Monday, March 9, 2020


Darren Hatley is a fellow cllector and long time friend of this Blog.  He lives in England in a hole in the ground and boils all of his food.  Darren has an amazing collection but takes things one step farther by creating his own unique custom figures.  He is a true master of the art of customizing figures.  You may have seen some of his creations on Stad's Stuff a couple of years ago.  You will get to see far more of his work here.  It is my privilage and joy to let him present his works of art and describe them in his own words in the first ever guest post on this Blog.  So, with no further ado . . .    

Hi my name is Darren.A.Hatley. I'm 51 years old and i live just outside London England. I started collecting Toy Soldiers and other figures when i was 4. I now collect mainly plastic 1/32 Scale ie 50mm to 60mm or 2 inch to 2 and half inch Ancient, Medieval Soldiers/Warriors and Fantasy figures. My collection has grown to around 5000 figures, About 1000 of which ive converted and painted in some way or another. I started converting and painting about 15 years ago, 1st off because i enjoy it, But the main reason was that i was always frustrated that there were not more figures that i wanted in 1/32 scale being made, Especially Fantasy figures. Of course there are some really nice figures but not enough. So i searched the internet and i found that there were many companies from all around the World making Fantasy figures from 35mm up to large scale but not as toy soldiers. Some were 1/32 scale but most were not. However i found that with some imagination patience and skill many of these figures could be made to be 1/32 toy soldier scale. 99% of my figures are between 50mm and 60mm which is my preferred scale size. Almost all of my conversions are unique one offs as i dont like multiples of 1 pose unless its a row of archers. There are basically 2 types of ways to convert, The 1st is say moving a figures own arms into a different position to make a new pose, And the 2nd type is mix and match different figures together, Some of my conversions are made of 4 or 5 separate figures. Simple conversions can take just a few days to complete, Where as harder conversions with a full paint job can take up to 3 weeks. I always try to pin my figures together as well as using Super glue and American made Quick Grip glue for maximum strength. Also the Quick Grip can be manipulated into clothing skin and muscle. My aim is to have an army of 1000 Fantasy Monsters of which i'm up to about 700 now. So here are just some examples of my work.
Regards Darren   

Toy Major Custom Skeletons

I love these Toy Major Skeletons but I thought they had Great potential for many more dynamic poses, So I mixed and matched there body parts and came up with these figures.

Russian No Name Goblins & Werewolf Knight

They are nice figures but i thought they were a bit short, The Knight and Werewolf were 45mm and the Goblins were 40mm and as i may have told you before i like most of my figures to be 50mm to 60mm so that they all fit nicely together in scale size and of course they fit nicely with my 1/32 scale Ancient and Medieval figures. So these were more straight forward conversion, I simply cut the short legs in half pinned them back together again at there new height size and then filled in the gaps with bits of plastic and glue as armour. I liked the Metallic Blue colour of these Goblin figures so i left them as they were and painted the new legs with Metallic Blue paint to go with the rest of the figures. I used string for the Werewolf legs and plastic silver armour from a Knight for the No Name Knight. So now the Goblins are 50mm and the Werewolf and Knight are about 52mm

Helm Toy & Others

This next figure is a Black Demon i made from a Native American body with a DFC Demon head, The Shield i made from bits of plastic. Then the figure has a full paint job.These next 6 figures are Helm Toy Ogres/Orcs and another Creature. I extended the bodys and legs to make the Ogres taller, And moved the Creatures arms and gave him a different weapon, And gave them all a full paint job.The next 3 are Mummy figures in which i carefully wrapped up 3 Cherilea Nubians and Egyptian figure with masking tape and gave them a shield.

Reaper Bones

These next 11 figures are from a company called Reaper Bones Miniatures, 6 Orcs/Goblins, 1 Lizardman, 1 Tiki or Merman, 1 Gnoll and 2 Ogres. They are made in China but are American designed i think? Most of these figures come in at 35mm to 40mm but the top half of the figures are just about 1/32 scale but they have tiny legs which ive replaced with bigger longer legs, Then ive covered the waist and top of the legs with a loincloth made of plastic and Quick Grip glue which is quite hard and takes time to do but very rewarding when finished. Then a full paint job on every figure.


These Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures and Pathfinders Battles figures have been going for about 15 years now. They make all kinds of Brilliant well detailed and prepainted Fantasy figures. There are many sets and Thousands of figures been made, But 95% or more are way to small or large to fit into 1/32 scale. However 5% or a couple of figures from each set is either 1/32 scale or can be converted to it. I have done nearly 50 figures from this range and here is 7 figures to show how they can look. Perhaps the hardest part of the conversion with these figures is matching the paint colour of my converted pieces to the prepainted figure.


Mattel M.U.S.C.L.E. made these Great weird and wacky Men and Monster wrestle figures back in the 1980s in the United States, And there have been quite a few more made in recent years mostly He-Man Muscle figures so overall there must be around 300 of them. Although they measure from 40mm to 45mm they are basically 1/32 figures with small legs. So i have cut the legs off around 50 of these and replaced them with longer legs and they make great 1/32 or 54mm to 60mm figures, Here are 5 examples of these figures i have converted.

SCS Direct

I really like these SCS Direct Monster figures which are a good toy soldier size, But i like my figures to be as dynamic as possible. So i made new poses for these figures and gave them weapons and shields and as i usually do with most of my figures a full paint job.

Gormiti & Such

Gormiti figures from Italy are mostly to big and chunky to really fit with 1/32 toy soldiers, But i came across a series in a pound store which came in at 40mm to 45mm but with a bit of converting fit really well as 1/32 figures, Here are 4 examples of these figures.The next 2 figures i have no idea who made them and in what country but i got them on ebay a while back. They are a Sharkman and Alien type figures, So i gave them weapons and different taller legs and a full paint job and i think they make really good Fantasy figures.

Monster in my Pocket & Converted Demons

These are 2 Monster In My Pocket figures. I made them taller as usual as they come in at 40mm to 45mm, And i stuck some extra bits to them that i thought might improve there look including the vines on the Tree Monster using bits of plastic and of course a full paint job, And the weapon on the staff of the Charon figure.  These are 3 Red Demons i put together using bits and bobs of different figures and the paint job as standard.


These next 3 figures the Minotaur and 2 Dragonborn Warriors figures are from a company called Nolzurs which are very similar to the Bones Reaper figures in material colour and size, They only came in at 35mm to 40mm so they needed a lot of work to bring them up to 1/32 scale. On the Minotaur i stretched out hes Torso and legs, And on the 2 Dragonborn figures i had to stretch the Torso legs and arms and of course a full paint job for all 3. They took up to 3 weeks to finish but were i think worth it when i had finished.

Arco, Yu Gi Oh & Orc

These next 2 figures are Arco: Dragons and Monsters Cyclops and Lizardman, I replaced there original legs with longer legs to bring up there height and paint job.The next figure is a Yu-Gi-Oh Black Cat/Panther Warrior, I moved the arms for more dynamic pose and put him on taller legs and full paint job.The next figure is a mixture of 3 different figures i put together to make this Orc Warrior and of course paint job.

Navia Dratp & Massive Darkness

This is a Navia Drapt figure from Japan, I moved hes arms and gave him another weapon, But the hardest thing about this figure was that i couldn't match up the colour paint to the original colour so i gave him a complete paint job which wasn't my original intention.These next 3 figures i brought from a website here in England from a company called Massive Darkness, They needed quite alot of work. I made them taller by either stretching the legs of the Troll and making a loincloth out of plastic bits, Stretching the Demons body or putting new legs on the Orc and a loincloth made of glue, I moved the arms for more dynamic poses and added weapons and shields, And a full paint job on all 3 figures.

WWE MIghty Minis

As well as doing all kinds of Monsters i also do Human figures and as soon as i came across these 6 WWE Mighty Minis figures which are of famous American wrestler figures i thought they would make excellent Fantasy Barbarian Warriors. So i stuck the bodies onto Tehnolog Gladiator legs, And i use the Brilliant Russian made Tehnolog for many of my conversions, Then i gave them weapons and shields. For the hair of the Warriors i carefully and patiently manipulated the Quick Grip glue for the affect. The rock that one of the figures is holding i made from a small toy elephants body, Obviously cutting it to a shape of a rock and then using 2 small screws fixed it to the wrestlers hands.


This Lizardman figure took me about 3 weeks to make and is made from 4 different figures. He is one of the hardest figures ive ever done especially the skin which is made from thin pieces of plastic and the good old quick grip glue carefully put over the top of a human torso figure.

Merman Before & After

Over the last 6 months or so China and Hong Kong have been bringing out some brilliant but unbranded Fantasy figures like this Merman i recently did. As you can see the original red Merman is nice but only 40mm tall with the typical small legs. So i cut the original legs off and put him on a Tehnolog figures legs and then i moved the arms into a more dynamic pose, I then replaced the weapon on the left arm with a Warhammer Lizardman shield, I then put a horn on hes head and more barnicles onto hes body and then finished with a full paint job, This figure also took about 3 weeks to do.

Warrior Before & After

The original figure is a drinking buddy figure i got from a supermarket. I then cut hes arms and legs off and added better ones, Gave him a long main using the quick grip glue and a full paint job and turned him into a Warrior.


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  2. You are a man after my own heart! If you check out my blog, Quantrill's Toy Soldiers, you will see my own conversions. I see you also make use of American Indian bodies. I got those recent tube fantasy and horror and zombie figures too. The fantasy ones are a but a little small. I love what you did with the mummies. I'm wanting to use mummies in a wargame. Warhammer used to have them but they went out of use. I'm thinking of giving them mesmerising powers at short range and appropriate dice rolls. Are you wargaming with your stuff> James

    1. Hi James and thanks for your comments about my converted figures, Just as with Shauns blogs ive also been following your blogs for years on Quantrill's Toy Soldiers and love your Excellent conversions and have got some good tips from you and i hope you might get a couple from me. Yes American Indians can be used in lots of conversions from Ancient Inca/Maya/Aztec to Barbarians and Fantasy figures. I like the Horror tube figures best, Some of the Fantasy tube figures are just fine but i agree some are to small. Thanks about the Mummies i have several mummies from different companies but i haven't seen the Warhammer mummies you mention. No i dont play wargames with my figures, When i was young i just used my imagination to have my own battles, And now i'm older i just make the figures and look at look at them for my own pleasure which is something i love to do in my spare time. These are just a sample of my collection and am always on the lookout for new and interesting figures to convert and add to my collection and i have converted and or painted maybe a thousand or more but i dont think ive done as many as you so keep up the good work.
      Regards Darren

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