The Man-O-War “Lean”
Anyone who has ever assembled a Man-O-War can tell you about the “lean” the model has, especially the Kovnik. When assembled they appear to be weighted heavily in the back and not quite standing upright. After playing around with my units for a while I devised a pretty simple way to fix this lean and make the models more durable to boot.
The problem stems from the angle cut of the torso armor. If it’s assembled flush with the top of the hips the entire piece “leans” backward. As you can see from the photo above if you raise the backside it gives a more natural feel to the pose by bringing the shoulders in line with the hips. Remember, there’s a man inside that suit.
Curious as to how to do this? Well read on…
Building a Hat Stand
I’m going to walk through a MOW Kaptian for this. I didn’t have a spare Kovink lying around so he’ll have to do. The procedure is exactly the same for all MOW models, including the MOW Demolition Corps. You’ll notice that I had already removed the stock head for a conversion so I’ll be doing a bit of conversion work along the way as well.
Step 1: I start by attaching the legs to the base. This gives me a solid platform to work from. Once this is done I drive a pin down into the center of the hips. I’m using 1/16″ brass rod throughout this assembly. You can use thinner rod, but this diameter insures it won’t bend during any manipulation. I’ve left about 3/4″ sticking out of the hips. In reality you will only need about 1/2″, but it’s better to cut long and trim back to fit than to cut short and replace.
(If you leave your figure unattached from the base until the end of the painting process make sure it’s attached to something stable and level. Gravity will be your friend for this fix.)
Step 2: Now drill a hole straight through the torso using the nubs for the arms as a guide. I usually just drill in from each side and they line right up. If it’s off slightly widen the hole a bit until you can get a rod all the way through. This is important as this internal cross bar keeps the vertical rod in place while providing pins to attach the arms to at the same time.
Step 3: Here’s where the hat stand reference comes in. Normally I would glue on the back half of the torso right now, but I’ve left it off for demonstration purposes. Hang the torso on the vertical rod, making sure it is in front of the cross bar. It should reach all the way to the top of the cavity. Obviously my rod is too long so I trim it down until the front edge of the torso meets the hips. Do NOT use any glue here.
Your MOW should look something like this with the torso assembled. Note the gap visible at the back of the waist. We’ll fill that and attach the torso at the same time in the next step.
Step 4: I use green stuff to attach the torso. Mix up a large pea-sized ball and stick it on the end of the vertical rod. Then slide the torso down over it, making sure the vertical rod is in front of the cross bar. Since you’ve already done a test fit you’ll know whether it’s off or not. The putty will fill the cavity and smush out of the bottom. If you’ve not used quite enough, it’s okay. Just add a bit more in around the waist to fill the gap.
You can smooth the putty to make it look like additional armor or use any texture you like. I prefer to use a chain mail like texture. Chain mail is used elsewhere on the model in the armpit joint to cover the opening. It makes sense that it would be used at the waist for flexible protection as well. I use a sharp dental tool to poke lots of random dents in the putty. You can use the tip of a mechanical pencil or even a toothpick, whatever sharp round pointy object that is handy. Once you’re satisfied with the putty work, set it aside to cure.
I can’t stress this enough. Green stuff takes 24 hours to cure to full strength. You can shorten this time by placing it under a warm desk lamp for at least an hour. Do not continue to work on the model until the putty is no longer flexible. If you do you will ruin your sculpting work and reduce the effectiveness of the bond between the putty and the model inside the cavity. Be patient and let it cure. You’ll be thankful you did.
The Rest of the Story…
Now that my Kaptain is standing upright and the putty is fully cured I’ll set about finishing the conversion. My first stop is the head swap. With an aggressive stance I wanted an aggressive head to match. Casting about my models I landed on what I thought to be the perfect head for the job: the bare head from the Steelheads sprue. They’re pretty easy to come by as many folks prefer the helmeted heads on their Steelheads. (Myself included.) This head doesn’t look like much on it’s original body, but drop it in a MOW suit and it looks pissed off and ready to kick some ass!
Step 1: I had already removed the Kaptain’s stock head and prepped the neck cavity before I decided to write this. I just snipped off as much of the head as I could with a pair of side cutters and then carefully excavated down into the neck with a drum cutter in my Dremel tool. I prefer the drum cutter as the end is flat and it makes it simple to recess an area. You can also use a ball cutter. No matter what you use it’s important to recess the head. If you simply glue it on top it will look like the poor guy has a giraffe neck.
Step 2: This was pretty straightforward. I attached the left arm and drilled into the end of the fist for a pin to secure the shield. Ordinarily the shield would attach to the forearm, but since the MOW shields have cannons it’s hard to aim them that way. I’ve placed it with the barrel pointing in the same general direction as the head. This gives the impression that he’s lining up a shot.
(I usually leave the shield off the model for painting, but when it’s attached this way I find it doesn’t interfere.)
Step 3: At this point I could just assemble the right arm in the stock pose and be done with it. In fact, that is how the model was originally assembled before I dismantled it for this rebuild. Here’s how it would look:
Not much to write home about, and it prevents the model to his right from being in base to base with him for Shield Wall. I wanted something a bit better. This conversion is a bit tricky so I would read all the way through before attempting it.
Step 3a: After lining up the forearm in a forward pose at the elbow it was obvious that I would need to remove some metal to make the pieces line up. I filed off the underside of the shoulder plate and cut a notch into the top of the forearm. I’ve marked the areas in red on the photos so you can see the places better.
Step 4: Shown here are the pieces assembled with pins. There’s a bit of a gap between the forearm and the elbow, but that’s easy to fix with a bit of putty. I also need to fill the original pin hole in the elbow at the same time.
Here is the finished piece. I decided to angle the polearm forward a bit after I realized that it was slightly too tall for my 3″ Sabol Army Transport trays. (3.25″) This also felt a bit more natural so it was a good change all around.
On to Demolition Corps!