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Borgnine's Log: BB Dark Elf Star Players

Farmer7574

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@Borgnine Superb work once again mate. Those brown spiders are pretty much the colour scheme I will be aiming for when I get around to my forest goblin stuff in the future. The brown fading to black at the legs is striking enough despite the fact it's quite a generic scheme, and those patterns have worked a treat. I reckon my favourite part of these spiders has gotta be the slimey innards and the goo effect that you've achieved here - they look pretty darn lifelike. I'm left in envy once again, top stuff! :)
 

Theerteen

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Ah dude, those spiddies...love them. I'm currently on my second circus unit - tamed spider acrobats - and had no idea for cool looks. Now there's hope :D
 

Borgnine

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@Farmer7574 Thanks! Glad you like them, I was worried how that slime would look in the photos ;) I would also like to see your take on spiders, even though I don't envy you about that xD

@Theerteen Thanks too! I am waiting to be surprised, as I really cannot imagine how those spider acrobats would look ;) Would there be goblin acrobats riding them, or would the spiders themselves be the acrobats?

@Unas the slayer Well, with blood green like this, they surely aren't healthy! Thanks!

--------------------------------------------

Ok, here I am with more zombies to bore all of you some more! This time I will show you some gory brutes, big guys taking whole 40x40mm bases by themselves. I added the fat cossack from earlier into this group, as he fits quite well with them and I didn't like his backstory either way ;)

New backstory for the whole group:
Being so close to chaos wastes, children in Kislev are born with mutations more often than in the Empire. Lacking the presence of inquisition, boyars tolerate the milder examples of such corruption. Many such children, while much less smart, grow to be bigger than their peers and have a natural affinity for violence - and they work often as executioners, thugs or bodyguards. Those brutes are naturally welcome in any army too - and that includes undead armies of von Greifen vampires. Being large, stocky and intimidating, they make perfect zombies - and they can continue their grisly executioner work to reinforce the terror factor of the undead horde.

The first pair - a headhunter and a breaking wheel carrier. First one is made out of orc parts with the torso sculpted out of greenstuff. A good excuse to use up some of my large collection of head bits. The second one is holding a breaking wheel - I always wanted to do something like this. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a good bit to be used as this, so I sculpted the wheel myself and then placed a poor zombie on top.

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Another two are the beforementioned cossack and a guy with a cage. The second one was quite complicated to build and paint - I had to glue the captured soldier to only half of the cage, paint him, close the cage, paint the cage, glue the cage to the zombie's back and then sculpt the rope - which then had to be painted of course. Still, he turned out quite fine, especially his funny face - and the prisoner was an opportunity to paint a human with a healthy skin tone - not something I do very often!

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Farmer7574

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@Borgnine Nice work on those brutes, a mixed bag of awesomeness as every post of yours is.

Great sculpting work all round as always - some of your sculpting goes unnoticed to me since it's done darn well and then painted well :) I wouldn't be able to tell that you sculpted that wheel yourself if you hadn't mentioned so - good thing really because the grain of the wood looks top notch. I've just started working on a doomdiver for my O&G and the sculpt of the wood doesn't have near as much definition as your wheel.

As for the paintwork, really impressive as always - the pallid blue skin tones and the vibrant gore alongside the mixed tones of clothing and other details make for excellent looking miniatures. Top stuff! :)
 

Borgnine

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@Farmer7574 Thank you very much! If my conversions look natural then that means that they serve well ;) I also really like that wet, glossy, saturated gore against dry, greenish skin - it looks very good, but I cannot stop asking myself how do those zombies keep their wounds wet and fresh all the time ;) As for woodsculpting - I found that the best way to do it is to sculpt really deep grain and later, when the greenstuff is cured, to sand the surface a bit, try that if you didn't already come up with that yourself ;)

----------------------------------------------------------

This time, a mummified drake. The miniature came originally from Fenryll Miniatures. As I said already here, I bought it cheaply on eBay to be used as a zombie filler - though I had to repose him quite a bit to fit neatly on a 40x80 base. Thankfully that is really easy with resin. The wings also had to go - they were rather small and awkward - and it still looks fine without them. I wanted to make its skin dark brown, kinda like real life mummies, but in the end, he turned out a bit flat and bland. If I had to paint him again, I would do some more striking colors underneath those bandages, that would create some interesting contrast. But well, for now, he'll have to do as he is.

Some fluff text:
Drakes - despite being weaker, smaller and wingless cousins of real dragons - are still the most dangerous predators in Varsavian wilderness. Similarly to giant wolves, those reptiles are deified to some extent amongst the local folk - they are believed to bring prosperity and good harvest. Because of that, every time one of them is found dead - not a common occurrence - people gather its remains, mummify them and store them in makeshift sarcophagi near their villages to keep its positive influence for ages to come. When Constantin found one of those tombs, he quickly raised the impressive beast and added it to his minions. Disliking such superstitions, the vampire left the villagers to fight for their own prosperity, rather than hope for a dead lizard to grant it to them freely. Not that it would help in such a place as Varsavia, sitting between undead, bandits, barbarian hordes and other monsters.

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PS. As I am writing those words, the Zombie Legion is actually painted, based, magnetized, finished! It was already dark when I made it, so photos will come next week. I will use this time to set them optimally on the trays and maybe take care of some stuff around the house that I neglected during those last weeks xD See you then!
 

Farmer7574

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What a mighty cool mini. The beast and it's bandages have really been painted well, nice palette you've gone for here. So nice that I love how the chilling blue on those bits of moss on the tree and the drakes green eyes stand out so well against the warm tones of everything else. I actually like how he's turned out and glad you didn't go for a different skin tone.

Regarding your wood sculpting method - it sounds simple and looks so effective. I'll bear this in mind the next time I need to sculpt some wood :)

Have I actually read this correctly...

PS. As I am writing those words, the Zombie Legion is actually painted, based, magnetized, finished!
...???
 

Borgnine

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Have I actually read this correctly...

...???
That means that I have no more zombies to paint, the whole 400-wound strong unit is finished - I only need to make photos next time I'll be at home when there's daylight - on the upcoming weekend.

Also, thanks for the comment, glad you like him ;)
 

Borgnine

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Loong post incoming!

Finally, the Zombie Legion is finished! 8 units, each 50-wound-strong, for 400 wounds total - with more than half of them composed of multibase fillers. This project spans almost 5 years, with most of the work done during the last year - and you can find here representatives of almost all of the old WFB factions, with some bits from Age of Sigmar too. I consider it now my favorite project, much bigger and more impressive than Nagash.

I dedicate this post to @Mad 'At and his crazy collection of zombies, he inspired me to try my own. I started with filling up my 65 basic zombies up to 100 - and then I thought, why not go for 200? I had my head still full of ideas! Then 300. Then 350. And finally 400. At that point, I started to run out of ideas and decided that it's a good point to stop - being able to build a 40x40cm square full of zombies. Last weeks were especially tough, as I had to finish them before April. All that intensive work took a toll on me and now it's difficult to get out of "I need to paint zombies!" mindset... ;) Also, worth noting, while I didn't have to push my painting skills to the limit on this project, I really learned to paint much more time-effectively, especially on rank-and-file troops like these.

I set them all in a good configuration, numbered them all, together with their places on the tray and now I'll have to think, how am I going to move them from Berlin to Warsaw without damaging them. After that, I think I'll take a short break (but I still have photos of zombie-batches to last me at least two months) - and then I'll go back to that damned Red Dragon I started long time ago. With maybe some smaller stuff in-between too!

HERE, on my blog, I managed to create an index of all the posts and entries that are related to this project, so if you want to see some WIPs or any particular entry, that link would be the best to use.

Fluff piece:
Von Greifen vampires gathered much power in Varsavia through the years and their armies managed to deal with all the intruders thus far - with vampires as the commanders and the common troops composed of Hautfell's skeletons, Gudvanger's monsters and wight soldiers. This alliance of vampires, necromancers, varsavian wights and the denizens of the Black Bog relied greatly on their mutual support. Still, the tensions between them just kept growing, with every faction trying to gain the upper hand by amassing larger forces or subverting the others. Constantin noticed then - that he and his vampires would be severely outnumbered if they were to face the others in open combat. While other troops had better equipment, discipline or skill, all they had were pitiful, rotting zombies, with their numbers being their only strong point. But rather than futilely seeking other options, Constantin decided to just use what he has, only much, much more - because there's a quality to quantity too. Walking corpses don't need elaborate rituals or strong magic to sustain - amassing them would be time-consuming, but not difficult. That project soon turned into a weird hunt for uncommon corpses to add them to the collection - which grew and grew into really immense size. If they can't beat their opponents in a straight fight, they will just drown them with bodies!

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And now, some close-ups, because frankly, the picture above isn't easy to look at.

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And pictures of the sub-regiments that make up the whole horde:

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Thanks for visiting!
 

Farmer7574

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Those are some truly impressive shots, sir!

After the better part of a year or so watching all of those single mini conversions, fillers and other things you've been working on come to life, seeing these pictures is a treat. It's rewarding enough just being a bystander of your project, however you should be really proud of what you've accomplished mate.

Those close-ups are probably my favourite of the images you've posted. The fact that they're void of any base edges really shows the true horde-y nature of these units. Thanks for posting these shots, they'll serve as future inspiration for sure - just stunning work to say the least. :)
 

Borgnine

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@Unas the slayer thanks, dude!

@Farmer7574 Thank you too! Yeah, it was a hell of a ride and I'm really glad you all were here with me - but now I am glad it's finally over. Those pictures should serve as a good crowning for this project - and I am glad you like it :)

--------------------------------

Okay, the zombie legion is finished - but I still have plenty of sub-batches to show. I know that you are probably completely bored with those at this point, but it's still better to have those than nothing ;) I will show any new stuff as soon as I have something good to share - and zombie legion batches will serve as a padding between those ;)

This time, the mercenaries. When I was building my zombies, sometimes I would add small parts from other kits to make it all a little bit more interesting. Soon I dubbed those guys with looted equipment 'mercenaries' and they grew into being another theme in my horde. I also started using more bits taken from other armies, even buying some things specifically to be used for this purpose. It's mostly shields in the end. I also added here some guys that look more professional than your usual random zombies.

Fluff text:
Mercenaries are a common sight in Varsavia - if not helping some quarreling boyars or fending off barbarians coming from the wastes, they hunt the undead in the forests too. Von Greifens started facing bands of them after their presence in Varsavia was exposed to the provincial rulers. One of those groups was especially memorable because they were all equipped with gear looted from all over the world - bretonnian helmets, elven swords, dwarven axes, chaos shields, etc. Those sellswords were quite a rag-tag bunch, but they were all experienced fighters too and proved to be quite a challenge for the vampires. Eventually, they were routed and their fallen comrades got ‘looted’ the same way they were looting their equipment.

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Farmer7574

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@Borgnine Awesome conversions mate, the fluffyou've written for them has allowed you to use more or less any gear in your bits box and come up with an ultra-cool unit! Great stuff as always :)
 
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wow, simply amazing! I love how versatile zombies can be in conversions. Hell I guess to some extent most of our armies are open to conversions thanks to the "raising their dead against them"... but your work here is truly inspiring!
 

Borgnine

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@Farmer7574 Thanks! Well, it was a good excuse to use at least some of that stuff. If I had an empire army I would probably build a whole unit of Free Company like this ;)

@Mnemloch Thanks too! How easy it is to convert and use other miniatures for the army was one of the reasons I got into collecting undead ;) And zombies especially so!

------------------------------------------------------------------------

More zombies - yay... This time, bretonnian peasants!

As I may have mentioned already, my another collection that is still waiting to be finished are the Bretonnians. I got into that army because I really wanted to design and paint all kinds of different heraldic symbols, creating a big, happy, colorful mess. Then I moved to collect undead - a pursuit that proved to be much interesting in the long run - but my love for those dirty peasant and shiny knights remained still. So when I had to get some more bodies for the horde, buying some men-at-arms was a perfect solution. With their big shields, they were also a perfect occasion to paint some coat-of-arms. Every single one of those emblems is taken from a chart I prepared long time ago when I was planning my collection of knights. This will make for a nice connection between two armies when/if I'll get to paint the Bretonnians someday...

I hoped that they would bring some color into the horde, but I severely overestimated them in that regard - they make only about 5% of the whole horde - so they don't change that much. If I was to turn back time and do it once again, I would buy more peasants. But I am not doing that and they'll have to do as they are. That's good too because I was running out of ideas how to make them into interesting zombies that would also look bretonnian enough ;)

Some bit of fluff for them:
Zombies drawn from Bretonnian peasant levies are a common sight in the horde - ever since the conflict with the knights from a long time ago. Their colorful uniforms bring some variation to the undead mass - and that’s about the only thing that makes them useful - malnourished peasants from Bretonnia make bad soldiers even when alive. Still, Constantin likes to collect their coat-of-arms not only as a grim memento of past battles, but also to mock the hated knights that keep trying to hunt the vampires down.

First, the whole unit:

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And the single minis:

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Thanks for looking!
 
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Wonderful, as usual... those shields are fantastic.
And the second to last zombie, with the head half detached, made me laugh more than it should have... great idea! xD
 

Borgnine

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@Unas the slayer thanks! Good that I got a chuckle out of you, even if that wasn't intended ;)

----------------------------------

More zombies! Hopefully next week I'll have something fresh!

Another army that I was collecting in the past were Chaos Warriors. I sold most of them a long time ago, but I still had some leftover bits - which naturally got used while building the horde. I also bought some additional bits to bring some variation - that's why you can see some bodies taken from 40K chaos cultists too - thankfully it's not difficult to make them fantasy-friendly. 4

There are some favourites of mine in this batch too: the Techno Viking in the first row, on the right, the Chaos Warrior on the second picture, for which I sculpted the chest and guts, the guy without hands you can see on the bottom right and one that got a blood eagle on the bottom left. Those were fun to build and paint - and I'm somehow surprised that in the end, I have so few of those barbarians...

Some fluff text:
Chaos incursions from the neighboring wastes are commonplace in Kislev and Varsavia is no different in that regard - von Greifens are facing marauders and other servants of the Dark Gods probably most often. Sometimes it’s just some bands lost in the woods, sometimes beastmen hordes and sometimes a big raid with armored warriors, chariots and cavalry. Each of those clashes is a trying experience, but they leave undead recruits in the zombie hordes. They are a hardy stock, don’t crumble or rot as easily, so they are appreciated by vampires.

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Farmer7574

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THose chaos zombies just look quite at home with bits n bobs rammed into their skin xD Seriously though, that banner has been painted beautifully and I really like the appearance of that guy with part of a spear rammed through his head... spooky!
 

Borgnine

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@Farmer7574 thanks! That banner got somehow lost with that glossy blood on it, the cowhide pattern isn't as clear as in the real life, but I'm nevertheless happy that you like it ;) And the guy with the spear, not much converting done there, those 40k cultists are quite spooky indeed, would be nice to get some undead from the person who sculpted them ;)

--------------------------------------------

Good news everyone, an update that's not zombies!

I took a short break to play Total War Warhammer 2, but it didn't stick - I went back to the hobby table rather quickly. Still used to the speed and amount of work that the zombie legion needed, I have about 5 or 6 different projects going on right now - and today I will share with you one that's presentable enough at this point. The word I used to name it, Gatzek (spelled in Gacek in Polish) is a Polish name for a family of bats - and also a kinda silly colloquial term for bats in general.

Some time ago I bought a Wolfbomination miniature from the Zombicide game (I didn't take a photo of the unconverted mini, so I am using one from the official website of the game):

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I always wanted to have some werewolves in my army and this one looked good enough to be used, probably as an alternative Varghulf. Then it lingered on my shelf and in the meantime, I decided that I wanted to get some Skin Wolves from Forge Wold at some point. Now that Wolfbomination won't fit those (even less from a fluff perspective) so I started thinking how to use this miniature differently. The obvious way was to make it a vampiric monster, to make it really look like another Varghulf. I even had some extra Vargheist bits laying around, so that was actually doable!

I decided to give it a Vargheist head with a creepily long and wide jaw full of teeth - so I removed the wolf head, added the vampiric one and build some base for the lower jaw out of milliput. At this point I also I noticed that the Wolfbomination's arms were actually compatible with one set of Vargheist wings - so I glued those too. You can see that stage of the conversion below. Looking at it then I also thought that it definitely could use some more mass - especially on those tiny legs.

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I rolled tiny, pointy teeth out of greenstuff first and then I set them in the creature's gums later. When I was doing Flying Horrors last year, I used needles for teeth and that turned out a bit artificial - greenstuffed teeth look much more varied and natural. While I was at it, I also made it's claws on the left hand longer - I envision them to be magically retractable, like vampires in Witcher have them. Then it was just a case of sculpting some additional muscles on the back, legs and one of the arms. Well, that and changing the tail too, of course.

Below you can see the finished conversion - he will make a fine companion to my other Varghulf, the Fledermaus. I also sculpted a fallen tree on the base, it will create a good framing composition together with the wings. As I am posting these, he has some wetblended base colors on him.

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Borgnine

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Another update, still no zombies! Banshees this time!

I have been seeing those on eBay for a long time now and only recently it came to me that those two are actually really good sculpts and I want to get them.

I always painted my ghosts rather uniformly greenish - which has a great advantage of being really quick and easy to do. Then I saw these ones and I decided to try something similar - a gradient going from dark on the bottom to light white on the face. It involved quite a bit of wetblending, glazing and refining, but I think that it turned out all right in the end. It creates a much stronger illusion of them being etheral and those glowing faces are pretty spooky too.

I bought recently some old spirit hosts too - those that look like bedsheet ghosts - I'll try this gradient scheme on them too.

Some backstory for them:
Back when Alexander Hautfell was still a normal citizen of the empire, he was the black sheep in the family. His parents were making sure that it would be his older sisters that would inherit the family wealth and influence and not the vengeful, twisted wizard acolyte that Alexander was. His eldest sister, Berthild, was a rare woman officer rapidly advancing in the imperial army and the second sister, Erentraud, was a woman full of charm and grace with a promising future on the imperial court. Ready for anything to further his own position, Alexander began spinning a cruel web of plots to destroy his sisters’ position and inherit the family fortune. After everything was said and done, Erentraud, Berthild and their parents died as broken shells of their former selves and Alexander lost all the shreds of humanity he still had. Because of the powerful emotional connection and their undeserved fates, it was easy for Hautfell to summon the ghosts of his sisters as very powerful banshees. While they are magically bound to be obedient, those tortured spirits are just waiting for someone stronger to break the spell so they could rip Alexander’s body and soul to shreds.

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I've always loved those models and i've got both of them... but i don't remember banshees as good as these ones. Great color effect, it gives them an impressive visual impact.
You know i am not a fan of gory effects, so these are just perfect, from my pov.
Indeed, they are spooky... and evil!
 
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Wow, love the ethereal effects! I too have always gone with the quick green/highlights etc. But seeing these I may have to go back and redo them all at some point! Excellent work
 

Borgnine

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@Unas the slayer Thanks! I will be doing some non-gory undead for quite some time now, so stay tuned ;)

@Mnemloch Thanks too! Painting them like that is quite troublesome, so be warned - but it's also soo worth it ;)

-----------------------------------

Okay, now it's time for something completely different - some Blood Bowl miniatures!

I bought the box with the main game rather spontaneously about a year ago - and it was lying on the shelf, gathering dust ever since. Only recently the motivation came to me to actually take it all out and paint those dudes to play the game properly. I wanted to get over it quickly, not wanting to invest too much time on any non-undead miniatures... but then an idea came to me. As I was putting the human team together, I found a helmet from an Empire cavalryman lying around and I saw that changing their generic helmets into those over-the-top ones with ridiculously large plumes would be quite cool. Then I noticed that I don't have enough Empire helmets - but I certainly have enough of the bretonnian ones - even better! I cut the standard heads off and put the bretonnian ones in. I could do some more converting on them, but I also wanted to finish them quickly - this seemed like a good middle ground. You can see the human team below, I hope they look ridiculous enough (I still need to come up with a name for the teams).

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When I converted the human team I remembered that I also bought the big guys for both teams - the ogre and the troll. The greenskin team and that troll don't need any conversions, but I still needed to do something with that ogre to make is somehow chivalrous. I cut off the top of his head, gave him a cool crest with some cloth addition, added some shields as greaves and adorned that gutplate with some fleur-de-lys.

I know that Bretonnia traditionally didn't use any mercenaries in their armies, but I like to think of my bretonnians as cynical a-holes for which the nobility and chivalry is only a facade. Wanting to get some edge on the field, they found an ogre willing to play for them, quickly made him a knight to bypass the 'no mercenaries' rule and called it a day. That also explains why his conversion is rather simple.

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Last but not least - the single orc player that I converted, he will be the captain of the team. He got a helmeted Black Orc head and I gave him a bear trap in his hand - which seemed like a proper Blood Bowl fun implement. I converted him because I was really disappointed with Black Orcs Blockers - how can you have them in the game and not give them those cool iconic helmets? Thankfully I had some spare heads so one orc will be parading on the field like a proper boss. The other one will keep his standard head to make this one stand out more.

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Farmer7574

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@Borgnine I've been a bit absent these days but you've got some awesome stuff up in your PLOG in that time :)

That werewolf is an awesome conversion, the mouth full of razor sharp teeth looks pretty darn terrifying! Good call on greenstuffing all those pearly whites - you have patience!

Those converted BB minis are top notch too. The simple helmet swaps have worked wonders on those guys, and that boss is meeeean! - Couldn't think of better arms than a big fist and a trap for him :D
 
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