Cry Wolf! A look at the latest Space Wolves release

Posted in 40k, Conversions with tags , , , , , , on August 20, 2014 by krautscientist

With GW’s release schedule growing ever more crazy of late, it has become quite a task to hang on and try to chronicle all the new toys! That said, with the Grey Knights already having received their new Codex and the first pictures of a massive WFB Undead release already making the rounds, I think it’s safe to consider the small pocket of new Space Wolves kits completed, so let’s just discuss these for today, right?

Space Wolves Release 2014 (1)
When I first got into the hobby, my attitude towards the Space Wolves was a rather apathetic one: They basically looked like Space Marine Vikings to me, which I didn’t find all that appealing back then. The fact that the – rather small – models in those days seemed more or less buried in viking-esque decoration didn’t help either.

Since then, I have grown more and more fond of the Space Wolves over the years. Maybe my personal tastes have evolved, maybe it’s the fact that GW’s designers have done a rather good job of making the faction more interesting (both by including some additional visual influences beyond the viking look and by coming up with some wonderfully versatile and beautifully detailed plastic kits). In any case, the picture of hulking, fur clad warriors with elongated canines seems more attractive to me nowadaways than it did back then. So what about this new Space Wolves release, then? Let’s take a closer look at the new kits and, as always, discuss their conversion and kitbashing potential as well.

At first glance, this release seems far less substantial than the last ones — at least looking at the numbers. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes obvious that this is a release with all the fat trimmed off – but quite a bit of substance underneath. Let’s take a closer look:

 

Stormwolf Assault Vehicle / Stormfang Gunship:

Space Wolves Release 2014 (5)
Well, here it is at last: A dedicated flyer for the Space Wolves. GW could have made it easy for themselves on this one, just slightly revamping one of the vanilla flyers like the Storm Talon or Storm Raven, and no one would have been the wiser. But in a fairly surprising move, we get a model that is equal parts reminiscent of the longships of Fenris (yeah right!) and of Forgeworld’s Cestus Assault Ram. Say what you want, but that seems like going above and beyond the requirements to me ;)

While the resemblance to the Cestus is indeed uncanny, the model also features some visual callbacks to the last few Space Marine flyers (just check out the cockpit section).

All in all, making this model resemble both a Forgeworld flyer as well as the rest of the “Vanilla Marine” flyers is a pretty sound strategy, and I have to say I really like the overall look of the model. In fact, after the Dark Talon, this is the second time that the non-Codex Astartes chapters actually get a cooler flyer model than vanilla Marines, in my opinion.

Oh, and a flyer transporting an angry pack of Space Wolves into battle by way of a storm ramp also seems like a rather good fit for the chapter from a background perspective!

The other option for the kit is to be assembled as the Stormfang Gunship, with an enormous Helfrost Destructor cannon replacing the transport compartment:

Space Wolves Release 2014 (4)

There’s really not much to say about this variant from a visual standpoint, seeing how it’s pretty much exactly the same model, except for the gun. The extra versatility is nice, of course. However, let me also take this opportunity to say that I’ll just be ignoring some of the new fluff shenanigans concerning “Glimmerfrost Crytals”, “alien ice that never melts” and the whole deal with Space Wolves now obviously being themed around ice magic: The wolves riding on wolves I could get behind, but this just seems like GW borrowed some World of Warcraft lore right there. Luckily, we’ll only discuss the models here, so that stuff can go happily ignored.

So yeah, back on topic:  I really like this model! It’s an interesting and fairly creative addition to the growing catalogue of Space Marine flyers. Good job, GW!

 

Space Wolves Venerable Dread / Bjorn the Fell-Handed / Murderfang

Space Wolves Release 2014 (7)
Alright, this is it: The Dreadnought combi-kit to end all Dreadnought combi-kits! While the Blood Angels Dreadnought can also be assembled as three different variants, this big guy comes with pretty much all the weapon options available to a Dreadnought (plus another, stupidly winter-themed, Space Wolves-exclusive gun) and even provides us with the bitz to build one of the oldest characters in 40k (both in the game and in-universe): Bjorn the Fell-Handed.

Let’s take a look at the proverbial Wolf in the Room first:

Space Wolves Release 2014 (10)The original model for Bjorn comes from a time when all Dreadnoughts were basically looking like ambulatory refridgerators. The new version keeps that design and features all the telltale clues of the original model: the weapons (ridiculously large power claw included), the various wolf pelts and a sarcophagus very similar to that of the original metal version. All of this makes it easy to build a perfect representation of Bjorn in glorious plastic. Huzzah!

My favourite part about the model has to be the wonderul idea to turn the images from Bjorn’s original back banner into engravings for his actual Dreadnought body — a brilliant touch that makes the model instantly recognisable! The fact that those small bitz are a near perfect representation of the older artwork is a testament to the improvements in plastic model design. Just take a closer look:

Space Wolves Release 2014 (12)
That said, I would have hoped for a body design closer to the plastic Venerable Dread or the various Forgeworld Dreads, complete with a separate head — it would just have seemed more fitting for an ancient hero like Bjorn. But maybe changing the classic design just seemed like too big a sacrilege to GW’s designers? In any case, the kit comes with enough additional bitz to build just such a sarcophagus, if you are that way inclined, so all’s well with the world!

If I have one gripe with the model, it’s the claw:

Space Wolves Release 2014 (11)
Bjorn’s original claw was curved, vicious looking and pretty much perfectly proportioned. The new version just seems too long and overly ornamental: It looks like the designer was trying to hard. Again, this is just a minor problem, though, and easy enough to change with one of the different bitz from the kit. Apart from that, the model is a great modern representation of an ancient hero!

But that’s not nearly all there is: The kit can also be assembled to represent a Space Wolves Venerable Dreadnought:

Space Wolves Release 2014 (9)
This version of the kit seems to get the least coverage so far — and entirely undeservedly so, at least from a modeling standpoint: A look at the sprue reveals a veritable cornucopia of weapon options for this guy, and all of them seem to be just as easy to exchange as the weapons from the regular Venerable Dreadnought. You may just as well discard all of those weapon options, though, because you also get what may just be the most awesome set of Dreadnought weapons ever: the huge axe and shield.

Those are really the icing on the cake, allowing hobbyists to build a Dread that really looks like an ancient Fenrisian warrior! In fact, my initial reaction to this version of the model, rules notwithstanding, was: Why would you want to build your Ven Dread any other way?

[I also have it on good authority that these perfectly fit the 54mm scale, so if anyone were to, say, convert a 54mm Space Wolf based on the old model for Brother Artemis, this is definitely the way to go.]

The kit also provides lots and lots of decorative trinkets (among them a very nice, wolf-shaped grenade launcher) to make your Dread as impressive as it needs to be. Again, I do have one minor gripe: The wolf skull head, while awesome in concept, looks like the Dread is wondering whether or not he left the stove on at home. But since an alternate head is provided (and basically any Space Marine head can be swapped in), this is not a major problem.

The third and final option would be to use this kit to build Murderfang:

Space Wolves Release 2014 (13)
This guy represents a Dreadnought forever enslaved to the curse of the Wulfen, which makes him one angry guy (this is basically a differently-coloured World Eaters Dread, you know ;) ). The slightly tweaked pose and clawed hands definitely give off a feeling of aggression and brutality, which is a perfect fit.

The claws are also quite awesome in and of themselves:

Space Wolves Release 2014 (15)
Again, let’s just ignore the nonsense of them being made from the aforementioned alien ice that never melts — let’s rather imagine how cool they would look painted like volcanic glass (not on a SW Dread of course, but still…).

One thing that should be awesome but doesn’t quite work for me is the head:

Space Wolves Release 2014 (14)
It’s easy enough to see what the designer was going to do here: Show us the face of a veteran savaged by the Space Wolves’ blood curse. And while it’s definitely nice to get a bit of a shout out to the Wulfen – in plastic, no less – it doesn’t quite work, if you ask me: Not only does the face look like an angry hair metal bandleader, but bare heads on Dreads should really be limited to Helbrutes in my opinion: They are so mutated that the pilot’s corpse has basically bonded with the Dread. On a loyalist Dreadnought, even on an angry one, having an uncovered head peeking from out of the amniotic tank somehow seems pretty implausible…

I also feel that a stylised, snarling wolf’s head would have been a cooler option, but that’s just me. In any case, the flexibility of the kit really lets you add in whatever head you want here.

All in all, this may just be the most flexible Dreadnought kit released to date. The only thing holding it back is the fact that the amount of Space Wolf decoration makes it mostly unusable for any other loyalist chapter. It would make a brilliant alternate Chaos Dreadnought kit, though, for those of use who prefer a less mutated look — and, indeed, if I ever get another Dreadnought kit, it will certainly be one of these! This guy is definitely the high point of the release for me!

 

Logan Grimnar on Stormrider

Space Wolves Release 2014 (16)
Oh boy, leave it to GW to produce at least one highly divisive kit per release: The Space Wolves’ chapter master riding an antigrav sled has definitely set the hobby scene ablaze: Comments about “Santa Grimnar” abound, people are once again convinced that GW’s designers have finally lost it, yadda yadda yadda… you know the drill ;)

In all seriousness, it may be a bit much: The idea of an antigrav sled pulled by giant wolves does need some getting used to. Then again, this is certainly not a departure from the latest visual development: We knew what we were in for once the Thunder Wolves hit. And the Space Wolves are now so imbued with viking and celtic warrior culture tropes that this thing doesn’t even seem all that shocking, if you think about it…

In any case, let’s ignore Stormrider for a second and focus on Logan himself:

Space Wolves Release 2014 (17)
I think we can all agree that he is looking absolutely excellent: Admittedly, he’s quite a bit less dynamic than Jes Goodwin’s prior version of the model, but that probably could not be helped, with the model needing to look good both with or without his sled. Beyond that, he is everything a Space Wolves warrior king should be: towering, bearded and snarling, bedecked in countless trinkets.

Probably my favourite part about this model is that it also serves as an excellent proof of concept: It’s clear now that special characters in plastic can look absolutely gorgeous and pretty much exactly as detailed and impressive as Finecast models, and I love that!

As for the sled,…you know what? I kind of like it. Granted, it may be over the top, anachronistic, slightly cheesy. But if you imagine this guy as this huge, legendary warrior king from a culture of seafaring viking-celts, it may just work. It also adds one more chariot to the world of 40k, which is, at the very least, interesting. And there are several touches about the model itself that I like: The engravings showing Logan’s acquisition of the axe Morkai as well as his fight against a – strangely tyranid-looking – Kraken, for example. And to be perfectly honest, I would just love to cut off that huge wolf head and use it on a Dreadnought, a converted juggernaut (used as a mount for a traitorous Space Wolf) or something similar…

Space Wolves Release 2014 (18)

No, my main problem with the sled isn’t that it’s over the top or unrealistic or cheesy (because neither of those should really be categories in a game where people fight using chainsaw swords and miniature rocket-launchers). I am not that fond of the wolves, though: They look a tad cartoony to me (it’s been the same with the Thunder Wolves) and the way they are attached to the sled by way of bionic implants just seems a bit iffy. There was an explanation in WD about how these wolves could not be harnessed and collared and that the augmetics were basically the only way to make them pull a sled like that — but come on. Personally speaking, I would have preferred several of the – much better designed – Fenrisian Wolves to be pulling Stormrider.

But you know what: If you really hate the sled, if you just cannot bear to look at it, if you cannot see a way to make it work for you…

…you can just use Grimnar without it, as in the old days. Jeez.

All in all, sled or no sled, this model is interesting in that it sets a very high standard for future plastic chapter masters in particular and special characters in general. I am really looking forward to seeing where we go from here!

 

Conversion options:

Where bitz from Blood Angels or Dark Angels kits are fairly easy to use for all kinds of Space Marine armies, the amount of trinkets and trophies on Space Wolves gear makes the use for these kits rather limited. Ultramarines players won’t have too much fun with this release, along with a couple of similarly “simple and clean” chapters. That said, some of this stuff will be extremely useful for chaos players, because the heavily decorated, sometimes quite feral Space Wolves parts can be a rather nice fit for the traitor legions — especially if someone were, you know, building a World Eaters army based on the concept of a hunting party, for instance. *Wink wink* ;)

In fact, I’ll admit that this release makes me consider playing my World Eaters as Space Wolves for the first time in earnest. I mean, can you imagine a chaotic version of Stormrider, pulled by juggernauts and serving as a chariot to Lord Captain Lorimar…? That would be awesome, wouldn’t it? Could those wolf heads on the Stormwolf’s hull not represent the ancient legion badge of the War Hounds, and wouldn’t a vehicle like that be perfect to transport a squad o frothing madmen clad in red and brass into battle? Wouldn’t the rules for Murderfang be the perfect representation of Brother Marax the Fallen? Ah, one can always dream…

The good thing is that I can really have my cake and eat it too in this case: Some of this stuff could really come in handy for the small detachment of traitorous Space Wolves accompanying Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. Take the Dreadnought multikit, for instance: Like I said earlier, it would make a brilliant, less mutated Chaos Dreadnought/Helbrute. Just check out my buddy Biohazard’s amazing Dreadnought kitbashes that were made using the new kit!

So, to make a long story short, I think I might yet have some fun with stuff from this release at some point… ;)

 

All in all, I’ll call this a limited but extremely focused release, adding some really awesome stuff to what is already one of the best Space Marine model lines. If I have one regret, it’s that the release didn’t give us some plastic Wulfen, because I would really have loved to see those guys again! As it stands, though, each part of the release adds something meaningful to the Space Wolves catalogue — which cannot be said for some of the new supplements and dataslates, one of which mostlyseems like a way of selling off the remaining, twenty year old SW special characters. But that’s a story for another time (or another blog, really).  From a modeling perspective, I am really rather happy with this release, even though it may not be monumental.

So what about you: Do you like the new kits? Do you feel hatred for “Santa Grimnar”? Would you like to share your own opinion or conversion ideas? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments section!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Kitbashes from opposite ends of 40k, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Custodes, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2014 by krautscientist

You might feel inclined to call my scheduling slightly scattershot – and you’d be right – but I already have an update to my last post, further eloborating on each of the respective conversion projects, and I simply want to share the results with you, so let’s take a look: ;)

 

1. Custodes

Certainly the smallest of the updates, but even after showing you this Custodian in archaic power armour…

Squad Asklepian 31
…I just couldn’t stop myself from tweaking the kitbash even further. The photo above made me realise that the model’s waist seemed rather waspish, for one, so I tried bulking it out a little:

Squad Asklepian (34)
I used some leftover Terminator armour plates for this task, and I have to say I rather like the added bulk! And while I was added, I could not resist replacing the left shoulder pad with a studded one from the Sternguard kit, mirroring the studded leg armour on that side — in fact, I should probably have done this from the get go!

Squad Asklepian (35)
Just some small changes, admittedly, but they help me homing in on what I want the finished model to look like!

2. More Fallen Angels

I should have known before that converting my own version of Cypher wouldn’t be the actual end of this particular project. As a matter of fact, it only took a small remark from fellow hobbyist ghosty over on Dakka to provide me with the urge to kitbash some additional Fallen Angels — stupid hobby ADD!

Fortunately enough, I still did have quite a few DA bitz as well as some leftover Dark Angels from the Dark Vengeance boxed set lying around, so indulging my fancy was really easy enough ;)

So I built two test models for a small squad (or Kill Team) of Fallen Angels. Take a look:

Fallen Angels (1)
This first model was built from the DA Sergeant that came with Dark Vengeance. I simply replaced his weapons and head and added some additional bitz and bobs.

The second model was mainly a kitbash from different Space Marine bitz with a chaos bit or two thrown into the mix:

Fallen Angels (3)
Fallen Angels (2)
One thing that was important to me was that these guys’ allegiance was supposed to be somewhat ambiguous. Yes, they are more ragged and more sinister than your average Dark Angel, but even if they are followers of chaos at this point, it’s out of necessity rather than conviction. That’s why I restrained myself when it came to adding chaotic and spiky bitz. They’ll also fit together nicely with my Cypher conversion, I believe.

I also started working on a Fallen in Terminator armour to accompany these guys. Once again, instead of going for straight out chaotic spikyness, I tried to achieve the brooding, sinister look you see in some of GW’s own artwork for Fallen Angels, with only some slightly heretical touches here and there…

Fallen Angels Terminator WIP (2)
Fallen Angels Terminator WIP (1)
Fallen Angels Terminator WIP (3)
Granted, the huge daemon sword is a bit of a giveaway, but again, I like the idea that this is a weapon that the Fallen picked up by necessity rather than inclination. I also have to admit that the helmet remains a bit of an experiment at this point — feel free to let me know what you think!

Here are all of my Fallen together:

Fallen Angels (5)

 

3.  World Eaters Daemon Prince

Some more work went into my World Eaters Daemon Prince, in order to tidy up the conversion a bit.

World Eaters Daemon Prince (6)
The main addition is a tangle of Butcher’s Nails implants on the model’s back:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (7)
I am pretty happy with how that turned out!

my original plan for the huge collar the Daemon Prince wore in the previous post was to place it around the model’s neck and have it rest atop the crest of cables — but that didn’t end up looking quite as cool as I had hoped. So I tried a slightly different approach, halving the collar and using it almost like a heretical version of the Space Marines’ Iron Halo:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (13)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (14)
One last thing I did was to try adding the wings from the Daemon Prince kit. I wasn’t even sure whether I wanted to add any wings to this guy, to be honest, but I at least wanted to find out how the model would look with them:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (16)

World Eaters Daemon Prince (17)
And to be perfectly honest with you, I really rather like the bulk and presence they add to the model — what do you think?

 

So yeah, those are the three kitbashing projects that have kept me occupied this weekend. I would love to hear any feedback you might have! Oh, and a warning in advance: The next update might be slightly late for work related reasons, so use this one to tide you over until then, alright? ;)

In any case, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Kitbashes from opposite ends of 40k

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Custodes, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2014 by krautscientist

Kitbashing seems to be my most productive hobby activity at the moment: While converting plastic models has been my favourite part of the hobby for a long time, I seem to have worked myself into a bit of a kitbashing frenzy right now, using my work on various conversions as a means to relax. This might be a disappointment to those of you who would like to see some painted plastic on this blog, for a change — I can merely ask you to bear with me here: I will get around to doing some painting eventually, promise ;)

In the meantime, I do have to show a number of new kitbashes to show you: Three wildly different projects from opposite ends of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, so to speak. Here we go:

 

1. Golden Boys

Granted, it has been some time since we last heard of my kitbashed Legio Custodes army — but the project is far from dead, I assure you! By way of proof, let me show you two (fairly) recent kitbashes I made for this project:

First of, a conversion I am extremely happy with: Meet Constantin Valdor, Chief-Custodian and Captain General of the Legio Custodes:

Constantin Valdor WIP (1)
Constantin Valdor WIP (2)
Constantin Valdor WIP (3)
Even though it’s only a Space Marine based kitbash, I believe most of the visual cues are there to make the model a reasonable approximation of the artwork for Valdor. While most conversions have him running forward, however, this one is clearly more static, resembling his appearance in this piece of artwork.

Constantin Valdor WIP (4)

As you can see, most of the bitz for the conversion came from the Sternguard kit, which is basically your go-to source when it comes to building ostentatious looking Marine characters. The kit has also given me the chance to touch up a couple of earlier conversions, among them one of the Marines for my squad in various marks of power armour. Here’s the old version of the model in question:

Squad Asklepian 22
I think we can all agree that the legs on this guy were a little iffy. Fortunately, one of the beautiful leg pairs from the Sternguard kit allowed me to give this guy a bit more presence. Take a look:

Squad Asklepian 32
Squad Asklepian 31
The model now looks quite a bit more massive than before, which I think is a rather nice fit for the slightly clunky, archaic looking armour on the upper body.

So here are the two models together:

Squad Asklepian 33
My small Custodes project may be far from finished, but it’s a great little sandbox I can always return to in order to tinker away on a model or two for a while. It also helps me get the urge to build blinged-out loyalists out of my system, which is a great help when I need to stay focused on my more chaotic projects ;)

2. Lord of the Fallen

Next up, a very recent kitbash: Last Sunday evening, I sat down and converted my own version of Cypher, apropos of nothing. I didn’t even need the model from a gameplay perspective, mind you: I just felt that Cypher had been a staple of the CSM background for so long that I needed to build my own version. Here it is:

Cypher WIP (1)
Cypher WIP (2)
Cypher WIP (3)
Cypher WIP (4)

As you can see, the conversion was based on the model for Interrogator Chaplain Seraphicus from the Dark Vengeance limited edition set I purchased back in 2012. It did feel kind of sacrilegious to cut apart a limited edition model like this, to be honest, but I figured it wouldn’t do any good to leave the model lying around for another two years — plus I will need those lovely smokestacks from Seraphicus’s backpack when I eventually convert the 4th assault company’s Apothecary, so that made the decision a bit easier ;) What’s more, fellow hobbyist and Skull-Championess Flint13 pointed out that desecrating an Interrogator Chaplain by converting him into the Dark Angels’ worst enemy was strangely fitting, in a way…

Beyond those considerations, the conversion is fairly straightforward from a structural perspective, which gave me the liberty of lavishing some extra work on a couple of small details: I originally considered having him in a more static pose, with the arms held down. But when it came to building the model, I just couldn’t resist spacing his arms as far apart as I did, making it look like he’s covering a huge area with his shots — it’s just the way I imagine him in the midst of battle, guns blazing, and it works for me. I also obsessed over which pistols to use for the conversion for quite a while (and I am really happy with my eventual choice). And I spent far more work on that backpack than I would care to admit…

Cypher WIP (5)

 

3.  A daemonic gladiator

And finally, as if to prove that I haven’t forgotten my World Eaters, a very early WIP I am currently working on:
I have gone on record saying that I am not a huge fan of the fairly underwhelming plastic Daemon Prince kit. In fact, I kitbashed my first own Daemon Prince at one point, partly out of a desire to avoid having to use the “official” model. But as karma would have it, I did still have a mostly complete Daemon Prince kit lying around, and I felt the urge to challenge myself with trying to come up with a version of the model that fits the gladiatorial look and feel of the World Eaters more closely, while trying to dial back some of the cartoon villain look. Here’s the result:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (4)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (3)
The model’s nowhere near finished, of course: What you see above was only started yesterday afternoon, but I think I may be on to something here…?

 

Anyway, so far for my current kitbashes — they really serve as a great way to relax for me, funnily enough, and as the one part of the hobby that I never seem to tire of.

So, let me know whatever feedback or suggestions you might have in the comments! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

More chaos – some of it intentional…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2014 by krautscientist

I realise this week’s update is late again, plus it might be slightly less substantial than I would have liked. But since I’ve been suffering from a bad back for the last two days, I wasn’t really in shape for any earth-shattering content, so all I can offer you today is a small update on my various chaos projects — I hope you won’t mind ;-)

So anyway, let’s take a look at what’s on my desk right now:

I. Hey, it’s that guy again…

This will be our last look at the unpainted model for the Doomwall, promise ;) I added some chaotic decoration to his warhammer, and with that the model is finished:

The Doomwall WIP (17)
The Doomwall WIP (18)
The Doomwall WIP (19)
The Doomwall WIP (20)
The Doomwall WIP (21)
The Doomwall WIP (22)
Like I said before, I am super happy with how this model turned out, and I will hopefully start painting this big guy as soon as my back stops acting up!

II. Red Butcher

While I was working on a Terminator model anyway, I took the chance to also revisit another model in TDA: You may remember the two Red Butchers I purchased a while ago. One became a character named Raas the Butcher:

Raas the Butcher (2)
And the other one looked like this when we last saw him:

Second Red Butcher WIP (1)
However, there was a problem with this guy: I want all of the Terminators in Captain Lorimar’s retinue to be fairly unique characters. And this guy shared exactly the same face mask as Raas the Butcher above — actually one of my main gripes with the Red Butchers in the first place! What’s more, in this case the mask really seemed to work against the model’s overall pose, leading to a model that’s neither here or there composition-wise. So I carefully started cutting (and also swapped in a new arm). Here’s what the WIP looks like right now:

Second Red Butcher WIP (5)
Second Red Butcher WIP (6)
Both the face and arms may still be subject to change at this point, but I feel like getting rid of the original head was the right decision!

III. Knight Fever

And finally, a look at the current state of my very own Chaos Knight. As you may remember, the overall conversion was basically finished last time, so only a bit of detail work remained.

Chaos Knight WIP (80)
So I only made some minor changes to the prior version of the model: Thanks to a bitz drop from my buddy Biohazard, I was able to use a defiler bit as a muzzle on the Knight’s main cannon — the part is just a perfect fit for that! I also added some spikes to the gun barrel in order to make it look slightly less plain. And a chain was added to the Knight’s left greave, bringing it more in line with the pauldron on the same side.

Anyway, this is what the pretty much finished Knight looks like now:

Chaos Knight WIP (77)
Chaos Knight WIP (83)
Chaos Knight WIP (85)
Chaos Knight WIP (87)
Chaos Knight WIP (89)
Chaos Knight WIP (90)
Chaos Knight WIP (92)
The one thing still missing at this point are some dangling chains that I want to add to the weapons and arms, and after that, I suppose I don’t have any more excuses to put off painting this guy any longer?! Speaking of which, I am already making plans for one particular area of the paintjob, at least:

Those of you who have been following my work on this model so far might remember one particular idea supplied by fellow hobbyist dantay_XV. In his own words:

The other idea I had, but again might not work would be bloody hand prints on the lower limbs and small totems or skulls at the feet of the knight like offerings or devotions. As the 4th company go to war, they walk by Harrowthorne’s Knight & touch a bloody hand to its armour in the hope of receiving Khorne’s blessing for a good hunt etc before going to battle.

Not only did this seem like a beautifully fluffy addition to the Baron’s background, but I also began asking myself whether it would be possible to incorporate the bloody handprints on the actual model. So here’s what I did: I used a GW plastic hand trophy (from the old Night Goblin kit, if memory serves) and made a simple press mold from it, using GS. The two hands were made, using more GS. And these were then coated with Tamiya Clear Red to be used as some kind of “stamp”, so to speak:

Handprints (1)
So far, my attempts at creating the “bloody handprint” effect have been limited to paper, though. Here are the first results:

Handprints (2)
As you can see, while some of the handprints do look pretty convincing, I am not yet able to make sure that this effect works 100% of the time. So I’ll need to work on the process a bit, in order to make sure it’s more or less foolproof, lest I ruin a very expensive model. But the results so far definitely merit some further exploration, don’t you think?

Chaos Knight WIP (79)

IV. A new home for the XIIth

And finally, a shout out to a thread you might find interesting: All those of you who either contemplate starting their own World Eaters force or who already are commanders of the Eaters of Worlds (both in their Heresy and post-Heresy incarnations), let me just point you towards a little community topic recently started over at The Bolter and Chainsword by renowned Skull Championess Flint13, with a little support from some other blood crazy maniacs, including yours truly:

The World Eaters players over there are having a little roll call to assemble all the various companies and warbands of our glorious legion, and we are hoping this topic can become a new home for the forumites at B&C for discussing topics relevant for our great legion, as well as a way of assembling the full might of the XIIth. So whether you want to join the ranks of the World Eaters, already own a warband or are just looking for some inspiration, it’s all in good fun, so head over there and go take a look:

WE_banner_02

And with that, our little emergency update is complete. Wish me a speedy recovery, people ;-) And feel free to let me hear any feedback you might have.

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Another brick in the wall…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2014 by krautscientist

Just a short – and belated – post for today, but one that is still very close to my heart: Thanks to the feedback of my fellow converters and kitbashers, I have been able to improve my recent model for the Doomwall. So here’s where we left off last time:

The Doomwall WIP (2)
First up, fellow hobbyist Moltar suggested adding an ammo feed to the “Not-Talon of Horus”, and he was totally right, of course. Good thing I still had an ammo feed from an old CSM heavy bolter lying around, which made this addition a very easy one! Here’s the result:

The Doomwall WIP (6)
The Doomwall WIP (5)
I also realised that an earlier, tacked-together incarnation of the model had sported a shaved down chaos knight pauldron above its head as an additional cowl:

Hammertime (9)
The original idea behind this was to make the head look more recessed, creating an even closer resemblance to the actual Mk 1 Terminator artwork:

Mk_01_concept
When I tidied up the conversion last week, this element just fell by the wayside at first, because it seemed like there was no space for the cowl. But after a bit of deliberation, I tried to incorporate it once more. Which ended up looking like this:

The Doomwall WIP (8)
I was already pretty pleased with the even more bulky, hulking look created by the cowl. But there was also a problem: The added element slightly changed the alignment of the shoulder pads, so it became more obvious that they were basically hollow if one looked at the model from straight above:

The Doomwall WIP (10)
Not the biggest problem in the world, certainly, but as Moltar very succinctly pointed out:

I like the idea, but hate the hollow holes. They would eat away at my soul every time I notice them.

And while this may sound slightly overdramatic, he was totally right of course: It’s little things like these that distinguish a fairly cool model from a great one, so I realised I had to address this problem — or feel utterly defeated every time I looked at the model from the wrong angle…

Fortunately enough, help arrived from the online community once again, with Obsidian Raven making an excellent point:

To fix the issue of his pauldrons appearing hollow from the top,why not use some well-sized plasticard Rod to add visible Struts to the interior of the pauldron, so that it seems like its deliberately raised off the shoulder as part of the armour design?

With this idea in mind, I dug around the old tool shed in order to find something that would help me. And lo and behold, I came across this:

The Doomwall WIP (11)
And, for some reason that probably hits at something severely wrong with my neuro-chemistry, I was immediately reminded of the support struts appearing in various pieces of Mk 1 artwork. So maybe plugging those holes in the shoulder pads would actually lead to a chance at making the armour look even more accurate?

So I cut off some short sections from the whole and glued them to the underside of the pauldrons. My hope is that, when painted silver, they will actually suggest the support structure underneath the pauldrons. Here’s what the result looks like:

The Doomwall WIP (15)

As you can see, the red parts do a pretty good job of filling the empty space. Plus they could reasonably pass for some hydraulic struts hidden underneath the armour.

Now in a perfect world, I would have had this idea before the topknot had been glued in place, so I would have had the chance to build something approximating the “spine” you can see running along the back of the armour in the piece of artwork above. But maybe it’s for the best I didn’t: I really like the topknot, and it’s an element I definitely wanted to include, yet it would probably have interfered with the armour spine.

Anyway, here’s the model as it looks like now:

The Doomwall WIP (13)
The Doomwall WIP (12)
The Doomwall WIP (14)
Of course it does look a little strange now, with those bright red parts visible on top. So here’s a greyscale image for you, to better appreciate the conversion:

The Doomwall WIP (16)
Granted, fussing over minuscule details like this might seem a bit overly obsessed. But then, precisely because the model doesn’t wear perfectly accurate Mk 1 armour, it’s all the more important to get enough of the key visual cues right to make it suitably believable. And, once again, I am indebted to the great feedback I’ve received from fellow hobbyists online!

The last thing left to sort out is the hammer: Several people have pointed out that the SW runes are slightly distracting on a Khornate model, and I already have a couple of small brass Khorne runes set aside to be glued to the sides of the weapon. And after that, it’s off to the painting table for the Doomwall, I suppose.

Until then, though, feel free to share any feedback, suggestions or questions you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Stop…Hammer Time!

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2014 by krautscientist

So, another small update today: Having converted that big Chaos Knight model, I thought I’d work on something a tad smaller in order to relax a bit. So I went back to a couple of models I had built earlier, making an addition here and there and touching them up a bit. Today, I’d like to show you two of those models that share quite a few characteristics: Both are Chaos Lords in Terminator armour, both share quite a few common bitz and both are wielding pretty huge hammers — hence the title of this post. So, let’s take a closer look:
First up, an Iron Warriors Warsmith I converted a rather long time ago (back when Warsmiths were still a thing and Warpsmiths did not yet exist). Here’s the old version of the model:

Iron Warriors Warsmith early WIP
This guy was based on the stock Chaos Lord in Terminator armour, obviously, with a couple of custom additions: My idea was to add a few touches that would make the Lord’s allegiance to the Iron Warriors obvious. Among those touches was a huge hammer, built by combining the staff that comes with the Chaos Lord kit and a hammer head from the Ogre Kingdom’s Ironbreakers: My idea was that the stone at the centre of the hammer head had been taken from some fortress razed by the Warsmith — maybe even from the Imperial Palace on Terra?

The other slightly eclectic choice was to add a Dark Eldar Talos claw to the model’s right arm: Though the sinister, augmetic look was rather nice, the hand did end up looking a bit too big…

Anyway, when I recently came across the model, I realised that both of those ideas had been pretty cool, but that I could do better, replacing those slightly eclectic elements with bitz that would keep the overall look but fit the model better. So here’s the touched up model for you:

Iron Warriors Warsmith WIP (1)
Iron Warriors Warsmith WIP (2)
Iron Warriors Warsmith WIP (3)
The Talos claw was replaced with a very cool power claw from the Raptor kit. It may be ever so slightly less sinister, but the proportions seem far more plausible now! The new hammer head came from the Dragon Ogres, and while the weapon still looks like its head could have been cut from the remains of a razed fortress, I think the weapon is now far more befitting a commander of the IV legion.

All in all, the model seems like a more seamless kitbash now, and I am rather happy with that — I should probably make some time for getting this chap painted, come to think of it…

The second model isn’t quite as old: Some of you might remember my attempt to build a model wearing armour inspired by Mk 1 Tactical Dreadnought Armour earlier this year. Here’s the model that came from that attempt:

Hammertime (7)
When we last saw this guy, quite a few parts of him were still provisionally tacked together with modelling putty. I also wasn’t perfectly sure about the weapon in his right hand.

Anyway, I am really happy to say that I have finally sorted out the last few rough patches on the model and can present the mostly finished conversion to you today. Take a look:

The Doomwall WIP (1)

The Doomwall WIP (2)
The Doomwall WIP (4)
I do of course realise that the armour does not perfectly represent Mk 1 armour, but I still think the sloped shoulder pads serve as a very strong callback to that particular design. In any case, I just wanted to make this armour look like an ancient, artificer crafted piece of equipment, a true relic from the earliest days of the Great Crusade.

Beyond the shoulder pads, I tried to incorporate several elements recalling older armour marks, such as the crest of horse hair atop the armour (a callback to the older Cataphractii artwork). I also built a weapon system resembling that seen on the Talon of Horus for the left hand — basically for the heck of it, to tell you the truth, but also because I like the idea that an immensely old and valuable suit of warplate such as this would feature equally impressive integrated weapons.

Oh, and you will have realised that the DA maul has been replaced with a Space Wolves thunder hammer: My reasoning behind this is that the stylised wolf head on the weapon would work equally well as a representation of the War Hounds, the original identity of the XII legion. So the hammer is an ancient relic of the legion as well, predating its name change and descent into madness.

I also worked on the model’s back quite a bit, using a shaved down old CSM backpack in order to make the armour’s back resemble the reactor section that can be seen on FW’s Cataphractii models:

The Doomwall WIP (3)
It has taken a very long time to finish this model, but I am really happy with the result: I imagine this guy to be Lord Captain Lorimar’s taciturn bodyguard, called “The Doomwall”. I actually already have quite a bit of backstory for this guy in the back of my head, but all in its good time. For now, I am more than happy with the hulking, implacable look I have managed to create on the model!
Here are both models next to each other:

Chaos Lords with Hammers
Even though both are based on the same model, I think I have managed to make them look reasonably different, don’t you think?

Anyway, working on these has been rather refreshing after working on that huge Knight model ;)

Feel free to let me know any feedback or suggestions you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Something big, pt. 2: A bit of progress and some additional musings

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2014 by krautscientist

Work on my Chaos Knight continues apace: I have finally started to build the model’s second arm, and have also added some additional bitz and bobs here and there. The Knight is now rapidly approaching completion, and I think it shows:

Chaos Knight WIP (59)

Chaos Knight WIP (43)

What I really like about the model right now is that, while it’s still clearly identifiable as a Knight Titan, the various chaotic details and added armour have managed to alter the model’s silhouette quite a bit. Let’s have a look at a couple of different angles:

Chaos Knight WIP (61)

Chaos Knight WIP (72)
Chaos Knight WIP (71)
As you can see in the pictures below, the braziers from the warshrine kit were added to the Knight’s back:

Chaos Knight WIP (70)
Chaos Knight WIP (68)
Chaos Knight WIP (67)
Chaos Knight WIP (66)
I would have loved to use these to replace (or complement) the Knight’s regular exhausts, but that would have rendered the top carapace plate impossible to take off, and I really wanted to keep it flexible (so one can take a closer look at Baron Harrowthorne in his cockpit and the engine block). So the only compromise left to me was to add them to the Knight’s back at an angle that wouldn’t interfere with the carapace. That said, I don’t actually see them as braziers so much, but rather as extra exhausts that are there to vent some heat/warp energy/whatever when the Knight goes into overdrive mode.

Chaos Knight WIP (64)
Chaos Knight WIP (63)
Chaos Knight WIP (62)
As you can see in the pictures, I also added some bitz to the right shoulder pad at last. While the left one already sports a huge icon of Khorne, I want to use a World Eaters decal on the right one:

Chaos Knight WIP (41)
Of course this means that whatever I wanted to add to the pad at this point must not interfere with the position of the decal, which complicated things a bit. I tacked some spikes in the area surrounding the space where the decal will be:

Chaos Knight WIP (36)
Since I rather liked the effect, the spikes have already been glued to the shoulder pad:

Chaos Knight WIP (71)
I may still add some additional detail on top of the decal at some point — a chain of dangling skull trophies, for example. However, I will only be able to sort this out once the model has been painted.

I also realised by sheer coincidence that the standard from the Ogre Mournfang Cavalry would actually make a pretty cool banner for the Knight:

Chaos Knight WIP (38)
Chaos Knight WIP (40)
That hole at the centre of the carapace certainly looks like it was intended for something like this!  One thing I will need to do, however, is to add some kind of chaos icon to the top of the banner in order to give it a more distinct visual footprint when seen from the front:

Chaos Knight WIP (73)
I am not sure whether I like this element enough to make it a permanent addition to the model, but it might be a fun optional bit, to be added whenever I feel like it? We’ll see…

All those small additions notwithstanding, I am very aware that there’s a danger of overcluttering the model which would make it lose visual coherency. Therefore, I will try to restrain myself and only add a couple of bitz to the weapon arms in order to tie them together with the rest of the model. And then it’s time to call this conversion finished and get this big boy painted, I guess – a prospect that fills me with equal parts anticipation and dread, to be honest…

One thing I realised is how this model – and the last two years in the hobby, really – have changed my outlook on conversion projects, especially when it comes to big models:

When I got back into the hobby in 2010, I was mostly used to working with regular, infantry sized models. A Terminator seemed huge to me back then, and I remember that converting and painting my first Dreadnought seemed like an enormous undertaking. Then came a Defiler, a Basilisk, a Heldrake, the Wargrinder, and, lastly, the Knight, and without even noticing it, I grew more and more comfortable working with bigger models.

Now when I recently picked up a Black Reach Dreadnought in an ebay auction, I realised that it took me about fifteen minutes of messing around with a couple of bitz to produce something that would have taken me ages to complete a couple of years ago:

Chaos Dread early WIP
Now this guy is very, very WIP at the moment, and none of this has been glued together yet. In fact, I am not even sure whether the completed Dread will end up looking like this or completely different. I am just showing it to you to illustrate my point: That things that used to feel like the absolute pinnacle of my hobby achievements can now be accomplished in a short break between working on bigger things — a pretty cool feeling, actually ;-)

So, I would be very interested in hearing any feedback on my Chaos Knight you might have! Just drop me a comment!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Chaos Knight WIP (60)
EDIT: David Grundy raised an excellent point in the comments about the “white space” above the Knight’s head, created by the too clean armour plate. I started working on that area right away, using some leftover parts from the warhshrine kit. Take a look:

Chaos Knight WIP (74)
Chaos Knight WIP (75)
Not only does the armour plate appear less empty and clean now, but the decoration also repeats a visual element that already appears on the model (on the shoulder pads, to be precise). Cheers for pointing this out, David! Hope you like the solution! ;)

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