Thursday, April 13, 2023

Converting Plague Censer Bearers, Part 1

A few years ago, I made a handful of Plague Censer Bearers, but I didn't get into much detail about the conversion work. I had always intended to revisit the unit and fill out its ranks to a full 20-rat regiment. Here's a step-by-step look at how I converted the them:


The old Plague Censer Bearers are still available, but only via GW's online store, and it's $45 US for five. The plastic Plague Monk kit comes with 20 models for $45, so it's much more cost effective. The kit comes with four censor arms so, if you have multiple kits, you can use the spare weapons to build a bunch of Plague Censer Bearers.


I wanted my Censer Bearers to stand out from the regular monks, so I decided to use the spare censors from the Screaming Bell kit to have the rats wielding smoking censer flails. With the release of the Skaven Gnawholes, it's easier to get more of these; the kit includes six of those same censers, and if (like me) you buy extra kits to use for scenery embellishments you can get even more!



To build these censer flails, in addition to the Plague Monk kit, you will need 20-gauge floral wire, 26-gauge wire (both available at the local craft store), and as many plastic censers as you can scrounge. You will also need some clippers to cut the wire (an older, beat up pair is best– DON'T use your good plastic cutters, because the steel wire may damage the blades), a pair of flat needle-nose pliers to bend and shape the wire, a power drill, and some extra-thin super glue.



Start by cutting a few 6-inch lengths of the floral wire. Put the open end of the wire in the bit of a power drill, and loop the closed end around a nail or screw set into your workbench. If you have a clamp that can hold the looped end in place, that will also work. Twist the wire with the power drill to create the rope for the flail.

Don't twist it all the way; you want to leave some loop at one end, and the straight ends at the other. This is a great way to make "rope" for all manner of projects. By using thicker or thinner wire, you can make larger or smaller ropes. 



Next, make the ties at the end of the rope by wrapping the thinner wire around the ends. (Note: I realized after I took this photo that it is easier to wrap the wire around and through the loop if you clip off the top of the looped end, leaving two straight pieces in the shape of a "V.")



Once the tops are finished, clip off one of the bottom ends to leave a single piece of wire at the bottom. Wrap the thin wire around the end. The wire "ropes" should look like this when you are finished:



The two prongs at the top will form the "ring" that attaches to the censor, and the single wire at the bottom will be used to pin the rope into the end of the flail handle.

The censers from the Screaming Bell are perfectly formed, but the ones that come in the Gnawhole kit have a hole in the side which normally attaches to a peg on the scenery.



Use modeling putty to fill these holes and repair the missing detail.



While I had the putty out, I filled in the wrappings at the top of the legs on my unit leader. (This is one of the monks from the Plague Furnace; I replaced his feet with feet from a spare Plague Monk to get him to stand a little taller.)



Use a pin vise to drill two holes in the top of the censer.



Insert the two wire prongs into these holes, and the result will look like there is a ring on the censer that the rope is tied onto.



Finally, add a drop of extra-thin super glue on each end where the thin wire is wrapped. The capillary action of the glue will let it run through the wire and secure it in place. Wick up any excess glue with a bit of paper towel, and take care not to use too much; the glue will run along the length of the rope, all the way to your fingers if you're not careful.



Here are the finished censer flails:



In part two, we'll sort out the arms to make two-handed flail handles.



'Til next time!


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