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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Making the Kjell conversion to sword and shield

(Note: click on the pic in a new window, so you'll have a larger image to consult as you read the instructions.)
Kjell Bloodbear is made by Reaper (No 3362.) There is also a soft metal (P-65) version which would be easier to convert (No 65016). For the sword and shield, I used the bastard sword from Reaper's weapon pack III (No. 2209) (see figure A). The reason I chose this sword was because it's a nice simple design; it's a good clean blade that looks built for business, not spiky fantastical intimidation. I also chose this sword because it has a good, thick cross section (as shown on the right illustration in Fig. D). This thick cross section allows for easier drilling with a pin vise. If you are skilled in pinning and drilling smaller holes, go ahead and choose a sword you are comfortable with.

Start by removing the two big butcher blades Kjell is holding (Fig. B, shaded in red) with a pair of clippers; a razor saw will work on the left blade, but the cape will block the saw on the right side. The blade under the cape should be clipped near the hand, but since it is also attached to the cape, you'll need to rock it back and forth a bit until it snaps off. Use a file to clean up the figure now. Then use a file to gently flatten out a small area on the sword hand to allow for easier drilling later.

Clip the hilt from the sword but leave the hand guard attached (left illustration in figure D.) Drill a hole in the sword as far as you comfortably can, then drill a hole into the sword hand (See Fig. E to get an idea of the alignment of your holes.) Notice, in fig. E (shaded in red), do not file off the handle from the original butcher knife; this will be the new hilt of the sword. You can also use the hilt to help align your pin hole (red doted line).

Test-fit and pin and glue your sword on- There! That was the hard part.
Note: The sword I used will protrude down beyond the base, so you'll need to mount the figure on a base to raise it enough to give clearance for the sword. If you use a shorter sword, you should be ok.

As for the shield, you'll notice it has a decent boss on it (the round knob in the center), this thickness gives you a nice area to drill into without drilling all the way through the shield. I found it difficult to find a "comfortable-looking" position for the shield to be placed, so you'll have to eyeball it until you find a spot you want the shield.
The corner of the cape may hamper the shields attachement a little, so feel free to file it down a touch to better fit your shield.

Done!! Give your glue plenty of time to dry, prime your figure, and paint away!

Note: For the axe conversion of Kjell, I used the same steps, except where I drilled the hand, I drilled all the way through (and used brass rod for the axe handle.) The drilling was impeded a bit by the original butcher knife hilt; I should have filed it off first, but I had rushed the original axe conversion.
Also, on that conversion, instead of having Kjell hold the shield aloft, I had it set on the ground, propped against Kjell.

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