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For this particular project, I start in the middle.




That is, I already painted up four of #2763, "Shrend, Alligator Man" (by Jason Wiebe) for an over-the-top "Pirates of the Spanish Main" RPG campaign a few years back.  One thing I love about this miniature is that the arms and head allow for some slight variation in posing, so even if I have four of them, they don't look like complete clones of each other.


Now, a friend of mine is starting an Iron Kingdoms "Unleashed" campaign (after my own Iron Kingdoms campaign wraps up, so we've still got a couple months or so), so our thoughts have turned to writing up characters for this campaign.  As it turns out, the "gatorman" race has been pretty popular -- I was even considering one myself, but we've got TWO players in the group (aside from myself) who have settled upon playing a Gatorman.


I happen to have a few Iron Kingdoms gators on hand, and the Unleashed box set has "Longchops" -- a big happy gatorman with a rifle.




As it turns out, "Shrend" is comparable in size to "Longchops," so it looks like these figures should work nicely!


My first step has been to (with some regrets) remove the gatorman minis from the 40x40mm square bases they were on, and place them on 40mm round lipped bases for Iron Kingdoms instead.  The integral base on each of the "Shrend" minis actually fits reasonably well into the 40mm lipped base central gap, and I used some putty on each one to pad out the remainder, using a hobby knife to try to add a bit of texture (tangled roots/vines, the occasional boulder) for interest.


One of the PCs is going to play a gatorman chef who happens to be a bokor and a bone-grinder in game.  A "bokor" is basically a practitioner of magical voodoo who can speak to spirits of the dead, and even raise "swamp shambler" undead servants -- as necromancy is apparently a lot more widely-accepted in the barbaric lands of "Unleashed" than in the big cities of "Iron Kingdoms."  A "bone grinder" is a sort of grisly alchemist who takes trophies from slain enemies/creatures and turns them into talismans, potions, and such.  In Iron Kingdoms, you pick two professions to combine and largely define your character's starting point.  The player is inclined to go for a bit of humor here, so the idea is that I use some putty to give the gator a chef's hat, and he'll have a leather apron.  It was suggested that the apron say "Kiss the Croc" on it, but I don't know if the GM will tolerate such anachronisms.  


The most challenging part will be a weapon swap -- going from the axe and sword currently held, to a two-handed battle hammer that happens to have "tenderizer" spikes/ridges on the face.  I'm pretty sure I have a hammer in my "bitz box," but I'll have to hope that it's sufficiently over-sized that it'll look all right in the hands of a gatorman who occupies a 40mm base.  Then there's the matter of either bending or replacing the arms for a two-handed stance.  Again, scale is a factor here, since this figure is larger than most of my fantasy warrior figures I have "bitz" accumulated for.  Instant Mold isn't likely to help me out.   Worst-case scenario, I could make wire armatures and use the green stuff, using the existing arms as a guideline for proportions.


The other PC is going to be a chieftain/warrior type, and the only specs I have so far for his costume is that he'll have a "big headdress."  Toward that end, I've started with an Ogre Kingdoms skull (gator skull?) that was used as a battle standard piece, and affixed that (with a little putty) to the top of the gatorman's head.  (This figure is partly obscured in the background in the Longchops comparison picture.)  I'll probably dig into my Chaos Marines bitz for some other "barbaric" touches for his headdress and costume.  As accessories, where possible to add, I also have a few bitz left over from a Tau Kroot set -- racks of ribs, chunks of meat -- that might be attached to belts, etc., as snacks.  (Snacks are VERY important to a gatorman PC -- and to the continued well-being of anyone around him.)


My generic base texturing really doesn't scream "swamp!" much, so I'm thinking of trying to make some cattails with pieces of wire and bits of putty.  I guess we'll see how that turns out.  Other general work will include using some putty or "zap-a-gap" to try to fill in the gaps around the neck joint (as right now it looks almost turtle-like, as if the head is poking out through a hole in an outer shell), and touching up various dings and dents in the original paint jobs, as I've got some metal showing through.  


Finally, I've found that marking off facing arcs on bases in IKRPG is pretty critical for heading off arguments during battle.  (It's one reason why I've found that just using any ol' mini regardless of its basing doesn't work all that well.)  Right now, the figures are on some translucent red Malifaux 40mm round bases I got on sale (cheaper than the black bases); I've normally just been painting those over, but I might leave the front arc as-is since the ruby red looks kind of nice.  I'll just paint the rear arc black, and then add some divider lines (white) at the edges.



More later.  :)







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There was a bit of a delay, but we've actually started our Iron Kingdoms Unleashed RPG campaign, and I (mostly) finished up the conversion for one of the gatorman minis.




This is Soup'zhon, a Gatorman cook (careers: Bokor/Bone-Grinder), armed with a meat-tenderizing mallet and cleaver (courtesy of spare "Ogre Kingdom" bitz I picked up at a game bazaar), and adorned in a chef's hat and apron (courtesy of some epoxy putty).  The base is a Wyrd Miniatures translucent red 40mm base, selected simply because I got several of them on clearance a while back.


Scenery for this picture consists of some Hirst Arts Castlemolds pieces for the ruined cottage, plus some Mantic "Dungeon Saga" furniture pieces (WIP -- but even with base colors I figured they looked nice enough to toss into a shot).

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Here's a different approach I took with Shrend:




For our Iron Kingdoms Unleashed RPG campaign, the PC group's nominal leader is "Sharptooth," a gatorman chieftain's son determined to prove himself worthy to ascend to leadership of the tribe (versus his many older brothers).  As we're getting toward the end of the campaign (so the GM has warned us, anyway), the GM gave me a forewarning that he planned on having Sharptooth's father show up in order to point the PCs toward the "final big-boss battle" part of the campaign.  Rather than just digging "another gatorman" out of the box to have at the ready, I decided that a conversion was in order.


The main body is made with Reaper Bones 77231, "Rugg, Bugbear Leader."  The body is about the right size, the proportions are very stocky and squat, and the pointing gesture looks very commanding, whereas most of my gatorman minis are just in mid-berserk.  The face and tail are from 0263 Shrend, Alligator Man, bulked out, gap-filled, and blended with a lot of epoxy putty.  In keeping with Sharptooth's look (which, alas, has been a source of much mockery and joking during the campaign, even though it wasn't the player's fault that I decided to go that route), I figured he needed to have a big banner pole, and gatormen are supposed to have lots of trophies, so I used a Warhammer Fantasy dwarf banner pole (I'd gotten several as part of a bitz-bag deal at a "game bazaar" years ago at a local game store), on account of all the junk hanging from it, with a piece of wire for the pole (for better survival chances than if I'd gone with plastic), anchored into the back of the figure.  (Hurrah for Bones plastic being so easy to drill into!)  I used more putty to add lumpy shoulder pads and a big, thick necklace to help hide joining spots, but I figured the necklace needed to be a bit more elaborate -- so I used parts of a Roman legion banner from a sprue of 25-28mm scale Roman Legionnaires (I THINK it might be Wargames Factory.) to add some baubles hanging underneath the jaw.  I painted some bright red "gems" in there -- since that's about as sharp a contrast as I could hope for with all the alligator green.


To make him even more imposing, I elevated the base a bit with some fallen logs and rocky bits.  As for the banner, the GM called the character "Chief Rainmaker," and I figured that gatormen probably aren't really all that concerned with it raining when they live in a swamp, so I was inspired to try to depict that the "making of rain" is that when he fights, it rains blood.  To illustrate this, I tried to depict some stylized teeth crunching a stylized bone, with little blood drops radiating out.


The background piece is the base from Kaladrax.  Seriously, I've gotten far more use from that BASE than I have from the giant undead dragon supposed to be perching on it.  (But then, should this be any surprise?  How often should I unleash a giant skeletal dragon on the party -- one large enough to occupy a good portion of the skirmish area -- versus the times I might want some big piece of rubble lying around for a battle area?  ;)  But one of these days I'm going to have SUCH a dramatic encounter with that dragon.  One of these days....)

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