Striking a rich vein

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, old stuff, Orcs & Goblins, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2014 by krautscientist

Late last week, the most wonderful thing happened to me: While browsing through the stuff at my FLGS, I found out that the owner was currently selling two huge lots of assorted miniatures and bitz: One of those lots came from a former hobbyist who wanted to get rid of the last part of his collection, while the reason for the other lot being sold was, sadly enough, its owner having passed away. Anyway, the owner of my FLGS found himself in the (temporary) possession of two huge piles of models — and it shouldn’t surprise you that I was very eager to have a look at all of that stuff.

This provided me with one huge moving box and several smaller shoeboxes of stuff to sift through, which was already brilliant fun in itself: With the internet so full of collectors, professional sellers and general information as to the worth and availability of miniatures these days, finding such a hoard of stuff has become increasingly unlikely, and so the simple act of digging through the piles of models alone was an experience to savour! Most of the models came from WFB, but there was such a mass of different models (and factions) present that it took quite a bit of discipline not to just buy the whole thing outright.

Anyway, I tried to reign myself in and only dragged away about a shoebox’s worth of stuff. And whether or not my haul was all that spectacular surely lies in the eye of the beholder. But I went home utterly content, I can tell you that much ;)

Anyway, let’s take a look at the best parts of my haul (and also at the provisional ideas I have for this stuff), alright?

First up, tucked away in a plastic bag labeled “Vikings” was most of the dwarf army from the WFB “Battle for Skull Pass” boxed set from a few years back:

Lucky purchase (1)
While some of the regular models are missing, all the special characters, standard bearers, champions and musicians are still accounted for. Plus there are also the little additional bitz and bobs and terrain pieces. I basically picked this up as a bonus, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I might already have a new home for these guys (Michael, if you’re reading this: Make sure to bring a big enough suitcase, when you’re in the area again, okay? ;) ).

I also picked up two more pieces from the same boxed set:

One, the plastic troll accompanying the Night Goblin army:

Lucky purchase (2)
This was actually one of the high points of the purchase for me, because this guy will look perfect as a troll player for my orcish Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz  — as a matter of fact, you can already see the first parts of his Blood Bowl gear in the picture above. Nothing’s glued together yet, but I already like where this is going!

Two, this strange shaman’s tent/tree trunk hut:

Lucky purchase (3)
This might come in handy for my Blood Bowl team or for the Mordheim Orc warband I’ve been planning for a while. Come to think of it, including terrain pieces like this in the starter boxes was a really neat touch! They should do that again!

Upon closer examination, it becomes obvious that the sculpts and level of detail for starter box minis have increased dramatically since these models were released. But I still like them well enough, and finding them all together like this without a hassle certainly was a nice surprise!

While we are on the subject of greenskins, I also bought this assortment of brilliant goblins and snotlings:

Lucky purchase (4)
These are part of the still available Doom Diver Catapult — as a matter of fact, pretty much the whole catapult was included in the deal, although the greenskins themselves are definitely the stars of the show! Again, these will probably be used for Mordheim or Blood Bowl (the winged goblin would be perfect for the latter…).

Like I said, most of the stuff available was from WFB, but I did manage to find a 40k treat or two. First up, a small pile of Tyranid nuts and bolts that, while not all that impressive in and of itself, will come in handy for a future INQ28 project of mine…

Lucky purchase (5)
And there’s this lovely OOP Eldar Warlock from the 90s, sculpted by Jes Goodwin. It’s trange: Even though I have always loved Jes’ Eldar models to bits, I have never owned any of them, so picking this guy up was an absolute no-brainer:

Lucky purchase (6)
And, last but not least, a lucky find at the bottom of a box of bitz: Exactly half a Delphan Gruss model from Inquisitor:

Lucky purchase (10)
This guy may actually become my first (and, quite possibly, only) foray into the world of Inq54 — just watch this space ;)

And as for the WFB universe, there are some final highlights to share:

First up, this guy (from one of the old WFB mercenary regiments, if I recall correctly):

Lucky purchase (9)
I keep racking my brain for a way to make this guy into an INQ28 character — maybe a member of a particularly archaic Astra Militarum regiment? I am very open to suggestions ;)

Then there are three of the 6th (?) edition metal chaos knights:

Lucky purchase (7)
Pictured here is their champion, but I also purchased a standard bearer and an additional knight. While I don’t have any actual plans for these, I just had to pick them up due to nostalgia:  I loved them so much back when they were released, but they were completely unaffordable to me. I just bought the riders, btw, because there is no more room for those terrible, generic 90s plastic horses in my life. But as you can see, the new chaos knight horses work like a treat with the older metal models.

And finally, another lucky discovery:

Lucky purchase (8)
The Dark Emissary from the Albion campaign. This guy was re-released in Finecast a while back and is still available. But finding him in a pile of shoddily painted Hormagaunts was still a rather nice surprise!

I’ll spare you the piles of Catachan, Night Goblin and generic Space Marine bitz that were also part of the bundle: Much of this stuff will come in handy sooner or later, but it lacks the appeal of the highlights shown above ;)

In addition to the models, I also picked up some older 40k related books:

Lucky purchase (11)
From left to right: The 40k 3rd and 4th edition big rulebooks (believe it or not, I have never owned those until now), one of the hallowed Chapter Approved compendiums (containing wonderful but somewhat outdated Index Astartes articles on the creation of Space Marines, Dreadnoughts, Librarians and on various chapters and legions: Dark Angels, Emperor’s Children, Iron Warriors, White Scars & Flesh Tearers) and Codex: Witch Hunters (obviously a must for any fan of the Inquisition).

All of these are in excellent condition, and I suspect the old 40k source books will merit a more detailed writeup in the not too distant future…

So yeah, quite a haul! I am immensely pleased, both with the stuff I did and didn’t buy: By sheer force of will, I resisted the urge to just grab the whole, enormous box — although my restraint made me miss a mint 2002 Games Day Chaos Champion which my colleague Annie later picked up (*sigh*). And I did find a 1998 Games Day Female Commissar, but pointed it out to the owner of my FLGS, since I knew that, as an avid IG player, he would probably be extremely interested in the model — I was right :)

But even beyond the stuff I purchased (at a very good – albeit not unreasonable – price, by the way), digging through the various strata of the boxes served as a trip down memory lane. Before long, me and the owner of the store were exchanging old hobby tales and thinking back on innocent days long past. Good times ;)

Anyway, so much for a very nice, hobby-related surprise! And wherever the original owners of these models may be now (in this world or in the warp), they may rest assured that their lead and plastic have found a good home with me!

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

The End is Nigh – a look at the Undead release

Posted in Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2014 by krautscientist

Right, I do of course realise that I am a bit behind on my stuff — even as I write this, we are already seeing the next release rolling around. But man, this breakneck pace is just too fast for me to keep up ;) Seriously, though: The latest release for what is referred to as “The End Times” in WFB surely warrants a closer look, even if I have taken my own sweet time to finally get around to it…

Undead End Times Release (1)
By the look of it, The End Times will be receiving a chain of books that are less centered around single armies and more around greater factions and the accompanying campaign — not unlike the various Forgeworld publications, come to think of it… It’s also very interesting to see that GW seems to be using the End Times scenario as an opportunity to introduce several things into the WFB world that a number of very vocal 40k fans have been clamoring for for years, such as…

  • significantly advancing the timeline and general background of WFB…
  • …while introducing a big narrative event that seems like it will shape the future of the setting
  • murdering quite a few darlings along the way

Whether GW are using WFB as a testbed for these changes due to its lower popularity compared to 40k or even because, as some suspect, the setting is in a terminal state anyway, seems hard to ascertain at this point. I am reasonably sure that WFB isn’treally going anywhere, even if it sells less stuff than 40k, but given GW’s track record and reluctance to advance their settings’ narrative beyond a certain point, this new development does seem pretty astonishing. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see where we go from here, what the WFB setting will look like afterwards, and what implications these new developments will have for 40k…

For now, let’s focus on the first slew of modeld accompanying the release, because these are quite something. And what better way to start than with the return of one of GW’s most notorious characters…

 

Nagash, Supreme Lord of the Undead

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Boy, did this model come out of the left field when it was released! Plus I can’t help feeling the release of a new Nagash model (and a gigantic one, at that) as a bit of an “Up yours” towards all of the endless bickering about the old Nagash:

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Alright, confession time: I know that the old Nagash is a staple of countless “most horrible models ever released” lists on the Internet, but here’s the thing: Once upon the time, I really loved this guy to bits! He was actually one of the first (non-HeroQuest) GW models I owned, and the very first big model I ever tried my hand at! Unfortunately, the model was taken apart (and partially stripped) a long time ago, or this would have been the perfect time to show him to you. A shame, really ;)

In any case, the vintage Nagash may not seem like much if judged by the standards of 2014 (or 2000, for that matter), but I think it’s important to remember that this used to be the basic design approach for many of GW’s bigger models at that time, and there was a time when this model seemed like such a cool thing — at least to me.

Anyway, GW chose the model that probably gets ridiculed the most in online discussions and re-imagined it as this:

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It’s such an enormous piece that I’m really not sure where to start. Maybe with Nagash’s size, because this guy is huge — as evidenced by the diminutive skeleton warrior in the lower left corner… I understand Nagash gets prime billing as the Warhammer world’s biggest villain in the new book, and the model’s size and stature definitely match that importance.

What I like most about the model, after giving it a bit of thought, is how it basically keeps all the different elements of the classic miniature: The hat, sword, staff and various details from the old model are still there:

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All of these have been thorougly redesigned, but they still hark back to their earlier incarnations, which I like very much! Instead of pretending the earlier Nagash model simply didn’t happen, GW’s designers have re-imagined it in a stunning way while remaining true to the original source, and I love that approach! The other great thing about the model – and an element that carries over to most of the models in this release – is how Nagash is hovering in mid-air, borne aloft by a host of tortured spirits:

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There are things about the model I am not entirely sold on, however:

The first of those is the strange collection if twisted spines emerging from Nagash’s back: I see what they were trying to do here, adding the spines in order to give him a more imposing silhouette, presumably. Still, that element just seems slightly iffy to me — maybe some skeletal wings would have been a better idea?

The second thing that seems a bit much for me is the enormous hat:

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Seriously, this guy looks like Movie Skeletor on speed! In conjunction with the rest of the armour, the hat just seems a bit too video gamey for my taste (I’ll be coming back to this concern later).

As a matter of fact, make no mistake: While the new Nagash has been heavily redesigned and modernised, his look remains fairly eclectic. I am happy enough with it, but the question remains whether future generations will look upon him as kindly — just remember what happened to the model’s earlier incarnation…

That said, this is a stunning model and a fitting centrepiece, both for any undead army and for this release. Nagash really looks like the immense villain the background paints him as, and the model itself is certainly at the cutting edge of plastic miniature design. Will everybody like his look? No, probably not. But personal preferences notwithstanding, the model itself stands as an achievement (and I applaud GW for engineering a comeback like this for one of their most-maligned models!).

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Mortarchs of Death

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If the enormous model for Nagash wasn’t an indication that GW meant business, this combi-kit at least will clue you in to the situation: The Mortarch kit gives you the opportunity to build one of Nagash’s closest lieutenants, each of them based on established characters from the Undead background (in fact, one of my favourite parts of this release is how GW brought back these classic characters, turning them into a Quirky Miniboss Squad for Nagash).
And while their mount will always use the same base components, the kit offers a whopping three completely different riders, along with some serious customisation options for the mount itself. Wow! Let’s take a closer look:

Mannfred von Carstein, Mortarch of Night

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This is probably my favourite of the bunch for a couple of reasons: First of all, I have always loved the last incarnation of Mannfred, and this new version is closely based upon that appearance, spiky armour, batlike visage and all:

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Mannfred’s weapons are also pretty awesome, even if wielding a scythe and longsword at the same time seems to be a bit much. But the design of the weapons is very cool, giving them an ethereal, very sinister aspect (and making them into very interesting conversion bitz…):

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Mannfred’s mount, the dread abyssal Ashigaroth, is an enormous beast with a batlike countenance that seems like an escalated version of it’s master’s face. Strangely enough, it also reminds me a lot of the last couple of incarnations of Final Fantasy’s poster dragon god, Bahamuth. Anyway, the beast looks great (as an aside, I also really like the combination of blackened bones and red hot skulls used for the paintjob!).

Oh, and extra kudos to Mannfred for being pretty much the only guy in Nagash’s inner circle without one of those enormous hats ;)


Arkhan the Black, Mortarch of Sacrament

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Aw, man, this guy adds quite a bit of nostalgia to the whole release: Arkhan already had a – somewhat clunky but still pretty awesome – model in the olden days, complete with ostentatious chariot and all. This new incarnation turns the bling up to eleven, though. And seeing a classic character brought back and upgraded like that does bring a tear of nostalgia to my eye!

The model itself is also really nice: Arkhan looks like the quintessential undead sorcerer lord, and the Khemri style even makes him look like a slightly smaller (somewhat less improbable) version of Nagash himself:

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His hat, while still pretty big, seems to be somewhat more realistically scaled than that of his boss. I also really like the ostentatious (and very clearly Khemrian) armour that is also repeated on his mount! The one thing that I don’t like about Arkhan is his tattered cloak, precisely because it seems so tattered that it’s utterly improbable. I mean, it seems as if the designer really, really, wanted to make this cape as tattered as it could be, and he ended up overdoing it a little.

Undead End Times Release (15)Arkhan’s dread abyssal, Azarak, has a slightly more skeletal, less batlike head than Mannfred’s Ashigaroth. The Bahamut look is still there to an extent, but I think this would also make a fantastic head for a Greater Daemon, Daemon Prince, Heldrake,…erm, sorry, moving on!

Neferata, Mortarch of Blood

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Being  the equal-opportunities employer he is, Nagash brings back another classic character: Neferata the Vampire Queen. Those of you who still remember the old model might agree with me that it was terrible: Neferata looked like she had slinked away from a the set of a 50s Hollywood movie about with lots of mummies in ancient Egypt. But what about the new incarnation?

Well, there’s good stuff and there’s bad stuff: On the positive side, I love how Neferata is riding side saddle: Such a wonderfully elegant little touch! Just because you’re riding a hulking undead monstrosity doesn’t mean you get to imperil your modesty, right?

I also love how that sense of elegance seems to pervade the entire model, also covering the armour design and the abyssal’s bearding. Good job, GW!

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I have two main problems with the model, though: The smaller of the two is the look of Neferata’s weapon: It seems like it cannot quite decide whether it wants to be a staff or a glaive of some sort, settling into a strange limbo between the two that ultimately makes it look somewhat goofy and ineffectual (although, in all fairness, it would probably easy enough to remedy this by swapping in a new blade).

My main gripe with the model is the head, or rather, the hat: Out of all the models (and out of all the really impressive hats) in this release, Neferata’s headwear somehow seems the most ridiculous to me, may due to the slightly awkward looking, dangling spines, maybe because it actually draws away attention from her face:

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As a matter of fact, designing her head like that almost seems like a bit of a cop out on GW’s part: I, for one, would much have preferred a beautiful female face with flowing hair, something closer to the vampires from the Coven Throne. That said, maybe a different paintjob would go a long way here? Anyway, the head seems like a bit of a missed chance, if you ask me.

Neferata’s mount, the dread abyssal Nagadron, again picks up some of the visual cues of its rider. It also gets yet another unique head, this time with an armour plate covering its eyes — a very nice and sinister touch, if you ask me.

Speaking of which, let’s take a closer look at the abyssal and its various variants:

Generally speaking, I really like how the abyssal seems like a suitably apocalyptic mount for an important and utterly evil character! Being a devout follower of Khorne, I also buy into the idea of having a beast whose skeletal form is filled to the brim with skulls — I mean, come on, this is Warhammer, after all ;)

I love all three heads that come with the kit and think that they are doing a great job of tying together the abyssals and respective Mortarchs:

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And finally, I like the rather elegant way the abyssal is attached to its base via a combination of its tail and the ubiquitous skeletal spirits — that is really clever design right there!

A small gripe is the abyssal’s slightly awkward leg pose — although it seems like that is to be expected with a four-legged, wingless (!) creature designed to be floating in mid-air. But maybe it’s precisely the lack of wings that proves to be a bit of a visual deficiency here, making it hard to imagine how this beast would actually look in motion.

But by and large, the Mortarch kit is very impressive indeed — maybe even more impressive than Nagash, as a matter of fact! While the latter has the shock and awe tactics on his side, the Mortarch kit seems like a brilliant and expansive toolbox, both for creating an imposing centrepiece for an undead army and as a great source of conversion fodder — maybe my favourite part of this release!

 

Morghast Archai/ Morghast Harbingers

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These guys definitely add something new to the undead armies: A daemonic, skeletal footsoldier for the Nagash’s armies. Both variants of the kit are reasonably similar, and both share many design elements with the abyssals, like the skeletal body structure and the heaps of skulls inside the skeletal bodies.

So let’s take a closer look at the kit’s two variants:

Morghast Archai

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The Morghast Archai are Nagash’s elite guard, and – fittingly enough – their helmeted heads and glaive weapons give them a somewhat more official, regimented look

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One of the best parts of the models are their two-handed glaives…

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These are just wonderfully creepy and threatening, with their look halfway between ethereal and organic.

My gut feeling is that their armour and helmets somehow give these a slightly egyptian/Khemrian look: They would look right at home in a Tomb Kings army (and are a slightly more awkward fit for the Vampire Counts).

Morghast Harbingers

Undead End Times Release (28)I actually like these better than the Archai, because it somehow feels like the lack of ornamental helmets makes them look less like some kind of temple guard, and more like actual individuals — does that make any sense? I also like the sense of dynamism created by the twin swords setup:

Undead End Times Release (30)There’s also something wonderfully creepy and evil about the rather unnatural looking heads.

And again, I expect the weapons to become really popular with converters, because they would just make for very nice Daemon weapons. We’ll see…

The tattered wings are a bit of an acquired taste…once again, the objective seems to have been to make them as tattered as humanly possible. And while  I do like the way the Morghast are attached to their bases by way of ghostly apparitions…

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…the leg poses of the models just seem a bit awkward to me. This is less of a problem for the Harbingers, in my opinion, since their slightly more dynamic poses make the legs seem more believable, but the Archai just seem ever so slightly awkward, hovering in mid-air like that…

Such minor gripes notwithstanding, I can see this kit become rather popular, simply by the amount of conversion fodder it offers for various armies — but we’ll be getting to that in a minute!

 

Spirit Host

Undead End Times Release (33)Now these guys may be the least obviously spectacular part of the release, but they are certainly no slouch! The Spirit Host is cleverly engineered to seem ethereal, but also give the model’s a fair bit of presence. And similar spirits do appear in everykit of this release, making for a nice bit of visual consistency.
Actually, you’ve got to wonder whether, having used these ghosts in pretty much all of the other kits, GW designers finally decided that it was only fair to give these guys their own little spot in the limelight…

Anyway, these make for very effective and evil looking ghosts! And my absolute favourite part has to be how the ghosts of the spirit host emerge from tortured skeletons:

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That’s just an excellent little touch right there!

Conversion options:

So, time to deal with my favourite subject: How useful will these new kits be for converters and kitbashers? Allow me to share some early ideas with you:

Interestingly enough, my conversion ideas mostly deal with Nagash’s followers and not so much with the big man…skeleton…thing. Maybe the model is still too huge and intimidating in my mind for it to actually register as conversion fodder? The two spontaneous ideas I came up with were to either use Nagash as the base for a conversion of Mortarion, Primarch of the Death Guard, in his ascended form. Or he could be turned into a new and terrible C’Tan by a crafty Necron player? In any case, seeing what converters come up with for this model will surely be interesting!

Anyway, looking at the entire release, the big winner when it comes to conversion options seems to be …40k chaos, surprisingly enough. Now maybe I am not exactly neutral in this regard, seeing how chaos armies seem to be one of my main areas of interest, but the options just seem too good to ignore. Let me just list a few off the top of my head:

The Mortarch kit seems to be a treasure chest of conversion bitz: the abyssal could be converted into a Greater Daemon, a Maulerfiend or even into a mount for a chaos lord, a Heldrake — you name it! Likewise, part of it could be mixed with existing daemon engine and/or daemon kits in order to create new and terrible monstrosities. Even the leftover heads from the Mortarch kit alone would be great little bitz to play around with…

Oh, and wouldn’t you agree that Mannfred’s head would look great on a Chaos Lord — especially on a Night Lord?

The Morghast seem to provide an almost ridiculously versatile resource for chaos armies, the possible uses of the kit including but not limited to…

  • Daemon Princes: Even on their own, the Morghast could make for fairly convincing Daemon Princes: the slightly Khemrian/Egyptian look of the Archai would make them ideal for Tzeentchian Daemon Princes, while the amount of skulls stored in their bodies would also make them a nice fit for Khorne. They could even conceivably be used to represent Nurglite daemons, if one were to focus less on a visceral, slimy and mouldering approach and more on a skeletal, reaper-like aspect. Only Slaanesh seems to be left out in the cold a bit (don’t fret, though: The new Dark Eldar release will provide you with all the toys you need).
  • Obliterators/Mutilators: For those (like me) who don’t like the stock Obliterator/Mutilator models one bit, the Morghast might be a very interesting alternative: Just check out VonKessler’s gorgeous Thousand Sons Oblitz, based on Morghast models: I think those are really just the tip of the iceberg!
  • Parts of the Morghast models should also be supremely useful for chaos players: I expect to see those evil looking swords and glaives all over chaos armies before long, and both the skeletal body pieces as well as the mounds of skulls forming the Morghast’s inner workings should become really popular with chaos players!

This may be a somewhat far fetched idea, but what about using the Spirit Host as chaos spawn in a Thousand Sons army? Just imagine the swirling souls of destroyed Rubric Marines (or, alternately, their victims) filling the same role as the usual, boring mutated creepy crawlys. Or maybe those spirits are the Thousand Sons’ familiars? Anyway, it would be a nice change to see these new models used instead of the same old spawn models…
Another faction that I can see profiting from the new kits are the Necrons: The Khemrian look of many of the new models might make it possible to use their wargear and decoration on Necron models (who are, after all, often referred to as “Tomb Kings IN SPACE!”)  to great effect. Arkhan might make a stunning Phaeron with a bit of work (and an influx of mechanical skeleton bitz. And, like I said, Nagash could be an interesting base model for a new and terrible C’Tan…

And finally, there’s the wonderful world of INQ28, of course: It shouldn’t surprise you that I think some parts of the release would be really useful for INQ28 as well, both because of my love of the setting as well as the wide scope of the game:

  • again, the Morghast variants would make for interesting daemons or daemon princes — even moreso in the INQ28 setting, where undivided daemons are still an actual thing…
  • the Spirit Host could be used as unbound daemonhosts, or they could be turned into familiars for chaos magi — the possibilities are probably endless.
  • I think Neferata might make a cool Matriarch for a Death Cult, enormous hat and all.
  • And maybe, just maybe, Mannfred could be turned into a (ultra-)radical Inquisitor with a bit of work?

 

All in all, this release was certainly designed to blow WFB players away, and it seems like it mostly suceeded. One thing I think we can all agree upon is that the sheer size and complexity of GW’s recent plastic kits gets ever more baffling.

What I love about all of the new models is how certain elements are used to tie the various kits together from a visual standpoint: The ghostly apparitions resembling the models from the Spirit Host appear on all of the models in some shape or form. The armour based on fused bone. The skulls making up the interior of many of the undead creatures. And yes, even the huge hats ;) Additionally, it’s fascinating how GW’s designers have managed to make these new undead models fit both the Vampire Counts’ and Tomb Kings’ look and feel, while also imbuing them with an identity of their own. These factors are quite impressive and a big design achievement, in my opinion.

However, at the same time, I do have one overarching gripe with the new models, and that is what I would like to call their “WOW-ness” . What I mean by that is that parts of the new models seem so over the top that they wouldn’t look out of place in a PC game such as World of Warcraft or Diablo — and seeing how Blizzard’s own Warcraft universe owes GW more than a bit of inspiration, it seems pretty ironic that GW’s designers would now, in turn, produce something that seems at least partially inspired by designs from World of Warcraft

Nevertheless, it still seems like a rather strong release, both for the actual kits and for the new conversion options they bring to the table. It just seems like a hearty portion of videogame design sensibilities have been added to the WFB universe — at least to the undead factions.

I hope the next books/releases for the End Times will keep up the effort to revitalise existing armies while adding something new and special to them. For instance, there are rumours floating around about a coming End Times book focusing on chaos and giving various classic characters – Archaon, Arbaal, Valnir,… the Mortarch treatment — and even though I don’t play WFB anymore, the sheer prospect at seeing some of the iconic chaos characters revisited that way has me very excited indeed!

 

So, what do you think about this release? Did you love it or hate it? Did you feel a resemblance to WoW designs as well, and were you happy with that? And would you like to share your own conversion ideas for the new kits? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments section!

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

Seaside laziness…

Posted in Pointless ramblings with tags , on September 18, 2014 by krautscientist

seaside
This week, I spent a couple of days on a seaside vacation, visiting one of the Frisian islands and having an all around great time. Like last time, I had all these great plans for getting creative stuff done while on vacation — like preparing a blog post or two. And exactly like last time, I did precisely nothing, save for eating, sleeping, reading, and messing around with the panorama function of my phone’s camera. Sorry folks, there’ll be a real update soon ;)

Until then, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

More chaotic kitbashes…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2014 by krautscientist

I almost feel bad for making you look at yet more unpainted plastic, but what can I say: Kitbashing’s just my favourite hobby activity, and certainly the most productive one right now! So let me share my latest chaotic projects, some of them further iterations of conversions you’ve seen before, some entirely new models. Step this way to my lab:

I. An Angel revisited

Some time ago, I showed you a couple of Fallen Angels I had kitbashed to accompany my Cypher conversion. The last of these was a champion in Terminator armour, and I have added some finishing touches to the model since you last saw it:

Fallen Angels Terminator WIP (7)
Fallen Angels Terminator WIP (6)
As you can see, I added a couple of bitz in order to make the armour look even more ostentatious, among them a heraldic shield and something resembling an Iron Halo (but also strangely close to a chaos star…). The main change to the model, however, was the head: While the helmet still sports a sword, I swapped in a far smaller blade that better fits the facemask, in my opinion:

Fallen Angels Terminator WIP (8)
All in all, I wanted this model to look like a brooding black knight figure, and I think I can consider that mission accomplished, don’t you think?

II. An Avatar of the Blood God

From the abiguously fallen to the downright chaotic: I also put the finishing conversion touches on my gladiatorial daemon prince. Take a look:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (24)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (18)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (19)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (22)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (21)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (23)
Most of the work left to do was gap filling and cleaning up the conversion. I did spend quite some time on the daemon’s belt, though, because I wanted to add some armour plates and skulls in order to camouflage the somewhat wonky connection between the torso and legs as well as, well, the daemon’s bare butt cheeks…

I am really very happy with this model, especially since I wasn’t really sold on the stock Daemon Prince kit as all — but now, I think that the kit can really be reworked into something rather cool with a  bit of thought and an influx of suitable bitz!. I’ll also likely keep the wings, because I like the added bulk and presence they create — plus I already have a wingless daemon prince, so having both options in my collection seems like the sensible approach here.

III. An Apothecary…and how to deal with collateral damage

Those of you who have been following this blog for any measure of time will know that I love building new characters for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. And I like coming up with models that work both as a character as well as a special unit type — even in those cases where it doesn’t even make that much of a difference from a rules perspective.

Case in point, my recent project to convert the 4th assault company’s Apothecary: Sure, Apothecaries cannot be used in CSM armies, but I’ve had a couple of ideas regarding this character’s background for a long time, and I think an Apothecary would be instrumental to the 4th assault company’s attempt at keeping corruption and madness at bay.

Those tasks fall to Brother Dumah, Keeper of the Seed and Chooser of the Slain. And now I have finally converted a character to represent Dumah:

World Eaters Apothecary (8)
World Eaters Apothecary (7)
World Eaters Apothecary (9)
World Eaters Apothecary (10)
Dumah was created by combining the upper half of a Ravenwing biker sergeant from Dark Vengeance with the legs from a CSM Chosen from the same kit. I wanted Dumah to wear a robe, both as a sign of office as well as an element resembling a slightly sinister, Grim Reaper like figure, and this particular combination of parts allowed me to create the intended effect. The left arm with the Narthecium gauntlet came from the same Chosen, with the tools from a GK Terminator Apothecary added to the powerfist (a surprisingly good fit!). The left arm came from a different Chosen model (I really went all out on this guy), with a spear from the WFB plastic Chaos Lord. I’ll admit the spear was a bit of an experiment: The first idea was to give Dumah a scythe (for an even more Grim Reaper like look), but that didn’t really work all that well. I did want a weapon with a longer handle, and his epithet “Chooser of the Slain” made me think of the mythologic character that goes by the same name: Valkyries. Hence the spear.

The various vials and doodads were carefully cut off a Space Marine Apothecary’s torso and added to the model, and two icons of Khorne were used as additional decoration. The backpack came from the Chosen yet again, with the incense burners from the limited edition Interrogator Chaplain Seraphicus added on top — it just seemed right to me ;)

All in all, while Dumah turned out quite different from what I had originally imagined, and while it was a rather fiddly conversion at first, I am still immensely happy with the outcome: Dumah can certainly hold his own against his fellow Huntmasters from a coolness perspective, and I think he has a focused, slightly sinister look that perfectly fits my idea of his character. Come to think of it, he could probably be used as my own version of Fabius Bile, don’t you think?

In an awesome turn of events, the conversion inspired fellow hobbyist Hruotland over on Dakka to post a small piece of background about World Eaters Apothecaries. Check it out:

The battle tide was ebbing for a while. In the distance the mortars were still thundering, their rythmic bass accentuated by the staccato of rapid-fire. Like lost souls, the high-pitched artillery artillery grenades screamed. The rustle of the brazen forest, the fiery rain on the scarlet fields. One of his more introverted squadmates had once written a sonnet about it in the long silent hours of the Between, while the battle barge plunged the void from one hunting ground to the next.

On this side of the battle fields there was another such a moment between. Maybe that was the reason his thoughts went this direction, Zighurt mused. The fury in his veins had ebbed now, like the battle around him. Soon it would rise again, and he would be on the hunt once more, drowning the world in a tide of crimson and fire.

In the clearing before him there was a small spring. Somehow it had evaded the flood of body liquids and intestines turning the ashen soil into black mud everywhere else. After a short lookaround Zighurd knelt down and took off the horned helmet, Carefully he laid his trusted chainsword beside him, then he formed a cup out of his gloved hands and ladled some of the water. Even the enhanced and blessed body of a khornate marine had it’s needs, had to fuel up in order to burn in rage. Zhigurd took another sip -

The tip of a spear,thrown from behind, protruded from his chest. Zhigurd looked down in wonder. Then came the pain.

Slowly the now liveless carcass tilted forward, his tribute to his god spiraling into the depths of the pond, Already the water had turned to pink. From the shady glen another marine emerged, also bearing the mark of the World Eaters. His boot came down on Zighurds back, then with a decisive pull he retrieved his spear.

Hagen looked down on his prey. “The hunt never ends, Zighurd. Khorne WILL have your offering, He will not allow you to diminish it by dwindling away!” This was the way of the hunt. The predator would rise in it’s terrible glory, gathering strength and cunningness, until it was on the zenith. Then inevitably would come the moment of weakness. The former king would fall, would turn prey to it’s rivals, maybe end on the antlers of a not-so-easy kill or just find out there was always a mightier raptor. A good hunter would spare the glorious ones the humilation of the decline.

Hagens glovesaw screamed, as he took the legion’s toll, then what belonged to his grim God. “Blood for the Blood God” the Apothecarius intoned, dipping his index into the hole he had driven into Zhigurds power armor. “Skulls for the Skull Throne!” he completed the invocation, while he drove his spear into the detached head of his former comrade. Without looking back he walked away, his macabre trophy staring into the skies from broken eyes.

 

Now while my own ideas for Dumah are somewhat different, I still thought this a great read and wanted to share this with you. Thanks a lot, Hruotland!
One problem about the model was that it made me end up with two badly cut up Chosen models as “collateral damage”. Never one to pass up an opportunity for kitbashing, however, I started working on those two fallen soldiers, breathing new life into them:

The first one received some new arms and a new head and will probably become a Chosen of Khorne, a Skull Champion or something similar:

Chosen Kitbash WIP (6)
Chosen Kitbash WIP (5)
I am not quite sure regarding the head yet, so I also tried a helmeted version:

Chosen Kitbash WIP (8)
Chosen Kitbash WIP (7)
As you should know, I am a huge fan of shoutly bald guys in my army, but I also like the “faceless killer” look created by the second helmet — which version do you prefer?

For the other damaged Chosen, I was feeling a little more adventurous, plus some desparate measures were in order, seeing how the model was missing its lower half. So I combined the Chosen upper body with a pair of legs from the WFB warshrine priest and added some bitz in order to create a Nurglite sorcerer. Take a look:

Nurgle Sorcerer WIP (1)
Nurgle Sorcerer WIP (3)
As you can see, the right hand was replaced in order to make it look like the sorcerer was just channeling his psionic powers. I also gave him a staff — and then couldn’t resist turning it into a hideous, semi-organic scythe — after all, this is Nurgle we are talking about ;)

This model is a personal favourite of mine at the moment, because it really started out as a happy accident: Combining the body and legs was just me messing around, but I am really happy with the result.

Nurgle Sorcerer WIP (2)
This guy will probably be painted to fit in with my squad of Plague Marines:

Plague Marines (31)
I think he’ll make a great leader for them!

 

IV. A Lone Wolf

And finally, one last kitbash that just came together rather organically one evening after work: A champion for my traitorous Space Wolves, making rather heavy use of bitz from the WFB chaos catalogue:

Lone Wolf (1)

I have told you time and time again that kitbashing is my favourite part of the hobby, and I suppose this is because it’s such a versatile activity: Whether I keep coming back to a conversion I have been working on for a long time, tweaking it until everything is just so, just create something totally without planning in half an hour, or keep messing around with bitz until something just clicks, kitbashing is just perfectly relaxing to me — hence my rather huge output, I suppose…especially when compared to the models I actually manage to get painted…

Anyway, I hope you like my new chaotic kitbashes! Please let me know any suggestions or feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Inquisitor 28: Long time no see…

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2014 by krautscientist

Right, let me start by apologising for missing an update last week. Truth be told, I am just a bit burned out on blogging at the moment, sometimes struggling to come up with a post I consider up to my quality standards — whatever those may be ;) While I could probably merrily kitbash new models all day, it’s sometimes a challenge to actually sit down and write about them as well, but at the same time, I feel I want the posts on this blog to at least have a certain substance to them. Maybe I just need my own Remembrancer to chronicle my hobby work?

Anyway, to make a long story short: Don’t fret if the updating schedule gets a little scattershot for a while — I don’t want this to feel like work, but rather like a fun activity, and if missing a weekly update or two is what it takes to prevent this blog from turning into yet another deadline I have to meet, then that’s the way it’s got to be.

So, with that out of the way, let’s move on to more interesting topics, because I do in fact have something new to show you:

It’s been quite a while since I last posted anything related to the world of INQ28, so I think it’s high time I changed that. So let me share the progress on some of my INQ28 projects with you today.

 

I. Finally — paint!

Let’s start with something we haven’t seen in a while: Some actually painted models — yay! ;)

First up, a model I already posted on this blog a while ago: A servitor/savant model that will be used as a painter in my planned mini-diorama of an Imperial Lord Militant having his portrait painted. See the original story here.

Savant01
Savant02
Savant03
Savant04
As you can see, the base model in this case was an older GW Savant model — which is easily one of my favourite Inquisitorial models. Unfortunately, the model’s face suffered from a rather serious miscast that I had to repair by adding a bionic eye. However, since the model came pre-undercoated, I only learned precisely how damaged the face was during painting. I did my best to return some of the lost detail through the deft appliance of washes and highlights, but there was only so much I could do.

One thing I am really happy with is the writing on the parchment: This was achieved by carefully applying a decal from the (very nice) Sisters of Battle decal sheet.

Oh, and the model’s base was left completely bare for now, seeing how the model will ultimately become a part of the aforementioned mini-diorama, so before I do anything with the base, I will first need to work out a recipe for the diorama’s “floor”.

The other model I managed to paint is a Sanctioned Psyker that I started working on a rather long time ago. For some reason, the model took me ages to paint, but it’s finally finished now:

Sanctioned Psyker (2)
Sanctioned Psyker (3)
Sanctioned Psyker (6)
Not award winning material, certainly, but I am rather fond of this guy, to be honest: I wanted him to look like a professional soldier, and I think it worked. No transhuman demi-god in baroque armour for once, just a guy doing his job — while the entire rest of his regiment hates him for being an abomination, no less ;)

While I don’t yet have a perfectly worked out background for this character, the rusty and dilapidated stuff on his base shows that he will most likely end up in Inquisitor Alvar’s retinue: My current idea is that the Sanctioned Psyker assisted Alvar during a mission to investigate a Xenos artifact, and seeing a) how much the man was subjected to the disgust and fear of his fellow Guardsmen and b) how much of an asset he could be, Alvar decided to requisition him for his retinue.

 

II. A man and his bird

Next up, an idea I copied from a fellow hobbyist’s thread: I used a leftover eagle from Inquisitor Coteaz to build a familiar/objective marker. A simple but rather effective idea:

Aquila familiar
Following hot on the eagle’s heels is just the guy who would be using an ostentatious familar like this: An Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor I’ve already posted on this thread several times. Even though the model was basically finished last time, I just kept coming back to it for another round of detailing:

Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (15)
Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor WIP (14)
It has taken several touchups to get to this point, but with the last bitz in place, the model now finally has the presence and ostentatiousness I was going for. You may call me silly, but I think the flowing purity seals (mostly taken from the Imperial Knight kit) and new belt buckle (from the Space Marine Centurions) really make a world of difference.

Oh, and since Michael LeBaron requested a parts breakdown for this particular conversion, here it is:

  • head: Dark Angels Ravenwing sprue (old)
  • torso: Space Marines command squad torso with an Inquisitorial symbol shaved off Inquisitor Coteaz’ codpiece (no, really!) added on top
  • left arm: Sanguinary Guard arm with an IG flamer muzzle. The shoulder pad came from the WFB Chaos Knights
  • right arm: a regular CSM arm with the Grey Knight Terminator Justicar’s sword. The pauldron is a radar dish from the Space Marine vehicle sprue, IIRC
  • legs: WFB Warriors of Chaos, with lots and lots of purity seals added on top. Like I said, most came from the Imperial Knight kit, while the belt buckle came from the Centurions
  • odds and ends: part of a tabard from the WFB Chaos Lord on Manticore was used as a half cape across the model’s back. The shield came from the GK Nemesis Dreadknight.

Hope this helps! :)

 

III. Femmes militantes

I am sure many INQ28 aficionados will agree with me that coming up with female members for Inquisitorial retinues can be a bit of a challenge, partly due to GW’s somewhat spotty record when it comes to female models. That said, making sure that there is a certain gender diversity in my warbands has become a fun little challenge, and I am happy to be able to present you WIPs for two more Femmes Militantes, if I may just borrow the name of  a particularly great and eclectic series of designs by John Blanche ;)

First up, here’s someone who would fight right into the retinue of such an imposing servant of the Ordo Hereticus: A female operative that could be used as a Crusader type or even an Interrogator:

Ordo Hereticus Operative WIP (3)
Ordo Hereticus Operative WIP (1)
Ordo Hereticus Operative WIP (2)
The model is based on a – severely damaged – Sister of Battle PDH let me have as part of a rather impressive bitz drop (come to think of it, this is already the second time Peter gave me a model missing its lower legs — maybe there’s a story behind that… ;) ). I provided the lady with some new feet (courtesy of a Dark Eldar model) and a new head (from the Wood Elves Glade Guard). I think she would really work as an associate of the Hereticus Inquisitor above. And I have a feeling that she would look really dashing in crimson armour — we will see…

And, last but definitely not least, a little project made possible by a donation: A while ago, fellow hobbyist Steifer let me have two of his very nice female sculpts for experimentation purposes (that did sound pretty weird, come to think of it…):

magda_legion

So far, this is what I have come up with for the first of them:

Female Operative WIP (5)
Female Operative WIP (1)
Female Operative WIP (2)
Female Operative WIP (3)
Female Operative WIP (4)
As you can see, I have given the – very nice – base model some arms and a head of hair. I actually took a stab at sculpting the hair myself, thanks to some gentle nudging from DexterKong. While it’s far from a spectacular effort, I am reasonably happy with the result:

Female Operative WIP (6)

As for the model’s background, I see her as a professional assassin specialised on working from within Imperial high society — like a grimdark Femme Nikita, if you will ;) The model is still WIP at the moment, of course, but I think I may be on to something here!

 

So, as you can see, I am not dead — and neither are my INQ28 projects! As always, I’d be happy to hear any feedback and suggestions you might have! Thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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!

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