Unfortunately, I’ve never had much success heating and bending plastic. I’ve tried it; it’s just never really come together.

    Plus, that shit is hard. to. get. to. Given what an undertaking it was to line up the hands, bell, support and legs all at once… it’s staying the way it is.

    I am debating blinging it up a bit with some skaven bits where I can, and green stuffing the horns so they’re less smooth and more like the horns on other Skaven models.