creating scales for a dragon, stuck, what's the best method?

Hi everyone
Not too sure if this is the right category but…
i’ve been making a dragon character for quite some time and am not sure how to proceed.
i want to give her scales, specifically large, plated type scales on her underbelly like the scales seen on this dragon’s neck: i used to model the scales just like the rest of the character, but on other characters it seemed to make the rigging very difficult, and I would like to animate this character later on. I’ve also tried sculpting, but my computer just crashes before i can get anywhere close to the level of detail I need.
what would be the best way to do it?
If anyone could help that would be great :slight_smile: