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Dark Elf Manticore Conversion

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Dark Elf Manticore Conversion

Shadespyre
Doombull
Joined: Dec 4 2010, 09:31 AM

Oct 13 2013, 10:42 AM #1

As you may know, I regularly do model assembly projects for my fellow gamers, who are all fingers and thumbs when it comes to drills and knives and super glue. As a break from crazy early tanks I've been doing some Dark Elf models. I'd already done two of these Manticores:



and we were both a bit bored (the second one is stood on a small rock for variety, yawn!). So my mate said, "See if you can do something different with this one" and promptly forgot all about it.

I had a quick Google and found this picture:



It's a conversion by the brilliant CultOfKhaine. I knew I had the High Elf Dragon rock in my bits box, so off I went to find it...



I filled it with pebbles, lead shot and glue and then stuck it on a base and drilled holes in it to take pins for the Manticore itself:



I changed the angle of the right leg to give more of a leaping pose, leaving a big gap to fill and some resculpting work. But I'd already decided to be ambitious, and if it all goes wrong I can cover it in fur!

Then I messed around with the rock and the manticore, bending the steel pins until I was happy with the angle the manticore "flew" at. This was a bit fiddly as now I had to really wiggle the thing around to get it on and off the rock - there would be a lot of swearing before the two were finally glued together (much later on).



Wings! I also had the wings off the High Elf dragon (I think CultOfKhaine used Balrog wings). I messed around with a direct fit and then realised the best way was to perform a wing root transplant:



And here is the blu-tacked together beast at this point, complete with tail (more on that later):

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Shadespyre
Doombull
Joined: Dec 4 2010, 09:31 AM

Oct 13 2013, 11:16 AM #2

Now to make everything fit together properly. Firstly, blending the cut-and-shut wings together. Yes, those are simply tiny balls of greenstuff squished flat to make scales!



And here are the finished wings. You can see some more work on the rock too.



And now the tail. Top marks if you have spotted what this is - it's about 2/3 of the tail of a 1984 NB1 Great Spined Dragon - don't worry, it's a copy I made, not an original.



Extra groin fur...



And here it is finally glued to its rock. You can see there are gaps between the feet and rock to fill. To get rid of the pins, I bent them over to lock the manticore in place and then ground them off flat.

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Shadespyre
Doombull
Joined: Dec 4 2010, 09:31 AM

Oct 13 2013, 11:27 AM #3

Now the manticore is glued in place, the rock can be built up to fit. I used grey car body filler for this as it sets quickly and is stronger, harder and cheaper than milliput or greenstuff! In some ways this was the hardest part of the project, I spent a lot of time sanding down filler to get the same smooth finish as the plastic rock.





The rock actually ended up a bit bigger than when I started, and I added some fallen masonry to the rest of the base to tie it in better.



Finally time to glue on the wings...



...and blend them into the body of the beast.




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Shadespyre
Doombull
Joined: Dec 4 2010, 09:31 AM

Oct 13 2013, 11:36 AM #4

And here is the finished Manticore ready for his undercoat:





Of course, he needs a rider. So I knocked one up using parts from the Dark Elf dragon rider. I had to adjust the width of his legs and ad-lib a saddle out of bits (the back is a chaos warrior shield). The rider has a pin to hold him in place, and magnetised limbs to allow weapon swaps.





I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the result, it's one of my most ambitious projects even if I stole the idea! Probably about 3 weeks of work all together, but I enjoyed working on something different with a few new challenges. And the best bit is I didn't have to paint it!

The important thing is that I handed it over yesterday (hence the secrecy!) and the recipient was both surprised and impressed. Hopefully he'll be able to paint it up to match his army pretty soon, so we can see the finished result.
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BeastieBoy
Doombull
Joined: Feb 27 2010, 01:52 AM

Oct 13 2013, 12:10 PM #5

Very nice work, I really like it.
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Sheogorath
Foe Render
Sheogorath
Foe Render
Joined: Aug 13 2013, 09:35 AM

Oct 13 2013, 01:40 PM #6

Amazing!
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mrtn
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mrtn
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Joined: Aug 28 2006, 04:53 PM

Oct 13 2013, 08:23 PM #7

That's some really great work there. :thumbsup:
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decker_cky
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Joined: Nov 23 2003, 07:39 AM

Oct 13 2013, 08:53 PM #8

Great work! Makes for a huge improvement over the basic model.

How much work was there actually to make the rider fit? I know that the model isn't really designed for a rider to fit on (the rider it comes with just slots onto the hair). Doesn't seem like a lot of greenstuffing or stress on the plastic rider, which surprises me.

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snowblizz
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Joined: Nov 26 2007, 08:35 AM

Oct 14 2013, 07:39 AM #9

mrtn @ Oct 13 2013, 08:23 PM wrote: That's some really great work there. :thumbsup:
What he said.
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Anvalous
Gorebull
Anvalous
Gorebull
Joined: Sep 1 2011, 04:47 PM

Oct 14 2013, 04:59 PM #10

Shadespyre, this is one of your best pieces ever. Incredible work! This is a true centerpiece for an army and something you, and your mate(s), can be proud of for years to come. Phenomenal. Pure and simple.
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Shadespyre
Doombull
Joined: Dec 4 2010, 09:31 AM

Oct 14 2013, 05:42 PM #11

Thanks everyone, I'm glad you like it. I'm really looking forward to seeing it painted, because it's hard to tell at the moment if the textures are quite right, if you know what I mean.

Pleased to say that the new owner put it straight on the table and the increased size of the model stand up well against the new hydra etc and looks like a mount more worthy of a dark elf general than the original.

Decker, the rider wasn't too hard. The dragon rider comes with separate legs, so I adjusted the spacing with a sharp knife (ouch!) to bring them closer together. He was then sat on a lump of GS to make him fit neatly onto the fur, just like the original beast master does (why reinvent the wheel!). The "saddle" is mostly a cheat, as it is fitted around the wings rather than anything more complicated - I just hacked bits of a Chaos Warrior shield until it fitted, and tidied up with GS. Finally, I had to cut away some of the chainmail skirt to get him sat as far back and up the body as I wanted, so that got remodelled around the wings. The key is to keep the Manticore wet and the rider dry while working, so the GS sticks to the one and not the other. I forgot to take pics because I did it all in one sitting as I was getting short on time!
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Shadespyre
Doombull
Joined: Dec 4 2010, 09:31 AM

Oct 14 2013, 06:48 PM #12

A couple of pics from our big battle at the weekend...





The black and red beastie is the classic Tony Ackland Orc War Wyvern from 1984, and is a good illustration of how our idea of a large model has changed over 30 years!
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Joined: Feb 18 2015, 01:12 AM

Feb 23 2015, 11:08 PM #13

Very cool conversion. Well done. :)
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