Monday, 6 February 2012

Blog 009 – A different kind of conversion.

In response to Steve Buddle’s blog on what he does with his painted figures (itself based on a WAMP thread) I decided to show you what might well be my largest conversion. No, really. She’s got to stand more than 4 feet high and about 18 inches wide, which is a damned good size for a conversion.
“But, Neil,” I hear someone ask (even if it is just the voice in my head), “what is it that you’ve converted? What fresh insanity has gripped you?”
Well, many insanities have gripped me over the years – for instance, throughout most of 1993 I believed that I was the rightful Emperor of Thrace – but this bout of dementia was one of my favourites and involved love at first sight.
And zombies.
Hopefully you’re intrigued – possibly you think that I fell in love at first sight with a reanimated, female midget – but I’m betting you’re still reading.
A couple of years ago Steve was living in a picturesque house on Dominic Street in Truro (a blue plaque wil no doubt appear there soon) and to visit him I had to walk past a little music shop, one of those pokey little establishments that seems designed to drive custom away rather than entice it in. One day, as I passed the shop’s dusty windows, I saw that something beautiful stood behind the glass, something that called out to me with a siren song. I just HAD to tell Steve about this beautiful addition to my world and explain that, while I simply had to have her, I couldn’t afford her. His response was to commend the strength of my resolve, applaud the willpower to resist and then bet me that I’d have made a purchase in less than thirty minutes.
He was, of course, wrong. The little card machine was on the fritz so I had to get money from the cashpoint which took me an extra five minutes. But I managed to knock twenty quid of the price and acquire my little darling for less than fifty.
Back at Steve’s… First he claimed a moral victory and then he admired my acquisition.
Yes, I know I’ve not yet told you what it was that I bought, and it’s started to sound like I may be involved in the slave trade, so here’s a picture.
Isn’t she wonderful? A “Day of the Dead” hard-shell guitar case with a print of Bub on the front, although the photo really doesn't do her justice. Yes, she weighed a tonne, was a pain in the arse to carry home and was lined with revoltingly ugly purple fur, but hey – no love is perfect. That’s why I converted her.
First out was an internal section with an embedded electronic dohicky that a musician would use to tune his electric guitar. As it was cunningly glued and stapled into place I used a subtle blend of brute force, mindless violence and pliers to tear it out and put it in bin-bags. The battle was hard fought, and many lives were lost, but in the end I was victorious. Next came the fur lining. Pliers, bin-bag, done (although six months later I was still finding bits of purple fur all over the place).

All I had left at that point was an empty box with some frame supports glued in to stop it from splitting apart at the seams.
The next step was getting the foam inserts. First I crossed the road to the local hardware supplier/warehouse (it is quite literally across from me) and had two strips of lining foam cut to give me a flat base on the bottom of the case and a soft top to protect my minis when the lid was closed. I was also able to specify the thickness of the foam which gave me a precise set of internal dimensions, allowing me to order the appropriate sized trays knowing that they’d fit perfectly. The trays were supplied by the inconceivably helpful guys at KR ( after a discussion on the phone where I told the owner what I was doing, why I was doing it and where we both agreed it was a perfectly valid way to expend my time and effort. The advice he gave me was invaluable, so when the trays came through (two for my 54mm and monstrous 28mm miniatures and four for my 28mm minis) they fitted like fingers slipping into a glove. People of KR, you are stars.
And that really was it. Apart form filling the first of those little compartments with painted minis. The choice was, of course, obvious – zombies. And so the first members of my Horror Horde found their home within what I hope you will agree is a truly singular carry case.
As to the Horde itself, well that's a subject for another post.

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