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"Head Swapping" Topic

13 Posts

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KeepYourPowderDry25 Oct 2023 12:53 a.m. PST

I've refined my head swapping method, now much faster and more accurate.

Of interest to Epic owners who want to make their figures look more unique?

Coincidentally, Warlord have just started releasing heads for their Epic ranges

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2023 7:37 a.m. PST

I'm a big fan of head swaps. Reading over your post, I would suggest you consider getting a jeweler's saw for the head cutting. It produces a very flat working surface. In my case, I use a dremel to shave down the bases and keep the metal shavings for use as a filler. After attaching the pinned head using super glue, I use the metal shavings to fill in any gaps. A little more super glue and, once dry, can be shaped with a file.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2023 7:55 a.m. PST

Some very good tips here. The Liquid Greenstuff I must try and lubricating the bit. I do use a very fine saw and a Dremel, but, however fine, sawing does mean significantly shortening the neck, a problem for head swaps as opposed to attaching ready-made spare heads. I use a Minicraft high speed drill for plastics and brass rod as a pin, but for metals it has to be the hand drill.

KeepYourPowderDry25 Oct 2023 3:43 p.m. PST

I have thought about purchasing a jeweller's saw, but as my main headswapping/surgery project is winding down I'm struggling to justify the expense (when I could more easily justify a ludicrously expensive hi-fi or camera bit).

Must confess that all my figure surgery has been with metal figures; I did experiment with a few Warlord samples that they sent me prior to the release of the Epic Pike and Shotte range. So familiar a task, but so very different an outcome. So I can fully understand different tools/approaches for different materials – my needle files, such a staple for my metal figures, just left a raggedy mess with the Warlord plastic.

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2023 4:06 p.m. PST

Cost of a hand jeweler's saw is nominal.

Took me a long time to buy one, but i'll never go back.

takeda33325 Oct 2023 7:27 p.m. PST

Brave, brave lads to do these swaps!

4th Cuirassier26 Oct 2023 4:30 a.m. PST

I think if I needed to headswap enough metal figures to make a whole unit, I'd probably do just one and then use it as a master from which to cast copies for the remainder of the unit.

I've recently been headswapping Airfix French infantry heads onto British line infantry bodies to make Brunswickers, and onto hussar bodies to make different hussar regiments, and the saved hussar heads back onto the original French infantry bodies to make the carabiniers of the light infantry. The results are often better than the original source figures, because you can introduce small pose variations. After carefully slicing the heads off with a Swann Morton, I generally drill the necks, push brass wire downwards into the neck using pliers, apply a blob of gel superglue, grip the head in the same pliers now padded with folded tissue paper (so they don't mark the head), and firmly push it down onto the brass wire peg. A quick wipe of excess gel with wet kitchen roll hides any join.

The result is very solid and it also works for keeping riders upright on horses and horses upright on bases when they want to lean (as all Airfix horses do). Why they moulded the base separate from the horse I can't imagine, unless it was to make the pieces per box count look higher. Then again, why they bothered to make these figures as accurate as they are I also can't imagine, given they were intended to be played with on the carpet by 7-year-olds.

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2023 12:10 p.m. PST

For me, head swaps are to take two figures that are the same and make them look different. Mostly, it will be a swap between 4 figures. Two figures remain the same and the other have different heads used. I end up with 4 different figures.

I have also done quite a few head twists. It's amazing how different a figure can look with the head pointing in a different direction.

KeepYourPowderDry26 Oct 2023 11:17 p.m. PST

4th – that would make a lot of sense, and I would probably go down that route if I was 'making' a troop type with a headswap. 'making' individuals. The Colonel has nailed it, even amongst a unit of uniform figures a head looking at a different direction can be very different.

I'm currently headswapping my way through a Wars of the Three Kingdoms Irish Catholic Confederate army. No known standard dress or clothing issued. Headswaps allow me to create a rabble of difference with different hat types. Clothing can become unique with paint.

Personal logo Wolfshanza Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2023 10:21 p.m. PST

Did a unit of USCT from the plastic Perry. Used spare unmarried heads from the Zulu sets. Just clipped them flat with sprue cutters. Went a lot easier than I thought :)

Fred Mills28 Oct 2023 6:04 a.m. PST

Great OP and follow-on suggestions.

4th Cuirassier28 Oct 2023 7:31 a.m. PST

@Colonel Durnford

Another way to make ten of the same plastic figure look different is to add a musket sling. On plastic figures these are usually pretty perfunctory if visible at all. To amke them you unroll the lead foil off the neck of a wine bottle, flatten it, then slice it into long, very thin strips. Snip these into short lengths, bend into a shallow u shape, then stick the ends to the appropriate bit of the musket with superglue.

They stay on very well especially once PVA primed and painted. No two will look the same and your figures thereby also look a bit more 3D.

This requires you to buy decent wine, but we must not repine. Sacrifices must be made.

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2023 1:13 a.m. PST

If one is a little heavy handed like me ,then a jewelers saw or sometimes known as a piercing saw maybe a little too delicate .
My weapon of choice is the Razer saw in combination with a Citadel ( GW) vice. Mine was expensive at the time being the Xacto type but cheaper copies are probably just as good.

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