Aren’t you a little tall for a stormtrooper? A first hands on with the Tempestus Scions and more…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, Traitor Guard, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2014 by krautscientist

Stormtrooper kitbashing (1)
Don’t worry, a detailed look at the whole Astra Militarum release is still forthcoming in the near future, but seeing how everyone (myself included) seems to be all over the new Tempestus Scions at the moment, let us put the cart before the horse for once, so to speak, and allow me to share my first hands on experiences with the kit. We’ll also take a look at options for building Stormtroopers for your IG (or Traitor Guard) force in general, and I dear it’ll be a rather wordy post, all things considered. I am also fairly confident you’ll get a few ideas out of the deal, though, so bear with me here!

Let me start by saying that the Tempestus Scions are an amazing kit, regarding both the quality of the sculpt and the amount of bitz and options you get. I have been asking myself for a long time why so few of the actual IG models (the fantastically eclectic Vostroyans notwithstanding) actually channel the anachronistic design elements that permeate the rest of the 40k universe, but with the Tempestus Scions, the combination of high tech and baroque, sometimes even medieval, elements is finally available in model form. I won’t get into this part any further, since it will probably play a pretty big role in my upcoming review of the Astra Militarum release. Suffice it to say for now  that I am all for more ostentatiousness and baroqueness in the IG catalogue!

Beyond the exciting design, though, the kit also provides an extremely versatile and extensive toolbox for building five excellent models. And the kit is full of opportunities right though the gate, enabling you to build elite soldiers for your Guard regiment as well as Inquisitorial Stormtroopers of any stripe and even Traitor Guard — because the decorative armour trim adorning all the Scions’ armour plates make it really easy to turn these guys to chaos.

Indeed, my current plan is to turn at least four of the models into the beginnings of a squad of elite soldiers for my detachment of Traitor Guard,  although I will probably use one model and some of the amazing Tempestor Prime bitz to buy an Inquisitor/Imperial Noble/senior IG officer/whatever…

That’s a plan for the near future, however. For now, let’s do some experiments in order to explore the kit in more detail!

 

I. Initial kitbashing

Taking inspiration from Jeff Vader’s recent experimentation with different head swaps on the Tempestus Scions, I did something similar, collecting various heads from my bitzbox and trying them on my first Scion test model, in order to see how they would change the overall look and feel of the model. Now don’t get me wrong, the whopping seventeen heads that come with the kit are just as amazing as the rest of the parts. But I still wanted to see how a mere head swap might turn one of the models into very different characters.

I filed my findings into several different categories. Just click for bigger pictures, by the way:


Experiment I: Inquisitorial types

Stormtrooper kitbashing (2)

I wanted to explore several options for creating shadowy and/or hi-tech-y Stormtroopers. My first experiment was to use a leftover head from Inquisitor Coteaz I still had lying around, and not only was it a great fit, but the resulting model is quite similar to the Sergeant of the Kasrkin models, don’t you think? I am seriously considering using that head for my Scion-based Inquisitor.

I also tried two robed DA heads, and while Marine heads tend to be a bit clunky when used on non-marine bodies, these might actually work (although it would be necessary to shave down the neck portion, which I didn’t do for my experiments). The sergeant from Jeff Vader’s wonderful squad of Tempestus Scions uses one of these heads as well, by the way, so you don’t need to rely on my word alone!
Oh, and I also like the faceless SpecOps look of the fourth head (a Valkyrie pilot head, I guess? Just bought it via ebay some time ago).


Experiment II: Medieval types

Stormtrooper kitbashing (3)
There’s quite a bit of overlap with the Inquisitorial types on these, although I wanted to see how to make the Scions look even more archaic and medieval. I mostly used Bretonnian heads during this attempt.

I actually really like the Brodie-helmet like look of models on the left! These might look great for a fire-and-brimstone Hereticus retinue (or in a particularly medieval IG regiment). The helmets do interfere with the antenna and sensor array on the shoulders, however, so some cutting might be in oder if you want to take this route. The knight helmet was mainly a joke, as was the shaved down berzerker helmet on the right (just the thing if you’re going for the old “Boba Fett” look, though).


Experiment III: IG veterans

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I think that using various heads from the IG, WFB Empire or even Space Marine catalogues could be a great options of making the Scions look less like freshly-pressed parade ground soldiers and more like hard-boiled veterans from some of the more colourful regiments of the Astra Militarum.

I particularly like the one with the wolf scout head on the far right ;-)


Experiments IV and V: Traitors and Renegades

Ahhh, now we’re talking: I tried various chaotic heads in order to make the Scion model look like a Traitor Guard soldier: Like I said, the trim on their body armour makes them equally viable for chaos, if you ask me. I did already shave off some of the beautiful IG iconography, too. Anyway, here’s my first set of traitor experiments:

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As you can see, slightly shaved down WFB chaos warrior helmets will work, as will heads from the plastic cultists.

I tried even more heads, though:

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I really liked one of Jeff Vader’s experiments, where he used a head from the WFB Marauder Horsemen, and indeed, those heads work brilliantly on the Scion bodies: They are instantly recognisable as chaotic, but they still seem orderly enough so as not to damage the elite soldier look. My absolute favourite has to be the head from the Dark Vengeance cultist champ, though: While it may look slightly goofy on virtually any other model, here it instantly transforms a Scion into a warrior of the Blood Pact – BAM!

I didn’t limit myself to trying different heads, however, I also did a couple of smaller experiments involving different body parts:

For those of you who might be thinking of using the scions as a base for (Dark) AdMech Skitarii conversions, the following pictures might be helpful as well:

You can combine the scion torsos with flagellant legs:

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Stormtrooper kitbashing (8)
For the real Skitarii look, you would probably need to replace the bare feet with something suitably tech-y and bulky (Necron feet, perhaps?). And you’d need to either add a cowl sculpted from GS or use the AdMech-styled cultist head.

As an alternative for making Skitarii (or, indeed, trenchcoat scions), you could use the legs from that very cultist:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (9)
Stormtrooper kitbashing (10)
While the legs may seem to be a bit on the thin side, the trenchcoat idea is nevertheless pretty interesting, because you end up with something only one step away from one of my favourite pieces of IG artwork by none other than the great Jes Goodwin.

One last early kitbashing idea: I just had to try and combine one of the masked Scion heads with the helmet of a Bretonnian Man-at-arms, again creating something resembling a futuristic Brodie helmet/gas mask combo:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (11)
The resulting model basically looks like a more detailed, more baroque GW version of one of my beloved Warzone 2nd edition starter minis:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (12)

Might be a useful idea for IG as well as Inquisitorial Stormtroopers or Traitor Guard, though…

2. Playing around with Tempestus Scion bitz

Interestingly enough, the first mostly finished model to come out of my purchase of the Tempestus Scions wasn’t even a Tempestus Scion: I used the voxcaster bitz from the new kit to salvage a FW Vraksian Militia torso I had seriously damaged during another conversion, and thanks to the new bitz, I was able to build a traitor soldier with voxcaster:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (13)
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Even though he uses Chaos Marauder legs and a FW torso, he should still work well enough as a squad member for my chaos elites. He looks good enough next to my test model, at least:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (15)
On a semi-related note, the idea of this guy making prank calls during battle really cracks me up: I imagine nothing will mess with your battle logistics like someone calling in the middle of an offensive demanding to speak to Commissar I.P. Freely…  :-)

Anyway, back to the traitors: As it happens, I have some Vraksian torsos lying around (courtesy of fellow hobbyist PDH) and I think I will use more Marauder legs and a couple of bitz from the Scion kit to transform them into further models for the elite squad:

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Again, they should work well enough from a scale perspective:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (16)
So, not only are the Tempestus Scions themselves great for different conversions, but the amount of extra bitz will also be really useful in converting even more models, both for my Traitor Guard and, I imagine, the odd INQ28 model. On a related note, make sure to check out little brother’s scion conversions over at his Ammobunker thread: His models are a great proof of concept for how easy it is to make the Tempestus Scions into traitors with just a minor influx of bitz! And Adam Wier has some very interesting ideas about slightly modifying the stock models as well.

I imagine that the coming weeks will bring a cornucopia of inspiring Scion conversions, so you actually might want to leave your sprues untouched for now… ;-)

 

3. Alternatives

So, once again, I am really happy with the Tempestus Scions and the conversion and kitbashing options they provide. But my love for the kit notwithstanding, let me discuss yet another source for possible Stormtroopers. As you will see, this is clearly not a case of favouring one kit (or manufacturer) over the other, but rather an attempt at outlining several, partly interlocking approaches for building just the Stormtroopers and elite soldiers you need:

Quite some time ago, I participated in a Kickstarter to make some of Mark Mondragon’s designs available in glorious plastic. The kits coming out of this Kickstarter, namely the different plastic Titans and the Eisenkern Stormtroopers, were one of my favourite hobby releases in 2013, as some may recall. And it’s the latter of the two I would like to talk about:

Eternal Hunts Awards 2013 (3)
The Eisenkern Stromtroopers provide an alternate set of models for your Imperial Guard. Granted, these are not GW models, so you won’t be able to use them in any GW events or GW stores, but the models are still definitely nice enough to showcase them here! As a matter of fact, I was already feeling bad for not making the time to talk about them in more detail earlier, but now it turns out that the opportunity to discuss them back to back with the new Tempestus Scions is just the perfect way of taking a closer look at the kit. So let’s look at both kits, shall we:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (18)

On their own, the Eisenkern Stormtroopers provide a kit for making very cool looking elite soldiers with a very distinct WWII vibe. Incidentally, the background of the Eisenkern faction basically has them as “Germans IN SPACE!” (and the name certainly is a dead giveaway…). My personal reason for supporting their creation in plastic was that they really reminded me of the Wolf Brigade in Jin-Roh, but those designs were of course based on historical German uniforms again, so it’s a bit of a circular argument.

Anyway, the kit comes with so many options for customisation that it’s almost ridiculous, and these options are further multiplied if you decide to purchase an additional set of conversion and equipment bitz, giving you lots and lots of different weapons, heads, hands and various gear. Therefore, the humble test model pictured above is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s a scale comparison with the Tempestus Scions:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (19)
Stormtrooper kitbashing (20)
Stormtrooper kitbashing (21)
As you can see, both models are more or less of the same height: The Eisenkern Stormtrooper is ever so slightly taller, yet less bulky than the Tempestus Scion. From a structural perspective, there are quite a few parallels, though, ranging from the body armour and rebreather helmets to the power plant-like section on the model’s back.

The overall look is still ever so slightly different, though: Where the Tempestus Scions are full-out baroque and grimdark, the Eisenkern models are more hi-tech, albeit with a clear retro element.

But let’s look at some more scale pictures, this time with a “regular” IG model, a cultist and an Astartes as additional parts of the comparison:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (22)
Stormtrooper kitbashing (23)
As you can see, both Stormtrooper models nicely fit into the gap between “regular” humans and Astartes: While both are basically just as tall as a regular Marine, the added bulkiness still nicely separates the Astartes from the unaugmented models.

One obvious problem with the Eisenkern models lies in the slightly more realistic (and less “heroic”) proportions when compared to GW kits. While this certainly isn’t a shortcoming per se, it can become a bit of a problem when trying to combine the Eisenkern models with GW bitz.

For instance, where the Tempestus Scion bodies will happily accept even Marine heads with a bit of cutting, even fairly slender heads like the wolf scout head pictured below will look slightly too clunky on an Eisenkern Trooper:

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That said, some heads work better than others: I have collected some cases where the GW heads worked reasonably well below:

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In any case, the important thing to keep in mind here is that these parts certainly weren’t designed to be mixed, so the fact that it still works out in some cases should be treated more like a bonus — but more on that in a minute.

The main problem from a design perspective is that the Eisenkern Stormtroopers are far less useful for “classic” chaos than the Tempestus Scions, because the smooth lines are not nearly baroque and archaic enough for your average traitor guard, whereas the extra decoration on the Scions makes them very chaos-y right out of the box. The common Eisenkern Stormtrooper fares less well when combined with chaos bitz.

Stormtrooper kitbashing (28)
But, again, this is obviously not really a fault of the kit itself: It wasn’t even designed to allow for shenanigans like that.

The big surprise, then, is that the Eisenkern Stormtroopers work amazingly well with the Tempestus Scion heads:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (29)
The beret heads from the Scions are perfect for Eisenkern officers — and actually much better than the somewhat generic bare heads that come with the Eisenkern kit (one of the few failings of an otherwise brilliant kit, I might add).

The same goes for the helmeted Scion heads:

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And finally, the beret head with gas mask, one of the coolest heads in the kit anyway, is pretty much the perfect officer head for an Eisenkern Stormtrooper. Take a look:

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Stormtrooper kitbashing (32)
Quite a nice reward for the adventurous kitbasher, don’t you think? Plus this information might be interesting both for those who are contemplating a purchase of the Eisenkern Stormtroopers as well as those who already own the kit and want to tie it in with their IG army: Just get some Tempestus Scion heads, and you’re golden ;-)

Another interesting fact: Female Eisenkern models will eventually be available, filling a  gap GW’s catalogue has mostly refused to address so far: Here’s a regular Eisenkern trooper next to Kickstarter exclusive model Ada:

Stormtrooper kitbashing (33)
So which one should you choose?

I’ll be honest with you, I couldn’t even tell you which kit is the better one, because a) both are awesome and b) which is better for you depends on what you are looking for: Both kits are great and, in their respective ways, provide great value for the money. The best possible approach would be to ask yourself what kind of Stormtrooper you are looking for and make your decision from there (or, of course, to just buy a box of each):

Do you want your Stormtroopers visually in line with the eclectic, sometimes outlandish and anachronistic 40k universe? Do you love the little medieval and renaissance touches and are looking for colourful models that channel this particular part of the setting? Then the Tempestus Scions are your thing.

Do you want slightly more futuristic, tactical looking troopers without too many baroque design elements but a noticeable retro feel and tons and tons of options (you can actually use the accessory sprue to build models conversing in SWAT-like sign language, for crying out loud!)? Great, the Eisenkern Stormtroopers are the kit for you.

But even if you come down on either side of this argument, the other kit would still be an awesome purchase. And, owning both kits, I am perfecly sure that I am going to have lots of fun with both types of models.

In the end, it’s really all about being aware of all the options, and that’s what this post is about too: Describing more options for you. In any case, you way want to check out the Dreamforge Games website — chances are, you’ll find something to like there. At the same time, I cannot recomment the Tempestus Scions enough: They are an amazing kit and quite reasonably priced for GW’s standards.

 

Ultimately, the choice is yours. And I really hope that this post has given you food for though and ideas for possible conversions or kitbashes instead of confusing you. If you have any thoughts or questions about either of the kits (or about my first rough conversion attempts), I’d be happy to hear them in the comments section.

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

A brute with a name…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Fluff, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2014 by krautscientist

Hey everyone,

just a teeny tiny update today: You may remember how I recently lamented my inability to come up with a suitable justification for the totally twisted and mutated Dark Vengeance Helbrute joining up with the rather “pristine” (insofar as that word can be applied to followers of Khorne) warriors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt.

Well, fortunately, many of you came to the rescue and offered ideas, suggestions and snippets of fluff. That input really provided me with lots of great ideas for the Helbrute’s background, so I had everything I needed to come up with a suitable piece of writing channelling the elements I liked the most. Many thanks to everyone who contributed one or several ideas to this process, especially to monkeytroll, Llamahead and DexterKong!

Here goes:

Helbrute (4)

Khorlen the Lost

Ever since the Skalathrax campaign, the warriors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt have been trying to keep the inevitable descent into madness that has claimed most of their legion at bay, instead clinging to their fierce martial pride. However, Lord Captain Lorimar’s retreat from Skalathrax earned him no small number of opponents amid the ranks of his own legion. One such enemy, Karakar the Exalted, considered Lorimar and his company cravens and hypocrites, unworthy of Khorne’s blessings and ignorant of the true nature of chaos: Karakar was furious about the Eternal Hunt looking down upon daemonhood and the gifts of the Warp, and he vowed he would educate the fourth assault company about the true meaning of chaos.

In late M39, Karakar and his warband fell upon the Fourth in a series of rapid assaults. During the initial phase of the fight, Huntmaster Khorlen, then a senior officer in the company, and his retinue were captured on the daemon world of Skabrea. Lorimar himself led an attack into the heart of the enemy stronghold, in order to rescue his battle brother and put Karakar to the sword.

When they reached the innermost sanctum of the fortress, the warriors of the fourth discovered a chilling scene: Karakar had wanted to punish the Eternal Hunt for their selfish pride, and for clinging to their long-obsolete past, so he had undertaken a sinister ritual to call the forces of the warp into the vessel provided by Huntmaster Khorlen’s body. He had paid dearly, however, as Khorlen – his body twisted and wracked with the raw powers of chaos – had broken his chains and slain everyone present in the ritual chamber. There his brothers found him, crippled and bloodied, his form twisted beyond reason, but yet imbued with a sinister resilience through the powers of the warp. And against all odds, Khorlen remained completely sane, and aware of the horrible changes that had been wrought upon him.

Lorimar and his warriors were at a loss: Had Khorlen’s mind been shattered by the ritual, it would have been easy enough to put him out of his misery. But their brother was still sane, and begged them to allow him to continue fighting. So a compromise was reached: Khorlen’s twisted remains were interred into a dreanought ironform, in an attempt to keep him combat worthy.

But the ritual had been so powerful that even the internment did not protect Khorlen against the forces of the warp: His ironform began to change and mutate, turning Khorlen into a hulking beast of steel and fleshmetal. Yet at the heart of the hellish contraption, the proud spirit of Huntmaster Khorlen still remained, untainted and unbroken.

Khorlen spends most of his days hidden deep within the great forge aboard the Aeternus Venator, his condition closely monitored by Huntmaster Deracin. Only in times of battle is he released to walk among his brothers once more, seeking a worthy death in battle as long as he is still himself...

 

Have a great weekend, everyone! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Celebrating 200,000 views — with a small present for myself

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2014 by krautscientist

200000views
This week, Eternal Hunt hit the 200,000 views mark, less than nine months after attaing 100,000 views. Now this is certainly not world record material, but I am still immensely proud that a blog describing my pottering away at my various hobby projects has managed to attract so many visitors! So thanks to all those who have taken an interest so far, especially those of you who regularly comment or are even following this blog! You guys often provide me with the motivation I need to tackle the next project on my list, plus you provide some nifty ideas every so often. Cheers for that! ;-)

As for this blog’s high points over the last nine months, my retrospect of Year Two is still fairly recent, so I’ll just point  towards it for all the dates and facts. What’s far more interesting, though, is how I decided to celebrate this event:

Because what better way to celebrate than to get a nice present for myself, as a reward for all the hard work, right? Relax, though: There’ll be something interesting for you as well. So what is this about?

Some of you may remember when I posted about fellow hobbyist AgnostosTheos building 30k versions of two of my World Eaters characters a while back. This was pretty cool, because his World Eaters army is easily one of my favourite Heresy-era representations of my chosen legion.

Now imagine my dismay when AT recently announced that he would be selling his amazing collection of World Eaters — what terrible news! I, for one, would have loved to see further additions to this force, and maybe even some more 30k versions of characters from Khorne’s Eternal Hunt.

However, and I almost feel guilty for admitting it, this also provided me with the chance as well as the obligation to purchase the 30k versions that already existed.

Now I normally have pretty strict rules when it comes to buying painted models or commissioning people: I don’t usually do it, period.

I have various reasons for this: I don’t want to let other people do the work that actually constitutes a sizeable part of the hobby for me, reluctant as I sometimes am to take up a paintbrush. I also have the creeping suspicion that once I start to commission people like the Spiky Rat Pack, for instance, to build and paint some of their amazing models for me, I’ll never stop until all my money’s gone.

And there’s also the fact that it’s really an all or nothing choice: Either you only buy single pieces and end up with them looking markedly different from the rest of your army, or you commission an entire army, pay through your teeth and actually have no hobby activities left to do yourself — apart from the playing, admittedly, but that has never been the greatest draw for me.

So, to make a long story short: While I usually lack any impulse control when it comes to buying little plastic men, I have so far managed not to buy fully painted ones, at least.

I made an exception this time, however, because the thought of somebody else owing AT’s Heresy-era versions of “my” characters was pretty much unbearable to me.
And due to the fact that I have zero interest in assembling a 30k World Eaters force, it seemed a safe enough endeavour to buy a couple of AgnostosTheos’s models without running the risk of becoming addicted to yet another army. So I made him an offer that he could have – but didn’t – refuse and purchased four models, all in all, along with some supremely useful resin bitz and an almost complete sheet of World Eaters decals. While the latter two will become very useful for my work on Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, it goes without saying that the painted models were definitely the stars of the show. Here are three of them:

Pre Heresy (6)
From left to right, we have a model representing Marax the Fallen in the days before his internment into a Dreadnought, a World Eaters officer based on the WFB plastic Chaos Lord, and Khoron the Undying, once again before being interred into an ironform. Let’s take a closer look:

First up, Marax the Fallen, in both his 30k and 40k incarnations:

Pre Heresy (7)
The twin lightning claws on both models make for a pretty clear recurring element, and the blood spatters all over 30k Marax’s armour and face show that this warrior was dangerously unhinged, even before becoming a dreadnought.

Then there’s Khoron the Undying in both versions:

Pre Heresy (8)

Although blood spattered, Marax seems less feral and uncontrollable than his brother. His patrician features are also a nice and subtle way of representing his function as a figure of respect among the warriors of the 4th assault company. In the 41st millenium, this face has forever been replaced with the brazen skull mask of a dreadnought, however.

Actually having these guys in my hands to display them alongside each other is a really awesome feeling, you know ;-)

And then there’s the unnamed World Eaters officer: While the model wasn’t based on any of my characters, the fact that it uses the same base model as my own Dark Apostle makes it fun to imagine that it might represent a younger Huntmaster Stian Gul:

Pre Heresy (3)
Plus the model was actually a steal, so what choice did I have? My favourite part has got to be the way AT used etched brass parts to add World Eaters iconograpgy to the medieval looking armour.

There is actually one more model I purchased from AgnostosTheos, although one I am not prepared to show you just yet. It will also need some final touches to complete it. As a little teaser, let me just show you the weapons I intend to use for this mysterious warrior:

weapons
Maybe that should give some of you a clue as to the character this model will represent…

 

All in all, not only was this a great occasion to add some texture to my force, but it also serves as a very suitable celebration for my blog reaching 200,000 views. I really couldn’t be any happier with these guys:

Pre Heresy (4)
While we’re on the subject, though, be sure to check out AgnostosTheos’s WIP thread and Flickr gallery: Though the various models may have found new homes, they remain one of the coolest 30k World Eaters armies, and those links allow you to check them out in their entirety — highly rec0mmended!

So a very warm thank you to AgnostosTheos for letting me have these models for a quite reasonable price! And thanks to you for reading this and taking an interest! To the next 200,000!

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

Hodgepodge

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2014 by krautscientist

Work abounds this week, so in place of a larger, well-considered update, let me just hit you with a jumbled mess of disparate things, if it’s all the same to you ;-) Most of them are related to my World Eaters, though, if that is any consolation…

 

1. In search of a past…

Helbrute (4)

“No. No! Not the sarcophagus… Khorne damn you, you disloyal curs, just kill me! JUST KILL ME!”
- Khalos the Ravager, last words prior to Helbrute internment

I added some final touches to the Helbrute model you saw in my last update, but the changes are nearly invisible at this point, which is always a sure sign of the model being finished. And while I am pretty happy with how this big guy has turned out, there’s the problem of tieing him into my army’s background:

You see, I try to come up with a background for any squad or bigger model I use, and a Helbrute/Dreadnought is certainly big and impressive enough to warrant his own name and story, right? Well, therein lies the problem:
One of the defining factors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt is that its members cling to their martial honour, in spite of suffering from the bite of the Butcher’s Nails and the steady degradation of their sanity over time. For them, apart from periods when they are “lost to the nails” during battle, the thought of permanently devolving into mindless beasts is the ultimate horror. And in order to slow down the inevitable decline of the company, those physically or psychologically corrupted beyond redemption are organised into separate suicide squads, to die in a last blaze of glory before their corruption spreads to their brethren.

Roughly the same goes for the company’s Ancients, of course: So the last two Dreadnoughts I built for my army exemplify opposite ends of this spectrum, with Khoron the Undying remaining mostly sane, in spite of his millennia of internment in an ironform (with the danger of finally succumbing still always present), while Marax the Fallen was already forever lost to the nails prior to being transformed, so for him the internment was an eternal punishment, and his function is to act as a reminder to his brothers what their fate will be if they permanently give in to madness and anger.

So far, so good, right? But now I have this third Dreadnought/Helbrute that is visibly mutated and corrupted and seems just as angry as Marax, if not moreso. So where does he come in? How do I explain him as a character? And what will be his name?

I agree that this is not really a huge problem, and I will certainly present the model proudly alongside all the others, even without any background or justification. But as someone for whom the background of an army is an inseparable part of the whole project, this does bug me — so in case you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them!

 

2. Reborn in Blood

The most terrible fate (at least from a hobby perspective) recently befell fellow hobbyist Legatho: A fallen tree crashed into his garden shed during a hailstorm, where most of his various hobby materials were stored, and almost all of his models were lost in the deluge (check out his Ammobunker thread for the whole story, complete with cringe-inducing photos). Seeing the results of that catastrophe made me realise that I wanted to help, and so, a couple of other guys and me each sent Legatho some bitz in order to help him rebuild his bitzbox, Here’s the box of assorted stuff I sent on its way to France :

Legatho04
And then the most awesome thing happened: I had also included a converted World Eater in the package, a model that, for one reason or another, I had never bothered to paint: I just thought it might be a nice personal touch to send along something World Eater-ly, along with the other stuff.
Well, it turned out that this was the first model Legatho chose to paint following his personal hobby Armageddon. Take a look:

Legatho01
Legatho02
He also made some fitting additions to the model, like the Ogre gut plate and some additional skulls and chains. And I particularly like the spears on the base, since they closely echo the basing motif I used for my own model for Lord Captain Lorimar.

The best thing, though, is that Legatho included a small plaque on the base as a further shout out:

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That one really made me smile! All in all, I really couldn’t be any happier with the outcome: I think Legatho really managed to do the model justice with his paintjob, plus it was great to be able to help out a fellow hobbyist! And I really love the thought that a “goodwill ambassador” from Khorne’s Eternal Hunt  now resides in France. Way to go, brother-slaughterer ;-)

The best thing, however, is that Legatho seems very motivated to keep building and painting models, and I think that’s really admirable! I am not sure my own hobby mojo would have recovered from a hit like that, but there you have it! Anyway, helping out felt good anyway, but as you can see, I also got an awesome hobby moment out of it as well!

Oh, and while we’re at it, be sure to take a look at Legatho’s thread and blog and leave a comment or two. Somebody who rebounds from such a hobby catastrophe so easily certainly deserves some recognition, plus there are some really cool kitbashes on show — all the more precious for the knowledge that they have been permanently lost…

 

3. Some new recruits

It goes without saying that I haven’t been completely idle, either: After the tour de force of painting the Helbrute model in a rather short amount of time, however, I needed to take it slow and engaged in some kitbashing in order to relax. So let me show you some of my latest smaller conversion projects:

First up, there’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while: I’ve repeatedly been tossing around ideas for a squad of World Eaters Havocs (to represent the classic “Teeth of Khorne” and add some versatile firepower to my army). I found myself thinking about the squad members just armed with a regular bolter (and used as ablative wounds): I wanted to make them slightly more interesting, and when I sifted through my bitzbox in search of inspiration, I found myself looking at some WFB chaos warrior shields: What if I built the ablative wounds guys to resemble breacher marines, only post-heresy?

Anyway, I messed around a bit, and here’s what I came up with:

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Just a very early WIP, nothing’s glued together yet, but for some reason, I really like this guy — maybe this approach warrants some further exploration? In any case, I’ll hold off on this until it’s clear whether we are getting the rumoured new Havoc kit anytime soon or not. But it’s an interesting experiment nevertheless, don’t you think?

I also built yet another gladiator: I wanted to have at least one model in the squad wield a meteor hammer, a weapon appearing  in the recent World Eaters fluff and featured as an equipment option in Forgeworld’s World Eaters Rampager squad. Oh, and Imagine my surprise when I found out that it is also an actual chinese weapon!

Anyway, I wanted to kitbash a gladiator wielding a meteor hammer, so I tried to achieve a fairly close representation of both the FW look and the actual historical source. Here’s what I came up with:

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Once again, the feedback on the forums proved invaluable, with fellow hobbyists El Diablo and MasterBuilder offering some extremely useful feedback on the model’s head and making me think about a way of making the meteor hammer even more accurate.

After a bit of additional cleanup work, here’s the finished build for the gladiator:

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I am quite pleased with this guy, plus I think I managed to build a pretty close approximation of FW’s “official” meteor hammer! I did cave in, though, and used a FW resin head — it just looked too good.

Expect the remaining three gladiators to see some colours sooner rather than later ;-)

 

So yeah, that’s pretty much it for today: Just some smaller projects for now, although I can assure you that bigger things are on the way! It goes without saying that I’d love to hear any feedback you might have!

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

Et tu, Brute? A look at the chaos mini-release and a surprise model!

Posted in Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2014 by krautscientist

So, before those rumoured Imperial Guar…erm Astra Militarum models hit in the near future, let me just take this opportunity to talk a bit about the recent the “mini-release” for chaos players: Hopes had been high for multiple new kits (among them a Chosen/Havoc combi-kit) or a supplement dealing with the original traitor legions. The bad news is: That’s not what we got. But at least we did get some love from GW in the form of the Crimson Slaughter supplement and a new kit. So let’s take a look at these new toys, shall we?

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The rules in the new supplement seem to be reasonably solid, at least that’s what I hear on the forums.  People also laud the production values of the book, and I have to say that the art does seem quite inspired and is almost motivation enough for me to go and pick it up, just for the heck of it:
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At the same time, you’ve got to wonder: There has been quite a bit of nerd rage regarding the fact that the latest chaos supplement doesn’t deal with any of the major traitor legions, but rather focuses on a fairly new warband that had only been introduced into the background with the release of Dark Vengeance. Several commenters pointed out that this was likely done in an attempt to give newcomers to the hobby a “clean slate” warband that wasn’t so heavily bogged down in all of the background lore — but while this seems like a sensible explanation at first glance, I’m not sure I buy it: Warhammer 40k has always been about the 10,000 years worth of background lore, after all. And what better way to get people into the hobby up to their noses than to motivate them to read up on all the stuff that has happened to “their” legion over the last ten millennia?

Whatever the reason, it seems obvious that GW’s reluctance to publish legion specific rules is actually not an oversight but a conscious decision, at least for now: It feels like they are just not prepared to open that can of worms just yet, which is a bit of a shame, of course. I’ll still keep my fingers crossed for the legions to get a fitting treatment in the future, and I can only hope that this is all some kind of a bigger plan (and a bigger design plan, at that, not just some business tomfoolery).

Such considerations notwithstanding, there were two really positive aspects to come out of this mini-release: One is the fact that the studio CSM army seems to have  been switched from Black Legion to Crimson Slaughter, with images of models in the latter warband’s colours now also adorning all of the new boxes. And boy is it a gorgeous colour scheme! I’ll let slide the fact that the Crimson Slaughter has successfully managed to steal what should by rights be the official World Eaters colours: Red and bronze/gold always look great together, and turquoise is just the perfect spot colour for that particular combo (*cough* not that some of us hadn’t already realised that *cough*).

The other positive thing about this release is the new, multipart Helbrute kit. Let’s take a closer look:

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For all these past years, ever since the early 2000s really, chaos players have been clamouring for a new Dreadnought kit. Then Dark Vengeance came around, introducing us to the concept of the Helbrute, an Astartes Dreadnought warped and corrupted by the ruinous powers into something halfway between a daemon and a machine. Now, with the release of the multipart Helbrute, we have come full circle: The kit we had been waiting for so long is finally available. And quite a kit it is!

Before we take a closer look, though, let’s get the main problem out of the way first: In order to enjoy this kit, you have to be comfortable with the idea of the stock chaos Dread being much more warped and mutated – more “fleshy”, as it were – than before. If you don’t like that overall approach, well, you’re out of luck — this model just won’t be for you.

Here’s the thing, though: I myself am not a huge fan of overly mutated models. There are very few mutations appearing across my World Eaters army (both for aesthetic preference and fluff reasons). Still, both the Dark Vengeance Helbrute and the new multipart model have managed to win me over, because they just look amazing! They are evil and chaotic, exuding malice and horror in equal measure, so how could I not love them? What’s more, put them to a “regular” Dreadnought, and you’ll see that, in spite of all their mutations, they closely match the proportions and design of a standard Dreadnought underneath all of that fleshmetal: You can almost imagine how these creatures (d)evolved into the monstrosities they are now, and that is just great visual storytelling, period.

And even if you hate that look and approach with a passion, there are many alternative options: All of the loyalist Dreadnoughts are quite easy to convert into suitably chaotic models (as I myself have proven. Twice.). There are also the – still amazing – Forgeworld Chaos Dreads, if you prefer a more conservative design approach. So what I am saying here is that the new kit basically only adds more options instead of taking them away: Everyone can still get the Dreadn…erm Helbrute they like.

As for the kit itself, what strikes me as the best part is the amount of customisability: You get all of the available weapon options plus a huge amount of bitz to make the Helbrute look like an individual or represent his allegiance to a specific chaos legion or warband. It goes without saying that the weapon options follow the mutated look of the main body. In some cases, they are still fairly conservative (the Autocannon or Lascannon would be good examples). Some other weapons are a bit more out there:

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They even managed to make the power scourge, possibly the most awkward looking equipment option on the old metal model, look legitimately cool:

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Personally speaking, the rocket launcher is just a bit much, though: I love the model and all, but the idea of fired rockets leaving fleshy sockets like pulled teeth is just taking the body horror angle a bit too far for my liking, thank you very much:

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A personal favourite of mine would be the option of arming the Helbrute with twin power fists, because there’s nothing saying brutal, insane killing machine than those huge fists:

CSM_release_2014 (5)Even beyond the different weapons, I really love the additional options for customisation: You get a whopping six heads and three horned crests for the sarcophagus, for instance. Sure, this guy is more expensive than the loyalist dread, but he is also quite a bit more exciting from a visual standpoint, plus you basically get all the weapons option in one place instead of them being spaced out over several kit.

Also, whether or not you like the basic look, you’ve got to admit that there’s a nice bit of visual consistency between the different daemon engine kits: There are little touches that tie them all together and make them look like parts of the same overall faction. Nice!

In comparison with the DV Helbrute, GW seem to have taken the hobbyists’ feedback onboard: The two main points of contention about that model were the somewhat uninspired back (less detailed than would have been preferrable, probably due to production conditions for a snap fit model?!) and the strangely organic feet: By comparison, the new Helbrute has some additional armour plating on his back, recalling the design of both loyalist Dreadnoughts and the FW chaos Dreads. The feet have been also been redesigned, now looking far more like standard Dreanought feet.

 

So, are there any problems with the model? For one, I think that the pose could have been a bit less static, but that’s always a problem with a multipart kit that has to balance awesomness and flexibility. Still, if you want this guy to be more dynamic, you’ll have to put in a bit of work (and when you do, the rather organic nature of the model when compared to standard Dreads means some GS sculpting may be in order).

The biggest problem seems to be that, at least for those into the background of the setting, the new Helbrute may not be a good fit for some of the traitor legions: Sure, he should work like a charm for at least four of the three “cult legions” (Emperor’s Children, Death Guard and, of course, World Eaters) as well as for two of the undivided legions (Black Legion and Word Bearers). But after that, it might get a little iffy: While I could see the Night Lords using a mutated Helbrute like this as a terror weapon (as well as an instrument of torture for one of their own), I think the model doesn’t work quite that well for, say, the Iron Warriors: I think you’d be better of converting an Ironclad Dreadnought (or go with the FW option). In the case of the Thousand Sons, the mutated look matches Tzeentch’s penchant for twisting and warping his followers, but clashes somewhat with the legion’s background. And I think the model just doesn’t work for the Alpha Legion, at least not when you keep the most recent fluff in mind. But then again, there are alternatives for those cases (see above).

A small, if insubstantial, disappointment is the fact that, unlike the heads in the Venerable Dreadnought kit, the leftover Helbrute heads will not work on regular Chaos Space Marines, as is evident from this photo, kindly provided by fellow hobbyist Daemonclaw:

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They might arguably work in Terminator armour, but only with a fair bit of cutting. Just imagine if we were to get a helmet like the one on the left for our Khorne berzerkers one day…

Then there’s the whole dataslates business: The new Helbrute dataslate supposedly adds some quite viable ways to use the new model — or, indeed multiple models. But, as has been the case for prior dataslate releases, it’s the downloadable content discussion over again. And while I do see digital publications as a viable avenue of income for GW, I still don’t see why they could not have put these rules into the same issue of WD featuring the new model: Wouldn’t that be precisely the kind of content that would make people pick up the mag, after all?

And there’s one final problem: Maybe it’s just due to a couple of crude comments over at Throne of Skulls, but don’t you agree that there’s one particular element about the new Helbrute’s design that seems a little…suggestive?

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I mean, look, maybe it’s just me, but…don’t those dangling eyes look a bit like, you know,…

…ah, never mind ;-)

It’s a great model, though, fair and square: Great job, GW!

 

So, I also promised you a surprise model in the title, so let’s make good on that promise: After longingly looking at pictures of the new Helbrute kit in WD Weekly, I surprised myself by not running out to buy the kit right away, but rather grabbing that unpainted DV Helbrute I still had sitting on my desk and finally starting to paint that instead — and it’s about time, too, seeing how it’s been quite a while

While the model remains an amazing piece, I can safely say now that it’s certainly not a lot of fun to paint: It took what felt like ages, but then the model finally started to come together, and it’s mostly finished at last. Take a look:

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As you can see, in another case of fairly atypical behaviour, I left the model mostly unconverted, but then I really like the model a lot as is. I just got rid of the stubby melta arm — the one truly bad piece of design on an otherwise amazing sculpt, if you ask me.

I also added a little “special effect” on the model’s back, using Tamiya Clear Red:

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Not an ‘Eavy Metal grade paintjob, admittedly, but considering the amount of time I spent on this guy (and how long it took to finally get to the point where I wasn’t feeling like I was messing up horribly), I am really pretty happy with the outcome so far:

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The face definitely remains my favourite part of the model:

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So horrible and so amazing at the same time!

As of this writing, I still need to do some final touchups on the model, add some final highlights etc. But I hope you’ll agree that it’s coming together.
Here’s the new Helbrute with his future “colleagues”, Marax the Fallen and Khoron the Undying:

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Of course this leaves me just one Helbrute short of that most elusive and devastating of formations: The Barbershop Helquartet of Dooom! ;-)

 

In comparison with the new multipart kit, the DV Helbrute does of course lack a bit of flexibility as well as a whole lot of weapons options. Then there’s the fact of the slightly redesigned back and feet on the new model. However, at least in my opinion, the DV Helbrute isn’t necessarily the inferior model: The pose is excellent and dynamic, whereas the new model looks quite static (provided you’re not going with the two power fists). The face on the DV Helbrute is also quite excellent, and slightly better than the bare faces included with the multipart kit, at least in my opinion. And while it was designed as a single pose model, using it for rather extensive and exciting conversions is absolutely possible! For inspirations about how to truly make this model sing, look no further than the work of Daemonclaw or Biohazard — the latter’s particularly great Helbrute is a model I am truly envious of! Plus you can get the DV Helbrute for a song on ebay, which makes sure that this version remains a very viable option, especially for converters. And just imagine what one could achieve with one of the new multipart kits and a DV Helbrute: All that leftover bitz would be amazing for making two standout models at an onlslightly bigger cost.

 

So, in closing, while the lack of additional kits or any legion-specific supplement is of course a bit of a disappointment, the new Helbrute kit is amazing enough to tide me over until the true next chaos release comes rolling around. Will I get one at some point? Quite possibly so, yes. I am not exactly looking forward to painting another of these fleshy behemoths, though: The more mechanic, angular Dreadnoughts are far easier to paint and make for far more pleasant work.

Let’s not think of any further Helbrutes just yet: For now, I am really happy that I finally managed to paint one of my favourite pieces from the Dark Vengeance boxed set!

As always, I’d love to hear any feedback you might have. And, of course, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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More gladiators entering the arena…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2014 by krautscientist

I have been making some serious progress on my squad of gladiatorial World Eaters which means more World Eaters for you to look at. This squad comes together really fast, both because these guys are a lot of fun to convert and paint and there’s an ongoing stream of really helpful feedback from fellow hobbyists. So let’s take a look at the latest additions to the squad, shall we?

First of all, I revisited one of the gladiators I showed you in my last post: Leave it to fellow World Eaters players to sort out your conversion problems for you: Biohazard suggested some simple changes to my Carnifex gladiator that instantly made the pose 100% better and improved the model quite a bit:

Before:

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After:

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Just by tweaking it ever so slightly, I managed to make the model’s pose look quite a bit more plausible, don’t you think? Thanks for the amazing tip, buddy!

I also finally painted the Retiarius. Here’s the finished model:

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Seeing the photos up close now, there may be one or two areas that could do with a slight touch up, but I am generally happy with the model: There’s a very nice sense of movement, which, I think, really fits this particular gladiator’s fighting style.

Here he is together with his “opposite”, the Secutor:

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The next thing I did was to build another gladiator from the ground up: One of the classic gladiator types I found pretty interesting was the Bestiarius, used to fight against wild beasts. Now for my own gladiator squad, I wanted to adapt this concept as some kind of beastmaster, taming all kinds of feral creatures and siccing them on his opponents. As a matter of fact, this gladiator also provided an excellent chance to revisit an older idea of mine:

Quite a while ago, I built a modular base for two chaos hounds and a beast handler. The base itself was a fairly simple affair:

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Now the idea was that the models could be slotted into the larger base to form kind of a mini-diorama, while also staying useable as single models. I did finish the base and hounds, but the beast handler didn’t happen, for one reason or another:

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So what better way to finally make use of these already completed assets than to incorporate them into my plans for the Bestiarius, right? So I threw together a quick WIP model of the gladiator:

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My original idea was for him to hold the two hounds by chain leashes, so I used a suitable gauntlet and planned on converting it to be holding two chains:

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But in addition to being a rather fiddly conversion to get right, I realised that this would mean that the gladiator himself would only ever look good when slotted into the larger base. On his own, he would be holding two chains strangely suspended in thin air, ending in nothing. That didn’t work!

Fortunately, my bitzbox didn’t leave me stranded, and some fellow hobbyists provided a couple of awesome suggestions via the forums. In the end, I decided to replace the leashes with a whip: This element would communicate the beastmaster concept just as well, plus it would make the model more flexible. And so, little by little, the Bestiarius took shape. Here’s the finished model before painting:

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As you can see, I added a couple of additional bitz to make the model a bit more interesting. Most of these parts were also chosen in order to make the model look slightly feral, in keeping with its profession, so to speak.

Here’s the Bestiarius, preliminarily slotted into the bigger base:

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The fact that the bigger base and hounds were already finished provided just the right motivation to get the gladiator painted as soon as possible. So a short while later, the Bestiarius was mostly finished as well:

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Again, I might go back and add some last highlights, but I think you already get a pretty good impression from these pictures. Here he is, complete with his hounds:

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I am pretty happy with both the new model and the ensemble. And choosing the whip instead of the chains means the gladiator is far more flexible (and could be used for different beasts as well…).

I do of course realise that he doesn’t have any rules per se, but this was mainly a fun project, and I am quite pleased with the result!

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Here are the two newly painted  models together:

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I actually managed to paint both of these in one day, with is almost spectacularly productive when compared to my usual standard… ;-)

And finally, since coming up with new gladiators was such a blast, I went and built another one: This time, I wanted to adapt the concept of the Cestus for my squad, a gladiator fighting with his fists (pretty much a precursor to modern boxers).

Getting this right once again took some doing, because while the whole gladiator squad may not be all that plausible to begin with, a warrior merely using his fists as a weapon on the battlefields of the 41st millennium just seems completely out there. My initial idea was to produce something like this…

Icastfist
…but that just looked far too stupid. Fortunately enough, some of the clawed gauntlets from the Raptor/Warp Talon kit had just the gladiatorial look I was going for:

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It’s still not exactly a prudent weapons choice, but it works better than just the twin power fists, don’t you think? And who doesn’t love a little Wolverine every now and then (Snikt, anyone?)? The one thing I am not perfectly sure about, however, is whether to use the head as is or add a crest to it:

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There’s arguments for both options, really: The bare helmet looks brutal and no-nonsense like, which is a nice fit for the character. The helmet with crest seems more arrogant and flamboyant, which seems rather fitting for a warrior thinking he can cut it on the field of battle using nothing but some clawed gauntlets.

I think I’ll just have to think about it for a while. It’s only a minor detail, to be sure, but it’s a pretty tough aesthetic decision — I know, I know: first world problems, and all that…

In any case, as you can see, the gladiator squad is coming along rather nicely. As of today, there are seven painted models in the squad. Here they are, assembled for a family portrait:

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That leaves me with the Carnifex and Cestus to paint. And after that? I’m not sure, actually: My original plan was to stop at eight, but these guys are serious fun to come up with, so don’t be surprised if I decide to add yet another model or two…

For now, though, I am pretty happy with how the squad is coming along. And all mostly thanks some really kick ass suggestions by fellow hobbyists. Thanks a lot, people!

It goes without saying that I’d be interested to hear any comments you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

So yeah, about that Knight Titan…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2014 by krautscientist

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First of all, let me apologise for posting an incomplete version of this post a couple of hours ago — I didn’t pay attention and messed up. However, what better incentive to finally finish that post, right? So here goes:

I surely took my own sweet time to finally get around to talking about this kit! But while the internet was already abuzz with all kinds of unboxing videos, sprue diagrams and what have you, I did want to take it a bit slower, carefully looking at the kit and waiting for the first builds and conversions to appear. But when it comes to Imperial Knights, some pretty sweet content has begun to appear online over the last few days, so I guess the time is right!

I’ll gladly admit that my jaw pretty much hit the floor when I first saw the Imperial Knight: Once again, as they did with the Lord of Skulls, GW have taken a model from the days of Epic (or, indeed, Adeptus Titannicus) and brought it over to the 28mm scale — and what  model it is!

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I have gone on record stating that the 40k universe feels really unique to me. Sure, there’s a number of possible inspirations for the setting, but no other IP mixes medieval, renaissance and futuristic elements with quite so much aplomb! The Imperial Knight is a perfect example of that in that it is clearly both a futuristic walker and a wildly eclectic, medieval looking machine. It also really does look like a knight!

The model also clearly improves on the older versions of the model, keeping hallmarks of GW’s classic titans (the spindly arms carrying comparatively huge weapons, the hunched over look with the head emerging from the chest,…) while bringing it all in line with the more recent design.

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I can still remember one of the first pieces of 4ok artwork I saw while browsing through the instruction manual for Space Crusade: It was a battle scene focusing on what must have been a Knight Titan, with Space Marines scurrying antlike between its legs. I can remember my wonder at that piece of artwork, specifically at the strangely medieval banners and heraldic elements adorning the huge robot-thing. Looking at the new Knight recalls that moment and provides the best possible kind of nostalgia: I remember the older Knight models not as they actually looked but as they should have looked.

The kit is also full of amazing details: The heraldic plate on the right shoulder, the banner between the legs or the hatch leading to the cockpit, all of these are great little touches. The chainsword is a bit of a no-brainer, because it’s so iconic of the GW titans, but the weapons for the other arm are really nice as well.

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The different faceplates have got to me my favourite elements, however: It actually took me a while to realise that all of them use the same basic head construction and merely function as masks, but they are all great: From suitably knightly to creepily skeletal, there is much to like about the designs — even using the bare head without any masks on top is a cool option, leading to a suitably inhuman AdMech look:

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The model is also really interesting in the way it uses heraldic elements: Much has been said about the various decal sheets for the Knight, but while I am feeling mostly apathetic about decals in the first place, the Imperial Knight is a stunning example of what can be achieved once the decals are basically turned up to eleven:

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On the other hand, I was surprised to see that the Knight also works with relatively simple colour schemes. In fact, one of my favourite Knights so far has one of the simplest colour schemes:

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Already, people all over the internet are coming up with visually stunning Imperial Knights, and it will be fun to see what can be done with the model over the coming weeks and months.

One last thing that I love about the Imperial Knight is not so much the model itself but the lore surrounding it: The Imperial Knights are, at the same time, a perfect embodiment of the 40k universe and yet also avatars of something even more archaic and medieval: The whole culture surrounding them is really interesting, and the concept of knight world and knightly households is not only very interesting but also hasn’t been done to death — a much needed breath of fresh air, so to speak!

There are also the possible myteries surrounding those huge warmachines: How does the Throne Mechanicum work? What does the cockpit of a Knight look like? Is it your classic mech cockpit with lots of screens and HUDs? Is it a steampunk extravaganza, complete with analogue gauges, brass piping and an upholstered pilot chair? Could it be more like an amniotic tank, with the pilot floating suspended in liquid (the top hatch does have something sinister, doesn’t it?)? It’s fun to imagine all kinds of stories about the Knight, and to explore the parts you cannot see as well — is it any wonder that there are enterprising hobbyists endeavouring to fill the gaps, so to speak? And to great effect, I might add!

While we are on the subject of other hobbyists, let me point you towards several really useful resources for all your Imperial Knight discussion needs:

  • First, a supremely useful series of posts on Tale of Painters, discussing the kit and its various properties (one and two)
  • Then you should definitely check out JeffTibbet’s thread over at The Bolter and Chainsword, where Jeff builds a Knight from the ground up with an enviable amount of perfectionism and attention to detail — highly recommended!
  • For those who want to delve into the history of Imperial Knights and their models, this thread should be an awesome resource as well.

 

So, isn’t there anything bad about the kit?

As much as I love the model – and love it unequivocally, I might add – I once again feel that I am not exactly comfortable with the direction of the game as a whole: Sure, the Knight is amazing, and everybody and their cousin want one. It stands to reason that it should be given workable rules, because what use is a toy we don’t get to play with, right? But entire Knight armies consisting of multiple of these beasts? What role does that leave for the average infantryman?

I do of course realise that I sound a bit like a broken record here, but I think it needs to be pointed out that we are now basically playing with action figures, scale wise. This is both good and bad: Good because we get to use stuff that only ever had a place in Epic before, and this is very much like our children’s dreams come true, right? Bad because there’s this constant danger that any game below the Apocalypse level could end up more or less devalued.

Then there’s the fact that we should also consider alterntives to the Imperial Knight: I already mentioned Dreamforge Games‘ excellent models at an earlier date, and they are certainly first on my list of possible alternatives for a Knight model:

Leviathan Crusader by  Dreamforge Games

Leviathan Crusader by Dreamforge Games

Eternal Hunts Awards 2013 (2)

Leviathan Mortis by Dreamforge Games

The great thing about the DFG models is their almost ridiculously high amount of articulation, poseability and cutomisability: You can basically get these guys to look any way you want, and this is certainly the one area where the GW model falls a little flat. There’s also the fact that the Leviathans are available in loyalist and chaotic flavours, as evident from the images above. Plus they certainly provide some amazing value for the money. Strong contenders for the Imperial Knight, surely?

The one problem seems to be their size: There’s a pretty helpful side-by-side comparison of the Knight Titan and 15 mm Leviathan Crusader here on YouTube. The gist of it is that the 15mm is about 2 inches shorter than the Knight, while the bigger 28mm version is about two inches taller. So either will not be the same height as the “official” Knight kit. That’s certainly not the only important consideration here, but it does make a difference. Meanwhile, the bigger, 28mm Crusader would certainly make for a brilliant alternative to a Warhound Titan.

And you know what: You can call me crazy, but maybe we wouldn’t even have the Imperial Knight today if it hadn’t been for the Dreamforge Games models meeting with such positive feedback last year.

The good news is that, in this particular case, you, my dear readers, can have your cake and eat it too: While I might be endeavouring to build a chaos knight using the Imperial Knight kit at some point in the near future, fellow hobbyist Chris Harman has the Dreamforge Games angle covered — and knowing his conversions so far, we’ll definitely be in for a treat!
So, before I wind up this rambling post, let me take a look at some of the conversions that have begun to crop up all over the blogosphere. It probably won’t astound you that my main interest lies in seeing the Imperial Knight suitably desecrated and brought into the service of the ruinous powers — rules and allie matrices be damned! Fortunately enough, some fellow chaos worshippers have already done some truly spectacular work:

  • First up, Insane Psychopath’s conversion, making heavy use of a WFB warshrine of chaos — and to great effect, I might add!
  • Then there’s the ever-inspirational GuitaRasmus, with a more twisted vision. That head is just amazing, isn’t it?
  • Another – fairly straightforward but still absolutely awesome – conversion comes from greg0985: I thought the skull mask was a no-brainer for a chaos knight conversion, but this model seriously made me reconsider that…
  • And finally, there is this beauty, courtesy of Troy, that left me almost speechless: Troy also made good use of the warshrine bitz, but the red and gold really sold me on what clearly seems to be a Khornate Knight.

And there’s that most elusive and expensive of kitbashes: Combining the Lord of Skulls and Imperial Knight kits to make a truly enormous Khornate walker — many are theorising about such a conversion at the moment, but none have tried it so far. Maybe it’s the price tag? At 200 Euros, such a conversion certainly wouldn’t come cheap. Maybe it’s the fact that the kitbash would leave you with two leftover halves without much use for either — although some have pointed out that a Knight upper body and Lord of Skulls undercarriage could be combined in order to build a Kaban Machine. Anyway, sooner or later, somebody will take the plunge…

 

The Lord of Skulls was admittedly a bit of an acquired taste: While it stayed true to its roots in several old Epic models and nicely managed to transport them to the 2st century, it was too goofy for some and was thus derisively called the “Skulldozer”. The Imperial Knight tries the same, but with vastly more success and to near unanimous excitement. And rightly so: From a design perspective, it’s an amazing model. It has set the hobby scene abuzz with a thousand possibilities, and there’s no small amount of anticipation: Whatever may be next?

For now, let’s be happy with the Imperial Knight we got. It’s a stunning piece. Great job, GW!

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

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