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Turning toys into war game monsters (photos)

Model maker Walter Denlinger creates pieces for tabletop war games that are frighteningly detailed--even though he starts with a Mr. Potato Head.

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Tim Hornyak
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Ork Warboss on motorcycle

Walter Denlinger is crazy about Warhammer 40,000, a tabletop war game by Games Workshop that he describes as "geek chess."

Though figurines can be purchased for Warhammer, Denlinger prefers to modify them or create his own at his Irondog Studios workshop.

Here, he has created a sci-fi motorcycle inspired by the anime classic Akira and placed an Ork Warboss figure on it.

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Mr. Potato Head gets Mad Maxed-out

What happens when Mr. Potato Head gets Mad Maxed-out?

Denlinger's Tater Titan project was inspired by the shape of the plastic spud toy. He first worked up a rough stance for the model and then used Photoshop to draw some rough ideas for the arms and face.

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Punked-out Potato Head

The next step involves fleshing out the features with plastic parts and making the sketch a reality.

Denlinger used PVC piping, copper wire, and coat hangers in the punked-out Potato Head.

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Enough is enough

"A project will often grow beyond the initial design sketch, with features being added on until I conclude, 'OK, enough is enough!'" says Denlinger.
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Apocalyptic Potato Head

Voila, one very bad-ass, apocalyptic Potato Head, perfect for stomping enemies.

"Painting is the final stage of any project," says Denlinger. "It's the stage I find most tedious, but it's also the most rewarding when I'm finished."

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Da BIG Trukk

For another Warhammer building project he dubbed Da BIG Trukk, Denlinger used the front end of a toy Humvee and modified it for his own purposes.
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Camouflaging the found object

"When the detailing stage starts, I will often camouflage the found object," says Denlinger.
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A dump truck and a monster truck

After the paint is applied, including scuffs and scrapes for realism, the original toy truck is unrecognizable.

"I wanted to build a cross between a dump truck and a monster truck, complete with a supercharged engine," Denlinger writes.

"This beast is intended as a massive 'battle taxi.' It's sole purpose is to rush forward as fast as possible, smash into the enemy lines, and dump a huge mob of boyz right in the enemy's face."

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