Most Tabletop Games
have sets of pre-molded models available to play with. These may be sold by the company that makes the game, or by a secondary company that's licensed to provide official products, or may be models either designed without a specific game in mind or lifted from their intended game to another. These vary in overall quality, but often look very nice.
But sometimes, a player wants something a little more... personal. Instead of taking a stock model and painting it up, they decide to make a few changes. You pull out the old Bitz Box
, grab a pair of shears, snip out that sword, and put an axe from that orc chieftain in the barbarian's hand instead. Snip the head off a Spanish Conquistador
Model, cover the face in putty, poke some holes in it, and you have a Roman-style Gladiator look. That'll sure turn some heads when you put him on the table! What, it's still
not enough? Okay, take a knife and cut all over the body, jam some more putty in the cuts, and voila! You have some impressive scars for a veteran warrior.
Congratulations, you've just made a Miniatures Conversion
. A Conversion is the act of modifying and personalizing a gaming model to make it look different than the way it did when you first bought it. This can be done to better reflect the weapons and equipment of the character the model represents, or just to make him look cooler. If done well, a conversion can really draw attention at a game.
For some games, particularly Warhammer
and Warhammer 40,000
, conversions are not only encouraged but oftimes pretty much necessary for gameplay reasons. Orks
are probably the best example of this and all the more awesome for it.