Sunday, August 12, 2012

Conversion Corner - Orc bows to Swords

Back in the days of Warhammer 6th Edition the boxed set contained Orc and Empire troops.  Now it was generally conceded that for the Orcs the Choppa Boyz, Chariot and Hero were fine, but the Arrer Boyz (below) in Game terms were pointless.

Now inevitably, I've gathered many of theses guys in job-lots over the years, about 32 or so, and they remain cheaply available on eBay and other online trade forums.  But as only a completist or lunatic would field Orc bows in Warhammer (when Night Goblin bows are so much more worthwhile) the question remained what to do with them.

I recalled many moons ago seeing a post on the Warhammer Forum however that showed they actually converted to swordsmen quite easily.  And so I tried to do it myself.

First of all I needed some material to make suitably Orc-y shields from.  I settled on a premoulded planking sheet from a model railway manufacturer - one sheet was enough for thirty shields, and the pack contained four sheets for £3!

A craft knife and some ingenuity, and the basic surface of the shields was ready.  Next I needed choppa arms, for the conversions.  For these I found a tolerably priced supplier in Germany of bitz and so splurged £8 on 24 sword arms.

Some of the original models already had hand weapons so I didn't quite need as many as troops.

Now to begin preparing the troops.  This chap - his head hidden by his shoulders - shows the essentials; The bow is cut down to form a handgrip for a shield, the knuckles are removed to give a flat surface.  The right hand is cut off, and the arrows are either cut from the quiver, or trimmed down to form a knife handle.  (I also found the end of a bow cut down to a fairly convincing knife handle too.)

Then simply cut a weapon free of its' old host and fit it in place with glue.  Likewise for the shield and knife if present.  Then one useless figure has become useful, and dynamic!

One of the models is undoubtedly a bit more awkward, as he is loading:

This chap needs more trimming and care than the others, and also needs a full replacement arm; but this can still be done effectively:

Note the tip of a bow serving as a knife.  As a final touch I rummaged through a box of spares and found the shield bosses from a set of Skeletons, adding them to give more character:  Additionally a horn was made out of spare parts to make a musician (stowed on his back for fighting) a standard bearer was already part made, and finallt a normal Orc warrior was recruited to lead them:

You'll notice that there are a number of them who seem largely painted.  Way back in the day I painted up a dozen of these  for my fledgling army, but soon realised they were of little or no use.  It was still a little galling to convert them, and I'm not really looking forward to trying to match the painting styles.  But the whole unit of 32 is ready to be painted and take its' place on the battlefield some time in the future.

Not bad for the price of a tenner or so...


  1. Clever conversions, sir. Well done!

    -- Jeff

  2. It's something I have seen done before, always wondered how you will get them to rank up in that pose?

  3. As they presently stand, they don't! But I have a couple of solutions that should help. Rebasing in mainly threes and angled so that the shields intermesh with the rank in front, and where models become impossible to fit on the same level, I'm going to use slate to rasie them up until the shields clear the other ranks...

  4. I use these as actual Arrer Boys in my army.
    As long as you remember to treat them as fighty models who can shoot in an emergency, rather than shooty models who can fight they do all right in a support role.
    Make a good bunker for Shaman too.
    Oh and a unit of 20 is great for the watchtower scenario if you end up holding the tower at the start.
    I should point out I lose more than I win, so any *advice* is at your own risk.
    Whatever you do they're a pain to rank up. I've multibased several of mine (3 on a 50mm square for instance) and converted some so they fit a bit better.

  5. Top notch conversion work. I'd painted so many of those guys for a friend that I wish I'd thought of what you did!