Thursday, 4 February 2016

Frugal gaming: two, count 'em, two, pound store monsters!

Just over a year ago, I picked up this ogre-type model from a local Poundland. It's part of a line inexplicably called Journey to Creation or possibly Mythical Creatures. Anyway, it's your basic Poundland toy, seen here with Torchy the Torchbearer for scale.

I always planned to make a D&D monster out of it, but my PCs at the time weren't really at giant-fighting level, and would just run away anyway, so I shelved the project temporarily. That is, for a year. Anyway, for this week's game I decided I needed a tougher level of opposition, so out it came. I snipped off the pony tail, shortened the horn, glued the legs in place and crudely filled the gaps with epoxy putty. I trimmed the mould lines a bit, although they're still visible in places. I stuck it on a spare base from the Reaper Bones II Kickstarter.

Here you can see the model with modifications. I also scratch built a weapon out of a twig from the path outside the house, some lengths of jeweller's chain, beads, cocktail sticks and sticky gems for scrapbooking; the original one a) didn't give a good sense of hugeness, and b) stunk. I also added some sand to the base and a little skeleton just for variety.

I sprayed the whole thing with Halford's grey car primer, then drybrushed up with cheap grey craft paint and Vallejo Medium Sea Grey. I painted it with thinned-down washes of various inks including Army Painter Strong Tone and VMC Russian Uniform.

Here he is in progress. As you can see, there's actually some OK detail on the toy, just obscured by its original crappy paint job. Here is the finished product, complete with weapon and some adventurers for scale.

Total cost: toy £1, twig free, chain maybe like 50p, beads about 20p, shield maybe 10p ... call the whole thing £2. The model's not perfect, and with more time I could have dealt with the mould lines better, but for £2 and a few evenings' work I'm calling it good.

This next model started life as a dinosaur skeleton I got for something like 30p from an Animix pick-and-mix box in a zoo gift shop. I thought he might make a fun opponent but that he needed something extra. I stuck him on a spare Renedra base I picked up at SELWG a couple years ago; I had spares after basing some mortars.

 I crudely sculpted some claws for him, then added a skeleton rider; the rider was part of a job lot of Warhammer Tomb Kings models I picked up in a charity shop years ago. I sold the character ones to recoup the cost, so honestly he was basically free.

I primed the whole megillah with Army Painter coloured primer:

Then just drybrushed up from a mixture of VMC US Field Drab and Ivory to pure Ivory.

Did the spear in bronze, painted the shield and Bob's your uncle.

Total cost: dino < 50p, skeleton basically free but we'll call it 10p, shield maybe 10p (I got a whole pack of them for £1) ... let's say less than £1 all told. It makes me want to play a fantasy wargame just so I can field a whole unit of these magnificent bastards. I might even make the future ones proper saddles and so on.

I used them in my D&D game, and the giant got walloped when the team's Eldritch Knight used her patented Gust of Wind rocket-jump to get up onto his shoulders and cave his melon in with her warhammer. The skeleton dinosaur fared a little better, but they both got a positive reaction from the players which is what I was hoping for.

The frugal gamer strikes again.


  1. Two very nice conversions. Well done on finding these!

  2. Cheap as chips and looks like a million bucks - well done!

    1. I'm really pleased with the way they came out -- it's nice when frugal instincts pay off.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words! I'm very happy with them; it's making me feel like I should do this kind of thing more often.

  4. Bargain - it's almost freecycling.

    1. A lot of my terrain and more than a few of my Orks came from Freecycle, actually! But like everything else, there's a high noise-to-signal ratio.

  5. Fantastic conversions! I need to pay more attention to poundland!

    1. Most of the time there's nothing useful -- but one of the nice parts of my job is that I have a client just around the corner from the shopping centre so when I'm done I can just do a quick run around that and charity shops just in case something catches my eye. When the weather improves I'm going to start going back to the car boot sale, too.

      I may have a problem.

  6. You looked so excited when you were talking about this the other day, and rightly so. It looks really good, and I'd never guess it was a recycled pound toy if you hadn't told me!