Thursday, September 26, 2013

Plastic Figure Mash Ups

This post is for Colgar6.  Great minds must think alike I guess.  Like him I’ve also been working on some mash up figure conversions using various parts from my bits box covering a range of different kits and companies.  If you haven’t seen Colgar6's conversions, I recommend them as a good read and good inspiration.  (here and here)

 If you like plastic figures, it’s never been a better time to be in our hobby.  The number of companies producing kits and the continuing improvements in kit quality have never been better than they are today.  One of the few downsides of all of the new plastic kits is that to recoup the cost of cutting the molds, companies end up pushing a lot of sprues into a single box.  Studio miniatures packages their plastic zombies with 60 figures, the Wargames Factory zombie vixens come 30 to a box and so on.  The result, if you care about making as many unique figures as possible, is that you’re left with a bunch of figures you can’t use, at least not for their original purpose.  By now I have an entire office box stuffed with partially used plastic sprues. 
I need more projects like I need a hole in the head (I’ve got at least 50 figures still new in the box just waiting for their turn on the work bench), but this is one of those ideas that gets stuck in your head and just won’t go away until you give it a try.  So to use up some of those extra figures I've been trying out some parts swaps to create both survivors and zombies.
Get off my lawn!
Up first is a figure I actually have finished.  I put him together earlier this summer after the Wargames Factory male survivors came out.  The Studio Miniatures zombies only come with four unique bodies and I ran through most of the obvious combinations within the first twenty zeds.    With lots of sprues left over, using these bodies was my first priority.    Old Zeek has a body from Studio Miniatures zombies, arms and a scoped rifle from Wargames Factory Late WWII Americans, and a head from the Wargames Factory male survivors.   

Overall the figure turned out nicely, although the head is just a little too large for the body.  Thankfully the pose seems to hide this for the most part.  The arms fit so closely with the body that I did not even need  to fill the joints.

With the success of the first figure I moved on to another.  Here is another body from Studio Miniatures, this time with both the head and the arms from the WGF male survivor kit.  This one didn’t turn out quite so well.  This time, the oversized head is much more apparent and the arms are also a little oversized as well.  Overall the figure still works, but I figured I could do better.

Ned Rabinski was living in his remote
cabin writing anti-goverment tirades before
the apocalypse spoiled his seclusion.
For the next figure I used another SM zombie body this time I used a set of arms from the WGF female sprue, which are much better fitting.  In effort to solve the bobble head issue, I pulled out a head from an old kit.  To the best of my recollection this is a head from the WGF Celts sprue, but I can’t be sure.  The size of the head is a little closer, but I think I left the neck a little long.  Overall though, I still think the figure hangs together just fine.  With this figure I actually took the time to fill in the rips in the shirt.  Not a big deal but it helps differentiate him from the zeds with the same body.


Next up I wanted to raid the WGF Zombie Vixen sprues.  As with the SM figures, the bodies are fairly unique and I didn’t need three copies per box as zeds.  Here I’ve used a Vixen body and left arm with the brief case.  The head comes from the WGF female survivor kit.  For the right arm, I can’t remember if this was from the WGF male or female survivor kit.  Overall the figure works but the thickness of the survivor arm is substantially thicker than the zombie arm and the sleeve cuffs are different.  Hopefully the differences will fade somewhat with a coat of paint.

Last up for the survivors is another WFG vixen body, this time the one in the pant suit.  She has arms and an assault rifle from the WFG female survivors.  The head is also from the Vixen set and is just about the only head on the set without visible wounds.  She’s missing a high heel, so this will be a great instance to use one of the spare high heels from the WGF female survivor set.  Again, I think the figure came out well and should be even better painted.

I also wanted to reverse the process as well.  I have three copies of each survivor body from the WGF kits.  For most I probably won’t be building all three into live survivors.  I used some of the extra arms and a head from a Studio Miniatures zombie to come up with my first mash up zed.  I think the arms worked out well (with a copious amount of green stuff) but I thought the head wasn’t quite large enough.  On the whole though I think he came out ok.


For the next zed, I again used a WGF male survivor and SM zed arms.  But this time I went for a head from the Mantic zombie kit.  This head is just a little too large, but I think the more expressive sculpting more than make up for it.  The only downside of the mantic heads is that they come with no neck (it’s sculpted to the body) so I had to initially pin the head on a brass rod and then build up the neck with green stuff.  I really like the end of the result on this one, he's certainly no shuffler.

'Cause this is thriller, thriller night!

Next up I used parts from the same kit breakdown (WFG body, SM arms and Mantic head).  Although I think this head may have been from the ghoul set, not the zombies (it was a loose part in my bits box).   With the choice of body and the set of the shoulders, this zed didn’t turn out quite so well.  He looks more like an extra from Michael Jackson's Thriller rather than an actual threat.


I continued with the same breakdown for the last figure (body, SM arms and Mantic head) as well.  On this one I think the oversized head really stands out, but again I think the expressive sculpting make it work better than the smaller, but more boring SM heads.

Overall I ended up with a couple of duds but a few really good figures as well and they are certainly more unique than what I could make out of the box.  I haven’t even come close to mining all the possibilities by mixing and matching parts.  I still have plenty of zombies I should be able to put together from the WFG female survivors as well.  Hopefully they match up with the Vixen parts as well as the survivor figures I made.


  1. An excellent post, very inspirational! I really don't understand why you have so few followers when your work is of this quality.

    As for the "Thriller" zombie, it's long been an idea of mine to have a small horde of zombies all in the same dance pose, with a not-Michael Jackson zed leading them. Would probably be lost on today's youth, though...

  2. I love this post - I'd been considering picking up a box of the survivors and this would be a perfect way of using up the excess parts!

    1. Thanks! I'd go for it. They are pretty useful parts and the price is right.